How to Choose a Good Travel Backpack


One of the things that makes or breaks your trip is a good backpack, and those who’ve traveled often will understand why. And to choose a good travel backpack is not as easy as one may think. Unwieldy suitcases, bad backpacks etc can lead to a lot of discomfort, and worse, leave you with a sore back. Suitcases are fine if you are traveling with a family and kids to tow, but not otherwise – in my opinion.

What’s in a good travel backpack, you may ask – after all, all of them look the same. The similarity usually ends with looks – most of the backpacks are badly designed, with straps hanging from everywhere, sizing issues, etc,. are just the starting point to my troubles. Reason – travel backpacks are rare, and good ones are even more hard to find.

Let me dig in deeper – as a traveler, what are your options? Wheeled suitcases (if you are traveling with a family and kids, yes), top loading hiking backpacks and unsuitable choices like duffel bags and school backpacks, but they are rarely suitable for travel.

I did a lot of digging in, in the past few months to figure out which one to buy, and towards the end, it was a matter of personal convenience – to pick a good travel bag which is around the 40 litre mark, and something that many travel backpackers seem to recommend, or something which is slightly bigger, around the 50-65 litre range. Here are my top picks under both categories.

Travel backpacks under 50 litres

  1. Tortuga Travel Backpack
  2. Minaal Carry-On 2.0
  3. REI Vagabond Tour 40 Pack
  4. Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack
Good travel backpacks under 50 Litres

Travel backpacks above 50 litres

  1. REI Grand Tour 85L for Men and 80L for Women
  2. Osprey Waypoint 80L (with day pack)
  3. Deuter Transit 50
Travel Backpack

Both Tortuga($199 $149) and Minaal($249) are products that were crowdsourced through Kickstarter, and although very good, they are pricey as well. In case your budget doesn’t allow for such a costly purchase, I would urge you to take a look at any of the REI, Deuter, Osprey backpacks mentioned above.

My pick is either the REI Vagabond or the Tortuga. Which one is yours?

This is a guest post by Narayanan Hariharan, my husband who shares my penchant for traveling! You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.


4 thoughts on “How to Choose a Good Travel Backpack”

    • Yes, most of them aren’t. However, we don’t buy bags often, so rather buy the best out there than be limited by geography, don’t you think? 🙂

  1. Pingback: Choosing a Good Travel Backpack | Other Matters

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