Looking for the perfect 30L backpack for your next city, work or travel adventure?
There are so many 30-liter backpack options it can be hard to find the best one. But these nifty little bags are perfect for day trips as they have enough room for everything you need.
I live almost exclusively out of a 30L backpack for my daily work or travel and never regret it one bit.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Backpacks with 30L Capacity
So, using my years of experience with this sized pack, let’s find the best 30L backpack for you!
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We’re starting our list of the best 30L backpacks off strong with the Osprey Porter 30 Backpack. This bag has tonnes of features that we love and is equally well suited to traveling, commuting, and outdoor trips, making it one super versatile pack.
Like all good backpacks, this bag features adjustable shoulder straps, a hip belt, and a sternum strap (with an integrated whistle). Uniquely, though, the harness and hip belt can be tucked away into the back panel, making for one strapless parcel, which is great during check-in or if you need to leave this bag on a train shelf.
Plus, there’s even an attachment point for a shoulder strap, if you’d rather carry it that way (although this must be purchased separately).
As well as the main compartment, this pack also features sleeves for your laptop and tables and a front panel organization (plus zippered pocket) – so there’s no excuse for arriving at the office unorganized! It also features sturdy compression straps, so you can keep the bulk down and avoid accidentally barging people during your morning commute.
This bag is constructed from materials that are not only super durable and well-suited to life on the trail but are also recycled, Blue Sign-approved, and free of PFC. Oh, and they’ve been treated with DWR too, so you don’t need to worry about some light rain. We do wish the back panel was slightly better ventilated though, but we guess you can’t have everything.
We also love the U-shaped zipper which means you can find whatever you need whenever you need it – whether you’re on the trail or on a tube. We wish this bag had a water bottle holder or was hydration-compatible but, nonetheless, it remains one of our favorites. Oh, and it’s backed by a lifetime warranty too, winning.
Next up is the Berghaus TwentyFourSeven a minimalistic backpack that merges the quality of an outdoor backpack with a stylish design fit for the city.
This sleek bag certainly has more to it than meets the eye – as well as the main compartment it also features an internal organizer pocket that includes a dedicated spot for your laptop. The streamlined design combined with side compression straps reduces bulk considerably, making this a great bag for cycling and busy commutes.
This lightweight backpack is also full of extra touches typically missing from high street rucksacks but found in ones designed for life outdoors. For instance, there’s an external carabiner clip for any extra gear and the back panel is well ventilated which, combined with the load-spreading chest strap, makes carrying this bag a dream.
Finally, it’s built to last from durable ripstop polyester and there are dual water bottle holders on the side so you can keep your trusty bottles by your side (although it’s not hydration compatible).
It doesn’t have as many pockets as some of the other packs we’ve looked at, and a small zippered pocket on the front definitely wouldn’t hurt, but this minimalistic approach has certainly helped to keep the weight incredibly low (just over a pound!). Oh, and it’s available in tonnes of colors too.
While we reckon this bag is best-suited to work and city adventures, it will certainly stand up to some times on the trail too, but its minimalistic design means that it lacks some of the features you might want in a bag specifically for outdoor use.
It’s a fantastic bag in terms of organization thanks to its three zippered compartments, internal organizer, and mesh water bottle holders (no laptop compartment though). Plus, it features webbing on the front that’s great for storing an extra layer, as well as daisy-chain and D-ring attachment points for extra gear.
Its constructed from super durable ripstop polyester that can handle a few bumps and scrapes, and the reflective logo on the front is a great safety feature for anyone that crosses busy roads on their travels. We also love that the adjustable shoulder straps and back panel are heavily padded to optimize comfort.
One thing to watch out for, however, is the lack of a sternum strap, which might make super heavy loads a tad uncomfortable.
Available in several different colors and with a surprisingly low price tag, this bag really is a steal.
The Gregory Zulu 30 has to be one of the best 30L packs for hiking currently on the market.
Despite its small capacity, it offers incredible suspension. The fantastic ventilation means you won’t overheat even on the toughest of trails, and the hip belt has been cleverly designed to move with your body, making this one an incredibly comfortable pack.
In terms of organization, there’s a handy holder on the harness for sunglasses, dual hip-belt pockets that are ideal for snacks, twin water bottle holders, and even adjustable trekking pole attachment loops.
The U-shaped zipper makes finding your gear a breeze, even when you’re out and about, and the large stretch pocket on the front is perfect for extra layers such as a rain jacket. And speaking of rain… we absolutely love that this pack comes with an included rain cover (with a dedicated pocket behind the front pocket), so your gear will stay dry no matter the weather.
It’s a very durable bag, constructed from high-end nylon, and we love that the base has been reinforced to prevent any weak points from developing. Although we love the hip belt, it is a little on the large side, and it might put you off using this bag in the city – plus there’s no laptop space either.
It’s also a little on the pricey side for a 30L capacity bag. However, if you want an awesome pack for exploring the wilderness, then we reckon this bag is worth shelling out for.
See our full review of the Gregory Zulu.
This isn’t exactly a 30L backpack… but, at 28L, The North Face Borealis Backpack is very close – and we love it so much we just had to include it.
This bag is ideal for commuters in need of a bag that won’t pack in on them after a few weeks of heavy use. Constructed of high-end polyester and ripstop nylon, and with a water-repellent finish to boot, this bag is way more durable than your average city bag.
As well as the spacious main compartment, there’s also a laptop sleeve and, we have to say, it’s one of the best we’ve come across in terms of protective padding. There’s also a front compartment that’s packed full of pockets of all different shapes and sizes – some zippered, some mesh, and some simple pen holders. Here, there’s also an area for you to store your tablet.
On the exterior, you have a fleece-lined stash pocket for sensitive objects, dual water bottle holders, plus elastic on the front that can easily hold an extra layer. We wish there were a couple of external attachment points, such as some molle webbing, but we guess you can’t have it all. Plus, all these storage options have made this bag slightly heavier than some of the others we’ve looked at.
It’s also extremely comfortable thanks to the great padding on the back panel and shoulder straps, and it features waist and sternum straps to help spread your load evenly.
Available in a range of stylish colors (this is definitely one of the better-looking daypacks we’ve seen) and with a reasonable price tag too, we definitely recommend this bag for anyone in need of a durable, stylish, and thoughtful commuter bag.
Compare the North Face Borealis & Jester
The Vaude Brenta 30L Daypack is one serious backpack designed for life on the trail (although you might get so attached you start using it for everything!).
Unlike some of the other packs we’ve looked at, this bag features a classic top-loading design. It’s also the first bag on our list that’s hydration compatible, a feature often reserved for larger packs. What’s more, it’s constructed from recycled materials via an ethical production system, what a winner.
The suspension system is fantastic and offers the perfect balance of great padding yet consistent airflow. The sternum and waist straps only add to the comfort by helping to distribute the weight of your pack, and the torso’s easy-adjust system, combined with adjustable shoulder straps, means that you can really find the fit that’s right for you.
It also features tonnes of external storage options, ranging from pockets (lid, hip, stash, front stretch, and dual side stretch pockets – phew!), to pouches to loops, and the compression straps are excellent, making for a surprisingly sleek outdoor pack. We absolutely love that it comes with a detachable rain cover so your gear need never gets soggy, and it can even be stored in its own compartment at the base.
We’d like to see a few more internal pockets, and there’s no laptop compartment tucked away inside this pack but, otherwise, we can’t really complain.
See our full Vaude Brenta 30 review.
And last but by no means least on our list is the Deuter Futura 30 Backpack, another fantastic 30L backpack designed with hiking in mind.
The Aircomfort Sensic back system has somehow managed to create a backpack that holds the load very close to your back yet still provides fantastic ventilation – well done Deuter! We also love the lumbar pads that mold to your hip shape for ultimate comfort and support.
In terms of pockets, there are dual zippered hip-belt pockets, an external and internal lid pocket, and a large front stretch pocket, plus tonnes of attachment loops. This bag also features an integrated, detachable rain cover to make sure you don’t get caught out in any downpours, and, somewhat unusually for a 30L bag, there’s even a separate bottom compartment.
The compression straps will help you to win the fight against bulk, and we love that this bag is hydration-compatible too. All these cool features do mean that this backpack is heavier than many of its size, but we think it’s definitely worth carrying an extra pound around for all these lovely touches. Although designed for men, fear not ladies, there’s an equivalent model out there for you – the Futura 28.
If you’re after a bag for a busy morning commute, this bag might be a little bit much – all those external points are bound to catch on to something eventually – but, for a day of hiking, you’re going to love it.
So, there you have it, our favorite 30L backpacks are currently on the market. But what is it you should be looking for in a 30L backpack?
As you’ve seen, some bags are crammed full of organizational features while others take a more minimalistic approach. Generally, internal features are more important if you’ll use your bag for commuting, as you’re probably going to want a laptop compartment and somewhere to stash a folder safely.
On the other hand, if you’ll be out on the trail a lot, then a laptop compartment is the last thing you’ll need – you’re probably going to be more interested in external features that let you grab snacks and drinks without putting your bag down or that let you attach extra gear.
All good bags should have some kind of organizational features, but the ones that are important to you will ultimately come down to how you’ll be using your bag.
Again, this is more likely to be important if you’ll be turning up at a formal office with your backpack. Some backpacks definitely stand out more than others, so think about things such as colors, compression ability, and logos before you purchase anything.
No matter what you’ll be using it for, you want a 30L backpack to last you a while. All the packs listed here are made of fabrics far more robust than those you’ll find in an average high-street store, yet they don’t all come with high-end price tags. Look for fairly high dernier polyesters and fabrics, and ripstop materials are always a good thing too.
Still, struggling to decide which 30L backpack is right for you? Here are our top three to help you decide:
It has way more internal compartments and organizational features than we’d ever expect to see at this price tag, and on the outside, it features pockets, webbing, pockets, and attachment points… phew!
Durable too and with fantastic padding, this bag really is a steal!
Our best backpack for urban adventures has to be the Berghaus TwentyFourSeven. You can sneak into even the fanciest of offices with this on your back and no one will bat an eyelid thanks to its super sleek, minimalistic design. But that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in features, with an internal laptop sleeve, dual water bottle holders, and an external carabiner clip for extra items, this bag has you covered.
On top of that, it offers fantastic ventilation and is constructed from anti-rip material… and all of this at a reasonable price tag too, yay.
But what’s our absolute favorite? It’s the Osprey Porter 30 Backpack of course! This incredibly versatile backpack won’t let you down whether you’re on the way to work, staying out of town for a night, or even checking on a flight.
The stowaway harness and straps are a super handy feature that stops straps from getting caught, and there’s even an option to carry the whole thing as a shoulder bag. The U-shaped zipper makes packing a dream, and you can beat the bulk thanks to the strong compression straps.
On top of that, there are more than enough organizational features, and, wait for it, it’s constructed from recycled materials too, so really you’re doing the world a favor by purchasing this bag (like you needed an excuse).