Looking for a personal item backpack? You’re in the right place then because this detailed review features the best personal item backpacks that you can buy!
At A Glance: Best Personal Item Backpacks
I’ve included everything from small-capacity laptop bags to backpacks that can easily replace a carry-on for overnight trips. All the backpacks featured in this review are high-quality, with convenient features that will make your travels slightly less stressful. So, read on to find the best personal item backpack for you!
Best Anti-Theft Personal Item
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Best Small Personal Item
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Best Backpack For Business Travel
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Best Organizational Features
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Pacsafe Eco Anti-Theft Backpack is an excellent option if you want a personal item backpack with decent capacity. It’s one of the bigger packs featured here, so just make sure that your preferred airline will actually accept it as a travel personal item before you buy it. The total capacity of the bag is 25 liters, which is more than you get with most other similar bags.
The capacity is even enough to make this a great everyday backpack. It can fit 16” laptops and it’s positioned so that your device is tucked between the foam padding of the back panel and the clothes in the main compartment for great protection.
The main compartment is top loading, and opens nice and wide for easy packing. And given how large it is, I found you can easily fit 3-4 packing cubes inside. So, it’s a great pack for weekend trips – unload it and use it as a daypack when you arrive.
There is also a smaller front organiser pocket and a side access security pocket I found hard to open (the zipper is anti-theft and requires a squeeze, which is great but annoying).
Being from an anti-theft-focused company, the Pacsafe Eco has so many security features – slash-proof material on the front, Roobar locking for the zippers, RFID protected pocket on the inside and a shoulder strap you can attach to an object (that is hard to cut).
For me, this is almost the perfect personal item backpack – it just needs a little better hip belt and I would replace my hiking backpack with it.
Oh, and if you want something smaller or larger, Pacsafe have lots of options from slingbags to 35L carry-ons, so this is just a sample
The Travelon Anti-Theft Classic backpack is one of the best personal item backpacks you can buy. It’s small enough that most major airlines will accept it as a personal item but still spacious enough that it can easily hold all your in-flight necessities, including a laptop.
The bag is made from slash-proof materials and it features lockable zippers, which is amazing if you’re worried about the safety of the items in your backpack.
The backpack features a padded laptop sleeve that easily holds 13” devices and it’s great for smaller laptops and tablets. There’s another open pocket in the main compartment and that’s it for organization inside the main compartment. It’s not a lot of pockets, but that does give you some extra space in the bag for other items.
This Travelon backpack also boasts an organizer in the front compartment with several open pockets, a key clip, and pen holders. The front compartment is big enough to hold your passport and boarding pass, allowing you to always keep your airport essentials easily accessible.
In addition to that, the travel personal item bag also has two side pockets. One is an open pocket and large enough to hold an umbrella or a water bottle, and the other one is a zippered pocket with expandable mesh inside.
If you often travel for business and need a personal item backpack that can hold your laptop, tablet, and all the necessary chargers, the Smatree backpack might just be the perfect option for you. This is an incredibly slim bag specifically designed for business travel, and it will fit under the seat of pretty much every airplane.
The laptop compartment is less than 2” deep and it’s made from hardshell materials for the ultimate protection of your device. Even the smaller front compartment has a hardside cover, so your chargers and other accessories will stay equally protected.
The laptop compartment can fit both a laptop and a tablet, which is great. It fits MacBooks up to 16”, and other laptops that are up to 15.4”. The bag is ideal for 13” and 14” laptops, but it can also hold some bigger laptops. It’s worth noting that the laptop compartment is only 1.96” deep, so that’s the main dimension you need to worry about when checking whether your computer will fit in the bag.
The front compartment features four open pockets with elastic straps, as well as an extra (Apple) pen holder. There’s also a zippered pocket inside, and it’s just the right size to hold your passport and boarding pass. Overall, if you’re looking for a personal item backpack to hold your computer and all its accessories, the Smatree business backpack is an excellent option worth checking out.
The Xenon 3.0 backpack by Samsonite is an excellent option. It’s available in three sizes, but only the smallest one will fit under the seat of most airplanes. The pack weighs just some 1.6 lbs, and it’s one of the smallest backpacks featured in this review. It’s worth noting that the medium bag could pass as a personal item on airlines that generally allow for larger luggage inside the cabin.
The pack can fit 13” laptops in the dedicated compartment – the other two sizes can hold larger devices, but they’re more likely to be deemed as carry-on bags than as personal items. The Xenon 3.0 backpack is made from 1680D ballistic polyester – a very durable material with excellent water and tear resistance.
This Samsonite backpack is also very comfortable to wear, thanks to the air channel system in the backpanel that allows for great airflow. There’s also lots of air mesh padding for good lumbar support, and even the shoulder straps are padded for your carrying comfort. The top grab handle is injected with neoprene, and even boasts a padded grip for ultimate comfort.
In addition to the padded laptop compartment, this backpack also boasts a spacious main compartment and a front compartment with an organizer. There’s even a scratch-free zippered pocket for your sunglasses and phone, but sadly there aren’t any side pockets on the Samsonite Xenon 3.0 backpack.
The Lewis N. Clark backpack was specifically designed to fit under the seat of major airlines. It’s a great personal item backpack with generous capacity, quality materials, and excellent organizational features.
The bag is made from rugged 840D ballistic nylon for excellent durability even during tough travel conditions. The material also has great weather resistance, and it will keep the items inside protected in the rain. Also, this backpack boasts padded mesh straps for comfortable carrying, and there’s even a luggage sleeve in the back that lets you stack it on top of your suitcase.
The Lewis N. Clark backpack has a padded laptop compartment that will fit devices up to 15”, in addition to the spacious main compartment. There are open and zippered pockets in all of the bag’s compartments, as well as a removable accessory pocket and padded side pockets.
On top of all that, the backpack boasts an organizer panel with RFID safe pockets in the frontmost compartment, for ultimate security during your travels.
The front compartment also features a hidden open pocket with magnetic closure. It’s the perfect spot for your passport and boarding pass since it keeps them easily accessible, but secure enough that you don’t have to worry about losing them in the bag.
The Underseat Pro backpack was specifically designed to fit under the seat of most major airlines. It will pass as a personal item for Spirit, American, Delta, Southwest, Frontier, and many other airlines, which is excellent. Also, the pack is made from recycled PET fabric, which just makes it better.
There are many convenient features on this backpack, and they’re usually what most people are looking for in personal item backpacks. The pen holders are on the exterior of the pack so you can grab one immediately, instead of having to rummage your bag and hold up the line at customs.
The luggage sleeve is another great inclusion, especially since it’s quite big and boasts an extra pocket on the sleeve.
Also, the bag has attachment points for a hip belt, which would make it even more comfortable to carry. You won’t get a hip belt with the backpack though – it’s an accessory you would need to purchase separately.
The Underseat Pro backpack features a very spacious main compartment and a total of four zippered pockets on the outside. There’s also a stretchy mesh pocket on the side, which can easily hold a 1-liter water bottle.
One thing worth noting is that the backpack doesn’t have a dedicated laptop compartment, so that could be an issue if you want something to hold your electronics. You can easily fit most 15” laptops in the backpack though, so keep that in mind.
Briggs & Riley Delve is a sleek and modern travel backpack. It is made from weather-resistant polyester, and the entire bag is coated for water and abrasion resistance. This backpack also boasts self-repairing YKK zippers, meaning that the construction of the bag is top-notch quality.
The Delve backpack features a roomy main compartment with a padded laptop sleeve for devices up to 15”, a smaller tablet sleeve that can fit devices up to 11”, and several stretchy open pockets that are perfect for chargers and other computer accessories.
Also, the compartment is roomy enough you can fit a change of clothes and a few other things, in addition to the computer and all its accessories.
There’s another compartment on the front panel, and this one boasts an organizer with card slots, pen holders, and open pockets, one of which is even RFID safe. There’s another RFID-safe pocket in the back of the bag, and it’s perfect for the items you want to keep most secure while you are traveling.
The Briggs & Riley personal item backpack boasts a comfortable backpanel, with lots of thick padding in the panel and shoulder straps. There’s even a luggage strap in the back, which lets you secure the pack on top of a suitcase, for easy maneuvering around the airport.
It’s one of the best personal item backpacks you can get your hands on, but sadly, it’s also one of the priciest options featured in this review.
Tucano Tugo backpack is another excellent option for a personal item. It’s small enough to be accepted as a personal item by most airlines but still spacious enough that it can hold a 15.6” laptop and enough clothes for a weekend getaway.
The laptop compartment is in the back of the bag and it is padded throughout for excellent protection of your computer. The main compartment features a suitcase-style opening for easy and organized packing. It’s worth noting that there’s only one pocket inside the backpack, so it’s not ideal if you’re planning on packing a lot of smaller items that need to be organized.
There are two external pockets on the backpack, and they’re perfect for items you want to keep easily accessible at the airport. The front panel boasts a zippered pocket that’s great for your passport and boarding pass, plus there’s an extra hidden pocket in the back of the bag. Also, the backpack boasts a luggage strap in the back, so you can easily secure it to the top of a suitcase.
The main downside of this backpack is the lack of proper padding and breathable mesh in the back system. There is some padding in both the backpanel and shoulder straps, but this bag isn’t nearly as comfortable to wear as some of the others are. At least it comes with a sternum strap, which can’t be said about many other bags featured here.
Personal item backpacks are small bags that can fit under an airplane seat. Since airlines usually have different size requirements for personal underseat bags, it’s important that you check those restrictions before buying a bag. It’s also worth noting that the size of personal items allowed on a plane can depend on your seat since not all airplane seats come with the same amount of underseat space.
The personal item backpack must fit under the seat of an airplane, otherwise, it will be treated as a carry-on, and then you will need to check your other carry-on bag.
Since the exact requirements for a personal item bag differ from airline to airline, it’s impossible to find a one-size-fits-all backpack for the purpose. But you can get a bag that will fit on most major airlines – just look for backpacks that were specifically designed as personal item bags.
A good travel backpack should be just the right size to fit all your must-have items. Personal item backpacks are smaller than usual travel backpacks, so they can’t really fit that much stuff.
It’s particularly important to pay attention to the size of the laptop compartment – in most cases, these bags can fit a 13” laptop. Some bags can hold the bulkier 15.6” laptops, so be sure to check the exact size of the laptop compartment before you buy any bag.
Because the nature of these bags is different from standard carry-ons, it’s much more important to look at the different compartments, pockets, and organizer panels. The best bags are the ones that have a dedicated pocket for pretty much everything you want to pack inside them, and that lets you keep all the important stuff easily accessible.
Also, it’s worth noting that you can choose between a few different types of backpacks, depending on what you want to carry in your personal item bag. If it’s just your electronics and some accessories, you can get a backpack specifically designed for computers.
There are also personal item backpacks with generous main compartments if you want to pack a spare outfit and some bulkier stuff inside.
A personal item is rarely the only thing you’ll take on a trip, even if you’re staying just for one night. That’s why carrying convenience is important, and the best personal item backpacks are the ones that have a luggage strap in the back that lets you mount them on top of suitcases.
This is a crucial feature for all of you who travel with carry-on suitcases since it makes moving around with multiple pieces of luggage much easier.
You can always wear the backpack on your shoulders, but that’s not exactly the most convenient option if you need to grab something quickly from the bag. The upside is that personal item backpacks have a small capacity, so they don’t get so heavy you’re uncomfortable wearing the pack.
That being said, it’s still nice to have options for waist straps and sternum straps, especially if you’re using the pack to carry your bulky laptop and all its accessories.
Not quite sure which of these backpacks is the best option for you? Go with one of our top three picks, depending on what exactly you are looking for in your perfect personal item backpack!
Samsonite Xenon 3.0 is one of the best bags you can buy. It’s small enough that most airlines will gladly accept it as a personal item, but still spacious enough that it can hold all your in-flight necessities. The backpack features a padded laptop compartment for 13” devices, an organizer panel in the front compartment, and a comfortable back system with lots of padding.
In case you want a personal item backpack that can replace a carry-on bag, go with the Pacsafe Eco Backpack. The bag is great for overnight trips, and if you’re efficient enough at packing, it could be the only bag you need for short flights.
Plus it comes full of anti-theft features ideal for traveling and it can fit up to a 16 inch laptop, which is rare for a bag of this size.
If you need a personal item backpack just for your laptop and some accessories, go with the Smatree Business Laptop backpack. It boasts a hardside computer compartment for excellent protection of your device, and it’s so slim it can fit under any airplane seat.
The backpack is small enough that most airlines will accept it as a personal item, but it’s spacious enough that it can hold even 15” laptops, with extra pockets for all the chargers and cables you need to bring!
Head over to Amazon to see the prices and more photos of all the personal item backpacks featured in this review. If you’re still looking for the best backpack for you, feel free to check out even more awesome options in our related posts!
Generally, a personal item should be no larger than 18 x 14 x 8 inches in order to satisfy airline requirements. However, you should always check with your specific airline before you fly.
Yes, a backpack can be a personal item as long as it is smaller than the maximum allowed size set by your airline. That is normally 18 x 14 x 8 inches but can vary from airline to airline.