Are you finally ready to let go of your bulky suitcase and switch to a travel backpack? Then you’re definitely in the right place – whether you’re looking for a carry-on backpack, a wheeled backpack, or a classic laptop backpack, we’ve got your back.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks
A common misconception is that those traveling with a backpack are young people on a tight budget, staying at hostels and partying from one city to another. And while that might have been true a decade ago, nowadays the reality is very different.
A travel backpack gives you the mobility a suitcase simply cannot offer. You’re always ready to get moving, and you never have to worry about the type of road in front of you. And with one of these ten travel backpacks for men, you will be able to explore the world with just the travel backpack on your back!
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Most Durable Travel Backpack
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Best luxury option
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Best Lightweight Backpack
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Osprey’s Porter series features some of the most popular travel backpacks of all time. They’ve been around for a while, but that doesn’t mean that they’re outdated. In fact, Osprey has redesigned these backpacks several times, always improving them with new and exciting features.
The Porter 46 is their most popular backpack in this series, but it’s not exactly a carry-on backpack. With a height of 21.5”, a lot of airlines won’t allow them inside the cabin – except maybe Southwest. Osprey Porter does come in a smaller size that is below 20”, and I will link that one below as well.
The Porter packs are made from recycled 500D Nylon Packcloth, with ripstop nylon accents. They are very durable and sturdy, which makes them great for traveling with a backpack and not a suitcase. In addition to that, all Osprey Porter packs have attachment points for the famous Daylite backpack, so you always have a handy daypack on your trip.
The packs feature a stowaway harness, thick padding on the back and the sides, StraightJacket compression straps, and attachment points for a shoulder strap. Their main compartment is very spacious, and it opens up suitcase-style. There’s an extra front compartment for your smaller travel accessories and other gear.
For those with a laptop, the lockable back panel opens up for easy access for TSA checks and is padded to keep your electronics safe. This is a great redesign from the original version.
The only downside of these is that there’s no ventilation on the back panel. Because of that, they’re not the most versatile option, particularly during really hot days. But with all the other amazing features, that’s hardly a deal-breaker.
The GO RUCK GR 2 is normally seen as a tough outdoor man’s kind of backpack. And when you see it is made from 1000D Cordura all over, and 210D CORDURA on the back, it’s impressively durable. But when you take a look at the rest of specs below you will have to agree it works well as a men’s travel backpack too!
All the features of the GO RUCK made me love it from the get-go. There is a huge internal compartment with an easy packing clamshell access. So, you can simply zip this baby open and pack to your heart’s content. On top of this, when I zipped open the lid, there were zippered pockets to put specific gear like underwear, socks, books etc.
On the front, there are loads of other organizational pockets to help keep things in order. Yes, this means lots of pockets, which is great: two large mesh zippered pockets, 1 small go-to zippered pocket and 1 built-in field pocket. There is no way I can not get my travel gear sorted for my next trip!
If you are worried about your laptop, there is no need with the GR2. There is a specific back zippered pocket for it. It is not only protected with reinforcement (from someone who loves the military no less!) but also the trusty false bottom – so you don’t bang it on the ground when you drop the bag!
The GO RUCK GR2 also complies with most airline carry-on rules, so you should be good to go no matter who you fly with. However, if you want a smaller version they also have both a 24L and a 36L so you can scale down the size according to your needs.
Most of the travel backpacks I’ve shown you so far weren’t very versatile, so it’s time to break up the pattern. The Redwing 44 by Kelty is one of the best options under $100, which you can use for so much more than travel.
If you spend a lot of time in nature – hiking, trekking, climbing, camping, etc. – you will get a lot of use out of this travel pack. Its main compartment is very spacious, and it can fit enough clothes for a proper backpacking trip.
In addition to that, it features a laptop sleeve inside its main compartment. Even though it’s not TSA-friendly, you will have easy access to your device at TSA checkpoints.
This backpack is a great fit for adventures other than traveling due to its back panel and harness. With thick padding, spacer mesh, and airflow channels, you will be equally comfortable in both December and August. And the thick hip belt and sternum strap help transfer the load of the travel bag onto your hips, ensuring that its weight never slows you down.
Another thing that will make traveling with this backpack effortless is the abundance of external pockets. With a total of seven external pockets, which include both zippered ones and stretchy water bottle pockets, you will always have easy access to your smaller travel gear. This could also mean a GPS and a candy bar if you decide to test this bad boy out on the hiking trails.
The 1900 Scansmart is perfect for the tech-oriented traveler. You’re more concerned about packing your laptop, tablet, and DSLR than about changing outfits five times a day. Or you want a travel backpack suitable for short trips – in both cases, a Swissgear traveling backpack is a great option for you.
With a TSA-friendly laptop pocket that fits even the bulkiest 17” laptops, you’ll never have to spend more than a couple of minutes at TSA checkpoints. And with multiple external pockets, this will easily fit all of your must-have travel accessories.
The Swissgear pack features countered shoulder straps and a comfortable and ventilated backpanel. The Airflow technology of the backpanel and harness keeps you comfortable in different weather conditions, while the weather-resistant ballistic polyester ensures all your gear inside the backpack stays dry even in heavy rain.
It won’t fit a lot of clothes in the main compartment, so it’s perfect for those of you that like to travel light. But it will fit all of your other gear, with plenty of internal pockets for chargers, cables, external batteries, and headphones.
In addition to that, this travel backpack features two side water bottle pockets with compression straps above that allow them to hold even some bulkier items like tripods or walking poles. And with a carabiner and multiple attachment points on its exterior, you can attach even more bulky gear to the exterior of this backpack.
The only downside of the Swissgear 1900 travel backpack is that it lacks a hip belt and a sternum strap. It’s not going to be the most comfortable backpack to carry if you fill it up with heavy items, so keep that in mind while you are packing.
The wheels are in-line skate wheels, and they feature a cover that will protect your back when you actually want to put this on your shoulders. In addition to that, this pack also features a double-barrel wheel handle that stows into its own compartment, as well as hideaway shoulder straps.
It does not have a hip belt, so it won’t be the most comfortable travel backpack to carry when it gets really heavy. But that’s what the wheels are for!
The Cascade traveling backpack has a spacious main compartment that opens up suitcase-style. Its capacity is expandable, so you can always shop a little on your trips. And the internal compression straps will ensure all your clothes stay put, while the external compression straps allow you to tighten up this backpack when it’s not at full capacity.
This backpack for travel has several external grab handles, so you can pick it up from pretty much any side. And there are multiple attachment points, allowing you to attach any bulky gear to the exterior of the pack.
It also features two side water bottle pockets, as well as a smaller zippered pocket at the top, which ensures you have easy access to any items you want to have handy. Overall, it is a great pack for those of you that want the mobility of the backpack, but the convenience of a suitcase with wheels.
The Outbreaker backpack is available in two different sizes – the 30L bag, which conforms to the carry-on sizes of virtually any airline that exists, and the 40-liter bag, which is the max carry-on size for most. The latter is what we prefer, especially for those of you that are ready to ditch your suitcases and fully commit to traveling with a backpack.
The bags are both made from waterproof SHELL 3-layer sailcloth, with ariaprene foam padding and water-resistant YKK zippers. They will easily fit a 16” MacBook in the designated TSA-friendly compartment, which also has space for a few other travel accessories. The mesh pockets inside this compartment let you organize all your cables and chargers, and have easy access to them whenever you need them.
The main compartment of the Outbreaker travel backpacks opens up suitcase-style, and it has a total of four internal pockets for easy organization. On top of that, the bags also have an extra front compartment with an organizer panel, as well as multiple other external pockets.
There are hip belt pockets, side water bottle pockets, and two zippered pockets on the front panel. In addition to that, these Tortuga traveling backpacks also feature an incredibly comfortable back panel and harness, with thick padding and superb ventilation. The hip belt is wide and feels comfortable against your body, while the sternum strap helps keep those shoulder straps in place.
With so many excellent features, you’re probably wondering why these aren’t featured in our top choices section. And the answer is simple – the high price point is not something a lot of people can afford, so we didn’t want to give them too much exposure.
But if you can afford this backpack without doing too much damage to your bank account, we highly recommend it as a great men’s backpack for travel all over the world.
AmazonBasics luggage is surprisingly good, and I do mean I was genuinely surprised at just how well these packs perform. You don’t expect a lot from a pack that has a price tag under $50, and this traveling backpack truly surpassed all of my expectations.
If you’re just discovering the world of travel backpacks and aren’t quite sure they could entirely replace a suitcase for you, this is a great entry-level option. You’re not spending too much money, and if you decide you actually prefer travel backpacks over other luggage types, you can easily just buy a better and more expensive one.
This is a carry-on backpack, made from polyester. It features padding and ventilation in the back panel and harness, but not in the hip belt and sternum strap.
The harness of the travel backpack is stowable, so it’s going to be easy to place in the overhead compartment on planes. And that also allows you to carry this like a duffel bag – just add a wide shoulder strap and that’s it!
The main section of the pack opens up just like a suitcase, and it is very spacious. It is equipped with internal compression straps and a large zippered pocket, as well as an extension zipper that gives you 10% extra space.
This pack also has a padded laptop sleeve, which can fit even 17” devices. And if you’re not traveling with a laptop, you can actually combine it with the main compartment, to get even more packing space.
People who frequently travel for business might think that traveling with a backpack will make them look unprofessional. And that’s where the Kombi comes in – with a sleek exterior and an interior tailored to business travelers, it’s the perfect backpack for those that are tired of carrying briefcases and under-seat totes.
Plus it’s a Samsonite, so everyone will still take you seriously when they see that logo!
The backpack is made from ballistic nylon, a very durable material with excellent water and abrasion resistance. It has a padded laptop sleeve that fits devices up to 15.6”, which is located inside the main packing area. So, it’s not exactly a TSA-friendly laptop compartment.
The main compartment of this bag has several sleeves and pockets, which will easily fit all your folders and files. And there’s a designated spot for a change of clothes – it is inside the main compartment, but it’s still separate from all the other travel gear inside.
On top of that, this travel backpack also has an external compartment with an organization panel that includes a tablet sleeve. And there are also zippered side pockets, that are large enough to fit a smaller water bottle.
The pack features contoured shoulder straps and a padded back panel, with a luggage strap that lets you mount it on top of a suitcase. It doesn’t have a sternum strap or a hip belt, but that’s fine considering that this is a small travel backpack for men.
It’s not a great choice for people who want to fully give up on their suitcase, but it is the perfect option for an overnight trip or as an addition to a larger checked bag. And before I finish, let me just say at 2.5 lbs, the weight of this bag truly makes it the best lightweight men’s backpack for travel.
Easily one of the best travel backpacks of all time, the Farpoint always makes it to the top of our lists. The carry-on backpack can actually fit a lot more clothes than a traditional suitcase, with the benefit of external pockets and compartments that allow you to always stay organized. And, it has an easy access side pocket for up to 16-inch laptops, which is a big bonus!
The Osprey Farpoint is available in several different sizes, but we’re focusing on the smallest travel backpack here. Because of its carry-on size, the backpack is a great fit for a wide variety of travelers – whether you’re looking to leave your suitcase at home, or for a bag to bring on your trip in addition to your other luggage, the Farpoint is an excellent choice.
The backpack is made from ripstop nylon, a very durable and abrasion-resistant material. It features a padded and ventilated back panel and harness, which will keep you comfortable even after walking around for hours.
The spacer mesh allows your back to breathe, making this travel backpack a great choice even for summer adventures. And with the padded hip belt and convenient sternum strap, all of the weight of the bag will be on your hips, so you will barely feel it on your back.
The harness is stowable, and you can transform the backpack into a classic travel bag in just minutes. This ensures that no straps are dragging on the ground when you’re carrying this in your hands and makes it easier to store it into overhead compartments on planes.
The Farpoint has a very spacious packing compartment, with multiple internal pockets for easy organization. The compression straps ensure all of your belongings stay put while you’re moving around, and also help you reduce the size of the bag when it’s not fully packed.
Unfortunately, unlike the larger Farpoint travel backpacks, this one is not compatible with Osprey’s Daylite day pack. You can read more about this backpack and see the other sizes it comes in in our detailed review.
The Inateck travel backpack is another excellent affordable option. It has a capacity of 40 liters, but it is still a carry-on backpack with a height of 21”. And with such a large capacity, you will easily fit enough clothes for shorter trips, as well as all your other must-have travel gear.
The pack has a dedicated laptop sleeve that fits devices up to 17”, with an extra tablet sleeve attached to it. But these sleeves are located within the main compartment of the bag, so they’re not really TSA-friendly.
One thing I love about this particular backpack for travel is the abundance of smaller pockets. I particularly like the hidden pockets you get on the shoulder straps – they’re the perfect size to hold your card and some cash, which ensures that your money is both safe, and you have easy access to it.
You will get a free rain cover with this pack, which is a convenient addition. Even though the body of the bag has good water resistance, it’s nice to make sure that your gear is properly protected in different weather conditions.
This pack features a padded and ventilated harness and back panel, for ultimate carrying comfort. But it doesn’t have a hip belt, which might be an issue when it gets really heavy. On top of that, the lack of internal compression straps is slightly disappointing, since there’s really nothing inside to ensure the contents of the backpack don’t go all over the place.
But at least there are external compression straps to help with that and to let you tighten up the bag when it’s only half full.
The Inateck traveling backpack features a luggage strap in the back that allows you to mount it on top of a bigger suitcase, making it a great option for people that want a bag in addition to a checked suitcase. And its shoulder straps are stowable, so you have multiple ways of carrying it.
Traveling backpacks for men are rarely one size fits all. There are loads of different kinds of them, and you need to choose one that is best suited for your traveling needs.
Are you looking for a backpack that’s going to fit your laptop, tablet, travel accessories, and a change of clothes? Or a pack that can hold enough items for two weeks in Europe? Perhaps you would prefer something with wheels so that you don’t have to carry it on your back at all times?
I’ve shown you options for each type of traveling backpack mentioned here, and you can see exactly what their main features, advantages, and disadvantages are. And if you’re not sure what it is exactly that you need, it’s best you get a versatile pack – something like the Wander by Timbuk2, or the Porter by Osprey.
There are two types of travelers – those who will pack all of their techs, down to the mouse pad and a screen cleaning wipe, and those who might pack a charger for their smartphone and that’s about it.
I’m personally the first type of traveler, so a laptop compartment is very important to me. Even though I normally carry my device in a padded laptop sleeve, I need that extra protection. And if it’s TSA-friendly that saves me time when going through checkpoints, I’m extremely happy.
If that sounds like you as well, be sure to check the pros/cons boxes. I’ve indicated whenever a particular travel backpack has a TSA-friendly laptop compartment in the pros boxes and stated otherwise in the cons boxes.
In addition to that, the size of the laptop compartment also matters. Make sure that the backpack you are eyeing will actually fit your device – the vast majority of traveling backpacks featured in this review can fit 15” laptops, but only some can actually fit larger devices.
You can find info on the capacity of each backpack featured in this review in the product infoboxes. And choose wisely – if you’re looking to entirely replace a suitcase, go with a backpack that has at least 40 liters of capacity. The average carry-on suitcase has a capacity of 35-45 liters, so look for a carry-on backpack that has a similar capacity.
But be careful – the capacity of each bag includes the capacity of all of its compartments and pockets. So, if you see a bag that has 5+ external pockets and multiple compartments, don’t expect a very spacious main compartment. But if a bag has a few pockets, then it most likely has a pretty bag-packing section.
If you’re looking to get a carry-on backpack in addition to a larger checked bag, then you’re fine grabbing something smaller. In that case, make sure to double-check the dimensions and cross-reference them with the airline you travel with most often – that way you’ll be certain that the pack you are getting will be allowed inside the cabin, and that you won’t be forced to check it at the airport.
*Note: When you see an approximate capacity of the backpack, that means that the manufacturer did not state the exact capacity of the bag. In those cases, we calculated the bag’s capacity from its external dimensions.
The materials a backpack is made from telling you a lot about its quality and performance. Ballistic nylon and ripstop nylon are probably the two best materials for travel backpacks since they have great water and abrasion resistance.
Polyester is a material you will often see in cheaper backpacks. It’s not quite as good as nylon, but it’s a decent alternative. And if you see any materials that are fully waterproof, they are also top-of-the-line – like the sailcloth of the Tortuga Outbreaker.
In addition to that, you should also pay attention to the materials of the pack’s back panel and harness. If you see the mesh, that means that the backpack has good ventilation, and it’s going to be comfortable even during really hot days. But if there’s no mesh, then there’s a lack of ventilation which might cause you to sweat when it’s hot outside.
Padding is also important, so look for traveling backpacks that have thick foam in the shoulder straps, hip belt, back panel, and sides. Especially in the laptop compartment – more foam means better shock and impact resistance and better protection for your expensive computer.
Still not sure which of these travel backpacks is just right for you? That’s okay – check out our top three choices, and choose one that fits your needs best!
The best backpack overall was hard to choose, but I had to go with Osprey Porter. With so many incredible options that have wowed travelers for years, it’s one of our all-time favorite backpacks in all categories.
Its interior is spacious enough even for longer trips, its exterior is incredibly durable thanks to sturdy nylon, and its harness is comfortable enough that you won’t feel tired or weighed down by the pack. Plus, you can attach a day pack to the exterior of the bag, and get even space for all your travel gear.
If you really need a carry-on backpack, you can’t go wrong with the AmazonBasics one. It’s affordable, durable, comfortable to wear, and it has an incredibly spacious main compartment.
I love the expandable capacity of the bag, just as much as I love the thickly padded laptop sleeve that fits even the bulkiest 17” laptops. And with multiple external pockets and compartments, you will always have easy access to all your smaller travel accessories.
Out of all the backpacks for travel I’ve talked about here, the Kelty Redwing is the most versatile option. With a comfortable back panel and harness, spacious interior, durable exterior, and a lot of smaller pockets, this pack can easily go from the airport to the woods.
Its back panel is suitable for any time of the year and promises to keep you cool and dry even in the scorching summer heat. And its spacious interior can fit enough clothes even for two weeks in Europe, making it suitable even for avid backpackers!
And those would be the top three travel backpacks for men we recommend. Head over to Amazon to see their prices and all the different colors they’re available in. But keep in mind that you can get any backpack features in this review, and you won’t be disappointed – they’re all the highest-rated travel backpacks available on the market.
If you’re still looking for that perfect backpack, check out our related posts for more ideas.