2021 holiday gift guide: the best travel backpacks


When buying a travel backpack for someone, consider how the person travels and what they need. For some, the best option may be the size of a personal item that is also suitable for everyday use. For others, they may prefer a carry-on bag instead of a duffel or suitcase. But at the end of the day, everyone should have a reliable backpack given its versatility. From exploring a city to adventures in nature, there is something for everyone, as well as some incredibly stylish options. Here are eight of the best backpacks to give your favorite traveler this season.

In addition to making one of the best duffel bags in the game, Peak Design also offers an incredibly versatile backpack. It is made with waterproof 400D nylon and can expand to a 45L bag or compress to just 35L for everyday use. The ingenious part, however, is all the attention to detail. The backpack opens completely from end to end so you can store it like a suitcase and access your things from all angles. There is a dedicated slot that can hold up to a 15 inch laptop, a front stash for all your needs, two hidden side pockets and even one on the belt. It also has multiple attachment points, lockable zippers, and strap storage if you choose to carry the backpack in your hand. If you get it for a photographer, be sure to order the Camera Cube as well so it can organize all of its tech.

Popular luggage brand Away also has a great backpack to pair with your roll. Inside you’ll find multiple compartments including a 13 inch laptop sleeve, water bottle pocket, zip pocket, and detachable key ring to keep all of your belongings neatly organized, while an exterior pocket discrete is perfect for objects that you will access frequently. The bag is made of water resistant nylon and also has a through sleeve so you can attach it to the handle of your suitcase as you walk around the airport.

For the lightweight packer who really only needs a backpack when on the ground, Lojel’s is a real winner. The bag is about the size of a pocket when folded, making it super easy to store and carry in case you need to use it. Once unraveled, you’ve got an ultra-light, water-resistant backpack with an exterior zip pocket, side water bottle pocket, and two internal compartments to help keep you organized.

For backpackers and adventure travelers, you’ll need something that is especially suited to their hobby and Osprey has you covered. The Fairview Trek Pack 50 is equipped with features like suspension and ventilation to help keep the wearer comfortable and cool, a hydration sleeve, sleeping bag straps, and hip belt pockets. It also comes with a protective cover to help you withstand any storms you might encounter. The main compartment opens completely so you can easily store everything inside. This bag is specially designed for women, but for the masculine look equivalent to the proven Farpoint.

Beloved Danish label Rains knows how to be minimalist chic and is no exception when it comes to their backpacks. Their Buckle Rolltop Backpack is made from their signature waterproof material with a padded back and shoulder straps for added comfort. Inside you’ll find a spacious 19-liter main compartment with a laptop sleeve. There is also an exterior pocket with a waterproof zipper so you can store items like your ID, money and phone.

With over 20,000 reviews and an average rating of four and a half stars on Amazon, Venture has proven to be a real favorite when it comes to budget adventure backpacking. The bag can be folded up for easy storage and is made from a tear and water resistant nylon. It has features such as breathable mesh shoulder straps, chest clip, two side pockets and internal compartments. It even has a waterproof wet stash inside to separate things like sweaty clothes, towels, or whatever else you want to keep out of your clean stuff.

For those who want a backpack that doubles as carry-on luggage, Tortuga’s top-rated option is a solid choice. It opens completely so you can store it like a suitcase and inside you’ll find several compartments including a padded laptop sleeve. The bag is also designed so you can walk around with it all day long, with waterproof fabric, height adjustable shoulder straps, hip belt and sweat-wicking foam padding. Choose between two sizes, either the 35L suitable for international carry-on baggage size limits or the 45L for travel to the United States.

If you’re looking for an option that also works for everyday use, the Herschel Little America Backpack is an ideal choice. Just big enough to travel, this bag is also available in a variety of colors to suit any style. The bag has an inside pocket, a fleece lined laptop sleeve and a zippered front pocket with a key ring. The top is closed with a drawstring, which is further secured by magnetic straps. It also features ventilated mesh padding on the back for added comfort and breathability.

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