As an Amazon Associate We earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
Best Travel Backpack For Men – Picking the right travel backpack is an important part in planning your trip. Too big and you’ll have too much extra weight to carry around. Or you might not get your bag on an airplane! Too small and you’ll never fit all your stuff in the thing! Pick the wrong material and your stuff will be soaked in the rain.
There are so many backpacks out there that it can be very confusing knowing how to pick the right one.
There’s actually a science to knowing what the best travel backpack is – and how to pick it! When I first started traveling, I spent weeks picking out my first travel backpack. I tried on dozens, did hours of online research, and packed many to get a feel for what they would be like. It was a time-consuming process. That research paid off though as my first backpack lasted me 8 years.
- 5 Best Travel Backpack For Men: Round UP
- 1. Osprey Porter 46
- 2. Knack Pack Medium Expandable
- 3. Aer Travel Pack 2
- 4. Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack
- 5. Eagle Creek Expanse convertible international carry-on
- Buyer's Guide
- 1. Water-Resistant Material
- 2. Lockable Zippers
- 3. Multiple Compartments
- 4. Internal Frame
- 5. Padded Hip belt
- 6. Padded Shoulder Straps
- 7. Contoured/Padded Back
- 8. Front Loading
- The Best Travel Backpacks: Does Size Matter?
- The Eternal Question: Should you Buy a Backpack or Suitcase?
- Travel Backpacks: How Much Should a Backpack Cost?
|1.||Osprey Porter 46||Check Price|
|2.||Knack Pack Medium Expandable Knack Pack||Check Price|
|3.||Aer Travel Pack 2||Check Price|
|4.||Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack||Check Price|
|5.||Eagle Creek Expanse convertible international carry-on||Check Price|
5 Best Travel Backpack For Men: Round UP
Today, I’m going to teach you how. So in order to save you hours upon hours of research, I’m going to lay out all the good qualities a backpack should have, the best backpack brands, and where you can buy them so can save yourself hours of time and simply purchase one knowing it’s amazing and going to last forever.
For better or worse, the Osprey Porter 46 is a big pack with a big capacity. Bulk it up or cinch it down, the Porter is a durable option for those who tend to carry more.
Intended to be a hybrid between a duffel and a backpacking bag, we’ve found Osprey’s Porter 46 to be a little more akin to a suitcase on your back—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you can overlook the pack’s bulkiness when full, you’ll have yourself an incredibly durable and roomy bag that can comfortably accommodate longer one-pack trips. Plus, you can always compress it down when lugging less.
The first thing we noticed about the Porter? It’s a big son-of-a-gun. At 46 liters, we shouldn’t have been all that surprised. The most notable quality of the bag is its broad and bulky box-like shape—when full, it’s basically as if you’ve attached straps to a standard roll-aboard and slung it on your back. It helps when you cinch it down with the compression straps, though it still ends up looking like a pretty hardcore travel bag.
The main part of the Porter is made with 420HD nylon packcloth and the wraparound sides and bottom are a 420D nylon wave ripstop. The squiggly design of the ripstop contrasts with the unaccented packcloth of the rest of the bag—which is fun and different without being too fun and different.
Speaking of not being fun and different, we chose the black version of this bag (*sarcastic gasp*). The Porter also comes in diablo red, castle grey and mineral teal. It’s worth pointing out that the folks at Osprey didn’t feel the need to add a meaningless adjective for “black” and left it at just that—know your consumer, it obviously worked on us.
The Osprey branding on this pack isn’t the most egregious we’ve ever seen, but it is there spreading its funky little stick bird wings. There’s also a “Porter 46” call out toward the bottom of the pack in a nifty modern typeface.
One of our favorite features on this bag is the padded side, top and bottom handles. These suckers are sturdy—great for flinging in and out of overhead bins or at oncoming pigeons trying to sample your macaroons. Also on the side are two durable D-rings, should you decide to attach a strap (sold separately) and carry it like a duffel. We haven’t tested this yet, but found the rings useful for attaching carabiners.
The shoulder and hip belt are both comfortably padded—especially the waist strap. The sternum strap is pretty standard as far as those go, and all of the pulls adjust with minimal effort on-the-go. You can easily lug a decently heavy pack around for a full day of travel without back or shoulder discomfort, thanks to the padded straps and ability to easily redistribute the weight.
There are also two pockets along the front of the pack. The larger of the two is incredibly well-organized with a zippered mesh pocket (good for keeping cords separate) and designated areas for phones, pens, and other things. We were surprised by how much this pocket expanded, adequately accommodating a two-inch book and full-sized notebook with room to spare. The third pocket runs vertically down the front of the pack and, though not the most spacious, it’s another great spot for quick-grab items or travel documents.
The spacious main clamshell opens via a u-zip from the top of the pack. The roomy, cube-like rectangular clamshell looks a lot like the inside of a roll-aboard carry-on—an impressive feat for something you sling on your back. It looks like it fits quite a bit and you’ll soon find it fits even more. Thickly padded side walls mean added protection for both your gear and your body.
We have to mention that once you stuff this pack full it’s a bit of a challenge to navigate tight corners and crowds. It’s also not super conspicuous—we heard more than one comment along the lines of “Woah, that’s a travel bag if I’ve ever seen one.” In addition to being a full 46 liter pack, we presume the stiff and cube-like appearance also contributed to that vibe. The bag sits pretty high on your back and you’ll want to be sure the weight is well-distributed (with your heaviest stuff closest to your back in the middle). The sternum straps and waist straps are a back-saver when hauling heavier cargo—huge bonus that the sliders are easy to adjust when on the move.
- 46 liters = more room for stuff (we’ll let you decide whether that’s a good or bad thing)
- Roomy, cube shaped clamshell is ideal for packing cubes
- Compression straps diminish the bag’s bulkiness when not packed full
- Broad shape—tough to pull off if you have narrow shoulders
- Very little organization within the main clamshell
- A bit boxy and clunky to navigate in tight spaces when packed to capacity
A technical pack this is not.
If you want gear loops, Hypalon straps, external compression or any of the major features you’d expect from a more rugged, or outdoorsy bag, look elsewhere. If what you’re seeking is more of a military-style bag akin to GORUCK, EVERGOODS, or Triple Aught Design, the Knack Pack is not for you. Lastly, if you plan to go on multi-day hikes, pass on the Knack.
Additionally, the Knack Pack isn’t high fashion; it’s not going to call a lot of attention to itself or be on the cutting edge of style. So if you care about having the latest bag design, or want people to notice you or win with style points, the Knack’s look may not impress you.
First and foremost, you can take this bag just about anywhere. The Knack’s aesthetics mold it to a myriad of scenarios. In the time I was reviewing it, I was in professional settings, construction sites, the beach, on a cruise, on hikes, at museums, walking around the city, and on vacation and getaways. It became automatic which bag I was reaching for as I prepared for whatever I was going to do. I felt entirely at ease taking the Knack with me wherever I went. A lot of this has to do with the sophisticated look of the fabric. Described as ‘suiting-inspired’, which I find to be silly marketing-speak, the custom-made and water-resistant polyester strikes a balance between elegance and pragmatic functionality – it’s durable, easy to clean, stain resistant and often looks like it belongs. Lastly, in regards to looks, the Knack is unisex. On a couple of trips my wife used the bag, and she thoroughly enjoyed it and commented on wanting one for herself.
Let’s talk about compartments and pockets. With seven(!) separate areas to store items, the Knack has loads of customization and organization. While in “EDC mode” the main compartment offers a ton of storage space, including a felt tablet pocket, and multiple zippered mesh dividers. This particular compartment has a pseudo-clamshell opening, where expandable fabric keeps the front panel from collapsing completely; it’s a thoughtful touch. The main compartment is so well designed I was often able to find what I needed in the dark, or by only needing to open the zip slightly and doing so solely by touch.
The additional compartments are equally well designed. The hidden zip-away water bottle pocket is inspired, accommodating a variety of bottle sizes. I enjoyed being able to stash my Hydro Flask inside and zip it up out of sight; not only did this keep the silhouette of the bag clean, but it kept my bottle away from the sun. Unless the pack was fully loaded, I had no issues fitting the bottle inside. The Knack includes a bottom pocket, a definite call-back to some of their eBags roots. This pocket is generally advertised as a spot to store cables and chargers, which it can, but I just used it for snacks. Still, that’s part of the appeal of this bag; it gives you the options, and however you use it, it’s functional, efficient, and easy to access. The quick-access pocket includes a partition where one side is nylon and the other is soft felt – with enough space to put a couple of pairs of glasses, some earbuds, keys, and maybe a phone.
In terms of comfort, the back panel is comfortable and sturdy. The material reminds me of memory foam, so it will sink into you a little. Thus, the bag always feels in place and stable when walking, hiking, or running to catch a plane. In hot and humid spots (I live in Miami), it took a long time with some exertion to get a sweaty back. The panel’s air channels and materials do a nice job of keeping you fresh, although other bags will perform better in this regard.
The last thing I’d like to mention is the bright inner lining of the Knack. This is a welcome trend in the carry world, especially in higher-end bags; instead of a dark cavernous bag where you can’t see the bottom, it reflects light adequately, giving you the ability to see all your items. Knack took this one step further; instead of just a solid color, they included a pattern with their logo in bright orange. Personally, I think it’s classy, albeit busy – I can see this chafing some people. In my experience, though, anyone around me who saw the bag commented on the design and said it reminded them of a luxury brand.
The strength of the Knack Pack is its mix of everyday carry features with travel features; it’s about adaptability. If all you want is something for everyday carry, there are better options out there. If all you want is something for travel, there are better options out there. But if you want something that strikes a delicate balance between the two at the cost of specialization, the Knack Pack is worth your time – it excels at being adaptable while only sacrificing some finer features and polish. At $195, the price point is a little high, but not terrible within the product category it’s contending in. Its materials, aesthetics, design, and functions are solid.
Nearly two years ago San Francisco-based Aer released their highly popular Aer Travel Pack — a stylish and minimalist 33L carry-on travel backpack that was much-loved by urban and one-bag travelers. Well, Aer has recently made a few updates to their travel pack — which they now call the Aer Travel Pack 2. So how does this new bag perform? And is it worth upgrading if you already own the original version? We wanted to find out so keep reading our Aer Travel Pack 2 review to hear our thoughts.
The Aer Travel Pack 2 was designed to fit the needs of the modern one-bag urban traveler. While this bag can hold a good amount of stuff, the Travel Pack 2 isn’t a huge bag. For reference, the Travel Pack 2 is a 33L backpack and the “maximum legal carry-on” size is around 45L. The Travel Pack 2 will let you zip through security lines, skip the baggage claim, and navigate busy streets.
Given its 33L size, we’d say this backpack is best for short trips or for people who want to carry a well-designed backpack in addition to their suitcase. That said, smart packers could use the Aer Travel Pack 2 as their only piece of luggage but it will force you to pack light.
But overall the Aer Travel Pack 2 has a lot of smart organizational features and stylish design choices. It’s sleek, streamlined, and blends in well to an urban environment — which really fits our aesthetics. It’s also made from heavy-duty 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon so it will take a beating.
The dimensions of the Travel Pack 2 are Length: 21.5″ (55 cm), Width: 13.5″ (34 cm), Depth: 8.5″ (22 cm). I was able to fit it under my seat on a domestic US flight without any problem. It’s technically 2cm over the limit for some of the ultra-low-budget European air carriers but it’s too close for anyone to care. Plus, the backpack doesn’t have a rigid structure so it can easily squish to fit whatever size required.
So we can safely say the Travel Pack 2 is carry-on compatible.
As mentioned before, this is a 33L backpack so don’t expect it to hold a ton of stuff. You’ll have to be selective about how much you bring and your life will be easier if you can limit yourself to a single pair of shoes if you’re a one-bag traveler.
The tech pocket has been slightly tweaked on the Travel Pack 2. There are plenty of compartments and pockets to keep all your gadgets, pens, papers, and other gizmos organized. We like how they didn’t go overboard with pockets — some bags have so many compartments that you can’t keep track of all your stuff.
At the top of the bag, there is a handy stash pocket that’s perfect for things like sunglasses and your phone. While it’s a small complaint, it would have nice if this pocket was lined with a soft material to protect phone screens or sunglasses. Again, that’s a small nitpick but its something we’ve seen from other brands.
The Travel Pack 2 has a huge laptop compartment. We actually think it’s too big as our 13″ Macbook Pro and Air does slide around quite a bit (but maybe people with 15″+ laptops would appreciate the extra room). And although the laptop compartment does have a nice amount of built-in padding, there isn’t much padding on the bottom of the laptop compartment. This can pose a problem because there isn’t much protection between your laptop and the ground if you accidentally drop your bag or set it down with much force.
There are four compression straps on the outside of the backpack — which helps compress the backpack when not fully packed and keep your stuff from shifting around inside your bag. You can also use the strap secure a sleeping pad or jacket to the outside of the backpack.
People who are drawn to the Aer are obviously drawn to its urban/minimalist/utilitarian looks — it’s certainly one of the main things that caught our eyes. It’s a 33L bag so it’s not super bulky or unwieldy to carry around.
The Aer Travel Pack 2 is a nice upgrade from the already solid Aer Travel Pack. The construction is top-notch. The materials are high-quality and durable. This is a bag you know will hold up to a lot of travel. We think Aer did a nice job with the pack’s organization but there are still a few areas for improvement
The Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack has all the same great features as the Tortuga V2, Simon’s previous favourite backpack, including being the maximum carry-on size with plenty of space but with new improvements and a sleeker look.
In this Tortuga Outbreaker review we’ll share the good and bad of the Outbreaker after a year of travelling full-time with it.
Tortuga was created by travellers for travellers. Fred and Jeremy created the original Tortuga backpack after being disappointed with traditional hiking backpacks while travelling around Europe. They set out to create their perfect backpack and have since grown into a company of nine people who truly understand the needs of urban travellers.
The Outbreaker is one of the few backpacks we’ve found that meets all of our requirements for long term and digital nomad travel.
The Outbreaker 45L is the maximum carry-on size that most airlines allow. The rectangular design maximises the amount you can take on a plane and makes it easy to pack, especially if you use packing cubes like us. It’s very spacious and easily fits all of Simon’s stuff including his extensive electronics collection.
Simon has taken the Outbreaker on 14 flights in Europe, Africa, and Asia including budget airlines EasyJet and AirAsia. His previous Tortuga V2 came on countless flights in 14 countries including Ryanair.
The Outbreaker is made from 4-layer, waterproof sailcloth that won’t scuff or tear and feels very durable. It’s highly water-resistant so you don’t need a separate rain cover.
The Outbreaker is a step up from the quality of the Tortuga V2, which we were already impressed with. Simon used his previous Tortuga for full-time travel for over two years and it barely showed any signs of wear and tear. After a year of use the Outbreaker also looks like new—we’d expect it to last for many years.
A padded hip belt is the most difficult feature to find in a carry-on backpack, but we think it’s the most important. The hip belt transfers the bag’s weight onto your hips and prevents back and shoulder pain. This is especially important if you travel with a lot of heavy electronics like we do.
The Outbreaker has a height adjustment system, which allows you to adjust the torso height and find your perfect fit. This is great for people with smaller torsos who found the previous Tortuga too big.
The fleece-lined laptop sleeve is located at the back of the Outbreaker, close to your body for the best weight distribution. It fits laptops up to 17-inches and there’s enough padding that you could probably even skip a case. Simon packs his 15-inch MacBook Pro in a neoprene case first for extra protection and there’s plenty of space for it.
In front of the laptop sleeve there’s a tablet sleeve where Simon stores his 12-inch iPad Pro.
The Outbreaker’s entire electronics compartment can be unzipped and laid flat on the conveyor belt at airport security.
There are also a number of pockets on the exterior of the backpack. On the front there are two zippered pockets. The two stretch pockets on the sides fit a water bottle, yoga mat or umbrella.
The small pockets on the hip belt are designed to conveniently stash coins and keys when going through airport security. Simon doesn’t use these pockets much other than for tissue in the front pocket.
At 38 litres and 1.3 kg (2.87 lbs) it’s a lot smaller and lighter than the Outbreaker. There’s less organisation and the laptop sleeve isn’t as large or well designed as in the Outbreaker, and it’s at the front of the bag. This worked with my light 11-inch MacBook Air, but for heavier laptops it’s more comfortable to carry the laptop closest to your body. The Osprey Farpoint 40 does have a hip belt and is comfortable to carry.
There’s even more to come with one of us stationed in the U.K. for the next four months. Packing? Well, like most frequent travelers, we tend towards the rollaboard route to avoid the wait at the luggage carousel. Our go-to bags include the High Sierra AT6 and the Mountainsmith Boarding Pass. And we recently added the Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On to the rotation. It’s good looking and quite compact. The company makes them in several colors: basic black, red and blue. Our sample came in a solid gray and orange accented combo. Here’s how it did.
The Eagle Creek cuts a svelte profile at just under the regulation 22 inches in height and 14 inches across. The main compartment presents enough room for a day or two of gear: a pair of running shoes, shorts, a pair of jeans, a couple of shirts, sweater or hoodie, toiletry kit, etc. Inside are two buckled tie-down straps to help keep the load compact and balanced. There’s also a mesh pocket for smaller items.
In the regular rollaboard configuration, you’ll notice some well-executed components. The telescoping handle is nicely finished aluminum. The top carrying handle provides a comfortable grab point. A couple of knocks: although the wheels run smoothly, they don’t look to be user replaceable, and the side handle is pretty skimpy (but we rarely use it).
The Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible Carry-on presents a fairly compact frame. This limits capacity, as you’d expect. The product’s official specs call for just over 1800 cubic inches of storage which is a long way from the Mountainsmith Boarding Pass’ nearly 2800 cubic inches and the High Sierra AT6’s more than 3000 cubic inches. Pretty diminutive by comparison both on paper and in practice. We were hardpressed to get a full week’s worth of beachwear in the Expanse on a recent excursion to Southern California.
The Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible Carry-on delivers a great option for shorter trips. Call it more of an overnighter than a full-week option for all but the most efficient travelers. We liked the looks and the quality construction. And we would have it as a more regular part of our rotation if it hadn’t been for the limited capacity.
The best backpacks — the ones that last the longest and stay in good condition no matter how much you abuse it — have all the following characteristics that make them durable, long-lasting, and will protect your stuff from the rain. Don’t get a backpack that doesn’t check off all the boxes on this list:
1. Water-Resistant Material
While your pack does not need to be 100% waterproof (that is unless you are going on some long multi-day hike), make sure your bag is made out of a semi-waterproof material so everything doesn’t get wet in a drizzle (most travel backpacks come with tarps you can put over them in case of a severe downpour). Moreover, make sure the material won’t stay wet long and thereby get musty. I look for material that is thick but lightweight. Treated nylon fiber is really good. You should be able to pour a cup of water over it without the insides getting wet. I’m not traveling a lot during torrential downpours or monsoons, but I have been caught in small rainstorms before, and because my backpack is made out of a good material, I’ve never opened my bag to find wet clothes.
2. Lockable Zippers
Make sure each compartment has two zippers so you can lock them together. While am not really worried about people breaking into my bag and stealing my dirty clothes in a hostel, I like locking up my bag when I am traveling. I’m always paranoid that someone is going to put something in my bag or that a grabby baggage handler in an airport is going to take my stuff.
When purchasing locks, make sure the package says they are TSA-friendly locks — these locks have a special release valve that allows the TSA to open the lock without breaking it so they can check your bag. You can purchase TSA locks at any large retail store, such as Target or Walmart.
If your pack doesn’t have two zippers, you can always get Pacsafe, which wraps a lockable metal mesh around your whole bag and can be tied to a large object. It means that not only is no one breaking into your stuff, no one is walking away with it either. Pacsafe is a good form of protection for your bag, especially if you are going to be somewhere where your bag will be unattended for a long time.
One thing to remember about Pacsafe is that this metal mesh also adds a lot of weight to your bag and it can be burdensome to carry around. Most people I know who use Pacsafe are photographers who carry a lot of expensive equipment around.
3. Multiple Compartments
A good bag must to have multiple compartments. This way, you can break up your belongings into smaller sections so it’s easier to access and find the stuff you need. For example, my clothes are in the main compartment of my bag, my umbrella and flips-flops in the top, and my shoes in the separated side compartment (that way they don’t get everything dirty). It saves having to dig around your bag.
4. Internal Frame
The majority of backpacks today are internal-frame packs, meaning the support rods and frame are built into the backpack and hidden from view. However, there some are still external-frame backpacks, where the rods are separate from the actual pack and stick out (think of those backpacks you see in old hiking movies or movies about people backpacking Europe in the 1970s — a big, clunky metal frame). Don’t get one of those. Make sure you buy a backpack with an internal frame. It not only looks better but the rods won’t get caught on anything and your bag will also be slimmer, making moving around easier. Additionally, internal-frame packs tend to be lighter as the frame is composed of carbon fiber or tough plastic, which makes them easier on your back as well as more durable.
5. Padded Hip belt
Most of the weight you will be carrying around will be pushing down on your hips, so you’ll want a padded belt to make supporting the weight more comfortable. The belt will help provide support and distribute the load more evenly on your back, causing less strain. The hip belt should also be adjustable so you can tighten it for extra support.
6. Padded Shoulder Straps
These make carrying your load more comfortable, as the weight of your pack will also be pushing downward on your shoulders. The pads will put less pressure on your shoulders and also help take pressure off your lower back. Make sure the padding is very thick and made up of a single piece of material as it will be less likely to split and thin out.
7. Contoured/Padded Back
A lumbar-shaped pack makes carrying it more comfortable, as it helps distributes weight more evenly — the same principle applies as is used in contoured chairs. It allows for a more natural arch ensure no back pain. Moreover, this type of pack creates a small space between your back and the bag, allowing air to move through and help keep you slightly cool (lugging your bag around can build up a sweat!).
8. Front Loading
A front-loading backpack is one that allows you to zip open the face from the side and access all your stuff. A top loading bag only allows you to access your stuff from a hole in the top. This makes getting your stuff (especially if it is at the bottom of your bag) really difficult. Always get a backpack that it “front loading” so you have easy access to all your gear.
The Best Travel Backpacks: Does Size Matter?
One of my most frequently asked questions about backpacks is about size. Everyone wants to know what the perfect size is. No one backpack size is better than another. What matters is that your backpack should be proportional to your body — that might mean a backpack that is 40 liters or 60 liters.
If your backpack is too big or too small, the weight won’t be balanced properly and will cause back pain or maybe even make you topple over. You don’t want a skyscraper rising up from your back, but you also don’t want a pack that is clearly too small and overflowing with your stuff.
You want a backpack that is big enough to hold just a bit more than the stuff you are bringing and not more than that. If a backpack fits everything you want, has a bit of extra room, and feels comfortable, then you have found the perfect backpack size. Manufacturers also have suggested torso and waist sizes for each model they produce, but I’ve found that the best way to know if a backpack feels right is to simply try it on.
When you are at the store (and any good camping/outdoors store will do this), they should be able to stuff your backpack with the equivalent of 30 pounds (15 kilograms) so you can see how that much weight feels on your back.
It’s important to remember that the bigger your backpack is, the less likely it is that you’ll be able to carry it on the airplane. Additionally, since you can no longer bring liquids in containers larger than three ounces on airplanes if your bag has soap and liquids in it, you’ll be forced to check the bag. Most baggage sizes are 45 linear inches (22 x 14 x 9 in) or 115 centimeters (56 x 36 x 23 cm) including handles and wheels so if you get a backpack with those dimensions, you’ll be able to carry on.
You won’t face any baggage fees from the major airlines for checking your bag when flying internationally. Budget airlines, on the other hand, charge a fee for checking a bag based on weight, so the more your bag weighs, the more you will have to pay to check it at the gate. Even though my bag fits in the overhead bin, I often have to check it when flying a budget airline.
The Eternal Question: Should you Buy a Backpack or Suitcase?
I have a confession: I hate suitcases for long trips. If you’re traveling around the world, your luggage is going to get thrown about and piled high on buses in random countries. It will get used and abused and it’s simply hard to walk up hills and stairs with your suitcase bumping everywhere. Try carrying a suitcase up five flights of stairs in a tiny place in Italy! It’s a pain!
Suitcases are great for weekends away or if you’ll be staying in one place for a long time. I always use a carry on suitcase on my short trips.
But, if you are moving around a lot and backpacking around the world, it is far better to have a proper backpack. They are simply more versatile, easier to carry up flights of stairs, pack into tight places, and overall, they just make life simpler. I don’t need to pick them up when getting on the escalator. Or drag them up a flight of stairs or across cobblestone streets.
Backpacks just make more sense, which is why this page is devoted to them and not suitcases.
If you have back problems and can’t use a backpack, a smaller suitcase with wheels and a long handle can be a good substitute. It will still be difficult carrying it up and down stairs, and annoying as you roll it across uneven sidewalks, but there are many companies (those listed at the end of this section) that make fairly good and lightweight travel cases.
Additionally, you can get a hard backpack with wheels that’s sort of a hybrid between the two so you can get the best of both worlds. (However, my personal preference is for a backpack so we’re going to talk about that!)
Travel Backpacks: How Much Should a Backpack Cost?
Backpack prices depend a lot on size, fabric, and brand. Most backpacks cost between $99–300 USD. The medium-sized store brands generally cost around $199 USD. Store brands are cheaper than big-name brands like North Face, Osprey, and Gregory.
I don’t believe that any backpack is worth $300 USD, no matter how nice it is. These expensive backpacks tend to be large and have more bells and whistles, special padding, and material than you really need as a traveler.
Additionally, you’ll find that most travel backpacks are hiking backpacks, meant for camping and multi-day treks in the woods. Buying a backpack that was meant to be used in the Rockies instead of the streets of New Zealand doesn’t matter, though — backpacks are pretty interchangeable these days, and getting a backpack meant for the outdoors simply means you’ll have a stronger and more durable pack.
You should spend $100–250 for a backpack.
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.