2022 is here so it's time to gear up for a new year of adventures with the best backpacks of the year! We’ve been testing travel backpacks from the most innovative brands for the last 12 months and created this list to help you choose the ideal pack for your travels.
Our Best of Travel Gear Guides started with the must have accessories of the year, which was followed by the best daypacks for travel. The tried & true companion for any traveler, the travel backpack, is the final addition to the annual best of series!
Why Travel With a Backpack?
As a primary travel bag, there is nothing more versatile than a backpack. A backpack is by far the best option for portability and ease of use. In every environment you can securely haul your gear on your back while keeping your hands free. Backpacks boast big storage capacity without slowing you down like a rolling suitcase might, and with the hands free experience a duffel bag could only dream of. Fear not cobblestone streets, impromptu phone calls, or lost checked bags.
Travel backpacks come in a range of sizes so you can always find the right one for any trip. When deciding on your backpack, consider where you’ll be using it, how much space you need, the material, and any special features like anti theft locks or trolley sleeves.
Here are the best of the best, the top backpacks in each category for 2022. To get the full details and to see the top 3 products in each backpacks category check out the rest of the article.
Best Large Travel Backpack: Onli Venture 7 in 1 Convertible Travel Pack
7 configurations in one geniously designed pack, the Venture will adapt to every trip, journey, or adventure you throw at it.
Best Day Hiking Backpack: RMU Core Pack Performance Adventure Backpack
A serious backpack for serious adventures, loaded with features to help you conquer the outdoors.
Best Business Travel Backpack: Ascentials Pro Meta 3 in 1 Business Laptop Backpack
Organization & protection for all your gear and electronics in a stylish and functional design.
Best Weekend Travel Backpack: XACT Oxygen Weekender Backpack
Incredibly high quality materials and 35 liters of capacity with all the bells & whistles for a week away.
Best Day Backpack for Travel: Sherpani Soleil Anti Theft Travel Bag
Top notch anti-theft protection, organization for all the essentials, and a modern design.
Best Waterproof Backpack: Overboard Pro Sport Waterproof Backpack
Industry leading 100% waterproof protection guaranteed to protect your gear and a strap & harness system so it's comfortable to carry.
All Around Best Travel Backpack: RMU Expandable Travel Backpack
Uniquely designed with innovative organization features and ultra durable quality to take you to every corner of the planet.
Best Large Travel Backpack
Best Overall: Onli Venture 7 in 1 Convertible Travel Pack
The versatility of the Onli Venture pack is borderline genius. This innovative travel backpack is designed to adjust to every travel situation and every trip. The bag is convertible between 7 primary configurations. It quickly swaps between a large roller bag, compact carry on, large travel backpack, daypack, and many more configurations in between. The quality is top notch and the organization is unmatched, but this pack really shines with the flexibility. It can truly be your one and only travel bag for every trip.
Runner-up #1: RMU Expandable Travel Backpack
The expandable travel pack, also called the mountain brief, offers enough space for trips of any duration thanks to the easy expansion zipper. The shape is great and it’s easy to carry & pack in cars, trains, and planes. RMU bags are built for rugged outdoor use in the Rockies so the quality is unmatched. There are zippered dividers inside to organize your gear and clothing. And did we mention it looks awesome? This bag is a true head turner with a unique design and beautiful material.
Runner-up #2: XACT Oxygen Travel Backpack
45 liters of capacity is bang on for nearly any duration trip but still compact enough that you can comfortably carry everything on your back. The XACT line of backpacks are among the most comfortable on the market and the 45 liter variation is no different. Every inch of this bag exudes high quality. The padded straps feel great, each clip and buckle is solid, and every anchor point is double reinforced. The large bucket space is easy to pack and the sides, back, and top of the bag provide additional pockets for the rest of your gear.
Best Day Hiking Backpack
Best Overall: RMU Core Pack Performance Adventure Backpack
For serious adventures, you need a serious backpack. The 35 liter core pack offers top performance to keep you moving. This backpack is built with incredibly tough weatherproof nylon and extra padded shoulder straps. The back panel features plenty of padding and is reinforced with a contoured support to keep it properly positioned and add maximum breathability on your back so it's comfortable on the longest treks. The interior offers ample storage space and the entire pack is loaded with pockets and anchor points for your gear.
Runner-up #1: Alps Mountaineering Hydro Trail Hiking Hydration Backpack
You won't find anything more practical than the Hydro Trai for days on the traill. This 17 liter hiking daypack is purpose built for hikes & treks. Stay cool on the most strenuous days with the suspended back panel and built in hydration reservoir. Waist and sternum straps keep it secure to the body and external anchor points hold all of your gear including trekking poles.
Runner-up #2: Overboard Classic Waterproof Backpack
Just because you’ll be getting wet on your next adventure doesn't mean your gear needs to! Overboard backpacks set the standard for 100% waterproof protection and combined with comfortable carrying features, this dry bag turned backpack becomes versatile for hikes in wet weather, days on the boat, or afternoons at the beach. Keep your gear dry and explore confidently! Available in 3 sizes; 20, 30, & 45 liters, there’s an Overboard waterproof backpack for every adventure.
Best Business Travel Backpack
Best Overall: Ascentials Pro Meta 3 in 1 Business Laptop Backpack
The ultimate combination of great looks and practical organization. The Meta is loaded with pockets for all of your gear, including a side-loading laptop sleeve to keep your PC protected and easily accessible - perfect to help you fly through TSA! The Meta daypack easily swaps between backpack, brief, and shoulder bag so you can adjust it to your day. Extra padding on the bottom keeps your devices protected and multiple internal & external pockets provide a home for all of your gear. From office, to airplane, hotel, and back again, the Meta will have you covered.
Runner-up #1: Keysmart Urban Union Commuter Backpack
Organization has never looked so good! The Urban Union commuter backpack will be your go to bag for travel days, working from the road, and exploring a new city. This bag is exceptionally comfortable with a HexBreath anti-sweat breathable back panel and memory foam shoulder straps so you can haul your electronics around all day. Even with the 21 liters of capacity fully packed it maintains a slim profile and stays tight to the body.
Runner-up #2: Cocoon Innovations Slim Laptop Backpack
We can’t say enough great things about this super thin laptop backpack. For the business traveler or digital nomad who needs their tech organized but leans towards a minimalist style, this bag is for you. The ultra slim profile is less than 4 inches deep even fully packed but doesn't skimp on organization. Laptop, tablet, and document sleeves are built in along with the Cocoon exclusive Grid It organization panel for your accessories.
Best Weekend Travel Backpack
Best Overall: XACT Oxygen Weekender Backpack
35 liters of packable space, insanely comfortable straps & padding, and organization for your laptop & accessories - what more could you ask for in the best weekender backpack? The XACT 35 packs it all into a relatively compact shape. This bag looks great and the top notch material is incredibly comfortable and sure to last long term. The top side tech pocket houses all of your gear & electronics. Plus, the premium material is sustainably made from recycled water bottles. Perfect for long weekends away.
Runner-up #1: Peak Design Expandable Travel Backpack
35 liters is generally spacious enough for a weekend trip, but when it turns into a long weekend and you need more space the Peak Design expandable travel backpack has you covered. The bag easily expands to 45 liters for longer trips and compresses to 30 liters for use as a daypack. The sleek design is equal parts functional and beautiful. You can easily access your laptop with a dedicated rear pocket and the parallel side zipped access allow you to grab gear on the go without opening and digging through the entire pack.
Runner-up #2: Onli Travel Venture Weekender Pack
The innovative & versatile Onli Venture Pack quickly converts into a fantastic weekender pack. By separating the daypack backpack from the Venture Pack and opening the expansion zipper you’ll have 23 liters of packable space to stash laptop, toiletries, and a couple packing cubes. The padded straps stow if you prefer carrying it by the side grab handle so it's convenient to use. But not nearly as convenient as re-attaching it to the full Venture Pack setup for a longer trip, or zipping up the expansion zipper for use as a daypack.
Best Day Backpack for Travel
Best Overall: Sherpani Soleil Anti Theft Travel Bag
We’re consistently reaching for the Soleil for days exploring a new city. The anti-theft features are phenomenal and give you peace of mind that your valuables are secure. Security zippers, slash-proof materials, and RFID protection are all built-in. The design of the bag is perfect for day use or while in transit. 12 liters of space provides room for all the essentials plus any extras, you can quickly swap between 3 ways to carry based on what you’re doing, and the array of internal & external pockets provide a home for every item.
Runner-up #1: Ascentials Pro Spire Travel Daypack Backpack
A daypack that can take you between the airport, cafe, office, and back again - the Spire boasts a low profile and minimalist design but packs a punch with ease of use and organization. Lightweight and durable material keeps you moving while protecting the contents which are organized across 7 internal & external pockets. Whether it's for work or pleasure (or both!), the Spire will keep you looking great while moving far and wide..
Runner-up #2: Pacsafe Vibe Anti Theft Daypack Backpack
Pacsafe sets the bar with anti-theft travel features and the Vibe is loaded with everything you need to travel confidently & safely! RFID protection, anchor strap, double locking security zippers, and extra tough slash proof material keep this daypack ultra secure. But Pacsafe didn't stop at security with the Vibe. It includes all the features of a fantastic daypack such as padded straps, multiple storage pockets, and a modern, minimalist design.
Best Waterproof Backpack
Best Overall: Overboard Pro Sport Waterproof Backpack
The benchmark in waterproof protection and great looks, the Overboard Pro Sport pulls out all the stops to keep your gear dry and organized. PVC tarpaulin material with seamless construction and reinforced sides & base keeps every drop of water out. Thoughtful features include the comfortable straps, dual water bottle pockets, 2 zipped pockets, and an exterior cargo net. Not only will it keep your gear & valuables protected from water, sand, & dust but it's practical to use and comfortable to haul around all day.
Runner-up #1: Peregrine Tataro Dry Back Backpack
Combine the benefits of a dry bag with the convenience of a lightweight backpack & the portability of a packable daypack and you get the Peregrine Tataro. This packable dry bag backpack folds up into a case smaller than a fist so you can easily travel with it as a just in case in case item - perfect for outdoor adventures when the weather turns or for impromptu trips to a waterfall. Never get stuck without a waterproof backpack again.
Runner-up #2: Ascentials Pro Vipr 3 in 1 Duffel Bag Backpack
The Vipr has you covered when you need to haul some serious gear and ensure it stays 100% dry. This unique travel bag converts between backpack, duffel, and shoulder bag so you're ready for any situation. It’s built with micro-ballistic material, water resistant nylon, and a waterproof coating to protect the contents. It’s ready for any trip with 36 liters of capacity and a side access laptop pocket & 2 interior zipped pockets.
All Around Best Travel Backpack
Best Overall: RMU Expandable Travel Backpack
This travel backpack is unbeatable and has become a go-to for us over the last year. The incredibly high quality materials combined with innovative & unique design features make for an eye catching pack that’s not only great looking, but highly functional. The only limitation is that it’s not ideal as a daypack or hiking backpack. But that’s easily solved by stashing a packable daypack inside, which there’s plenty of room for with the expandable capacity and built-in organization pockets. The RMU Expandable Travel Backpack scored top marks in our detailed product review to come out as the best all around travel backpack of the year.
Runner-up #1: Onli Travel Venture Pack
You won’t find a travel backpack (or any other type of travel bag) that’s more versatile than the Onli Venture Pack. Thanks to its modular design, the Onli Venture Backpack scales up and scales down to suit any trip. Use it as a daypack, weekender bag, airline personal item, or luggage. If you have to bring or buy just one backpack to handle all of your travel it would be the Onli Venture Pack; the best one bag travel backpack of the year.
Runner-up #2: XACT Oxygen Laptop Backpack
If you’re committed to your suitcase to get your gear from A to B, the XACT 25 is the perfect personal item bag. It’s too small to be relied on as a primary travel bag but it's an incredible daypack, a great professional bag for business travelers, and acts as the perfect extension of your luggage. This bag is built with some of the best quality materials and workmanship we’ve tested and it's absolutely loaded with features to make transit days smoother than you can imagine.
Find the Best Travel Backpack
Get set for a new year of travel with the best backpacks! See even more styles and options in our full Travel Backpacks Collection. And if you need more info on the best selling and top rated products head over to our Travel Gear Guides to see our detailed product reviews, additional best of lists, and packing tips including how to choose the best travel backpack.