The 7 Best Travel Backpacks For Men

A man wearing the Nomatic Navigator 15L travel backpack in Thailand

Embarking on a journey, whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended expedition, requires careful consideration of the gear you choose to accompany you. And when it comes to carrying your essentials, the importance of a reliable travel backpack can’t be overstated. For the discerning traveler, finding the perfect backpack can elevate your entire travel experience, offering not only convenience but also style and functionality.

In this guide, we’ve curated a selection of the best travel backpacks for men, ranging from rugged and versatile adventure packs to sleek, urban-friendly designs. No matter your destination or travel style, we’ve got you covered with options that prioritize durability, ample storage, and comfort, ensuring that you can take on the world with confidence and ease. So, let’s dive into the world of travel backpacks and find the perfect one to suit your needs.

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Table Of Contents

Best Travel Backpacks

HMG Daybreak 17L

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak is the ultimate travel backpack for those who seek versatility and durability. Its ultralight construction, combined with exceptional comfort, ensures a practically weightless and comfortable carry. Whether you’re hiking through the jungles of Thailand or exploring European cities, this backpack’s tough and resilient design will stand up to any adventure, making it the perfect choice for the modern traveler.

The Daybreak isn’t just our top recommendation for travel; it’s our tried-and-true favorite, accompanying us on countless adventures over the past two years. 

Best Travel Backpacks

Nomatic Navigator 15L

The Nomatic Navigator 15L stands as our top choice for travelers who are digital nomads or embark on frequent business trips. This backpack boasts unparalleled gadget organization, complemented by legendary quick-access pockets that simplify your journey. Notably, the bag’s comfortable design, tailored for carrying laptops, features a slim profile that’s perfectly suited for maneuvering through bustling city streets. 

In fact, the Navigator has become our go-to bag for urban-focused trips, offering a reliable and stylish solution to explore urban landscapes.

Best Travel Backpacks

Bellroy Transit 28L

The Bellroy Transit 28L has secured its position as the best travel backpack for those embracing the minimalist approach to one-bag travel, especially on shorter journeys lasting between 2 to 7 days. In urban environments, it thrives as the ultimate travel bag, offering an ideal balance between capacity and compactness. Its ingenious design also allows for efficient packing without compromising on style or comfort. 

In personal use, the Bellroy Transit has transformed the way we travel, simplifying our packing and making our urban adventures a breeze.

Best Travel Backpacks

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L stands out as the ultimate budget-friendly carry-on travel backpack that doesn’t skimp on quality. Despite its affordable price, it boasts high-quality materials and a well-thought-out design. With its capacity, features, and durability, it’s undoubtedly the best value bag on this list, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck without compromising on functionality. 

In our opinion, the all-black color-way adds a touch of sleek minimalism to this affordable gem, making the Allpa even more appealing to budget-conscious travelers.

Best Travel Backpacks

Peak Design Travel 45L

The Peak Design 45L Travel Backpack earns its top spot as the ideal choice for long-term travel thanks to its exceptional versatility and adaptability. With its ample capacity, it comfortably accommodates your essentials for extended journeys. The bag’s innovative ecosystem, including customizable inserts and packing cubes, allows for superior organization and ease of use, ensuring you can access what you need without hassle. 

Whether you’re hopping between hostels, embarking on an adventure in the great outdoors, or navigating urban landscapes, Peak Design has your back for the long haul.

Best Travel Backpacks

Tenba Axis V2 24L

The Tenba Axis 24L stands out as the perfect option for photographers seeking to capture their journeys in stunning detail. This bag’s exceptional quick access points enable you to seize every photo opportunity on the go, and its discreet, non-camera bag appearance ensures you won’t draw unwanted attention.

Even when fully loaded, the Axis remains comfortable to carry, allowing you to focus on your craft rather than fatigue. After a year of intensive use, we confidently recommend this bag as an essential for any travel photographer.

Best Travel Backpacks

Mystery Ranch In & Out

The Mystery Ranch In and Out sets itself apart as an indispensable packable backpack for travelers. With its combination of minimalistic design and remarkable functionality, this backpack caters to anyone who values versatility in their travel gear. Its compact form makes it easy to stash away when not in use, and it seamlessly expands to a generous 19 liters when needed. 

We consider the In and Out an essential item for every traveler, and its reliability and convenience are sure to impress those who require a flexible backpack for their journeys.

Men's Travel Backpack: Buying Chart

Backpack Comparison Table

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Backpack Main Fabric Vol. Weight Load Style WR
Daybreak Dyneema (DCH150) 22L 577g Top Yes
Navigator Nylon / Polyester 20L 1225g Top Yes
Transit Recycled Nylon 28L 1,100g Front Yes
Allpa 1000D TPU-coated Polyester 35L 1,500g Front Yes
PD Travel 400D Nylon Canvas 45L 2,050g Front Yes
Axis v2 Coated Nylon 24L 2,100g Back Yes
In and Out 100D Cordura Nylon 19L 386g Top No

How To Choose A Travel Backpack

Actionable Information

Choosing the best backpack for your specific needs can be a nuanced process, especially when considering men’s backpacks. To make an informed decision, it’s essential to take various factors into account:

Intended Use: Determine the primary purpose of your backpack. Are you a frequent traveler, a student, a hiker, or a digital nomad? Different activities require different features. For multi-purpose trips, prioritize the most frequent use-cases.

Size: The backpack’s size should align with the amount of gear you intend to carry. Smaller packs are ideal for daily commuting, day trips, or minimalist packing, while larger ones are better suited for extended travel.

Comfort: Look for backpacks with padded shoulder straps and a breathable back panel. Adjustable straps and ergonomic designs can significantly impact your comfort during long use. Also, decide whether or not you need to hip belt to help distribute weight.

Organization: Consider the number of compartments, pockets, and dividers you need for your gear. Think about whether you require dedicated laptop sleeves, document pockets, or even hydration bladder compartments.

Material & Durability: Check for high-quality materials, such as water-resistant or waterproof fabrics like high-tenacity nylon, robust YKK zippers, and reinforced stitching. Durability is essential, especially for outdoor adventures.

Style & Aesthetics: Choose a design that resonates with your personal style. Men’s backpacks come in various designs, from sleek and minimalist to rugged and outdoorsy.

Weight: Lighter backpacks are more suitable for travel, while heavier ones might be necessary for specific activities, such as hiking or carrying professional gear.

Access & Closure: Some backpacks feature top-loading designs, while others have clamshell openings. The type of access you prefer can affect your overall experience.

Fit: Backpacks should fit well on your shoulders and back, distributing weight evenly. Adjustable straps are essential for achieving a comfortable fit.

Brand & Price: Research reputable brands known for their quality. Set a budget that balances your needs with your available funds.

Reviews: Reading reviews from other users can provide valuable insights into a backpack’s performance, durability, and comfort.

Purpose-Specific Features: Depending on your needs, look for features like lockable zippers for travel, hydration reservoir compatibility for hiking, or RFID-protected pockets for urban environments.

Warranty: Consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer. A longer warranty period can provide peace of mind.

Personal Requirements: Finally, tailor your choice to your unique preferences, whether that’s eco-friendliness, modularity, or specific technical features.

By carefully assessing each of these factors, you can select the best men’s backpack to complement your lifestyle and cater to your specific needs.

Assessing the durability of a travel backpack involves examining numerous technical details and construction factors. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you evaluate a backpack’s durability:

Fabric Density (Denier): A higher denier rating typically indicates stronger, more durable fabric. Look for materials with denier ratings above 400 for enhanced durability.

Material Type: Materials like Cordura, Dyneema, ballistic nylon, or X-Pac are known for their durability and resistance to abrasion and tearing. 

Reinforced Stitching: Check for reinforced or bar-tacked stitching at stress points, such as zippers, straps, and handles. This prevents seams from unraveling.

Bartack Reinforcement: Bartacks (strong, close-set stitches) at critical stress points enhance the backpack’s overall strength.

Quality Zippers: Opt for YKK or RiRi zippers, which are known for their durability. The size of the zipper (usually #8 or #10) is also important.

Duraflex or Woojin Hardware: These brands manufacture durable buckles, clips, and adjusters.

Zipper Covers & Flaps: Waterproof or weather-resistant flaps covering zippers enhance durability by preventing water and debris ingress.

Water-Resistant Coatings: Look for bags with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) external coating like Teflon. Additionally, check if the bag has an internal PU-coating. 

Taped Seams: Water-resistant backpacks often feature taped seams, which seal off stitched seams from water penetration. 

Tightly Woven Material: The tightness of the weave in the fabric can influence water resistance.

Rain Covers: Some backpacks come with built-in or detachable rain covers for added protection in heavy rain.

Reinforced Bottom: A reinforced or double-layered bottom provides added protection against abrasion when placing the backpack on various surfaces.

Cordura Panels: Extra Cordura or similar panels in high-wear areas like the base and corners improve resistance to abrasion.

Quality Padding: Padding materials like high-density EVA foam and closed-cell foam offer impact resistance and protect your gear.

Internal Frame: An aluminum or carbon frame or an HDPE frame sheet improves the load-bearing capacity of a bag and enhances it’s structure.

Reinforced Compression Straps: Compression straps with reinforced stitching or attachment points are less likely to fail.

Adjustable & Reinforced Shoulder Straps and Hip Belts: Reinforced attachment points and robust buckles ensure that the backpack can withstand weight and pressure.

Brand Warranty: Consider brands known for offering generous warranties. Longer warranties may indicate higher confidence in their products’ durability.

Load Capacity: While it doesn’t directly indicate durability, a backpack’s load rating reflects its ability to carry heavy loads without compromising its structural integrity.

Purpose-Specific Considerations: Different types of travel (e.g., hiking, urban, air travel) may require specialized features. Assess how well the backpack’s design aligns with your intended use.

Impact Resistance: While not a standard assessment, consider how well the backpack can protect fragile items inside against accidental drops or impacts – especially for camera backpacks.

By evaluating these technical aspects, you can make an informed decision about a travel backpack’s durability and its suitability for your intended use.

Selecting the right size backpack for air travel largely depends on the duration of your trip, the type of items you need to carry, and your personal preferences. Here are three common liter ranges suitable for men’s air travel:

Daypack (15-25 Liters):

  • Ideal for short trips, business travel, or as a personal item alongside a larger carry-on or check-in item.
  • Fits a 13-15 inch laptop, a change of clothes, essential travel documents, and a few personal items.
  • Great for minimalists who prefer not to check luggage.

Carry-On (25-45 Liters):

  • A versatile size suitable for a wide range of travel styles, including weekend getaways and even week-long trips if you’re a light packer.
  • Offers ample space for clothes, electronics, toiletries, and other essentials for travel.
  • Avoids checked baggage fees and provides a quick exit from the airport (zero hassles).

Check-In (50-75 Liters):

  • Best for extended travel, such as multi-week trips or traveling to various climates and environments.
  • Fits more clothing, outdoor gear, and additional travel necessities.
  • Some larger options in this range have suspension systems that are suitable for hiking and trekking.

Remember to check your airline’s specific carry-on size and weight restrictions, as they can vary between carriers. Additionally, consider the nature of your travel, as different destinations and activities may require different bag sizes. Ultimately, the best size for taking on a plane should align with your travel needs and preferences.

When it comes to packing your travel backpack, whether to roll or fold your clothes is a personal preference, but here’s a perspective from experienced travelers:

Use Packing Cubes:

Organizational Efficiency: Packing cubes provide structured compartments for your clothes, making it easier to locate and access items, especially in a larger backpack.

Maximize Space: Rolling clothes might lead to creases and take up more space in your backpack. Packing cubes allow you to stack neatly and utilize every inch efficiently.

Wrinkle Prevention: By neatly folding clothes within packing cubes, you can reduce wrinkles and arrive at your destination with more presentable attire.

Category Separation: You can categorize your clothing in different cubes, like one for shirts, one for underwear, and one for accessories. This adds an extra layer of organization.

Compression Sacks:

Space Optimization: Compression sacks further maximize your backpack’s capacity. They allow you to squeeze out excess air, making them especially valuable for bulkier items like jackets or sweaters.

Waterproofing: Some compression sacks come with waterproof features, which can protect your clothes from unexpected rain or spillage.

Verdict:

Roll vs. Fold: While rolling clothes can save space and reduce creases, it might not be as efficient in terms of organization. By folding and using packing cubes, you have a good balance of space-saving, wrinkle prevention, and easy access to your clothing. Additionally, using both rolling and packing cubes can be a winning strategy, as you can fit neatly folded cubes into the backpack and roll larger, wrinkle-resistant items separately.

In the end, it’s about finding the method that works best for your travel style and personal preference. Packing cubes and compression sacks are valuable investments as they enhance organization and ensure your clothes remain in good condition throughout your journey.

Wearing a backpack at the right height is essential for comfort and ergonomics. Here’s a guideline that considers various sizes and frames:

Adjust the Shoulder Straps:

  • High on the Back: For men with a shorter torso, it’s often more comfortable to wear the backpack higher on the back. Adjust the shoulder straps to distribute the weight evenly on your shoulders.
  • Low on the Back: Taller men with longer torsos can position the backpack slightly lower, so it rests on the hips. This can prevent the backpack from appearing overly “high” on your body and provide better balance.

 Hip Belt Placement: Ensure the hip belt sits comfortably on your hips and is tightened appropriately. The hip belt is crucial for bearing the weight of the backpack. For men with shorter torsos, it may need to sit higher.

Sternum Strap: Adjust the sternum strap, which connects the shoulder straps. It helps keep the shoulder straps from slipping and is particularly beneficial for men with narrower shoulders.

Load Distribution: Regardless of your height, the backpack should feel balanced and not pull too heavily in any one direction. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed.

Comfort & Range of Motion: Ultimately, the best position for your backpack is where it feels most comfortable. It shouldn’t restrict your range of motion or cause undue strain on your shoulders, neck, or back. Adjust it to ensure it feels secure but not overly tight.

Consider the Backpack’s Design: The design of the backpack matters too. Some backpacks come in different sizes (small, medium, large) to fit various torso lengths. Choose a size that matches your body.

Remember, your comfort is paramount. It may take some trial and error to find the ideal height for your backpack based on your body’s unique proportions and the backpack’s features. So, don’t hesitate to adjust and re-adjust until you find the perfect fit that allows you to carry your load comfortably.

Whether you should buy tech organizers for your travel backpack depends on your specific needs and how much tech gear you carry. Here are some considerations:

Amount of Tech Gear: If you carry a considerable amount of tech gear, such as laptops, tablets, chargers, cables, and accessories, a tech organizer can be incredibly useful. It helps keep everything organized and prevents your tech items from shifting around inside your backpack.

Protection: Tech organizers often provide padding and protection for your gadgets. This is especially important if you have delicate equipment like a laptop or camera.

Organization: If you like to keep your gear organized and easily accessible, a tech organizer with compartments, pockets, and elastic loops can save you time and frustration. It’s much easier to find your cables and accessories when they have designated spaces.

Space Efficiency: Some tech organizers are designed to fit neatly into backpacks and take advantage of all available space. This can help you maximize the storage capacity of your bag.

Easy Access at Security Checks: If you travel frequently by air, having a tech organizer can make passing through security checks a breeze. You can quickly remove your laptop and other gadgets without rummaging through your backpack.

Aesthetics: Some tech organizers are designed to look sleek and professional, which can be important if you want a polished appearance in business settings.

Cost: Tech organizers come in various price ranges. Consider your budget and whether the investment is justified based on the value it brings to your organization and protection of tech gear.

Personal Preference: Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the simplicity of keeping their tech gear loose in their backpack, while others value the added organization and protection.

In many cases, a tech organizer can be a valuable addition to your travel backpack, especially if you’re a tech-savvy traveler or professional. It helps keep your gadgets safe, organized, and easily accessible, making your travel or work experience more efficient and stress-free.

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Alan & May

Welcome to North of Known! We’re Alan and May, a married couple who have embraced digital nomadism while calling Bangkok, Thailand, our current home base. Over the past 7 years, our shared passion for exploration and adventure has fueled our journey across the globe. Join us as we continue to embark on our nomadic adventures, sharing our insights, discoveries, and travel tales along the way.

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