Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks

9.4pts - Tortuga Travel Backpack

  • The heavily padded hip-belt transfers 80% of the weight off your shoulders
  • Straps stow away which help it keep from getting tangled in overheads or when checked
  • Lockable YKK zippers keeping your items safe
  • Laptop sleeve close to back allowing for good weight distribution
  • Two internal mesh pockets double as compression straps (in addition to external compression straps)
  • Quick access pockets (laptop, documents, drink holder, and more)
The Travel Backpack Designed by Travelers

Choosing a carry-on travel backpack is a hard and very personal choice. There are more and more options available these days and it is easy to get lost in the many opinions and details. I recommend the Tortuga backpack mainly because it is one of the few bags that comes with a heavily padded hip-belt that really makes a difference on those long trips where your bag seems to get heavier by the minute. Though each bag reviewed here is definitely worth considering, this is my top pick.

-->More details on our recommendation: Tortuga Travel Backpack

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8.4pts - Tom Bihn Aeronaut

Runner-up
  • All around solid construction that holds up under rough travel conditions
  • Great YKK lockable zippers that function well and don’t get stuck or hard to open
  • The sturdy handles on three sides make it easy to quickly grab from any angle
  • Straps stow away which help it keep from getting tangled in overheads or when checked
  • Much lighter than many of the other bags reviewed
The Travel Bag to Last a Lifetime

-->More details on the Runner-up: Tom Bihn Aeronaut

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8.6pts - Osprey Farpoint 40L

Special Mention
  • Has a great LightWire frame that adds next to no weight, yet helps maintain the structure of the bag when fully packed
  • Lockable zippers keeping your items safe
  • Great construction of bag and quality materials
  • Straps stow away which help it keep from getting tangled in overheads or when checked
  • One of the few bags that came with an included shoulder strap (for when backpack straps are stowed away)
best priced cary-on travel backpack

-->More details on the Runner-up: Osprey Farpoint 40L

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9pts - Timbuk2 Wingman Duffle
  • The lightest backup in our carry-on travel backpack category
  • Comes with 4 handles which allows for easy grabbing
  • One of the few backpacks that includes a well thought though shoulder strap for “briefcase” mode
  • High quality clips for the optional backpack straps.

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8pts - Minaal Carry-On
  • Laptop sleeve is positioned so that no matter which way you may drop your bag, it won’t hit the ground
  • The volume is great: big enough to take enough, but not too big that it becomes awkward to carry
  • Lots of functional pockets
  • Includes a rain cover that that packs into itself and allows you to ignore the rain (removable if you travel to a desert)

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7.8pts - Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender Bag
  • Lockable zippers keeping your items safe
  • Great organizational pockets for smaller items and documets
  • Solid briefcase handle and shoulder strap
  • Sleeve for attaching to roller bags makes it great for combining with checked luggage

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7.4pts - Patagonia Transport MLC 45L

  • Magazine pocket with zipper that turns into sleeve to slide onto the top of roller bags
  • One of the few bags that has a padded shoulder strap included
  • Great organizational pockets
  • Inside is intentionally a brighter color to help find items faster

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