The right travel backpack for men can make a trip much more enjoyable. It’s a crucial decision for travel as there is a good chance you’re going to live out of it for a week, month, or even year. I’m here to help you find the best backpack for your budget.
Travel has been my job for the better part of the last decade, and I’ve managed to accumulate many travel bags. In that time, I’ve experienced the excellent and the unfortunate. A great one should be easy to organize, durable, feature-rich, and comfortable. I like a backpack that feels robust and has a bit of masculine ruggedness.
Each traveler has a backpack that suits them best based on their needs and budget. I own and have used every one of these bags on a trip. There’s a travel backpack out there for every guy, and I’m here to share the top-rated men’s backpacks.
Best Travel Backpacks For Men in 2021
See out the top ten backpacks for men or read on to see more in-depth reviews.
Travel Specific Packs
Best Travel Backpacks
It can be tough to choose a backpack with so many options available on the market. I brought the Osprey Atmos on my first backpacking trip to Europe but found hiking backpacks ill-suited for European travel.
There are two main types of travel backpacks, and each comes with its pros and cons. The two general styles of the bags are travel backpacks and hiking backpacks. When referencing hiking backpacks, I’m referring to backpacking backpacks for multiday trips in the backcountry. I’m breaking down this blog post into those two categories.
We’ll start with the specific men’s travel backpacks as it’s my favorite category and what I recommend most travelers use on their trip. You can forget about those big clunky hiking backpacks and opt for something more stylish and streamlined. Then we’ll move on to the hiking-specific men’s travel backpacks. Either way, these are all awesome backpacks for guys.
Best Travel Specific Backpacks
1.) Osprfey Farpoint ($180)
*Best Travel Backpack For Hostels/Adventure*
- Weight: 3 lbs. 2 oz.
- Material: 210-denier ripstop nylon/600-denier
- Capacities: 40L, 55L, 70L
- Removable Daypack
- Compression Straps
- Stowaway Straps
- Few Pockets For Organization
- Laptop Sleeve in Front DayPack
- Outdoor Style
Osprey is one of our favorite backpack companies because of its All Mighty Guarantee and great value. The Osprey Farpoint is their most fitting travel backpack. It’s a unisex bag, but the suspension system is better suited for men. You’re not going to win any style points with this backpack.
The Farpoint is well constructed and leaves plenty of room for all of your clothes. It’s pretty lightweight for a robust travel backpack and easy to throw off your back when you hop on a bus or train. The 40L version is my favorite as it works as a carry-on travel backpack for men, despite the fact the dimensions are technically too large.
It’s a front-loading backpack, so it opens similar to a suitcase for easy access. Stand-out features are the removable daypack, zip-away suspension, and shoulder sling strap. The side handle of the bag is a bonus and makes it easy to grab out of an overhead bin. Osprey has its roots in hiking, so many features found in hiking packs are present in the Farpoint, like a great suspension and build quality.
There are a few dumb design elements in the backpack, most notably a laptop sleeve in the front. It means your laptop is susceptible to damage and theft, along with throwing the balance of the load off to the front. Those who travel with a computer should look for another option.
Overall the portability makes it an excellent choice for a pack. The pack offers a great value, and it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular travel backpacks for guys.
Shop For The Farpoint
2.) Peak Designs Travel Backpack ($299)
*Best Travel Backpack For Savvy Travelers*
- Weight: 4.5 lbs
- Fabric: Weatherproof 400D Nylon and poly melange
- Capacities: 45L
- Phenomenal Organization
- Laptop sleeve
- Carry On Friendly
- High Quality
- Two Exterior Water Bottle Pockets
- Hidden Pockets
- Stowaway Straps
- Carry Handles
- Lockable Zippers
- High Price
The Peak Design Travel Backpack is my most used bag. Attention to detail is evident throughout the bag. It’s a sharp-looking bag, and its quality is clear. I commend them on utilizing recycled plastic in construction that provides weatherproofing. You won’t look like a “budget backpacker” wearing the pack, and I can comfortably carry it in most environments.
The organization is the bag’s strongest suit, and it’s clear they spent a lot of time determining pocket layout. It is all done without consuming too much of the main compartment of the bag, which is roomy. An interior pocket for a laptop/tablet is well padded and sits closest to your back. It creates a more rigid, secure, and balanced backpack.
For photographers, the backpack can combine with a Peak Design camera cube that locks into place. Or you can utilize the packing cubes that similarly lock into the bag interior. Two external pockets on the backpack’s exterior are great for things like a water bottle or a camera tripod. A nice layout of top, sides, and a central handle makes the backpack easy to handle at every angle. The suspension on the bag feels robust, and the straps are comfortable.
At $299, the bag is expensive. Then there is the weight; the backpack has tons of features and utilizes durable materials, so it’s a little heavy. When that weight is with a non-vented back panel, it makes for a sweaty lower back in heat.
Despite that, the Peak Designs Travel Backpack is great for a minimalist, businessman, or more modern backpacker with a slick design. If cost is not a concern, I’d likely go with this backpack for most men.
Shop For The Peak Design Travel Backpack
3.) Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L ($199)
*Best Antitheft Travel Backpack*
- Weight: 3 lbs. 15 oz.
- Size: 45L
- Material: Nylon
- Carry-On Size
- Antitheft Focus
- Difficult To Access Your Items (theft-deterrent)
Pacsafe is the leading name in anti-theft backpacks and has been for almost 20 years. The Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L is just one example of their phenomenal products. It comes with all the essentials, such as the eXomesh Slashgaurd technology that houses a hidden stainless steel mesh, making it completely slash-proof. The exterior is ECONYL, a fiber produced from recycled fishnets, a fantastic eco-friendly material.
The Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L also comes with an RFID pocket and smart zippers and is the perfect carry-on size for most airlines. Then if you do need to check the bag, it has stowaway straps for safe transport. It opens and closes similar to a clamshell suitcase for easy access to your belongings and organization.
The style and functionality of this anti-theft backpack are superb and will give you peace of mind – whether on a weekend getaway or traveling the world! It’s an excellent backpack for solo travelers or people that want to secure their personal belongings.
Shop For The Pacsafe Venturesafe
4.) REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 Pack ($149)
*Best Outdoor/Travel Backpack*
- Weight: 2 lbs 13.9 oz.
- Fabric: Nylon 210D
- Capacities: 40, 65L
- Suspension System
- Hiking Pack Features
- REI Guarantee
- U Shape Open
- Compression Straps
- Zip Away Straps
- Rain-fly Placement
- Stiff Side Pockets
Osprey had a monopoly on the travel backpack market for far too long. However, many backpack manufacturers have caught on and begun developing backpacks suited for the growing trend of travelers. I have transitioned from hiking packs to purpose-built travel backpacks within a few years. I’m a longtime fan of REI backpacks and love the bags they produce.
This pack is full of features. Highlights include a more robust suspension system that allows for an impromptu hike in the mountains or up to the top of the local hill. I love adding a laptop sleeve, hydration reservoir, rain cover, and straps for trekking poles. Altogether it’s a nice backpack that blurs the line as to which category it belongs.
The pack measures 25 inches long, and most carry-on restrictions cap at 22 inches. While this is not a deal-breaker for a soft-sided backpack, it can squish. With an update to the bag, REI now uses Blue-Sign certified nylon fabric for the exterior. They also managed to shave off over a pound of weight from the pack’s dry weight.
The pack has a lie-flat feature with a large zip opening for easy access to all of your belongings to top it all off. It is a travel backpack for men who want to blend city hopping and adventure travel all in one bag.
Shop For The REI Ruckpack
5.) Nomatic 40L Travel Bag ($259)
*Best Backpack For Business*
- Weight: 4 lbs.
- Size: 40L
- Material: Tarpaulin
- Carry-On Size
- Tech Focused Design
- Super High-Quality
- Stowaway Straps
- Not Many Anti Theft Features
The Nomatic Travel Bag is relatively new to the anti-theft backpack game, only getting started after raising over 5 million dollars on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. They claim to have created the “most functional travel bag ever!” Based on their design scheme, they might have.
With a roomy 40L bag, individual removable organization panels, headphone and charger cord pass-throughs, magnetic snap-back side pockets, and backpack to briefcase versatility, it does seem like they have thought of everything.
However, this is a business/travel backpack with anti-theft features, such as RFID protection and lockable zippers, rather than calling it primarily an anti-theft bag. It isn’t just great as an anti-theft backpack, but a general travel backpack for guys.
Shop For The Nomatic Travel Backpack
6.) Knack Large Expandable Backpack ($195)
*Best Men’s Small Travel Backpack*
- Weight: 3 lbs. 4 oz.
- Fabric: Nylon 1200D
- Capacities: 37L
- Decent Suspension
- Laptop sleeve
- Internal Compression Strap
- Too Small For Long Trips
- Triangle Front Pocket
As far as design, the Knack Expandable Backpack is one of my favorites travel backpacks for men. The exterior and design of the pack are overwhelmingly positive. Compared to any of the other travel-specific bags I’ve had the chance to look at, it delivers high quality with excellent features.
This pack’s design is innovative. I’m impressed with the organization, number of pockets, and ridiculous features in a small layout. Serious kudos to the designers of this pack. It has some surprising features for its size, such as a secret compartment and water bottle holder capable of holding our large 18oz Hydroflask water bottles.
It’s not well suited for those on long trips, but if you’re making a quick city escape for a long weekend or week to a city like London or Paris, this pack would be a tremendous decision. Furthermore, it’s professional enough looking for business travel.
I’d love to see a larger version of this pack. The current version is relatively small, and I can travel for a week with the interior space. See the full review here.
Shop for The Knack Expandable Backpack
7.) Gregory Tetrad/Tribute 40L ($179)
*Best Suspension Travel Backpack*
- Price $179
- Weight: 3 lbs. 0.8 oz.
- Material: 210-denier high-density nylon/420-denier high-density nylon
- Capacities: 40, 55, 70L
- Best Suspension System
- Hiking Pack Features
- Decent Price
- Compression Straps
- Carry On Compliant
- U Zip Opening
- No Side Pockets in 40L
- Laptop Front Pocket
- No Hip Belt Pockets
- Blends Outdoor and Travel (Pro or Con)
I’m a big fan of Gregory as they deliver an excellent range of packs with tremendous support and a great feature set. The Tetrad/Tribute is their latest travel pack released this past fall. Its feature set and design make it a close competitor to Fairpoint/Fairview, offering a superior suspension design.
Tetrad is the men’s version of Gregory’s new travel backpack. It’s a robust travel backpack that feels well suited for outdoor adventures and everything in between. It would be great for famous treks like the Camino De Santiago, Inca Trail, or Kumano Kodo. Granted, the lack of side pockets for water bottles or hiking poles in the 40L version is a deal-breaker for a long hike.
It’s built with a large main compartment easily accessed via a panel with easy-to-grip anti-theft lockable zippers. The most notable feature of the main compartment is the “Activeshield Compartment,” a zippered section that features a heavy nylon lined section for dirty gear or shoes.
However, its placement on the back of the bag makes it cumbersome for packing cubes or people who like flat storage. A spacious outer pocket is capable of holding a large laptop or tablet. The negative is the poor placement on the exterior of the bag.
Overall, the performance feels better than the Farpoint for hiking; however, time will tell as I’ve only taken it on a few short trips. I also find that the suspension system is bulkier and organization less effective than the classic Farpoint.
Shop For The Tetrad
8.) Topo Designs Travel Bag ($239)
- Weight: 3 lbs. 1o oz.
- Material: 1000D nylon, 400D nylon packcloth, 210D nylon pack cloth liner
- Capacities: 30L & 40L
- Organization Pockets
- Multiple Compartments
- Laptop Sleeve
- Multiple Carry Points
- Carry On Friendly
- Heavy Zippers
- Theft Deterrent Zipper Loop
- Smaller Size
- No Water Bottle Holder
- Mixed Support
Topo Designs launched their latest pack, the Travel Bag, and it’s a slam dunk for a carry-on backpack. The interior features a double zipper U-entry, one large compartment, a medium-sized compartment, two small pockets, and two mesh pockets. The exterior features a rear laptop sleeve, a front compartment with organization and U-entry, a vertical pocket with organization, and external loops.
The exterior is heavy-duty nylon, and the bag uses robust zippers that are the best I’ve seen on a travel backpack, albeit a bit clunky. When it comes to carrying support, it has side handles on both sides of the pack, a detachable shoulder strap, and backpack straps with a hip belt and chest strap. The support and straps are detachable and can store inside a zippered compartment for travel.
It’s a decent size at 40L and should be enough for minimalistic travelers in one season for multiple weeks. If you’re an adventure seeker and like to hike, the support system is lacking compared to top-loading packs. The colors and style are better suited for younger travelers, but it all depends on your type. They offer a black if you prefer a more neutral bag. I have the olive color pictured above.
Altogether this would be my vote for the best travel backpacks for men, and I’ll be reaching for it on my next trip. It’s loaded with features, space and has a lifetime guarantee.
Shop For Topo Designs Travel Bag
9.) Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack ($179)
- Weight: 4 lbs.
- Material: Nylon 900D
- Capacities: 40L
- Laptop Sleeve
- Multiple Compartments
- Superb Suspension
- Stow Away Straps
- Side Handle
- Lockable Zippers
- Difficult to Access Front and Rear Sleeves
Companies have caught on to the demands of travelers these days. The idea of a hiking backpack to travel around is going out of style now I have proper carry-on backpacks — I’m stoked and own a dozen travel bags, including the Setfout! Tortuga was one of the first bag companies to catch on to the trend and produce travel-specific bags.
It’s been one of my favorite bags I’ve ever carried, and it’s been fantastic with our snowboard season, as dealing with a snowboard bag is already a pain in the butt. The bag is about 40 liters with a front-loading compartment, a front sleeve with organization, and a rear laptop sleeve.
The compartments are well thought out, with room for my socks, toiletries, electronics, and essentials. For me, the bag highlights include a padded laptop sleeve, detachable straps if you decide to check the bag, and the convenient side handle. The straps on the Setout are also the robust and comfortable straps of all the travel backpacks I tested. It is a great backpack.
Shop For the Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack
Best Travel Backpacks for Hiking
1.) Gregory Baltoro
*Best Hiking Backpack For Heavy Loads*
- Weight: 4 lbs. 10 oz
- Material: Nylon (210D)
- Capacities: 65, 75, 85, 95L
- Large Capacity
- Heavy Bag
- Top Loading
It is the most comfortable men’s hiking backpack for travel. I use this on long multiday treks or for camping when I need to carry my gear. Gregory has been building bags for a long time to know how to make a quality pack. This hiking backpack is a workhorse designed to be used and abused.
The Baltoro is to carry a heavy load without breaking your back on the trail. It has a superior suspension system with plush padding and excellent organization. If you’ll be on extended thru-hike trips and don’t mind sacrificing a pound or two, this is your ideal hiking backpack.
A comfortable mesh backpack makes for excellent ventilation. It has attractive features like a built-in rain-fly, a water bottle holder that offers easy access on a hike, and hydration compatibility. It’s still a heavy pack, but it’s a reliable backpack with the quality of the build and substantial load capability.
Shop For The Gregory Baltoro
2.) Osprey Atmos AG
*Overall Men’s Hiking Backpack*
- Weight: 4 lbs. 9 oz.
- Material: Nylon (100D x 630D)
- Capacities: 50, 65L
- Amazing Suspension System
- Strong Construction
- Only top load access and it does not sit upright.
- It seems silly but with only a top load it’s a PIA.
It used to be my go-to pack until I switched to the Baltoro because we’re fortunate enough to test a wide range of backpacks. I found the Baltoro to be more comfortable, but the Atmos is no slouch. The Atmos has two size options with a 50L and 65L that fill most needs from short overnights to extended treks.
Don’t be afraid to load the bag up as I can carry 40lbs, and it still sits comfortably on my back. This top-loading pack has a removable floating top lid to lighten your load. The internal frame and side compression straps make excellent weight distribution when combined with its anti-gravity back panel. If you have a heavy load to carry, the Atmos is undoubtedly one of the best choices for a hiking backpack.
I also love the dual front paneled pockets, a mesh area for dirty shoes, and straps for your tent poles. To back it all up, Osprey has one of the best guarantees in the business. They have been designing great bags for years now, so it shouldn’t be any surprise they make one of the best hiking backpacks on the market.
If you’re a minimalist hiker or a fast thru-hiker, you’ll probably want a lighter pack. My personal preference is a blend. I like the versatility of a big backpack like the Atmos, but I also have a lightweight bag for objectives for only a few days.
Shop For The Osprey Atmos
How to pick a travel backpack
Deciding on the pack style comes down to what kind of traveler you are. It depends on what you’re looking to do and where you’re going. Some need a heavy-duty bag, while others need comfort, and then you have the slower-moving travelers.
There is no way to go wrong with what is your world travel backpack. It’s all about personal preference and where you are in life. As a twenty-five-year-old guy, outdoor activities are very appealing to me, not to mention I feel I have a strong back, so carrying around a top-loading pack was my choice.
So what suits you? I’ve broken down each pack and who they may appeal to for travel. There’s no right or wrong here, though (maybe hiking the alps with a convertible pack isn’t a good idea, but anyone doing that knows that already).
- Top-Loading: Adventure enthusiast. Hiking. Likes to walk and hitch-hike. Long haul.
- Panel-loading: Quick moving. Mostly moving from city to city or town to town. Long haul.
What Size Backpack?
The sweet spot for me and a travel backpack for men is 40-45L, which should be a carry-on size for most bags. I believe it’s better to be fast and light rather than bogged down by a heavy backpack. It also saves time.
|15-35L||Too small for most trips unless you’re a super minimalist. It’s a decent size for weekends or commuters.|
|35-45L||This is the sweet spot! It’s not too big for short trips, and with intelligent packing strategies, it can carry enough for months. Plus, it’s carry-on compliant.|
|45L-65L||It’s a good pack size for a bit more space if you don’t mind checking your luggage—the standard for size thru-hikers and multiday backpacking trips.|
|70L+||Too big! It’s only suitable for extended expeditions—I’d even say it’s too big for most multiday hikes.|
How to Choose a Good Travel Backpack?
The first thing to think about when it comes to picking a great backpack is your budget. Suitable quality backpacks are expensive, but you don’t want to blow your entire budget on a pack. You can read some of our tips on how to save money for travel.
However, if you invest in one of the best backpacks on the market, chances are it will stand the test of time. I’ve had my Osprey Farpoint for five years and counting and my REI backpack for even longer. Many great backpack brands will offer to repair your products if there are defects.
Like with anything, make sure that the backpack you choose is comfortable on your back. You should be able to wear it comfortably for at least an hour. When buying online, it’s a good idea to check the return policy if the backpack does not fit you the way you would like.
A travel backpack’s design capability is crucial. A good pack doesn’t necessarily mean a bunch of bells and whistles. Make sure you narrow down if you want a top-loading backpack or front-loading, and check for any extra straps, harnesses, zippers, and clips you may or may not want and need.
Make sure you pick a travel backpack with excellent exterior material. Most packs use either Ripstop Nylon or Dyneema. Dyneema is generally more expensive since it is lighter, but both are highly durable.
Determine everything you will want to carry in your backpack, which will determine the volume bag you buy. A good starting point is 40-50L. You’ll want to choose a relatively lightweight pack since you will be hiking with it for long treks.
A backpack can easily be your heaviest piece of gear, so choosing something lightweight could make all the difference for your comfort. And finally, select a frame that serves its purpose for what you need. If you are carrying a lighter load, then a lightweight frame is a great option. The same goes for the opposite.
It’s essential to consider your trip length when picking a travel backpack. There are great day backpacks on this list that are great for just that – a day. At the same time, others can serve you for traveling for a week, a month, or even years.
The ideal backpack size for traveling long term is somewhere around 60 liters. Anything smaller than that is for short extended excursions. If you have plans to travel for several weeks, you’ll have a tough time with a pack smaller than 60 liters. Of course, every guy is different, but I like to travel with at least a pair of travel boots and sneakers that take up a lot of room.
I tried out the Knack Travel Pack for the short weekend jaunt above as it was only a week. When combined with packing cubes, it was a great decision to leave in the hotel rooms and double as a daypack for travel.
Elements of a Travel Backpack For Men
You’ll want to make sure that the main compartment of your backpack is large enough to carry all of your belongings while still having easy access. Store the heavier things at the bottom of your bag so that the weight is closer to your back. Additional compartments are suitable for the storage of small items or valuables like your passport.
A good hip belt is essential for any travel backpack for men. Hip belts effectively place the weight of your pack on your hips. It helps take the pressure off your back. We love to see a form-fitting hip belt on hiking backpacks and, at the very least, a strap on travel-specific models.
Along with the hip belt, your shoulder straps carry a lot of the weight of your pack. Thick and comfortable padding will keep your shoulders from hurting after a long day’s hike or walk through a city.
Water Bottle Holders and Hydration Ports
Hydration ports are great for those long hot days. If you aren’t using the hydration ports or a bladder, you will want at least one water bottle holder to hold your liquid.
We look for bags that are waterproof or have a rain fly in case you’re stuck in a rainstorm. Nothing is worse than wet clothes and gear.
A well-cushioned back panel can make the difference between having a backache or not. On top of that, ventilation is vital to avoid large sweat stains on the back of your shirt.