24 Best Travel Backpacks For Europe and Beyond

The right travel backpack for Europe will make your life a lot easier! For many of you, it’s the first backpack you’ll ever purchase, and on top of that, there is a good chance you’re going to live out of it for a couple of weeks, months, or even years.

If you have plans to city-hop between Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome you need a bag that can move as fast as you do. However, finding that perfect pack can be tough with a plethora of options available on the market. On our first backpacking trip around Europe, we used traditional hiking packs but found them to be a pain and not suited for our style of travel.

Since then we’ve managed to accumulate a collection of various packs for different travel styles. That means we have one backpack for hiking in Norway and another pack for city hopping between Prague and Lisbon.

In this post, we break down the differences between travel-specific and hiking backpacks. That way you can choose the perfect backpack for traveling in Europe. These are all of our personal recommendations after years of European travel.

We’re going to get right into our top picks for a backpacking trip in Europe. If you’re curious to understand the different models more in-depth head down to the bottom where I talk about the various attributes.

Best Travel Backpacks for Europe

Best Travel Specific Backpacks

These travel-specific backpacks are great for the majority of travelers these days. We’re not all mountain lovers who need a pack built for multi-day hikes and built to withstand a rain/snowstorm.

In recent years companies have caught on and they now make a slew of travel backpacks that are purpose-built for city hopping in Europe. It’s not all sleek travel backpacks for Europe too as many are a strong blend of hiking and travel which makes them perfect for backpacking.

1.) Osprey Farpoint/Fairview ($179)

Osprey Farpoint Best Osprey Bags For Women

*Best Travel Backpack For Hostels/Adventure*

  • Weight: 3 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Fabric: 210-denier ripstop nylon/600-denier
  • Capacities: 40L, 55L, 70L
  • Pros: Lightweight, Manageable, Removable Daypack, Suspension, Compression Straps, Shoulder Strap, Stowaway Straps,
  • Cons: Few Pockets For Organization, Laptop Sleeve in Front DayPack, Outdoor Style

Osprey is one of our favorite backpack companies because of their All Mighty Guarantee and great value. The Osprey Farpoint/Fairview is their most fitting travel backpack for Europe. The large volume of the backpack will ensure you have plenty of luggage space yet remain under most airline carry on requirements.

The Farpoint is the earlier model and unisex bag that has a suspension system better suited for men. While the Fairview is the latest version of the bag built with a woman’s frame in mind. You may wonder how these bags stack up against the Osprey Porter which has similar features. The Porter uses HDPE Framesheet Suspension which is a stiff plastic sheet to provide support while the Farpoint/Fairview uses a lightweight wireframe. The wireframe offers a notch up in improvement as it provides better ventilation and suspension performance.

The packs are well constructed and leave 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. There are several versions of this bag, but only the 40L version works as a carry-on-backpack size, although its dimensions are technically too large. (Never had an airline tell us no as it can squish in a measurement cube)

It’s a front-loading backpack so it opens similar to a suitcase for easy access. I love the removable daypack, zip-away suspension, and shoulder strap that all bring something to the table. The side handle of the bag is an added bonus, making it easy to grab out of an overhead bin and carry it off of a plane. Most backpacks are built for hiking, but with the Osprey you get a travel-specific bag packed with hiking features.

There are some dumb design elements in the backpack though, most notably a laptop sleeve in the front. This means your laptop is susceptible to damage and theft along with throwing the balance of the backpack off to the front. For that reason, if you’re a digital nomad, business traveler, or travel with a laptop I’d look for another option.

The portability makes it an awesome choice for the best travel backpacks Europe. The front load and the ability to keep your clothes folded is awesome. The 40L is great for carry on luggage while the 55L and 70L are good for long-term trips.

2.) Peak Designs Travel Backpack ($299)

Best Travel Backpacks for Europe

*Best Travel Backpack For Savvy Travellers*

  • Weight: 4.5 lbs
  • Fabric: Weatherproof 400D Nylon and poly melange
  • Capacities: 45L
  • Pros: Phenomenal Organization, Laptop sleeve, Carry On Friendly, Style, High Quality, Two Exterior Waterbottle Pockets, Hidden Pockets, Stowaway Straps, Carry Handles, Lockable Zippers
  • Cons: High Price, Heavy

We just got this new backpack from Peak Designs and so far I am in love! Peak Designs makes some incredible products, but they have outdone themselves with this backpack.

The first thing I love is that the backpack is made from recycled plastic. It has plenty of interior and exterior organizational compartments, which is definitely useful when traveling around Europe. There is an interior heavy-duty laptop compartment and plenty of space for rolled-up clothes. Unlike many other travel backpacks, Peak Designs thankfully put a water bottle holder on the outside of this pack.

There are a few complaints I have with this travel backpack for Europe. The first problem is the high price tag at $299. Then there is the weight, the backpack is loaded with features and heavy materials so it’s heavy. Its heavyweight and non-vented back panel makes for a pack that is not appropriate in hauling long distances or your average backpacker.

This bag has a weatherproof canvas shell, so none of your belongings should get wet if you get caught in a rainstorm. On top of that, it meets all international carry on size requirements, but expands to 45L and collapses to 35L. This beautiful, heavy-duty bag will be going with me on my next trip to Italy!

3.) Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L ($179)

Best Anit Theft Backpacks Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L

*Best Antitheft Travel Backpack*

  • Weight: 3 lbs. 15 oz.
  • Size: 45L
  • Material: Nylon
  • Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Cut Resistant Cables, Internal Frame
  • Pros: Feature-Packed, Carry-On Size, Comfortable, Versatile, High-Quality
  • Cons: 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 bag is also made with ECONYL fiber which is produced from recycled fishnets, which is an awesome eco-friendly product.

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 is superb and will give you peace of mind – whether on a weekend getaway or traveling the world! It’s a great backpack for Europe and people that want to secure their personal belongings.

4.) Gregory Tetrad/Tribute 40L ($179)

Gregory Tetrad Travel Backpack Europe

*Best Suspension Travel Backpack*

  • Weight: 3 lbs. 0.8 oz.
  • Fabric: 210-denier high-density nylon/420-denier high-density nylon
  • Capacities: 40, 55, 70L
  • Pros: Best Suspension System, Hiking Pack Features, Frame, Compression Straps, Carry On Compliant, Zip
  • Cons: No Side Pockets in 40L, Laptop Front Pocket

We’re pretty big fans 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. It’s feature set and design make it a close competitor to the Fairpoint/Fairview, but it offers superior suspension design.

Tetrad is the men’s version of Gregory’s new travel backpack while the Tribute is the women’s version. It’s a robust travel backpack for Europe that feels well suited for outdoor adventures and everything in between. It would make great work of 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 that is 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. Its placement on the back of the bag makes it cumbersome for packing cubes or people who like flat storage.

There is an additional outside compartment that is well organized with pockets including a large one capable of holding our 15″ MacBook pro and tablet. This pocket feels protected as the compression strap features a padded section designed to protect your valuables.

Overall, the performance feels better than the Farpoint; however, time will tell as we’ve only taken it on a few short trips. We also find that suspension system bulkier and organization less effective than the classic Farpoint.

5.) REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 Pack ($140)

REI Rucksack Travel Backpack Carry On Backpack

*Best Outdoor/Travel Backpack*

  • Weight: 4 lbs. 3 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon 210D
  • Capacities: 40, 65L
  • Pros: Suspension System, Hiking Pack Features, REI Guarantee, U Shape Open, Frame, Compression Straps, Carry On Compliant, Zip Away Straps, Color Choices, Affordable
  • Cons: Heavy, Doesn’t Sit Upright

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. We have transitioned from hiking packs to purpose-built travel backpacks within a few years. We’re longtime fans of REI and love the products they produce.

This pack is loaded with features the Fairview lacks. 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 the addition of 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.

It should be noted that this pack measures 24 inches long and most carry on restrictions cap at 22 inches. While this is not deal-breaker for a soft-sided backpack, it can squish.

To top it all off the pack has a lie flat feature with a large zip opening for easy access to all of your belongings. This is the travel bag for those who want to blend city hopping and adventure travel all in one bag. Altogether, this is one of the most versatile backpacks for Europe as it can handle the city streets of Budapest or trails like the Camino De Santiago.

6.) Eagle Creek Global Companion 40L Backpack ($229)

Eagle Creek Global Companion 40L Backpack  Women's Travel Backpack
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
  • Fabric: Poly 450 & 600D
  • Capacities: 40L
  • Pros: Laptop Sleeve, Multiple Compartments, Rain Cover, Clam Shell Open,
  • Cons: Ugly, Useless Front Pockets (Too Small), Lacks Side Handle, Permanent Straps,

This is a great backpack from Eagle Creek. They’ve specialized in travel products for a while now. The bag has a plethora of pockets and even a special one for shoes at the bottom of the bag.

It’s another great version of a clamshell-style backpack which provides easy access to your luggage. Other features include lockable zippers and a rain cover for bad weather. I love the clamshell open and it’s fantastic travel backpack for Europe.

7.) Nomatic 40L Travel Backpack ($279)

Nomatic Travel 40L Best Travel Backpack
  • Weight: 4 lbs.
  • Size: 40L
  • Material: Tarpaulin
  • Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Quick Access Laptop Compartment
  • Pros: Feature-Packed, Carry-On Size, Comfortable, Versatile, Super High-Quality, Stowaway Straps
  • Cons: Not As Much Anti Theft Features As Other Bags, Heavy

Nomatic is fairly 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 just might have. 

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 really does seem like they have thought of everything. 

However, it would be better stated that 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. This isn’t just great as an anti-theft backpack, but a general travel backpack for Europe.

8.) Topo Designs Travel Bag ($229)

Topo Designs - Travel Backpack
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 1o oz.
  • Fabric: 1000D nylon, 400D nylon packcloth, 210D nylon pack cloth liner
  • Capacities: 30L & 40L
  • Pros: Organization Pockets, Multiple Compartments Laptop Sleeve, Multiple Carry Points, Carry On Friendly, Style, Heavy Zippers, Theft Deterrent Zipper Loop
  • Cons: Smaller Size, Style, No Water Bottle Holder, Price, Mixed Support

Topo Designs launched their latest pack the Travel Bag and it’s a slam dunk for a carry on backpack and I used it on my last trip. The interior features 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 exterior loops.

The exterior is heavy-duty nylon and the bag uses robust zippers that are the best we’ve seen on a travel backpack, albeit a bit clunky. When it comes to support, it has side handles on both sides of the backpack, a detachable shoulder strap, and backpack straps with a hip belt and chest strap. The support and straps are detachable and can be stored 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 when compared to top-loading packs. The colors and style are also better suited for younger travelers, but it all depends on your style they offer a black if you prefer a more neutral bag we have the olive color pictured above.

Altogether this is would be my vote for the best carry on backpacks and I’ll be reaching for it on my next trip. It’s loaded with features, space, and has a lifetime guarantee. I really love this pack and have taken it on a number of trips to Europe and Asia.

9.) Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack ($199)

Tortuga Setout Carry On Travel Backpack
  • Weight: 4 lbs.
  • Fabric: Nylon 900D
  • Capacities: 40L
  • Pros: Laptop Sleeve, Multiple Compartments, Superb Suspension, Stow Away Straps, Side Handle, Water Bottle Holder, Quality, Lockable Zippers,
  • Cons: Difficult to Access Front and Rear Sleeves. Heavy. Style.

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 we have proper carry-on backpacks — we’re stoked and own five travel bags including the Setout! Tortuga was one of the first bag companies to catch on to the trend and start producing travel-specific bags.

It’s been one of my favorite bags I’ve ever carried and it’s been wonderful with our snowboard season as dealing with a snowboard bag is already a pain in the butt. The bag is about 40 liters in size with a front-loading compartment, a front sleeve with organization, and rear laptop sleeve.

The compartments are well thought out with room for my socks, toiletries, electronics, and essentials. The bags highlights for me 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 we tested.

It is a great backpack it doesn’t deserve to be number six on this list, but for only $30 Topo Designs Travel Bag delivers a more robust bag loaded with features and a better design. That being said it does have a water bottle holder that the Topo Designs Travel Bag lacks, a crucial element in the way you use a pack.

10.) Knack Large Expandable Backpack ($195)

Best Carry On Backpack Knack Bag
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 4 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon 1200D
  • Capacities: 37L
  • Pros: Best Organization. Style. Decent Suspension. Laptop sleeve. Internal Compression Strap.
  • Cons: Too Small For Long Trips. Triangle Front Pocket,

As far as design the Knack Expandable Backpack is one of my favorites in the travel world. It’s a new backpack and company for 2019 and from a number of executives who worked for the luggage company Tumi. The exterior and design of the pack is overwhelming positive. Compared to any of the other travel-specific bags we’ve had the chance to take a look at it delivers high quality with nice features.

Everything about this pack has been well thought out, and I’m impressed by the organization of the pockets and the ridiculous amount of features in such 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 that is 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 that it can even be used for business travel.

I’d love to see a larger version of this pack the current version is quite small and I can travel for a week with the interior space. It’s a tremendous backpack and great for those who strrive for one bag travel in Europe

11.) Flight Approved Backpack by Standard Luggage Co. ($179)

Flight Approved Backpack by Standard Luggage Co Best Travel Backpack
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon (1680)
  • Capacities: 45L
  • Pros: Robust Design, Laptop Sleeve, Suspension, Side Handles, Water Bottle Holder, Heavy Duty Material, Compression Straps,
  • Cons: Heavy,

This minimalist 35L travel backpack is the perfect carry on for those looking to pack everything needed for their trip. It’s not flashy or complicated, but the simple design is the perfect bag for travel needs. With a clever design, the bag can expand to 45 liters from 35 thanks to an expandable zipper.

My favorite aspect of this bag is that is designed to open like a clamshell suitcase making for easy access. For digital nomads or business travelers, the removable laptop sleeve serves as a great asset. Other great features include a top and side handle, compression straps and two exterior pockets.

Standard has really thought out this bags design and it’s obvious in the finished product. It feels high-quality thanks to nice handles, zips, seams, and a heavy-duty nylon exterior material. They also include some nice features like a rollaboard strap and rain cover that you don’t see in many other carry on backpacks.

12.) Incase EO ($180)

Incase EO Travel Backpack
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs.
  • Fabric: 100% Polyester Exterior
  • Capacities: 24L
  • Pros: Robust Design, Laptop Sleeve, Suspension, Side Handles, Water Bottle Holder, Heavy Duty Material, Compression Straps,
  • Cons: Small, Soo Many Pockets

The Incase EO gives the avid traveler a refreshing blend of style and durability mixed together in a pack that can also be expanded to fit those larger items or more gear for extended trips. As we should all expect by now, this pack features a padded laptop sleeve that can fit anything up to a 17″ computer. The rest of the bag features internal pockets for gear organization and the main compartment that can expand up to 35% to accommodate even more gear if the need arises.

The backpack material is universally weather-resistant, while the primary panel itself (which will take the brunt of any ill weather) is triple coated to ensure optimal rain protection. All of these features are blended into a very appealing and sleek design that make this backpack the perfect companion backpack for Europe.

13.) Arcido Faroe Backpack ($129)

Arcido Faroe Backpack
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Fabric: Kodra
  • Capacities: 35L
  • Pros: Price, Laptop Sleeve, Kodra Material, Style, Value,
  • Cons: Poor Suspension, No Chest Strap, Cheap Zippers, One Zipper Main Compartment,

Arcido’s Faroe backpack is a great bag for the price point. It’s lightweight, affordable, has a laptop sleeve, looks great, and a roomy main compartment. The bag is built to be lightweight and affordable which it excels at in our books. It’s one of the cheapest options on this list and it has some nice features and decent build quality.

It’s a simple design with one large main compartment and a laptop sleeve section. I like the two water bottle pocket on both sides of the backpack, but they’re not robust enough to securely fit my Hydroflask or Grayl wide mouth water bottles.

Unlike the other nylon bags on this list, the Faroe is built with Kodra that has better moisture resistant properties. Which under our testing holds up to be true; however, the small zippers on the pack will not hold up to a heavy rainstorm.

At a lower price point, it does come with some drawbacks such as the cheap zippers, lack of features, and poor suspension system that lacks a chest strap, hip belt, and soft feeling straps. It’s a blend of a traditional backpack and travel designed one since it lacks nice features like side handles or the ability to tuck away the back straps for travel. If you’re looking for something more Arcido makes the Akra a larger and more robust version of the Faroe.

14.) Osprey Porter ($200)

Osprey Porter 45 - Travel Backpacks Europe
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon 420D
  • Capacities: 30L, 46L,
  • Pros: Organization Pockets, Osprey Suspension, Laptop sleeve, Compression Tech, Structure Sidewalls, Multiple Sizes, Great Value
  • Cons: Ugly, Questionable Carry On

You’re probably noticing a theme by now, but we love Osprey backpacks for travel in Europe and all around the world. The pack is well constructed and leaves plenty of room for all of your clothes. The bag is lightweight and easy to throw off your back when you hop on a bus or train.

The only problem with this bag is it’s not as robust so those who like to walk or cover distance the backpack will get uncomfortable. That being said it’s one of the cheapest Osprey backpacks you can buy which means you have more budget for your backpacking trip.

My recommendation for this pack is the 46L size, but if you want a bit more space the 65L should have more than enough room to pack for a trip around the world. The large difference between the Osprey Porter and Farpoint/Fairview is the compression straps, organizatiton, and quality. It’s ranked so low because we already gave the top spot to Osprey Farpoint/Fairview.

15.) Timbuk2 Wander Pack ($179)

Timbuk2 Wander Pack Travel Backpack
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 11 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon 420D
  • Capacities: 40L
  • Pros: Style, Price, Laptop Sleeve, Exterior Material, Exterior Compression Straps,
  • Cons: Quality. Zippers. Suspension. No Chest Straps.

This is a stylish multi-use backpack. The sleek exterior is a nice touch and does a good job at fighting stains and moisture. It’s a well-designed bag that does a wonderful job as a functional travel pack.

I’d recommend it for anyone who cares about the looks of their pack and intends to travel around cities. It could even be used on business travel if it doesn’t require a suit and tie. With a padded rear sleeve designed for up to a 15″ laptop, you can travel in confidence as a digital nomad.

It has a number of drawbacks such as a lack of hip-belt, lackluster straps, and outdoor features. It’s wonderful because of its ability to fit in overhead bins and makes a great carry-on backpack.

Additional stand-out features include the side straps for compression and the various compartments that help with organization. If you combine this bag with packing cubes to protect your clothes you could have a well laid out backpack perfect for a stylish traveler who doesn’t want to look like a “backpacker.”

Other reviews do mention that Timbuk2 runs with some quality issues and the zippers on our pack seem to catch when we pull despite the tough look. It may look like a rough and tumble backpack like the duffel bags from Patagonia and Dakine below, but I wouldn’t expect it to hold up to their quality.

16.) eBag TLS Mother Lode ($149)

eBag TLS Mother Lode Best Travel Backpack
  • Weight: 3 lb. 15 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon 600D
  • Capacities: 45L
  • Pros: Price, Multiple Compartments, Roomy Interior, Nice Front Compartment, Compression Straps, Laptop Sleeve, Water Bottle, Organization, Clamshell
  • Cons: Really Ugly, Heavy, Meh Suspension

This bag is described as spacious with plenty of organization to boot. It’s an easy contention for one of the best carry-on bags around if not for its comfortability and style. However, as I talked about previously there is no one solution fits all in finding a bag.

This bag is tremendous for those looking to have a great bag to carry on the plane and then onto their hotel. I wouldn’t plan on spending a few hours with the pack on because it may become uncomfortable with flimsy straps.

We’ve used eBags extensively for their awesome harside suitcases. They offer well thought out luggage that is great quality. This carry on backpack is no exception with its multiple comparments, organization, laptop sleeve, and clamshell opening. It’s probably the ugliest backpack for Europe on this list, but it is very feature rich.

Best Travel Backpacks for Hiking

Hiking backpacks for Europe aren’t always our first choice. However, they definitely have their time and place. If you have plans to go for a multiday hike in popular locations like Iceland, Sweden, or Norway a solid backpack is a necessity. If you want to learn more about hiking backpacks we have a post that goes more in-depth.

17.) Osprey Atmos AG

Osprey Atmos AG Best Travel Backpacks

*Best Overall Men’s Hiking Backpack*

  • Weight: 4 lbs. 9 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon (100D x 630D)
  • Capacities: 50, 65L
  • Pros: Amazing Suspension System and Strong Construction
  • Cons: Only top load access and it does not sit upright. It seems silly but with only a top load it’s a PIA.

The Atmos is the pack Cameron carries most often, and it’s treated him exceptionally well. The Atmos has two size options with a 50L and 65L that should fill the need of 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 that can be utilized to lighten your load. As well as an internal frame and side compression straps that when combined with its anti-gravity back panel, make for excellent weight distribution. 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 that is only a few days.

18.) Osprey Aura 65

Osprey Aura Best Hiking Backpack

*Best Overall Women’s Hiking Backpack*

  • Weight: 4 lbs. 7 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon (210D & 630D)
  • Capacities: 65L & 50L
  • Pros: Strong construction, anti-gravity system,
  • Cons: Top Load Access like Atmos

The Osprey Ariel is the perfect women’s trekking backpack. It’s a great all-around bag built to fit a woman’s torso. Made of Nylon ripstop material it comes in two sizes 55L and 65L. Complete with a custom fit and interchangeable IsoForm5 harness and even a padded hip belt the Ariel is great for long hikes.

Its Anti-Gravity technology is throughout the entire back and can be found in the lightweight mesh material in the upper torso and lumbar area. My favorite feature of the Ariel is the convertible top lip day back which can be removed if you want to climb a nearby peak without the entire pack. The pack has trekking pole attachments and hydration sleeves to keep hydrated. With their LightWire peripheral frame, the Ariel is also one of the lighter backpacks on this list.

19.) Granite Gear Blaze 60

Granite Gear Blaze Bestt Hiking Backpack

*Close Second For Overall Hiking Backpack*

  • Weight: 3 lbs.
  • Capacities: 60L
  • Pros: Lightweight, Organization, Compression System, Comfort
  • Cons: Hot, Durability,

Granite Gear’s Blaze has picked up a slew of awards and great reviews from outdoor editors and users alike. It’s a lightweight bag that is rated to carry a heavy load (50lbs). That substantial payload rating means a sturdy frame and a well-padded suspension system that’s comfortable to carry on long treks. It’s padded

Granite Gear has their patent-pending ReFit Hipbelt on the backpack that allows for the perfect size adjustment. It takes some time to adjust properly, but it’s not a problem once the pack fits. One of my favorite features on the backpack is the massive front and side compartments, capable of carrying sleeping pad, jacket, and water bottles. The only complaint is the padded back panel lacks ventilation, so it runs a little hot when ascending steep terrain or in hot weather. Altogether, it’s easily one of the best backpacks on the market that is a full pound lighter than the Atmos!

20.) Fjallraven Kaipak

Fjallraven Kaipak Best Travel Backpack Europe

*Best Eco-Friendly Hiking Backpack*

  • Weight: 4 lbs. 9.6 oz.
  • Capacities: 58L
  • Pros: Canvas Shell, High Quality, Comfortable Suspension, Style
  • Cons: Heavy, Canvas Needs Wax Applied

Fjallraven does not get a lot of credit in the outdoor. Fjallraven makes the Kaipak from their G-1000 Heavyduty Eco fabric that is similar to canvas. The material is made from recycled polyester and organic cotton and then waxed for water resistance. Over time the wax will come out of the fabric, but Fjallraven sells the bar that can be applied. We already have the bar for the Keb-1000 trousers, which are some of my favorite hiking and mountaineering pants. What we love the most is this pack is eco-friendly avoiding the article material not made from oil.

The system has a fixed back length and is very stable for the size of the backpack so it carries very well. I would like the bag to be adjustable, but the stability is nice. It’s a top loading backpack with plenty of room and a snow lock with two loop attachments for ice axes or trekking poles. Kaipak also includes a rain cover and compression straps. Above all, it’s pretty affordable for a high-end brand and stylish bag.

21.) Gregory Baltoro/Deva 65 Pack

Gregory Baltoro Best Hiking Backpack

*Best Hiking Backpack For Heavy Loads*

  • Weight: 4 lbs. 10 oz
  • Fabric: Nylon (210D)
  • Capacities: 65, 75, 85, 95L
  • Pros: Large Capacity, Durability, Feature Packed, Suspension
  • Cons: Heavy Bag, Top Loading

Gregory has been building bags for a long time, so they know how to make a quality pack. This hiking backpack is a workhorse designed to be used and abused. The Baltoro/Deva is designed to carry a heavy load without breaking your back on the trail. It has a superior suspension system with plush padding and a great 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, and it has attractive features like a built-in rain-fly, water bottle holder that offers easy access on a hike, and hydration compatible. It’s still a heavy pack, but with the quality of the build and substantial load capability, it’s a reliable backpack. The Backpack comes in the men’s, Baltoro, and women’s, Deva, version. It’s in close competition with the Atmos and its versatility is admirable.

22.) Teton Sports Scout 3400

Best Hiking Backpacks Teton Sports Scout3400

*Best Hiking Backpack for the Money*

  • Weight: 4 lbs. 8oz.
  • Capacities: 55L
  • Pros: Affordable, Nice Features
  • Cons: Cheap Feel, Okay Suspension

This durable top hiking back is one of the cheapest on the market and is suitable for men, women, and even children. The internal frame makes the Teton an excellent choice for camping and hiking. Even though this pack is well under $100 it still has sturdy zippers, open-cell foam lumbar pad support, and extra padded waist and shoulder straps.

There are loops for your ski poles. Although this pack is not waterproof it comes with an integrated rain fly for when you get caught in a downpour. There is no bladder included, but there are side holsters to place your water bottles while trekking. In our opinion, this pack is one of the best packs you can get for your money. It might not be the right fit for serious hikers, but those just getting their toes wet will love its affordability.

23.) REI Co-op Traverse

REI Traverse Best Hiking Backpacks
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 14 oz
  • Fabric: Nylon (200D & 420D)
  • Capacities: 35, 65 (women’s), 70 (men’s), 85L
  • Pros: Large Capacity, Durability, Feature Packed, Suspension, Love the J-Zip Access
  • Cons: Heavy Bag, Top Loading

Another stand out from REI is their feature-packed Traverse hiking backpack. It’s on par with the Atmos/Aura and Baltoro/Deva backpacks at a more affordable rate. We have a lot of love for REI gear, and this backpack delivers a lot of features. The Traverse is a large hiking backpack designed to carry heavy loads in all four seasons. It’s loaded with features and the pack carries weight comfortably.

I love the large hip belts perfect for stashing some snacks, gloves, sunblock, or an extra layer. Then there is an adjustable water bottle holder that is easy to access while hiking and fits wide/slim bottles snugly thanks to a quick snap. Other standouts include a large j-shaped zipper for access to the main compartment, rainfly, removable daypack, and a stuff-it pouch. When it comes to the ride, REI has their UpLift compression system which effective at pulling the gear up and close to your back for a good center of gravity. It’s about $50 cheaper than the other two competitors, or the cost of a camp burner, I like that value.

24.) Deuter AirContact

Deuter AirContact Best Travel Backpack
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 14 oz
  • Fabric: Nylon 210D
  • Capacities: 60, 75L
  • Pros: Rugged, Comfortable, Price
  • Cons: Not Perfect, Quality, Weak Shoulder Straps

The Aircontact is a decent all-around pack for an affordable price from a reliable bag manufacturer. The capacity is rated as +10 which refers to an expandable top portion of the main compartment. It provides some options for size and keeping your bag compressed.

It’s a robust backpack that is meant to comfortably carry a heavy load and considering the price that’s a great value. Deuter has loaded the bag with features such as multiple compression straps, a hydration port, bottom access, trekking pole loops, and an adjustable back length. It comes in a variety of size options and men/women’s versions.

I wouldn’t consider it to be one of my favorite backpacks; however, it’s worth a mention as it’s a quality pack that’s cheaper than the more robust Atmos/Aura or Baltoro/Deva. It would be a mistake to count this backpack out for being this far down on our list of best-hiking backpacks.

Styles Of Travel Backpacks for Europe

Things to do in Innsbruck

When it comes to backpacks there are three main types and each comes with its pros and cons. The three general styles of the backpack are top-loading, panel loading, and non-traditional backpacks. Let’s take a look at all three to weigh their various advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to pick the right style to have the best travel backpack for Europe.

Travel Specific Backpacks

Panel-loading backpacks are purpose-built for the traveler on the go and are a great option. Their design is similar to a traditional suitcase. They fully unzip giving easy access to your stuff. They have a sleek design without all the straps that are likely to get hung up, making it easy to throw them in an overhead compartment or under a bus.

Many of these packs are often designed to meet checked baggage standards. These packs are quickly becoming the traveler’s favorite bag. They’re very well adapted for transitioning between urban environments making them one of the best backpacks for Europe.

Pros of Panel Loading Backpacks:
  • Size, not having to worry about having to check your bag is a big plus. The majority of these packs come in a size designed to be carry-on friendly.
  • Easy access, with a compartment that fully opens to give you access to your clothes and whatever else you carry. This is the big one, making packing and unpacking a breeze.
  • Side handles, this may seem like such a small thing, but as a frequent traveler, I can attest it is not. A side handle makes hopping on off public transportation, running through the airport, or just carrying your pack around much easier. You do not need to worry about clubbing that woman behind on the subway with your massive pack on.
  • Compartmented, these packs have more compartments built in so you can organize your stuff much better.
Cons of Panel Loading Backpacks:
  • Comfort, the design of these packs is both a positive and negative much like the top-loading packs. In order to keep a low profile, the back straps are often thinner and not as comfortable. Ouch.
  • Zippers, the biggest weak point on panel loading packs is the use of a zipper as the main way to access your goods, meaning they run the risk of breaking over time. Especially on a particularly rough trip.
  • Weight distribution, these packs are similar in shape to a suitcase and not exactly good for long distances on your back. The ergonomics and weight distribution just aren’t there.

Hiking Backpacks

Osprey Atmos AG Best Travel Backpacks

These are generally the most common backpack used by travelers in Europe. However, it may not be the most convenient. It is slim lined and very comfortable for those long treks.

The problem, or strength, lies in the fact that these backpacks were not created for those traveling the world, but those on multiday hikes with their packs on all day. This leads to a durable pack that is lightweight, comfortable, and waterproof.

Pros of Top-loading backpacks:
  • Durable: A decent top-loading pack is designed to withstand the elements.
  • Drawstring opening: These packs are designed to last and to be waterproof. So things like zippers aren’t used.
  • Comfort: These packs are built for comfort on long hikes and are made for the adventurous. Meaning long walks when moving locations are easier.
  • Flexibility: These packs are probably the most versatile since they are purpose built for multi-day hike trips that allow for you to bounce between urban and natural landscapes.
  • Waterproof: Another reason to love the design of a top-loading pack is the waterproof capabilities.
Cons of top loading backpacks:
  • Packing: The top-loading feature can make packing and unpacking a pain. Meaning if something is at the bottom of your pack, you better start digging.
  • Checked baggage: These bad boys can be large and often can’t fit in overheads meaning you get hit with additional baggage fees.
  • Straps: The straps hang all over the place. They might be helpful for hiking the Rockies, but not so helpful when throwing under a coach bus.
  • Awkward: They’re designed for riding on your back, not for waiting on a metro platform. My top-loading pack is wonderful on my back, but due to its shape cannot stand upright on its own.
  • Sore thumb: With a top loading pack on there is almost no chance of looking like a local. You’re pretty much pegged for being a tourist right off the get-go, which can be a nuisance.

Non-Traditional Backpacks

Dakine Ranger

This is a wide range of packs some purpose-built for travel while others like duffel bags are purpose-built for a different task. I love duffel bags for shorter trips and they have established themselves as favorites for adventure sports enthusiasts. These packs are extremely varied since no real design seems to reign supreme different companies have different styles.

It really depends on individual comfort when it comes to determining which bag is right for you. I’ve seen a few interesting designs that may work well for a traveler who’s on the go with short weekend trips. I personally don’t see a ton of practicality extending beyond that. For me, a traditional bag, or duffel bag are far more stylish and just as practical, but to each their own.

Pros of Non Traditional Backpacks:
  • Size, not having to worry about having to check your bag is a big plus. The majority of these packs come in a size designed to be carry-on friendly.
  • Easy access, with a compartment that fully opens to give you access to your clothes and whatever else you carry. This is the big one, making packing and unpacking a breeze.
  • Side handles, this may seem like such a small thing, but as a frequent traveler, I can attest it is not. A side handle makes hopping on off public transportation, running through the airport, or just carrying your pack around much easier. You do not need to worry about clubbing that woman behind on the subway with your massive pack on.
  • Compartmented, these packs have more compartments built in so you can organize your stuff much better.
Cons of Panel Loading Backpacks:
  • Comfort, the design of these packs is both a positive and negative much like the top-loading packs. In order to keep a low profile, the back straps are often thinner and not as comfortable. Ouch.
  • Zippers, the biggest weak point on panel loading packs is the use of a zipper as the main way to access your goods, meaning they run the risk of breaking over time. Especially on a particularly rough trip.
  • Weight distribution, these packs are similar in shape to a suitcase and not exactly good for long distances on your back. The ergonomics and weight distribution just aren’t there.

Which Travel Backpack Style Is For You?

Cost To Backpack Europe: Edinburgh

Deciding on the pack style really 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. If you need help purchasing the backpack read how we save money for travel.

There really 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, 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).

  • Hiking Backpack: Adventure enthusiast. Hiking. Likes to walk and hitch-hike. Long haul.
  • Travel Specific: Quick moving. Mostly moving from city to city or town to town. Long haul.
  • Convertible: Going with the flow isn’t your style. You need something that addresses your travel needs like a digital nomad.

How to Choose a Backpack for Europe?


The first thing to think about when it comes to picking a great hiking backpack is your budget. Good quality backpacks are expensive, but you also don’t want to blow your entire budget on a backpack. However, if you invest in one of the best hiking backpacks on the market chances are it will stand the test of time. Many companies like REI, Osprey, and The North Face will offer to repair your products.


Like with anything, make sure that the hiking backpack you choose is comfortable on your back. You should be able to hike comfortably for at least two hours. When buying online it’s a good idea to check the return policy in case the backpack does not fit you the way you would like.


A hiking backpacks design capability is crucial. A good backpack 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 hiking backpack that is made out of good material. Most backpacks are made out of either Ripstop Nylon or Dyneema. Dyneema is generally more expensive since it is lighter, but both are extremely durable.


Determine everything you will want to carry in your backpack for that will determine the volume bag you buy. A good starting point is 40-50L. You’ll want to choose a relatively lightweight backpack 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, choose 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, same goes for the opposite.

Trip Length

It’s important to consider your trip length when picking a hiking backpack. There are great day backpacks on this list that are great for just that – a day. While others can serve you well for hikes longer than a week.

The ideal backpack size for Europe is somewhere around 60 liters. Anything smaller than that is for short extended jaunts if you have plans to travel for several weeks you’ll have a tough time with a pack smaller than 60 liters.

What to Pack For Europe Next?

Travel in Europe

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