The Best Travel Backpacks For Europe

The right travel backpacks for Europe will make travelers’ lives 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’d like to understand the different models more in-depth, head down to the bottom of the post.


Best Travel Backpacks for Europe

European City in the summer

Our Featured Pick

Osprey Farpoint Best Osprey Bags For Women

Osprey Farpoint/Fairview

This is the gold standard of travel backpacks for Europe. We’ve used it extensively in our travels around the world, and it’s always reliable. The Farpoint is unisex, and the Fairview is women’s specific.


Best Travel Specific Backpacks

Edinburgh At Night

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.

BackpackProsConsAvg. Price
Osprey Farpoint/Fairview
Lightweight, Manageable, Removable Few Pockets For, Organization, Laptop Sleeve in Front$179
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Peak Design Travel Backpack
Phenomenal Organization, Style, High QualityHigh Price, Lacks Ventilation on Back$299
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Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L

Feature-Packed, Anti-Theft, Carry-On, Size, ComfortableDifficult To Access Your Items (theft-deterrent)$199
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Gregory Tetrad/Tribute 40L
Best Suspension System, Hiking Pack Hybrid, Features,No Side Pockets in 40L, Laptop Front Pocket$179
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REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 Pack
Suspension System, Hiking Pack Features, REI GuaranteeDoes Not Sit Upright, Lacks Organization$140
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eBags TLS Mother Lode
Laptop Sleeve, Organization,
Clam Shell Open
Ugly, Meh Suspension, Heavy$229
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Nomatic 40L Travel Backpack
Feature-Packed,
Comfortable, High-Quality
Not As Much Anti Theft Features, Heavy$279
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Topo Designs Travel Bag
Organization Pockets, Multiple Compartments, StyleNo Water Bottle Holder, Mixed Support$239
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Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack

Multiple Compartments, Great Suspension
Quality,
Difficult to Access Front and Rear Sleeves, Style$199
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Knack Large Expandable Backpack
Decent Suspension, Feature Rich, Expandable CompartmentTriangle Front Pocket, Lacks Weatherproofing$195
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Osprey Farpoint/Fairview

Osprey Farpoint Best Osprey Bags For Women

*Best Travel Backpack For Hostels/Adventure*

  • Price: $179
  • 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 its 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. At the same time, 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, 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 a 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 you get a travel-specific bag packed with hiking features with the Osprey.

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 in Europe. The front-load feature allows you to keep your clothes folded neatly, which is awesome. The 40L is great for carry-on luggage, while the 55L and 70L are good for long-term trips.


Peak Design Travel Backpack

Best Travel Backpacks for Europe

*Best Travel Backpack For Savvy Travellers*

  • Price: $299
  • 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
  • Lacks Ventilation on Back
  • Heavy

We just got this new backpack from Peak Design, and it’s exceeded my expectations. Peak Design makes some incredible products, but they have outdone themselves with this backpack. It’s truly a stylish travel bag for European travel.

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 are an interior heavy-duty laptop compartment and plenty of space for rolled-up clothes. For photographers, a Peak Design camera cube locks into place within the backpack and protects camera equipment. The two external pockets on the backpack are great for a water bottle or a camera tripod.

There are a few complaints I have about 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 durable materials so it’s heavy. That material is a weatherproof canvas shell, so it does protect your belongings and it has a sleek look.

When that weight is combined with a non-vented back panel it makes for a sweaty lower back in heat. That means the backpack is not great for wearing over long distances or your average backpacker. However, with a slick design the Peak Design Travel Backpack great for a minimalist, businessman, or more modern backpacker.


Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L

Best Anit Theft Backpacks Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L

*Best Antitheft Travel Backpack*

  • Price $199
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 15 oz.
  • Size: 45L
  • Material: Nylon
  • Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Cut Resistant Cables, Internal Frame
Pros
  • Feature-Packed,
  • Anti-Theft
  • Carry-On Size
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile
  • High-Quality
Cons
  • Difficult To Access Your Items (theft-deterrent)
  • Some Wasted Space

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.


Gregory Tetrad/Tribute 40L

Gregory Tetrad Travel Backpack Europe

*Best Suspension Travel Backpack*

  • Price $179
  • 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
  • Decent Price
  • Compression Straps
  • Carry On Compliant
  • U Zip Opening
Cons
  • No Side Pockets in 40L
  • Laptop Front Pocket
  • Blends Outdoor and Travel (Pro or Con)

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. Its feature set and design make it a close competitor to Fairpoint/Fairview, but it offers a 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 greatly work 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. Its placement on the back of the bag makes it cumbersome for packing cubes or people who like flat storage.

An additional outside compartment 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 the suspension system bulkier and organization less effective than the classic Farpoint.


REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 Pack

REI Rucksack Travel Backpack Carry On Backpack

*Best Outdoor/Travel Backpack*

  • Price: $140
  • Weight: 2 lbs 13.9 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon 210D
  • Capacities: 40, 65L
Pros
  • Best Suspension System
  • Hiking Pack Features
  • REI Guarantee
  • U Shape Open
  • Frame
  • Compression Straps
  • Carry On Compliant
  • Zip Away Straps
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Doesn’t Sit Upright
  • Lacks Organization

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 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.

It should be noted that this 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 backpack, 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. This is the travel backpack for men who want to blend city hopping and adventure travel all in one bag. 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.


eBags TLS Mother Lode

eBag TLS Mother Lode Best Travel Backpack
  • Price: $149
  • Weight: 3 lb. 15 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon 600D
  • Capacities: 45L
Pros
  • Price
  • Multiple Compartments
  • Roomy Interior
  • Stowaway Straps
  • Nice Front Compartment
  • Compression Straps
  • Laptop Sleeve
  • Water Bottle
  • Organization
  • Clamshell
Cons
  • 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, no one solution fits all.

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 to spend a few hours with the pack because it may become uncomfortable with flimsy straps.

We’ve used eBags extensively for their awesome hard-side suitcases. They offer well thought out luggage that is of great quality. This carry-on backpack is no exception with its multiple compartments, organization, laptop sleeve, and clamshell opening.


Nomatic 40L Travel Backpack

Nomatic Travel 40L Best Travel Backpack
  • Price: $279
  • Weight: 4 lbs.
  • Size: 40L
  • Material: Tarpaulin
  • Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Quick Access Laptop Compartment
Pros
  • Feature-Packed
  • Carry-On Size
  • Phenomenal Organization
  • Digital Nomad Focus
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Super High-Quality
  • Stowaway Straps
Cons
  • Not As Much Anti Theft Features
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

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. You can read our in-depth review of the Nomatic backpack for European travel.


Topo Designs Travel Bag

Topo Designs - Travel Backpack
  • Price $239
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 1o oz.
  • Fabric: 1000D nylon, 400D nylon packcloth, 210D nylon pack cloth liner
  • Capacities: 30L & 40L
  • Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Side and Top Handles, Organization Compartments, Quick Access Laptop Compartment
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 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 several trips to Europe and Asia.


Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack

Tortuga Setout Carry On Travel Backpack
  • Price: $199
  • Weight: 4 lbs.
  • Fabric: Nylon 900D
  • Capacities: 40L
  • Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Stowaway Straps, Water Bottle Holder, Handles
Pros
  • Laptop Sleeve
  • Multiple Compartments
  • Great 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 a 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.


Knack Large Expandable Backpack

Best Carry On Backpack Knack Bag
  • Price: $195
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 4 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon 1200D
  • Capacities: 37L
  • Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Stowaway Straps, Water Bottle Holder, Handles, Bottom Pocket For Electronic Cords, Suede Pocket For Sunglasses
Pros
  • Organization
  • Style
  • Decent Suspension
  • Feature Rich
  • Expandable Compartment
  • Laptop Sleeve
  • Internal Compression Strap
Cons
  • Too Small For Long Trips
  • Triangle Front Pocket
  • Lacks Weatherproofing
  • Straps Are Good, Not Great

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 strive for one bag travel in Europe


Best Travel Backpacks for Hiking

best hiking clothes for women

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.

BackpackProsConsAvg Price
Osprey Atmos AG
Leading Class Amazing Suspension System, Strong ConstructionOnly Top Load Access, Does Not Sit Upright.$270
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Osprey Aura AG
Leading Class Amazing Suspension System, Strong ConstructionOnly Top Load Access, Does Not Sit Upright$270
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Gregory Baltoro/Deva 65 Pack
Large Capacity, Durability, Feature Packed, Fantastic SuspensionHeavy Bag, Top Loading$300
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Teton Sports Scout 3400
Affordable, Nice FeaturesCheap Design and Feel, Okay Suspension,$75
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Osprey Atmos AG

Osprey Atmos AG Best Travel Backpacks

*Best Overall Men’s Hiking Backpack*

  • Price: $270
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 9 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon (100D x 630D)
  • Capacities: 50, 65L
Pros
  • Leading Class
  • Amazing Suspension System
  • Strong Construction
Cons
  • Only Top Load Access
  • Does Not Sit Upright

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.


Osprey Aura AG

Osprey Aura Best Hiking Backpack

*Best Overall Women’s Hiking Backpack*

  • Price: $270
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 7 oz.
  • Fabric: Nylon (210D & 630D)
  • Capacities: 65L & 50
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.


Gregory Baltoro/Deva 65 Pack

Gregory Baltoro Best Hiking Backpack

*Best Hiking Backpack For Heavy Loads*

  • Price: $300
  • 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.


Teton Sports Scout 3400

Best Hiking Backpacks Teton Sports Scout3400

*Best Hiking Backpack for the Money*

  • Price: $75
  • 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.


Our Featured Pick

Osprey Farpoint Best Osprey Bags For Women

Osprey Farpoint/Fairview

This is the gold standard of travel backpacks for Europe. We’ve used it extensively in our travels around the world and it’s always reliable. The Farpoint is unisex and the Fairview is women’s specific.


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?


Price

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.


Comfort

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.


Design

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.


Material

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.


Volume/Frame/Weight

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.


About Cameron

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past six years. During this time he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Ireland, Scotland, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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