Choosing Backpacks for Travel: A Guide

Americans are ready to hit the road. More than 2.1 million people passed through TSA checkpoints on September 26, 2021. That’s up from below 900,000 people on the same day in 2020.

Wherever you go, you can use backpacks for travel. Yet you have many different options to choose from. Figuring out the best backpacks for travel can be difficult.

What size backpack for traveling is best? How can you pick a bag that will not attract thieves? What is the design of the best travel backpack?

Answer these questions and you can narrow your packing options down in little time. Here is your quick guide.


Many people assume that they need a big bag for a long or difficult trip. This may be the case, especially if you don’t have a place to store your belongings. But if you do, you can take a medium-sized bag with you.

You can take a daypack for the items you need on a particular day. You can then leave everything else in your main backpack. This will keep your belongings safe while giving you flexibility.

How you pack is just as important as how much space you have to pack. A small backpack can become bulky if you stuff everything into your bag. Learn how to pack a backpack and make use of all of the space in your bag.


Water-resistant material is very important. There is no such thing as a 100% waterproof bag. But you should get a bag that will not soak through in light rain.

Nylon fiber is a good water-resistant material. Try to find a nylon that has been treated in some way so it has an added reinforcement.

You can select a rigid material like Dyneema. A rigid substance can resist water and avoid damage from wear and tear. Yet it leaves you with less room to pack and store your bag.

You can buy a backpack made from sailcloth, but it may be very expensive. X-Pac is a material made from different fabrics stitched together at a low price. Opt for an X-Pac backpack instead of a sailcloth product.


A pickpocket can reach into your bag at any point. Lockable zippers make it harder for them to steal, especially from your pockets.

A hip belt will distribute the weight of your bag across your body. It also makes it harder for someone to rip the bag from you. See if you can put the hip belt underneath your clothing for additional protection.

Pickpockets look for signs that someone is a tourist. One giveaway is a bag that says “USA” on it or has some sort of foreign decoration. Another is if a bag looks expensive, meaning the person has a lot of money.

Select a bland-looking bag that seems cheap. Nylon and polyester are inexpensive yet durable materials. Leather is more high-class, and selecting a leather bag can lead to being targeted.


Most backpacks for traveling are internal-frame backpacks. This means that their support rods lie inside the bag, away from view. This may be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Padding may make your bag seem bulky. But padded shoulder straps will remove the weight off of your back and arms. You can also get a padded hip or sternum strap.

You can choose a backpack in any color and design. If you are traveling in a group, you should try to find a bag that you can spot quickly. You can get a bag in a bright color, or you can tie something to the handle so you can find it in a room.


Many companies advertise their bags as being “one size fits all.” This may not be the case, especially for smaller people.

A women’s fit backpack has a frame that is adjusted to the proportions of women. It can have thinner shoulder straps and a smaller hip belt with a broader curve.

You can pick a backpack that loads from the top-down. You can also choose a bag that lets you access horizontal panels to pack. This may give you more space and decrease pressure against your spine.

If you have a sleeping bag, you can get straps or a compartment for it. Straps are exterior-facing, which means someone may steal your bag. Getting a compartment can give you more room and keep your bag safe.

The profile of your pack is the most underrated quality of your bag. A travel backpack carry-on needs to be slim so it fits underneath your seat. Yet a slim bag feels lighter because you are carrying weight close to your back.

You can find a pack shaped like a trapezoid or an oval. A square or rectangular pack is usually best. You will have an even distribution of weight, and you can slide your bag under most surfaces.

Most travel packs have multiple compartments in them. But you can get a bag with one compartment if you have a few items. A travel cube or a climbing rucksack may have one compartment.

The Best Backpacks for Travel

There are many backpacks for travel out there. You should select a pack big enough to meet your needs. But you should be able to carry and store it.

You should find a water-resistant material like nylon. You should also get many safety functions, especially locking zippers.

Internal-frame backpacks look best to the eye. Horizontal loading backpacks may be easy to pack and slim backpacks are great for transportation and storage. Rectangular packs tend to work better than circular ones.

Go to the experts on backpacks. Backie Packie offers premium packs at low prices. Browse our travel packs today.

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