So, you’ve got the travel bug and are planning your next big adventure. The open road is calling your name, but you want to avoid checked baggage fees and only pack the bare essentials. A Best Lightweight Backpack for Travel that’s comfortable for long treks and daily exploring is key. How do you choose the perfect one for your needs from the hundreds of options out there? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We sorted through dozens of highly-rated Best Lightweight Backpack for Travel and narrowed it down to the 10 best lightweight options for every budget and trip. Whether you’re backpacking through Europe or road tripping across the US, one of these backpacks will become your trusted travel companion. Read on to find your new favorite gear that will inspire you to fill it with memories that will last a lifetime. The open road awaits!
- Why You Need a Lightweight Travel Backpack
- How to Choose a Lightweight Backpack for Travel
- What Makes a Good Lightweight Travel Backpack?
- 10 Best Lightweight Backpack for Travel in 2023
- #1 Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack: Best Overall
- #2 Tortuga Setout Backpack: Best for Organization
- #3 Patagonia Black Hole Pack: Most Durable
- #4 Eagle Creek Global Companion: Best for Comfort
- #5 Cotopaxi Allpa 28L: Most Stylish
- #6 Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack: Best Expandable Backpack
- #7 Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack
- FAQs: Lightweight Backpacks for Travel
10 Best Lightweight Backpack for Travel in 2023: Reviews and Comparisons
Why You Need a Lightweight Travel Backpack
A lightweight backpack is essential for any traveler. Here are a few reasons why you need one:
- It’s easier on your back. Carrying a heavy pack during long days of exploring can leave you with an aching back and sore shoulders. A lightweight pack weighs at least 20-30% less so you can walk farther without discomfort.
- You can fit more in. When a backpack is ultra-light, it leaves more room for the stuff you actually want to bring like clothes, shoes, and souvenirs. You won’t have to leave things behind just because your bag is too heavy.
- It’s carry-on friendly. Most lightweight backpacks meet carry-on size restrictions so you can skip baggage claim and head straight for the exit. No more waiting at the luggage carousel!
- It’s versatile. A lightweight pack can be used as a daypack once you’ve checked into your hotel. Take it with you for a hike, trip to the market, or day at the beach without feeling weighed down.
- It’s affordable. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a high-quality lightweight backpack. Many reputable brands now offer budget-friendly options under $100 that are durable and comfortable. Compare features and read reviews to find one that suits your needs.
A lightweight backpack will make traveling so much more enjoyable. Your back and shoulders will thank you, and you’ll breeze through airports with ease. It’s really a win-win, so why not give one a try for your next trip?
How to Choose a Lightweight Backpack for Travel
So you’re in the market for a new lightweight backpack for your travels, but how do you choose? Here are some tips to find the perfect pack:
Look for a pack that’s under 2 pounds. Any heavier and it won’t be comfortable for long treks or all-day exploring. Popular, ultra-light materials include nylon ripstop, polyester, and recycled fabrics.
Consider the capacity. For shorter trips, a pack between 20 to 40 liters should work well. If you’re going on a longer adventure or need extra space for gear, look for one that’s 50 liters or more. Think about how much you can comfortably carry and how much space you’ll need for essentials.
Pay attention to the fit. Try on multiple packs and adjust the straps to ensure it sits comfortably without strain on your back, shoulders or hips. Look for padded, adjustable straps and a ventilated back panel. The pack should feel balanced and the weight distributed.
Examine the features. For convenience, look for a pack with multiple compartments, pockets and straps to keep items organized and accessible. Other useful features include a padded laptop sleeve, external bungee cords, and built-in rain cover.
Think about your needs. Consider how you’ll use the pack. Do you need something for hiking and camping? A pack for urban exploring? Or an all-purpose bag for various adventures? Choose a pack designed specifically for your intended use.
With some research, you’ll find a lightweight backpack perfect for your travels. Focus on comfort, capacity, and features that suit your needs. Before you know it, you’ll be hitting the trail or the road with your ideal pack in tow. Safe travels!
What Makes a Good Lightweight Travel Backpack?
A good lightweight travel backpack should have certain features that make it ideal for packing efficiently and comfortably carrying for long periods.
Look for a durable fabric that can withstand the stresses of travel, such as ripstop nylon or polyester. These fabrics are lightweight but resistant to tears, scratches and abrasions. Backpacks made of durable materials will last longer and hold up well under the rigors of frequent travel.
Padded, adjustable straps allow you to customize the fit of the backpack to your body. Padding prevents the straps from digging into your shoulders, especially when the pack is fully loaded. Straps that can be tightened or loosened enable you to distribute the weight for maximum comfort.
A lightweight backpack designed for travel will have several separate compartments to keep you organized. It should have a large main compartment for clothes and bigger items as well as smaller pockets for essentials like electronics, chargers, pens, snacks, and more. Front loading panels and pockets make items easily accessible. Inner compartments help separate dirty or wet clothes from clean ones.
A hip belt helps distribute the weight of the pack from your shoulders to your hips. This makes a fully loaded pack much more comfortable to carry for long periods. A padded hip belt will prevent discomfort and chafing. For the best fit, the hip belt should rest over the top of your hip bones.
Compression straps on the outside of the pack allow you to cinch down the contents for a more compact, streamlined shape. Compression straps are useful when the pack isn’t filled to capacity, allowing you to secure the contents in place and prevent excess material from flopping around. They help make your pack easier to carry and can even slightly increase capacity.
In summary, the most important features to consider for a lightweight travel backpack are durability, padded straps, multiple compartments, a hip belt, and compression straps. With these attributes, you’ll have a pack that will stand up well to frequent travel and keep you comfortable carrying it wherever your adventures may lead.
10 Best Lightweight Backpack for Travel in 2023
When looking for a Best Lightweight Backpack for Travel, you want something that’s comfortable to carry, fits everything you need, and will last for years of adventures. Here are some of the best lightweight backpacks for travel to consider:
This backpack is a top choice for carry-on travel. It’s made of durable nylon and opens like a suitcase for easy packing. The shoulder straps and back panel are ventilated and padded for comfort. Compression straps help keep the load stable.
This Pacsafe backpack features anti-theft technology like slash-proof material and lockable zippers to keep your gear safe. It’s a versatile bag for day trips or minimalist travel, with padded straps, breathable back panel and multiple compartments.
This backpack from Eagle Creek is made of recycled, water-resistant material. It has padded straps, breathable back panel, and reflective accents for nighttime visibility. The main compartment opens wide for easy packing and access to your gear.
The Allpa pack from Cotopaxi is stylish and functional. It’s made of water-resistant ripstop nylon and opens like a suitcase. The straps and hip belt are padded for comfort, and exterior daisy chains allow you to attach extra gear. A padded laptop sleeve and internal pockets keep you organized.
REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 Pack
This durable nylon rucksack from REI features padded shoulder straps and back panel for comfortable carrying. The main compartment cinches tight and has a sleeve for a hydration reservoir. Multiple external daisy chain loops and straps allow you to attach extra gear to the outside.
Any of these excellent lightweight backpacks would make a great travel companion. Look for a size that suits your needs, sturdy and comfortable materials, and useful organization to keep your essential gear right at hand on all your adventures. A high-quality pack can last for years, so choose wisely!
#1 Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack: Best Overall
The Osprey Farpoint 40 is the best all-around lightweight backpack for travel. This backpack hits the sweet spot between size and features, with plenty of room for a week’s worth of gear without being too bulky.
Spacious but Compact
The Farpoint 40 has a capacity of 38 liters, with multiple zippered compartments to keep you organized. The main compartment opens like a suitcase, and the internal frame helps it hold its shape. Despite its size, it still fits most carry-on requirements for planes and trains. The straps also zip away to turn it into a duffel bag for easy carrying.
Highly Adjustable and Comfortable
The padded shoulder straps and mesh back panel make the Farpoint 40 comfortable to wear for long periods. The entire harness system adjusts to fit a wide range of torso lengths. Hip belt and chest straps help distribute weight and keep the pack stable. Dual compression straps on each side allow you to cinch down your load for easier carrying.
Built to Last
Osprey is known for high quality, durable gear. The Farpoint 40 features a sturdy polyester fabric that resists wear and tear. All components like zippers, straps and clips are reinforced for heavy use. Osprey also offers an “All Mighty Guarantee” to repair any damage for any reason.
For a carry-on size pack that’s comfortable enough for extended travel, you can’t beat the Osprey Farpoint 40. Its functional design, premium build and lifetime warranty make it a backpack you’ll enjoy for years of adventures. If you want maximum features and versatility in a compact, lightweight package, look no further. The Farpoint 40 deserves to be at the top of your list.
#2 Tortuga Setout Backpack: Best for Organization
The Tortuga Setout Backpack is a great choice if staying organized on the go is a top priority.
Pockets and Compartments Galore
This backpack features a dedicated laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, and multiple pockets for keeping all your essentials in place. There’s a front pocket for items you need quick access to, a pocket with smaller mesh compartments perfect for storing charging cables and pens, and two side pockets that can hold a water bottle or umbrella. The main compartment has dividers to separate out clothes and shoes from the rest of your gear. No more digging around trying to find what you need!
While lightweight, the Setout Backpack provides ergonomic, padded shoulder straps and breathable back padding so you can wear it for long periods without discomfort. The straps are adjustable to customize the fit to your torso size. Carrying a heavy load? Compression straps on the sides and adjustable sternum straps help distribute the weight and prevent the bag from shifting around.
High Quality Build
Made from durable, weather-resistant nylon, this backpack holds up well to repeated use and keeps your belongings protected. YKK zippers, the best in the business, have zipper garages to prevent stuck or caught fabric. This attention to detail results in a backpack you can rely on for many travels to come.
The Tortuga Setout Backpack lets you stay organized in a compact, thoughtfully designed package. For hassle-free travel and exploring near or far, this backpack has you covered while keeping comfort in mind. The premium quality and practical yet stylish look also make this a pack you’ll enjoy using for years. If staying on top of all your essentials is key, the Setout is a fantastic lightweight travel backpack option.
#3 Patagonia Black Hole Pack: Most Durable
The Patagonia Black Hole pack is made of highly durable 900D ripstop nylon material that can withstand almost anything you throw at it. Whether you’re trekking through dense brush or hopping on and off trains, this backpack is built to handle it. The reinforced base provides extra protection from the elements and abrasion. The padded back panel and shoulder straps also help cushion your load over rough terrain.
With a durable water repellent finish and water-tight zippers, the Black Hole pack will keep your gear dry in a downpour. The main compartment has a weather-resistant barrier to prevent rain from seeping in. The front pocket and side water bottle pockets are also treated to bead water and resist moisture. For the ultimate in weather protection, you can use the included rain cover which fits snugly over the entire pack.
While the Black Hole pack is rugged, it’s also designed to maximize comfort. The adjustable shoulder straps and padded mesh back panel contour to your body. The straps have built-in load lifters to prevent strain on your shoulders and back. A removable sternum strap adds extra support and stability. The padded hip belt helps distribute weight and takes pressure off your back and shoulders. Multiple compression straps allow you to cinch down your load for a balanced, compact feel.
Inside the main compartment are built-in pockets, sleeves, and dividers to keep you organized on the go. A zippered top pocket is ideal for items you need quick access to. Stash small essentials in the dual mesh water bottle pockets. External compression straps can also be used to attach extra gear to the outside of your pack. With its simple yet thoughtful organization, the Black Hole pack lets you efficiently pack everything you need for your adventures.
#4 Eagle Creek Global Companion: Best for Comfort
The Eagle Creek Global Companion backpack is designed with comfort in mind. Its padded mesh back panel and shoulder straps make it easy to carry, even when fully loaded.
Ventilated Back Panel
The breathable mesh padding allows airflow to keep you cool while hiking or walking around town. The ergonomic design contours to the shape of your back, providing lumbar support right where you need it. Adjustable sternum and waist straps stabilize the load and reduce strain on your shoulders.
This versatile pack has a separate laptop sleeve, tablet pocket, and multiple storage areas for clothes, books, and gear. An expandable front section gives you extra room when you need it and zips closed when you don’t. Side pockets are perfect for water bottles or other items you want to access quickly.
Durable and Water Resistant
Made of high-denier nylon, the Global Companion is built to last through all your adventures. A water-repellent coating protects contents from rain and spills while still keeping the backpack breathable.
- Padded top grab handle for easy lifting
- Lockable zippers to keep items secure
- Integrated safety whistle in sternum strap buckle
- Hidden passport pocket
Whether you’re traversing through airports or hiking mountain trails, the Eagle Creek Global Companion has your back. Its comfortable, ventilated design and organized storage make it the perfect companion for any excursion. This lightweight yet durable pack holds everything you need while keeping you cool, supported, and ready to explore.
#5 Cotopaxi Allpa 28L: Most Stylish
The Cotopaxi Allpa 28L is a stylish and versatile travel backpack that’s perfect for short trips or minimalist packers. Its sleek, urban design and durable construction make it a great companion for adventure.
Spacious but Compact
Despite its small size, the Allpa 28L offers ample storage for essential gear. Its main compartment can hold a few days’ worth of clothes, while interior pockets organize smaller items. Exterior pockets provide easy access to things you need on the go like snacks, chargers or a jacket. Padded shoulder straps and back panel make it comfortable to carry, even when fully loaded. When not in use, it compresses down nicely for storage.
Built to Last
Cotopaxi designed the Allpa 28L with long-term travel in mind. Its water-resistant ripstop nylon exterior and sturdy zippers withstand the rigors of the road. Reinforced grab handles make it easy to grab and go. The Allpa also comes with Cotopaxi’s 61-year guarantee, so you can buy with confidence.
Thoughtful touches give the Allpa 28L added functionality. Its side water bottle pocket keeps your drink at hand. A hidden passport pocket secures important documents. Attachment points allow you to clip on extra gear. An internal laptop sleeve protects tech with padding.
When you purchase a Cotopaxi product, you support their humanitarian initiatives. Cotopaxi donates 1% of revenue to fund projects that address poverty and support community development around the world. Their repurposed materials and sustainable practices also minimize environmental impact.
The stylish and conscientious Cotopaxi Allpa 28L backpack makes exploring a breeze. Its compact yet utilitarian design has everything you need for short getaways and urban adventures, all while giving back to good causes. For a lightweight, do-good travel pack, the Allpa is tough to beat.
#6 Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack: Best Expandable Backpack
The Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack is a versatile and lightweight carry-on backpack perfect for any travel adventure.
Spacious and Expandable
This backpack provides a deceptively large 28L capacity that can expand to 42L when needed. The expandable section unzips around the entire pack to increase the main compartment space. This gives you extra room for souvenirs or anything else you pick up along your journey without having to check a bag.
Padded and Comfortable
Breathable air mesh shoulder straps and back panel keep you comfortable while wearing this pack for long periods. Sternum and waist straps add extra support and stability. Multiple padded pockets protect your electronics and other fragile items.
Front Panel Access
A large front panel opening gives you easy access to the main compartment so you don’t have to dig around in the pack to find what you need. Inside there are interior pockets and compression straps to keep everything organized and in place.
- Water bottle pocket
- Zippered side pockets
- Grab handle for easy lifting
- Reflective hits for visibility
- Lifetime warranty
This versatile backpack has all the features you need in a lightweight, durable carry-on. The expandability and organization make it simple to pack all your essentials for any trip. For a comfortable, compact travel backpack, the Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack is a top choice.
#7 Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack
The Tortuga Outbreaker has plenty of storage space for extended trips. Its 35L capacity provides enough room for 1-2 weeks of clothing and accessories. The main compartment opens up fully for easy packing and unpacking. It has two zippered mesh pockets to keep items organized and accessible.
Padded Shoulder Straps
This pack features padded, adjustable shoulder straps so you can customize the fit. The straps are contoured and breathable, making them comfortable to wear for long periods. Load lifters and a sternum strap help distribute the weight for maximum comfort. If your load gets heavy, the hip belt will transfer weight to your hips.
A dedicated padded laptop sleeve holds up to a 15-inch laptop. The sleeve is raised off the bottom of the pack and protects your tech gear from impacts. An additional tablet sleeve keeps your devices separated.
The Outbreaker is made of water-resistant sailcloth material that protects contents from rain, spills, and splashes. While not fully waterproof, the material is durable and abrasion-resistant. For total water protection, use the included rain cover in heavy rain.
- Spacious main compartment for extended trips
- Comfortable, padded shoulder straps and back panel
- Laptop and tablet sleeves for tech gear
- Water-resistant sailcloth material
- Can feel heavy when fully loaded
- Not the most budget-friendly option
- Rain cover required for total water protection
The Tortuga Outbreaker is an excellent choice for digital nomads and minimalist travelers looking for a high-quality, lightweight pack for multi-day trips. With its simple yet thoughtful design, this backpack makes it easy to pack everything you need and stay comfortable on the go.
FAQs: Lightweight Backpacks for Travel
What size backpack should I get?
The size of backpack you need depends on the length of your trip and how much you want to carry. For shorter trips, a smaller 20-30L pack should suffice. For longer excursions or if you like to be prepared for any situation, go with a larger 30-50L backpack. As a general rule, pack as lightly as you can – you’ll appreciate not lugging around extra weight!
What features should I look for?
Some useful features to consider in a lightweight travel backpack include:
- Padded shoulder straps and back panel – Will make carrying your pack much more comfortable, especially if walking long distances.
- Multiple compartments – Separate sections for organizing your belongings and making items easy to access. Look for a main compartment, front pocket and water bottle holders.
- Lightweight yet durable material – Popular options include nylon, polyester and ripstop fabrics. These are lightweight but can withstand stress.
- Compression straps – Straps that cinch your pack down to a smaller size. This stabilizes the load and makes your pack easier to carry.
- Laptop sleeve – A padded section to hold your laptop. If traveling with electronics, this is a must-have feature.
How do I pack and distribute weight?
To make your lightweight backpack as comfortable as possible to wear for long periods:
- Do not overpack. Only bring essential items and pack as lightly as possible.
- Place heavy items close to your back, at the center. This distributes weight evenly and prevents strain.
- Use compression straps to stabilize the load. Tighten straps to secure the contents and prevent shifting.
- Ensure even weight distribution on both sides of the pack. Your pack should feel balanced when carrying.
- Leave room for any souvenirs or last-minute items. Do not pack your backpack to maximum capacity.
Following these tips will make traveling with your lightweight backpack an easy and enjoyable experience. Let the adventures begin!
So there you have it, 10 of the best lightweight backpacks for your travel adventures. Any of these packs would make a great companion for your trips near and far. Lightweight, durable and designed for comfort, you really can’t go wrong. Now the only question left is where your backpack will take you. The open road awaits, so pack up one of these lightweight backpacks and get out there. Adventure is calling your name! What are you waiting for? The world is an open book and these backpacks were made for writing your story. Here’s to the journey ahead!