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The Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks

Updated Dec 10, 2022
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Now that most travel restrictions have been lifted, it may be time to dust off old luggage or consider new replacements as you consider even newer destinations.Opening up your favorite carry-on travel backpack—with all your stuff in the right place and easy to reach—should feel like opening the door to a well-organized closet or sitting down at a clean desk. This is a moment to center yourself, no matter how chaotic the journey. We spent six months testing 22 bags and flying across the country with all of our picks. In the end, we chose two as our top picks: the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L (for most trips) and the larger Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L. Both bags are exemplary carry-on travel backpacks that are designed for comfort, durability, and organization.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L, a versatile small pack for a week or a weekend

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

A versatile small pack for a week or a weekend
The Allpa’s clamshell design makes organizing your things simple. The strap design lets you easily wear this durable bag on your back or carry it in your hand while you’re on the move.
We recommend
Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L, an easily customizable large bag for long trips and expensive gear

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

An easily customizable large bag for long trips and expensive gear
This bag was built with photographers in mind, but most travelers will appreciate its easy accessibility, clever tuck-away straps, and the elegant way the bag expands and contracts, depending on how much you’ve packed. The accessory cubes cost extra, though.
We recommend
Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L, combines more organization with a simple interior

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L

Combines more organization with a simple interior
This bag’s open interior makes packing easy. Those who travel for work will appreciate the Topo’s accessible front pockets and holders for organizing books, papers, and assorted miscellaneous items.
Another good choice
Osprey Farpoint 40, for long distances on foot

Osprey Farpoint 40

For long distances on foot
A great starter option for one-bag travel, the Farpoint is easy to pack, adaptable to most situations, and sturdy enough to take with you as you travel the world. And it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
Another good choice
Osprey Fairview 40, for smaller torsos

Osprey Fairview 40

For smaller torsos
A scaled-down version of the Farpoint, the Fairview’s shoulder straps are slightly lower, to keep the bag’s bulk more aligned with smaller torsos.
Another good choice
Tortuga Outbreaker 45L Backpack, a suitcase to carry on your back

Tortuga Outbreaker 45L Backpack

A suitcase to carry on your back
For dedicated single-bag travelers, this water-resistant, durable bag is easy to pack and to travel with. And it’s comfortable to wear over endless miles—as long as you don’t mind the heavier weight.
Another good choice
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender, affordable capacity and organization

eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender

Affordable capacity and organization
The Mother Lode offers the organizational features most travelers want, at an affordable price. However, it’s not as comfortable as pricier options, and it can expand well past the limits of most overhead bins.
Another good choice

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