Choosing the Best Carry-on Backpacks: Top Business Travel Backpacks 2018 Reviewed
People have been using backpacks for over a thousand years. From the basic hide leather rucksacks of our ancestors to the high-tech multi-pocketed and zippered backpacks of today, they remain the most popular way to carry around your gear.
It's not hard to see why either. They're hands-free and allow you to walk around with a free range of motion, or carry more stuff. Your back can carry a heavy load for a lot longer than your hands can, and it's impossible to lose something when its strapped to your back.
Most backpacks are even small enough to fit on a plane as a carry-on, which saves you the time and money that it takes to check large, clunky suitcases. They also allow you to keep all of your valuables close to your person and away from the hands of would-be thieves.
Whether you're a student, traveler, weekend warrior, or busy professional, we've put together the ultimate buyer's guide to help you choose the best carry-on backpack for your purposes.
- 1 Top 10 Carry-On Backpacks Review
- 1.1 Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack
- 1.2 Nomatic Travel Bag
- 1.3 Deuter Transit 50 Backpack
- 1.4 Cabin Max Metz Backpack
- 1.5 Patagonia Refugio Pack
- 1.6 Knomo Mayfair Beauchamp 14 Backpack
- 1.7 The North Face Jester Backpack
- 1.8 Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack
- 1.9 Tortuga Travel Backpack
- 1.10 Hynes Eagle 38L Backpack
- 2 Buying Guide
- 3 Final Verdict
Top 10 Carry-On Backpacks Review
Now that we're onto our review, we'd like to discuss the top 10 carry-on backpacks that you can take for your next business trip. Each backpack has been selected based on their design, weight capacity, and performance. Here are the best backpacks that are out in today's market.
Best Overall Carry-On Backpack
Of the options on our list of the best carry-on backpacks, you will find few products that can match the capabilities of this model from Osprey, a company known for their quality product lines. We are happy to report that this bag stands up to the maker’s exceptional reputation, exceeding expectations.
When looking for the best travel backpack, you will want something that is ready for longer journeys, and many of the features on the Osprey Farpoint 40 are geared towards exactly that. For instance, the somewhat bulky harness and hip belt can both be tucked away into the bag for long trips.
Speaking of extended voyages, you will also find that the padded shoulder straps are ideal for when you have no choice but to carry your bag with you, such as in boarding queues. The comfortable design wouldn’t be worth much without sufficient storage room, however.
Pockets and Storage
When looking for the right laptop backpack for travel, few considerations are as important as the amount of room that you have inside of the bag. You will want to be able to cram as many things into your backpack as you comfortably can, especially on longer trips.
Thankfully, the Farpoint 40 has more than enough room in its spacious interior pocket, which is also divided into one smaller slip pocket, as well as a zip pocket of nearly equal size. This variety of pockets gives you no shortage of options when it comes to sorting out the things you will be bringing along.
Best Travel Backpack (With a Slight Catch)
You will find few options that can hope to match this carry-on backpack when it comes to capabilities, but there are some unfortunate drawbacks. The most significant issue that we found with this bag was the relatively high price. The unsecured drink pockets also presented a minor problem.
The Most Functional Travel Bag Ever
If you want a carry-on backpack that will be ready for the most rigorous journeys you could ever hope to undertake, you will find few bags like this one. The Nomatic travel bag is equipped with a host of features that can support you through most travels, and it is highly versatile thanks to a modular design.
You may be wondering just how helpful a travel bag can get, but have you heard of another model that features a built-in laundry bag? You no longer have to worry about dirty clothing stinking up the rest of your pack, since this model is equipped with its hamper that you can use ongrueling voyages.
Designed for Designated Packers
If you love knowing where everything is when you pack your luggage for a trip, then this is the perfect bag for you.
The Nomatic travel bag is equipped with a range of different pockets that are meant to contain all sorts of different things, from shoes to cables for your electronics; there's a pocket for everything.
While many travel bags are equipped with a single pocket for electronic devices, this one has room for two of them; a laptop and a tablet, to be specific. The laptop pocket is TSA-approved, so you don't have to worry about leaving your computer in your bag when you are going through customs.
An Effective (Yet Bulky) Design
If you are looking for a lightweight backpack for travel, then this may not be the ideal model for you. This bag weighs four pounds when it is empty, so it is not meant for those who like to travel light. On the other hand, everything that you will pack will be adequately protected by this waterproof bag.
This is a carry-on backpack that is designed for those who need as much storage room as possible coupled with a rugged design that can be brought nearly anywhere. If you are going to be doing a good deal of adventuring, then you will find few bags that are comparable to the Nomatic travel bag.
Best Business Travel Backpack
Up next on our list of the best carry-on backpacks, we are going to take a look at the Transit 50 from Deuter, a product with a somewhat unique design. Unlike many of the other models on this list, you will find that this model consists of two backpacks in one, with a smaller bag mounted on the front.
This unique design makes for a travel backpack that can accommodate a wide range of situations. Should you need to carry all of your carry-on gear with you, feel free to leave the smaller bag attached, but if you are only going for a quick trip, you can detach the smaller bag and bring it along.
An Ergonomic Design
Apart from the 2-in-1 design, you will find that the primary motivation for buying this travel bag is the highly ergonomic design that makes it one of the most comfortable options around. If you are tired of constant discomfort while traveling, then this is assuredly the right bag for you.
This bag features the Aircontact system which ensures that the backpack is optimally supported as well as a suitable distance from your back to prevent uncomfortable sweat. There are few things as unpleasant as wearing a heavy bag in warm weather without enough ventilation.
Meant for Heavier Loads
The other realm in which this bag excels is carrying more massive loads than the average carry-on travel bag. If you tend to bring a lot of things with you when you travel, this might just be the best option for you since it will be able to carry everything that you need, and it will be able to do so in comfort.
Of course, there is no bag without its flaws, and this one is no different. If you like to travel light, you may find that this bag is too bulky for your tastes. There is also the issue of the excessive number of straps and buckles that tend to get in the way.
While this bag may be a little cluttered, that is a small price to pay for all of the benefits that it offers.
Lightweight and Suitable as Carry-On Luggage
When it comes to the best carry-on backpacks, you may be expecting 200 dollar bags that all feature a massive array of features, but sometimes simplicity is a better choice. While the Cabin Max Metz may be a quarter of the cost of many of the other bags on this list, it is no less capable.
While you may not get all of the bells and whistles present on some of the competition with the Metz, you do get value for money, and that is all that some customers want out of their bag. Let’s take a detailed look at what exactly you get when you decide to purchase one of these lightweight bags.
Compact and Comfortable
While this carry-on bag may be relatively small, you will find that it features a massive capacity,
making it suitable for travelers with a lot of things to bring along. Thanks to the side-mounted compression straps, you will be able to ensure that this bag is small enough to fit, even when full.
When it comes to the aspect of comfort, you will find that the padded straps and back of this bag make it an excellent choice, especially when compared to other models in the same price range.
If you are planning on going on longer trips, this bag will keep your back from getting sore.
Durable and Long-Lasting
Unlike many other budget travel bags, you will find that this model can last years if you take proper care of it. The water-resistant 600D polyester will keep your belongings safe from light rain, and the exterior of this bag is sturdy enough to put up with a decent amount of wear and tear.
If you are sick of having to buy new carry-on bags every year, we would recommend looking into the Cabin Max Metz, as it will be sure to last longer than many equally-priced options. While this backpack may be lacking in additional features, it makes up for it in many other ways.
Best Weekender Backpack
If you're looking to take a weekend trip or a light hike, then this backpack is for you! It's sturdy, durable, and lightweight, but can carry a hefty load. Patagonia has been making quality outdoor gear and backpacks for over 40 years, and the Refugio backpack is built to withstand the harsh wilderness of Patagonia itself.
Patagonia's founder Yvon Chouinard has long been an advocate for environmental protection and recycling. In fact, he sold his company solely to purchase and protect the country of Patagonia from any further development.
The Refugio backpack is made from 100% recycled polyester, which is held to the same standards and has the same durability of traditional polyester. It is made primarily from recycled water bottles. By purchasing this backpack, you're reducing landfill waste and supporting the environment.
Raised Laptop Compartment
One of the greatest features of the Refugio backpack is it's protected laptop compartment. Many backpacks have a laptop pocket, but they aren't protected, which means that if you were to drop your pack accidentally, your laptop wouldn't be very well shielded and could sustain damage.
Patagonia's laptop pocket is thick and padded and is also raised off of the ground. This means that even if you did drop your backpack, then your computer wouldn't come into contact with the ground.
Whether you’re hitting the beach or going for a weekend hike through the mountains, keeping your gear dry is important. The worst way to end a great weekend is with a bag full of wet socks or short-circuited laptops.
Thankfully the Refugio has you covered! While you wouldn’t want to go swimming with this backpack, all of the surfaces are treated with a hydrophobic Durable Water Repellent. This provides a protective barrier that will keep all of your bag’s contents dry even if you get caught in an unexpected mountain shower.
A Slim Backpack For The Must-Be-Hands-Free Commuter
If you're going to be traveling light and have an eye for fashion, then this backpack is perfect for you. You can carry all of your essentials and laptop in this sleek and compact 14-Liter pack, making it the ideal choice for an on-the-go commuter or business professional.
Made with style in mind
Wherever you go, you can expect to receive envious gazes and compliments with the Knomo Mayfair. It's made of a glossy black nylon material which repels stains and dirt. The black is offset by rose gold zippers which gives the bag a very classy appeal.
All of the trim and tassels are made from a full grain authentic black leather which only adds to its luxurious nature. Opening the bag, you'll be met with a scarlet red cloth interior that contrasts beautifully with the dark, glossy exterior.
This backpack is as much of a fashion statement as it is a handy travel bag, and will go great with almost any outfit you choose to wear.
Plenty of compartments
If you're trying to be more organized, then the Knomo backpack will certainly help you in that area. It has a small front compartment with small pockets, credit card slots, keyring holders and can be used for storing pens, phone chargers, credit card slots, and other small accessories.
Inside you have one your main storage compartment which can fit anything from a pair of shoes to heavy textbooks. There is a secondary compartment that’s great for holding things like sunglasses or small notebooks.
The Knomo also has a heavily-padded laptop pouch that can withstand all the light impacts or drops you might encounter throughout your daily commute. It can fit most 14-inch laptops.
Never worry about identity theft
In recent years hacking technology has gotten so advanced that identity thieves can walk past you in the street and use devices that automatically copy your credit card information through your wallet, pockets, or even bags just through being in proximity to you.
To combat this Knomo has lined the inside of their front storage pocket with an RFID blocking material. This will ensure that no matter where you are and who's around you, that your personal information and credit cards will remain safe and secure from any hackers.
Best Backpack for Protecting and Organizing Your Gear
This bag was made for the book-laden student and the serious hiker alike. With its 30-Liter capacity, it can hold just about anything you can ever need to carry. This backpack has plenty of storage compartments and pockets that make it very easy to keep organized and stay productive.
The North Face has been making high quality since 1966, and they haven’t sacrificed any quality in making their Jester backpack. The north face of a mountain is the most brutal, cold, and steep side of a mountain and this company builds all of the backpacks to withstand these harsh and unforgiving climates.
A backpack for everybody
With so many different colors it can be hard to choose! The North Face Jester comes in 18 different color variations that range from simple dark shades, to warm earthy tones and even bright neon colors, which means that no matter what your style or personality is, they’ve got one to match.
Priced at less than $65, they're also very affordable. The quality and space that this backpack gives you are easily worth twice as much, but The North Face has stayed committed to making quality products that anybody can afford.
Lots of pockets
If you tend to be a disorganized individual, then this bag is certainly for you! There is a pocket for just about anything you could think of. You could have this backpack for over a year and still find storage slots and features that you hadn’t noticed before.
Looking at the outside, there is a large secondary compartment that can hold anything from notebooks to headphones and has plenty of slots for pens, cards, and other knick-knacks. There is even a drawstring tightening system that will keep extra clothing or a small football secure, and a water bottle sleeve.
Looking inside, there is a spacious 30-Liter main compartment that can hold textbooks, binders, or even a large pair of boots. Within this main compartment, there is a floating laptop sleeve that's well-padded for any impacts and can store up to a 15-inch device.
The North Face’s patented Flex Vent system promotes airflow to your back and prevents you from the excessive sweating that often makes backpacks so uncomfortable in the warm seasons. These wide, deep grooves in the back pad allow hot air to escape, and cool air to flow through.
Since you're most likely going to be carrying a lot of gear with this backpack, the straps are engineered to reduce back and shoulder stress as much as possible. They are wide to distribute the weight across your shoulders evenly, and they are made with an air-mesh material that will mold to your natural contours.
Best Checkpoint-Friendly Laptop Bag
TSA-Approved Laptop Bag
For those who have to travel frequently via air, you have found the ideal laptop bag with the Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack.
If you're one of those travelers who is always running late trying to get through past the airport security, you'll be happy to hear that the Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack will aid you in the rushing aspect of having to go through the checkpoint.
Usually, when you're going through the TSA Security Checkpoint at the airport, the TSA requires you to remove your laptop from your backpack. That additional movement alone can cost you valuable time if your gate doors are about to close.
If you were to equip yourself with the Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack, you wouldn’t even have to waste time trying to take the laptop out of your bag in the first place.
The TSA claims that if your laptop is in a TSA-approved laptop bag, then you do not need to remove your laptop when you're going through the TSA Security Checkpoint.
Fortunately, the Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack features a TSA approved Laptop Sleeve so that you can breeze past airport security.
Top-Tier Laptop Safety
In regards to the design aspects of the laptop sleeve, the Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack comes with a padded compartment that’s already built-in.
This compartment is specifically designed to adequately carry your computer as well as protect it from external shocks while you travel.
Since you’re bound to be throwing your bag around, having a laptop bag that can withstand such intense shocks will come in handy in the long run.
The Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack comes built with a Perfect Fit Adjustable Laptop System, which is specific to only Samsonite products. Even the Samsonite backpacks for men feature this design, but now women get to take advantage of it too.
The Perfect Fit Laptop System ensures a custom fit for laptops measuring anywhere in between 13 inches to 15.6 inches.
The Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack doesn't forget about the buyers who have tablets instead of laptops. This means that the product comes with a padded tablet pocket that ensures the safety of your iPad or another tablet that you may use for work-related purposes.
For those who remain worried that they’ll run into issues with TSA regarding the size of the Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack, you shouldn’t be. The Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack is specifically designed to cater to most airlines overhead compartment specifications.
Keep in mind that it entirely depends on the airline that you’re using because some airlines have stricter policies regarding carry-on luggage dimensions.
Based on several buyer comments, the Samsonite Novex Perfect Fit Laptop Backpack will easily fit underneath the seat in front of you on an airplane, so you can imagine how small it is in size.
Great Backpack for Longtime Travelers
Front Loading Design
The Tortuga Travel Backpack features a large main compartment that opens up similarly to a suitcase. This means that if you need anything quickly, you’ll have access to it in a matter of seconds.
Additionally, the front-loading design maximizes packing space. For those who are going on a cross-country trip, the Tortuga Travel Backpack will function as a suitcase that can easily be carried as a backpack.
Longtime travelers prefer the front loading design specific to the Tortuga Travel Backpack rather than the traditional top loading one. This is because the front loading design is one hundred percent more efficient and practical for a city to city travel.
Padded Shoulder Straps
Another feature that most buyers overlook when buying a travel backpack are the hip belt as well as the padded shoulder strap design. A majority of travel backpacks will barely offer any padding, which can cause adverse effects towards your back and spinal alignment.
Thankfully, the Tortuga Travel Backpack comes with both the shoulder straps and hip belt feature. More importantly, the shoulder straps come extremely well padded, which is worth the $150 price tag.
Keep in mind that the Tortuga Travel Backpack does not come with an advanced suspension system so that it may cause some strain on your back. However, the extra padded shoulder straps do adequately make up for the subpar suspension system.
For those who want to carry a back that they can wear for a couple of hours at a time, then you may want to consider purchasing another bag seriously.
If you mainly just expect to wear the Tortuga Travel Backpack on your way from the airport to the hotel, then you're good to go, and you can purchase the Tortuga Travel Backpack.
There is an additional design element regarding the straps of the Tortuga Travel Backpack that you should be aware of before you decide to purchase the bag. All of the straps designed on the Tortuga Travel Backpack can be zipped away behind a cover.
This is an excellent feature that comes in handy when you want to carry the bag rather than wear it, which can put less stress on one side of your arms.
An Easy to Grab Backpack with Multiple Carrying Options
Designed for the Avid Traveler
Last on our list is the Hynes Eagle 38L Backpack. It's viewed as the best backpack for work and travel because of its ability to convert from a backpack to a duffel bag within seconds. The bag is designed not only for business flights but is also made for weekend trips in both outdoor camping environments and weekend getaways.
Also, the backpack has multiple compression buckle straps that are used to adjust the height of the bag. This allows you to hold the bag according to your preferences and protect it from bumps and getting accidentally knocked over.
Not to mention, the backpack has an interior slot pocket which allows you to show your boarding pass at the nearest checkpoint. This backpack is made as a utility kit for traveling while also having enough space to carry all of your designed clothes, gadgets, and laptops for extended traveling.
Multiple Carrying Options
You can carry it as a backpack, suitcase, or a handbag. This backpack gives you 3 different carrying options that fit traveler's and professional's multiple alternatives. It's hideaway backpack straps are made of thick padded mesh material and allows you to switch between these options resulting in more efficient travel easily.
Accepted in Most IATA flights
You don't have to worry about this backpack being rejected by most airlines. This is because the Hynes Eagle bag weighs in at a max size of 83 pounds. If you're looking for a durable backpack that's also flight friendly, this bag is perfect for you.
It’s two grab handles allow for it to be quickly picked up and stored inside tight locations with ease. Thus, making it able to fit inside the overhead compartment of the plane. Buy this product if you’re want to enter your flights without the hassle being weighed down by a heavy bag.
Do you need extra advice on what carry on a backpack to take on your next business trip or outdoor vacation?
Keep reading. We’ll help you by telling you what specs you need to consider when getting your first carry on bag.
Types of Backpacks
Here is a table that demonstrates the multiple types of backpacks that are available:
Packers who need to keep something light on a 1-3 camping trip should consider getting a pack within this range.
This is a popular choice amongst businessmen and campers who are going on warm trips that are 3-5 days long.
This is for people who are on 7-day vacations or extended backpacking trips. They are used for:
- Adults that are going on trips with their children. It has a high weight capacity which gives it space to add additional clothes and tools inside this type of backpack.
- Winter trips that are longer than two nights. Having a larger backpack in this category allows users enough room to pack an extra sleeping bag, extra clothing, and a small 2-4 season tent (which usually includes the additional poles.
If you’re going to a humid area where rain is expected, then you should get this item. Pack fabric interiors tend to have a waterproof coating. However, packs that have zippers and seams can allow water to seep through, and its exterior weights it down because of the downpour.
Alternatively, it can have a dry internal sack that allows it to be waterproof on the inside. The lightweight dry sacks are a better option when traveling in windy condition. This is because it protects the backpack from strong gusts that could potentially take the cover off.
Top-Loading:This is the more popular way for users to access their backpacks. All of the important items are placed near the top while the items used at the end of the day are packed further.
Panel Access: Some travel packs have a zippered front panel that folds open and exposes the interior of your backpack. Or, it can be opened via side zipper which is easier to find contents deeply lodged in your bag.
Some travel packs have a mesh back panel that's breathable and protect your back from sweating when carrying the carry on bag for more than 2 hours. It's "tension mesh suspension" has a trampoline-like design which is placed a few inches from your back and rests on the mesh covering.
Ventilation "chimneys" are used to promote airflow and are made in the back panels of the backpack. They are used to keep the user's back protected during long trips and can keep your body intact when making extensive trips.
We hope that we have been able to show you some great options, as well as give you plenty of information so that you can make a well-informed decision in purchasing your next backpack.
If you're looking for the ultimate quality, reliability, smart design, and carrying capacity all in one, then we strongly recommend the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack. It's unique; eye-catching design makes for a bag that's incredibly good-looking as well as functional.
With a 40 Liter total capacity, the Osprey is also one of the best carry-on backpacks you can find. You could easily pack five days worth of clothes, a laptop, and all of your toiletries without having to worry about a suitcase as well as keep them safe with the backpacks zipper-lock system. Happy travels!