As I always tell readers, excellent packing skills play an important part in making your vacations as enjoyable as possible. This is especially true if you decide to go on a backpacking trip.
For those planning to backpack across Europe, here are some of the best backpack for traveling Europe.
Best Backpack for Travelling Europe
**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
Backpack vs Suitcases
For avid travelers like me, there’s always the question of whether we should bring a backpack or a suitcase for our next trip. But there’s really no one correct answer. Personally, I like to switch between the two depending on the trip.
Using a backpack or a suitcase comes with their own merits. If you are bringing a lot of things, then it’s more convenient to bring a suitcase. If you’re staying in just one place for the duration of your travel, then it’s also preferable that you use a suitcase to pack your belongings.
However, if you intend to travel light, then a backpack should suffice for your trip. Likewise, if you plan on island-hopping, traveling cross-country, or touring the entire continent, then it would be easier to just take a backpack with you.
As a rule, I use a backpack when I’m bringing only the bare essentials. I also use a backpack when I move around a lot during the trip, as backpacks are easier to carry around. For longer vacations, meanwhile, I take a suitcase. They are easier to pack and unpack. They also tend to be bigger and more spacious.
Hiking Backpacks vs Travel Backpacks
I once made the terrible mistake of using a hiking backpack during one of my travels. I thought that since a hiking backpack is spacious, then it should be great for traveling. It worked fine for carrying all my stuff, but it wasn’t the most convenient bag to use. Here are why hiking backpacks are not for traveling.
For one, hiking backpacks are tall and narrow. This is great for keeping the weight of the bag at the center of your back and minimizing back pain. However, this design makes packing difficult.
Also, this design also makes it difficult to access things inside your bag. To get something from the bottom of your hiking backpack, you have to take out the things at the top first. Just imagine doing this while on public transport.
Another main issue I have with hiking backpacks is that they usually only have a drawstring opening at the top. This works just fine if you are hiking a mountain since your belongings are quite safe. Unfortunately, this design would only make you an easy prey for thieves in crowded tourist destinations.
Characteristics of a Great Travel Backpack
Given my not so good experience with hiking backpacks during my earlier travels, I decided to get a proper travel backpack. And, believe me, it makes all the difference! To help you choose a travel backpack suited for your travel needs, here are a couple of things you should look for in a travel bag.
When it comes to travel backpacks, you need one which has several compartments. Ideally, you need a backpack that has one or two internal compartments where you can store valuables. You also need one with external compartments where you can store loose change and other items.
Another thing you should look for is good straps. This might seem unimportant, but you'll notice the difference after carrying your backpack for an entire day.
To help you carry your luggage comfortably, look for a travel backpack with padded hip and should straps. Padded hip straps spread the weight over your body and make the backpack comfortable on your hips.
Padded shoulder straps, meanwhile, ensure that the bag does not dig on your shoulders even if it’s heavy.
This one depends on your particular needs. For a cross-country trip that will last several days, you need a travel backpack that's big enough to hold several changes of clothes. For an overnight trip, a smaller bag with several compartments should suffice.
To determine how big your travel backpack should be, take into consideration the duration of your trip and the things you intend to bring.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of choosing a travel backpack made from sturdy materials. Note that you’re not simply looking for a backpack that can hold all your things. Instead, you’re also looking for one that is theft-proof.
A common modus operandi among thieves and snatchers in crowded tourist spots is slashing backpacks to get valuables. This is where a high-quality backpack comes in. Good backpacks are made of sturdy materials which cannot easily be slashed or punctured.
In addition to fending off thieves, backpacks made with durable materials also last longer. Good travel backpacks are seldom cheap, but they’re certainly good investments.
Top 5 Best Backpack for Travelling Europe
Now that I’ve told you what to look for in a travel backpack, here is a list of the five travel backpacks which, based on my experience, are best to use when traveling Europe and other places.
- Spacious but lightweight. This backpack weighs only 3 pounds although it's 14 x 21 x 15 inches measurement. This particular model has a 40-liter capacity. It’s also available in 55 and 70 liters.
- The backpack comes with a mesh back panel which improves ventilation. The mesh on the harness and the hip belt, meanwhile, reduces chafing.
- This backpack comes with a light wood frame suspension typically found in hiking backpacks. This suspension system distributes the weight, so the backpack is comfortable to carry even for an extended period.
- All the zippers are completely covered by a flap of fabric, so they are not easily accessible to thieves and snatchers.
- There are loops on the zipper of the main compartment where you can insert a padlock to secure your belongings.
- There are several interior and exterior compartments. There are also 6 ID windows for storing identification cards and other important documents.
- The drink pockets are located in front of the backpack so they’re not easily inaccessible when you’re carrying the bag.
- The tech pocket is located towards the front of the backpack, instead of at the back where a laptop or tablet can sit snugly against your back.
- This backpack has an impressive 44.24-liter capacity, with dimensions of 3.15 x 14.96 x 24.02 inches. Despite its size, it only weighs 3.09 pounds.
- Great for keeping your belongings organized. The backpack has several zippered compartments, both in the interior and on the exterior.
- The backpack has easily-accessible built-in water bottle compartments located at the sides.
- The backpack has a front handle so you can carry it in one hand like a suitcase. This makes the backpack easy to pick up.
- It comes with a full-access U-zipper, so packing and unpacking are very easy. All items inside the bag are also readily accessible.
- The design of the backpack makes carrying it very comfortable. The back panel curves nicely to fit snugly to the body when carried.
- This backpack comes with a dynamic AirFlow back panel, Air Mesh on the shoulder straps, dual density foam waist belt, and sternum straps to ensure maximum comfort.
- The backpack is well-built and incredibly durable, but it is also quite pricey. It might not be the best option for those purchasing traveling gear within a budget. It is, however, competitively priced given its quality.
- The zippers cannot be locked to provide additional security.
- Specifically built for carrying a laptop and/or a tablet on your travel. It has a built-in laptop compartment which can hold a 17-inch laptop computer. It also has a tablet compartment opposite the laptop compartment.
- The checkpoint-friendly design enables the backpack to be opened fully.
- Measuring 13.5 x 9 x 18.5 inches, this backpack is quite roomy. In addition to your laptop, you can also pack your essentials inside the bag.
- The backpack is ergonomically contoured and has padded shoulder straps for all-day comfort. It is perfect for lugging around your laptop and other essentials during your travels.
- The oversized zippers are durable. It can withstand the weight of a laptop. It also doesn’t snag.
- The back panel is heavily padded so you don't feel the laptop digging into your back. The back panel also has airflow ventilation for added comfort.
- There aren’t zippered compartments inside, so it’s better to keep miscellaneous items on the exterior compartments. Of course, this is not ideal for storing important items such as documentation or phones.
- The straps are not durable enough to support heavy items. The backpack is great for carrying a laptop, but you might want to go easy on the other items.
- It is covered by the eBags Lifetime Warranty.
- It has a full expansion zipper which adds up to 10 percent of packing space.
- This backpack opens completely for easier packing and unpacking.
- There are numerous internal and external compartments to store documents and miscellaneous items. The main compartment also comes with straps to hold your things in place.
- The four outer compression straps can easily cinch down your backpack. This comes in handy if you have limited space for the overhead baggage compartment.
- The combination of fabric and polyester makes this backpack very durable. Despite its affordable price tag, it can actually withstand constant use.
- Although it measures only 9 x 22 x 14 inches, it already weighs 3.7 pounds. Although not too far from the weight of other travel backpacks, the weight difference becomes noticeable when you place your laptop and other things inside.
- It’s not as comfortable to carry on your back as traditional travel backpacks, but it is spacious enough and very versatile.
- This backpack is specially made for techies-on-the-go. It features multi-purpose and compartments that can hold various gadgets. It has a large padded pocket for a laptop, a separate section for a tablet, and zippered accessory pouches.
- There are several zippered outer compartments which are ideal for storing miscellaneous items and loose change.
- For those who like to listen to music during their travels, this backpack has a media pocket custom fit with a headphone jack. This way, you can keep your phone or audio device inside your bag and still listen to music.
- The bottom of the bag is wide, enabling the bag to sit upright when put down. This ensures that none of your gadgets gets damaged.
- The backpack’s shoulder strap is thickly padded. Carrying the bag wouldn’t hurt your shoulders.
- The extra sleeve intended for the tablet is not padded. You have to be extra careful to make sure that your tablet does not get damaged when storing your backpack in the compartment.
- Measuring only 6.1 x 12.6 x 18.3 inches, this backpack is suitable only for day trips which require minimal baggage.
My Ultimate Favorite
As I’ve said, the best backpack for you will greatly depend on your particular needs and the specifics of your trip. Personally, however, my go-to backpack is the Kelty Redwing 44. The numerous zippered compartments are perfect for keeping your things organized during travel.
Although not as spacious as the Osprey Farpoint 40, I still like it better because of the zippered compartments. The placement of the water bottle holder is also a very big plus for me as I like to stay hydrated during my travels.
Although not specially designed for carrying laptops, it’s big enough to hold one. I figured that if I just pack my laptop properly, I can actually fit it inside the Kelty Redwing 44.
Although quite pricey, I find the Kelty Redwing 44 a very good investment because it is very durable. I've used it for numerous trips, and it’s still good as new.
How about you? Do you have a go-to travel backpack? Share it with me in the comments below!