Travelling is a great way to see the world, expand your horizons, and take a break from everyday life.
While most tourists will generally opt for a suitcase, real travellers know that the flexibility and freedom a backpack offers can add a huge amount of extra enjoyment to a trip.
A great way to reduce the amount of last-minute stress in your travel plans is to make sure you’re prepared with a quality travel backpack.
With the right pack, you can easily fit all of the gear you need and transport it without issue. Choose the wrong pack, and you might be in for a nightmare of a trip before you ever leave home.
To help you sort through all of the different travel packs available today, we’ve created this ultimate buyer’s guide to the best travel backpacks.
After the summary table below, we discuss the key things to look out for when choosing your pack, followed by reviews of the best products on the market in Australia.
Our top pick: Osprey Farpoint 70L
Stylish and functional, the Osprey Farpoint 70L is ready for an adventure. Built with a LightWire frame suspension system, the Farpoint is capable of carrying lots of gear without placing too much stress on your body.
With a mesh back panel and harness, the Farpoint breathes well and helps keep you cool, even in the heat. Plus, the harness zips away into the back panel of the pack for transport.
If that isn’t enough, the Farpoint has plenty of pockets and storage areas for easy organization of all your gear. Plus, when you head out on a short day trip, you can leave the big bag behind and take the detachable day pack with you to lighten your load.
- Detachable day pack
- Mesh back panel and harness for breathability
- Harness zips into back panel for transport
- Too big for shorter trips
Kathmandu Overland 55L
When carry on only just won’t cut it, the Kathmandu Overland 55L is a traveller’s best friend. Designed for travellers that head off of the well-trodden path, the Overland 55L is made from a durable tough gridTech fabric that keeps your gear protected, even in foul weather.
The pack itself features a padded hip belt and a great load-supporting frame for when you’re carrying lots of gear. Plus, the Overland 55L zips open like a suitcase to provide easy access to your gear. What’s not to love?
- Comfortable for carrying lots of gear
- Opens like a suitcase for easy access
- Protects your gear from foul weather
- Too big for carry-on
Osprey Porter 46
If you’re looking for a carry-on sized travel bag that can do it all, you just might find your match in the Osprey Porter 46.
The largest carry-on compatible pack in Osprey’s travel bag line-up, the Porter features padded sidewalls to protect your gear and clothing when you’re on the go.
Plus, the Porter has a dedicated and zippered laptop/tablet pocket and an assortment of storage options for all of your smaller items.
Our favourite part about the Porter? The pack features a great set of comfortable shoulder straps and a cushy hibelt for easy carrying, but these straps can tuck away into the back panel to protect them in transport, making it perfect for frequent travellers.
- Shoulder straps and hip belt pack into the back of the pack for safekeeping
- Zippered laptop/tablet pocket
- Padded sidewalls for structure and protection
- Bulky construction
Macpac Torlesse 65L Hiking Backpack
Pros: Reasonably priced, high-quality materials, Flexi-Fit harness, top-loading only for strength and durability, built-in rain cover, available in three sizes and three colours.
Cons: Not the lightest pack
The Macpac Torlesse is a pack that’s been designed with adventure in mind. It’s made of nylon ripstop fabrics for lightweight durability, and the Flexi-Fit harness is comfortable, breathable and adjustable.
It features the traditional hiking pack layout of a large main compartment (top-loading) and a separate base compartment with internal divider and external zip.
The zipped front and lid pockets will help keep you organized on the go, while twin side pockets are perfect for keeping your water bottle and snacks close at hand.
It’s also got a rain cover included so that even if it rains on your hike, you’ll still be able to keep your gear dry.
Kathmandu Hybrid 50L Trolley
The 50L Hybrid Trolley prides itself on being lightweight yet durable for even the most adventurous traveller.
This pack is spacious enough to live comfortably out of for months and can stow everything you need from boots to jackets, especially when using packing cubes.
Many travellers praise the Kathmandu Hybrid for being watertight even on the rainiest of days.
Additionally, because of its durability, travellers can feel comfortable bringing this bag on all of their travels.
For those who enjoy the benefit of a daypack, this pack has attachment points to add this accessory easily.
Deuter Traveller 70+10L
If you’re heading out on an epic, months-long trip, you’ll need to transport a lot of gear. That’s where the Deuter Traveller 70+10L comes in. Designed for comfort and versatility, the Traveller is a functional backpack that can be packed just like a suitcase but is carried like a hiking pack.
The Traveller has a wide range of different comfort features, including a height-adjustable harness so you can get the perfect fit. Plus, the Traveller even has a detachable daypack for when your adventures warrant travelling light during the day.
- Detachable day pack
- 10L expansion pocket for souvenirs
- Adjustable and comfortable harness
- Breathable back panel
- Too large for shorter trips
Kathmandu Connect Smart Pack
The Kathmandu Connect Smart Pack is the go-to travel backpack for the modern day digital nomad. Sleek, stylish, and functional, the Connect Smart Pack features a Joey T3 smart unit that can connect to an app on your smartphone to provide a power source while you’re on-the-go.
The pack’s charging feature means you can travel for days in remote locations without ever going without your gadgets.
Plus, with notebook and tablet sleeves, inner compartments for different charging cables, keys, drink bottles, and more, this is an excellent pack for staying organized during an adventure.
- Up to 25 hours of charging time for a smartphone
- Breathable and lightweight harness for a comfortable fit
- Great inner pockets for organization and protecting your belongings
- Fairly heavy
Choosing Your Travel Backpack
Choosing a travel backpack can be pretty tricky because there are so many different models on the market today.
To help you make an educated decision about which pack is best for you, we’ve compiled a list of the essential features to look out for on a new travel backpack:
Size is perhaps the most crucial consideration you have when choosing a travel backpack. If your pack is too small, you can’t fit what you need, and if it’s too big, you’ll be lugging around extra weight for no reason.
Smaller packs are great for carry-on only trips, while larger ones will have to be checked on a plane.
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Unless you’re headed out on a luxury vacation, at some point, you’ll have to carry your pack. The best way to do so is by using a set of built-in backpack straps that convert your pack into a hiking-style backpack.
Every pack is different, but it’s nice to look for packs that have breathable straps for when you’re travelling in hot environments.
Another great thing to look for is a pocket that stores away the backpack straps for transport, so your pack doesn’t accidentally break a buckle as it spins around the luggage conveyor belt at the airport.
Pockets, both internal and external, are essential for organizing gear on-the-go. Some packs have ample pockets, while others are little more than a giant tube for your gear.
It really all depends on your own personal preferences. Some packs even have expandable pockets so you can store all of those souvenirs you picked up along the way!
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Ultimately, a quality travel pack is an integral part of your travel gear list. Our top pick is the lightweight and breathable Osprey Farpoint 70L.
There are many different models out there, so before you decide on one, in particular, it’s important to determine what features you value most when you travel, and if possible, try a few on in store. Happy travels!