Select Page

Table Of Contents

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!

Travel Backpacks

Travel Packs are excellent for airline commuters or vacationers. Most are built with the sole purpose of making your life in the airport easier. All of the one bag travel backpacks that we reviewed are carry-on compatible, making “single bag” travel a breeze. Who doesn’t want to be able to walk off the plane and into a cab towards your beach house Airbnb without waiting for luggage that may not show up? 

What is a One Bag Travel Backpack?

One bag travel backpacks are becoming quite popular in this age of digital nomadism and remote working. They all seem to have to check similar boxes, including: having a laptop sleeve, zipper security, and easy access to the main compartment. As you will see throughout the reviews, certain packs hit all of these marks, but some fall short. For the most part, all of these packs are very sleek and modern. Some take fashion more seriously than a hiking specific backpack, while others look like luxurious boxes with straps.
I would not recommend taking many of these travel packs off the beaten track, as they are mainly for getting your clothes and stuff from home to hotel and back. A few would manage in the backcountry, but if you are looking for a more specific backpacking pack check out our reviews of Best Backpacking Backpack of 2020 or our Best Day Hiking Backpack of 2020 articles.

How We Judged

One bag travel packs are all about convenience in regards to packing, airport security, and access to accessories such as passports. They are also made to be comfortable or easy to move around. It is important for these packs to have robust shoulder straps or carrying handles that are also easily stowed for inflight storage.
Another major part of these travel backpacks is the laptop sleeve. Is the laptop going to be easy to access to be taken out in the security line? Is the pocket well protected to keep the most expensive item in the pack safe and sound during travel? Does the pocket have room for my 17” MacBook Pro with the fancy lightbar at the top of the keyboard? These are important things to know for our new generation of digital nomads.
Lastly, the material and construction of the backpacks made for one bag travel. Sure, they can be very good looking and have sneaky pockets that hold lots of fun electronics, but if they are not able to withstand some bumping on the airplane, what good are they? It is hard to classify these backpacks. For our purposes, I focus on their function and how they would work as a travel backpack. At the end of the day, most of these travel backpacks would double excellently as a commuter pack or a larger, everyday-carry style of backpack.

Best Travel Backpacks of 2020

 

Top Picks

 

Tortuga Outbreaker: Best One Bag Travel Backpack of 2020

Tortuga Setout: Runner Up for Best One BagTravel Backpack of 2020

Eagle Creek Wayfinder: Best Budget One BagTravel Backpack of 2020

Osprey Farpoint 40: Most Comfortable One BagTravel Backpack of 2020

Peak Designs Travel Backpack: Best One Bag Travel Backpack for Photographers 2020

GoRuck GR3: Best One Bag Travel Backpack for Hiking 2020

Patagonia Blackhole MLC: Best One Bag Travel Backpack for Overpackers 2020

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Outbreaker - Gear Hacker
  • Organization 100% 100%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Laptop and Electronic Storage Pocket

Harness System

Cons

Boxy shape

Material Aesthetic

Weight: 5.1lbs (1.7kg)

Dimensions: 22x14x9” 

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker
  • Organization 80% 80%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 90% 90%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Slim Design

Can Accommodate a 17” Laptop.

Cons

Looks Like a Suitcase with Backpack Straps.

Weight: 3.9lbs (2.4kg)

Dimensions: 22x14x9” 

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Amazon.com

  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 100% 100%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

Zipper Security Systems

Price

Cons

Top Loading

Weight: 2.6lbs (1.17kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x8.25” 

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 17”

Best Travel Backpacks: Osprey Farpoint 40 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Organization 80% 80%
  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Security 70% 70%
  • Laptop Protection 60% 60%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Great Harness System

Internal Storage

Cons

Laptop Sleeve Location

Weight: 3.17lbs (1.44kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x9”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

Best Travel Backpacks: Peak Designs Travel Backpack - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Organization 80% 80%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Multiple Access Points

Stow Away Harness System

Cons

Price

Weight: 3.42lbs (1.55kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x9”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

Best Travel Backpacks: GoRuck GR3 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Goruck.com

  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Made for Travel and Outdoor Adventures

Cons

Limited Organization

Boxy

Weight: 5.15lbs (2.34kg) 

Dimensions: 22x14x9”

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 15”

Best Travel Backpacks: Patagonia Black Hole MLC Bag - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Organization 90% 90%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Security 60% 60%
  • Laptop Protection 70% 70%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Internal Organization

Durable Material

Cons

No Frame

Awkward Straps

Weight: 3.4lbs (1.5kg)

Dimensions: 22.75x18x6.75”

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

Best Travel Backpacks: Cotopaxi Allpa - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Organization 100% 100%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Adjustable Hipbelt

Good Company Values

Cons

Thin Harness System

Weight: 3.5lbs (1.6kg)

Dimensions: 20x12x8”

Capacity: 35l

Laptop Size: 15”

Best Travel Backpacks: AER Travel Pack 2 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Huckberry.com

  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

Shoe Compartment

Slim Design

Cons

Small Size

Hipbelt Sold Separately

Weight: 3.7lbs (1.69kg)

Dimensions: 21.5x13.5x8.5”

Capacity: 33l

Laptop Size: 15”

Best Travel Backpacks: Nomatic Travel Bag - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Nomatic.com

  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 70% 70%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

Waterproof

Water Bottle Pocket

Cons

Odd External Material Set Up

Weight: 4.5lbs (2.05kg)

Dimensions: 21x13x6.5” (expands to 7.5”)

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

Best Travel Backpacks: Minaal Carry-on 2.0 Bag - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Minaal.com

  • Organization 90% 90%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Included Rain Cover

Laptop Suspension System

Cons

Harness Stowing System

Weight: 3.12lbs (1.415kg)

Dimensions: 21.6x13.7x7.87”

Capacity: 35l

Laptop Size: 16”

Best Travel Backpacks of 2020: Mission Workshop Fitzroy 40 - Gear Hacker
  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 70% 70%
  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Looks Great

Waterproof Material

Cons

Hard to Organize

Limited Pockets

Weight: 3.3lbs (1.5kg)

Dimensions: 20x15x8”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

Tortuga Outbreaker

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Outbreaker - Gear Hacker

Best One Bag Travel Backpack of 2020

  • Organization 100% 100%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 70% 70%
Price: $299

Weight: 5.1lbs (1.7kg)

Dimensions: 22x14x9” 

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

What We Like: Laptop and electronics storage pocket, harness system.

What We Don’t: Boxy shape and material aesthetic. 

The Tortuga Outbreaker may not look as aesthetically pleasing as the Tortuga Setout, but it has one of the more impressive laptop pockets on our list. The easy to access laptop pocket with additional cable storage is very easy to pack and access, which is a big win in this category. With a waterproof outer material, waterproof zippers, and one of the most comfortable harness systems in the group, it was easy to select the Outbreaker as the Best One BagTravel Backpack of 2020. 

Tortuga Setout

Best Travel Backpacks: Tortuga Setout - Gear Hacker

Runner Up for Best One BagTravel Backpack of 2020

 

  • Organization 80% 80%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 90% 90%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 80% 80%
Price: $199

Weight: 3.9lbs (2.4kg)

Dimensions: 22x14x9” 

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

What We Like: Slim design, can accommodate a 17” laptop.

What We Don’t: Looks like a suitcase with backpack straps. 

The Tortuga Setout is an excellent travel pack for the modern traveler. It has a great laptop sleeve, it is easy to pack and organize the main compartment, and great spots for your valuables. The designers did not go over the top with the Setout, and the price point makes the backpack very friendly. The fabric that was used is weatherproof, and the pack is perfectly sized for most US Airlines as a carry-on. The Setout even looks nice with smooth corners and a clean front panel.

Eagle Creek Wayfinder

Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

Best Budget One BagTravel Backpack of 2020

  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 100% 100%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 90% 90%
Price: $129

Weight: 2.6lbs (1.17kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x8.25” 

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 17”

What We Like: Zipper security systems, price.  

What We Don’t: Top loading.

Built like a more standard “backpack” the Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 is comfortable in a multitude of settings. Eagle Creek has added some great travel forward features, including Secure Zip Toggles for all zippers to lock them down for busy bus stations or markets. There is a hidden electronics pocket on the side to store your cables, and the laptop sleeve is protected by a water-resistant sleeve. In addition, the price can’t be beat! This is why the Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 earned our acknowledgment as the Best Budget One BagTravel Backpack of 2020.

Osprey Farpoint 40

Best Travel Backpacks: Osprey Farpoint 40 - Gear Hacker

Most Comfortable One BagTravel Backpack of 2020

 

  • Organization 80% 80%
  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Security 70% 70%
  • Laptop Protection 60% 60%
  • Weight 80% 80%
Price: $160

Weight: 3.17lbs (1.44kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x9”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

What We Like: Great harness system, internal storage. 

What We Don’t: Laptop sleeve location.

Although uncommon, Osprey has made a mistake in my opinion, which is something I didn’t think was possible. The location of their laptop sleeve is on the front of the pack away from the wearer’s body. I don’t know if the people in the production line held the drawings upside down or what, but the location of the laptop sleeve, for me, is all wrong.
That being said there is a ton of storage in the Farpoint 40 and the harness system is classic Osprey and so comfortable you’d barely know you were carrying your worldly possessions on your back. This harness system earned the designation of the Most Comfortable One Bag Travel Backpack of 2020, which slightly makes up for the total miss on the laptop pocket.

Peak Designs Travel Backpack

Best Travel Backpacks: Peak Designs Travel Backpack - Gear Hacker

 Best One Bag Travel Backpack for Photographers 2020

  • Organization 80% 80%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 80% 80%
Price: $299.95 

Weight: 4.5lbs (2.05kg)

Dimensions: 21x13x6.5” (expands to 7.5”)

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

What We Like: Multiple access points, stow away harness system. 

What We Don’t: Price. 

Peak Designs has created a great backpack with their Travel Backpack. With add-ons sold separately by Peak Designs, the pack is easily the Best One Bag Travel Backpack for Photographers in 2020. This designation is due to the clean design, multiple access points to the main compartment, and amazing stowing system for the harness. The technology that they were able to incorporate really shows in the final product of the Travel Backpack, even if they couldn’t come up with a catchier name.

GoRuck GR3

Best Travel Backpacks: GoRuck GR3 - Gear Hacker

Best One Bag Travel Backpack for Hiking 2020

  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 90% 90%
  • Weight 70% 70%
Price: $375

Weight: 5.15lbs (2.34kg) 

Dimensions: 22x14x9”

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 15” 

What We Like: Made for travel and outdoor adventures.

What We Don’t: Limited organization, boxy.

Talk about a beefy backpack. The GoRuck GR3 is as military-inspired as they come with MOLLE straps and velcro everywhere. GoRuck certainly had a demographic in mind, but I think that the GR3 is compatible with many kinds of travelers. The laptop space is “bombproof,” as mentioned by GoRuck, and with a large amount of internal storage plus the added internal pockets, there is space for everything. The main difference is that the harness system is comfortable and they have made the pack compatible with a hydration bladder, something you don’t see very often in the travel packs world. For those reasons, the GoRuck GR3 is the Best One Bag Travel Backpack for Hiking in 2020.

Patagonia Blackhole MLC

Best Travel Backpacks: Patagonia Black Hole MLC Bag - Gear Hacker

Best One Bag Travel Backpack for Overpackers 2020

  • Organization 90% 90%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Security 60% 60%
  • Laptop Protection 70% 70%
  • Weight 80% 80%
Price: $200

Weight: 3.4lbs (1.5kg)

Dimensions: 22.75x18x6.75”

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

What We Like: Internal organization, durable material.

What We Don’t: No frame, awkward straps.

Patagonia is another larger company in the travel backpack space that I think missed the mark. The MLC or (Maximum Legal Carry-on) has no framing system and therefore sits awkwardly on your body whether in suitcase or backpack mode. The benefit of the frameless body is that you can really overpack this thing, and it should be able to manage whatever is thrown at itor in it. There are some good organizational pockets along the outside of the pack, and the internal organization is quite innovative as well. It just wasn’t that comfortable to handle or use on a daily basis. The ability to overstuff it, though, earned the Patagonia Black Hole MLC the Best One Bag Travel Backpack for Overpackers. Be aware: overpacking can lead to this pack quickly changing status from your carry-on to checked luggage.

Cotopaxi Allpa

Best Travel Backpacks: Cotopaxi Allpa - Gear Hacker
  • Organization 100% 100%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%
Price: $200

Weight: 3.5lbs (1.6kg)

Dimensions: 20x12x8”

Capacity: 35l

Laptop Size: 15” 

What We Like: Adjustable hipbelt, good company values.

What We Don’t: Thin harness system.

Cotopaxi makes cool backpacks and the Allpa is no different. They are so proud of this one bag travel pack that even the CEO left a review on their own website, which is both cool and a bit funny. Cotopaxi included three carrying methods with the Allpa, including: a shoulder strap, backpack straps, and side handles. Each version is fairly comfortable and easy to set up. The internal storage is what really stood out to me during the review. I like having a place for everything, and the Allpa’s internal mesh pockets made that very easy to do.

AER Travel Pack 2

Best Travel Backpacks: AER Travel Pack 2 - Gear Hacker
  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 90% 90%
Price: $230

Weight: 3.7lbs (1.69kg)

Dimensions: 21.5×13.5×8.5”

Capacity: 33l

Laptop Size: 15”

What We Like: Shoe compartment, slim design. 

What We Don’t: Small size, hipbelt sold separately.

A great addition to the Travel Backpack market, the AER Travel Pack 2 is a highly functional, though slightly smaller, travel pack for modern nomads. The various storage compartments for electronics, shoes, and other accessories are all well plotted out in the pack, and nothing seems out of place. Again, it is slightly smaller than the other packs on the list at 33l, but if you are highly organized this shouldn’t be a problem.

Nomatic Travel Bag

Best Travel Backpacks: Nomatic Travel Bag - Gear Hacker
  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 70% 70%
  • Weight 90% 90%
Price: $280

Weight: 3.42lbs (1.55kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x9”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

What We Like: Waterproof and water bottle pocket.

What We Don’t: Odd external material set up.

Nomatic has created the Swiss Army Knife of one bag travel backpacks, but I am not entirely sure that is a good thing. While there is 40l of room and even a shoe pocket, there are some flaws. The external material is essentially all weatherproof except for the front panel, which is the panel on the ground while the pack is in duffel bag mode. The laptop sleeve is also in the main compartment which does keep it well protected, but it’s quite tricky to access while on a plane or in a tight space. The waterproof water bottle pocket is a nice touch, but the pocket is limited in size and would not fit a larger water bottle. Nomatic did some nice things with the Travel Bag, but I think there are better options on the market.

Minaal Carry-on 2.0 Bag

Best Travel Backpacks: Minaal Carry-on 2.0 Bag - Gear Hacker
  • Organization 90% 90%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 80% 80%
  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 80% 80%
Price: $299

Weight: 3.12lbs (1.415kg)

Dimensions: 21.6×13.7×7.87”

Capacity: 35l

Laptop Size: 16” 

What We Like: Included rain cover, laptop suspension system. 

What We Don’t: Harness stowing system.

Minaal really tried to separate itself from the one bag travel backpack competition with the finer details. The laptop storage pocket is the most advanced I have seen, and I put my laptop in there with no fear. The included rain cover was also a very nice touch that helped make the Carry-on 2.0 stand out amongst its peers. Even the design was a nice mix of business meets pleasure. The price is a bit steep for this style of backpack, which is why I couldn’t award it any additional credit, but if you have the cash the Minaal Carry-on 2.0 is a worthy sidekick to have as a world traveler. 

Mission Workshop Fitzroy 40

Best Travel Backpacks of 2020: Mission Workshop Fitzroy 40 - Gear Hacker
  • Organization 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Security 70% 70%
  • Laptop Protection 80% 80%
  • Weight 80% 80%
Price: $275

Weight: 3.3lbs (1.5kg)

Dimensions: 20x15x8”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15” 

What We Like: Looks great, waterproof material.

What We Don’t: Hard to organize, limited pockets.

Mission Workshop’s Fitzroy 40l is easily the most aesthetically pleasing pack on the list. It looks like it belongs on the streets of San Francisco, which is actually where it is designed… interesting. The main pocket is top-loaded which can be a bit cumbersome if you have packed for a few days. The exterior pockets are not the most easily used, so it did lose some points there as well. The harness system is comfortable, and the material is military-grade, which is always a good thing. If you are in the market for more of a commuter bag, this is right up your alley.
We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!