Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

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Eagle Creek Wayfinder Review: Best Budget One Bag Travel Backpack of 2020

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.

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  • 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”

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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”

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  • 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”

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Pros

Multiple Access Points

Stow Away Harness System

Cons

Price

Weight: 3.42lbs (1.55kg)

Dimensions: 21x14x9”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

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Pros

Made for Travel and Outdoor Adventures

Cons

Limited Organization

Boxy

Weight: 5.15lbs (2.34kg) 

Dimensions: 22x14x9”

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 15”

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Pros

Internal Organization

Durable Material

Cons

No Frame

Awkward Straps

Weight: 3.4lbs (1.5kg)

Dimensions: 22.75x18x6.75”

Capacity: 45l

Laptop Size: 17”

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Pros

Adjustable Hipbelt

Good Company Values

Cons

Thin Harness System

Weight: 3.5lbs (1.6kg)

Dimensions: 20x12x8”

Capacity: 35l

Laptop Size: 15”

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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”

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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”

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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”

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Pros

Looks Great

Waterproof Material

Cons

Hard to Organize

Limited Pockets

Weight: 3.3lbs (1.5kg)

Dimensions: 20x15x8”

Capacity: 40l

Laptop Size: 15”

The Eagle Creek Wayfinder is one of the few traditional “backpack-esque” packs on this list. It is built for airports and travel but would comfortably fit in on a college campus. The Wayfinder has a unisex and a female version, so everyone can find the pack that fits them best.

Eagle Creek Wayfinder is available in a variety of sizes; the 40l is the largest followed by the 30l, 20l, and an across the body pack. So you will be able to find the size that is right for you and your traveling needs. For this article, I will be looking at the 40l Wayfinder.

Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

Storage

Sitting at a comfortable 40l of storage, the Wayfinder will be able to hold a week’s worth of warm weather clothes and all of your various accessories. Again this pack is very school backpack looking, so it has the traditional main top-loading pocket. Inside of the main compartment, there are five slip pockets for storing items like your passport and keys as well as a mesh zippered pocket for other small valuables. 

Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

Along the side, there is a hidden tech pocket, which is a great spot for power banks and other electronics. Also on the sides of the pack, there are dual water bottle pockets that are zippered and can store your water or other small items like bug spray.

On the front of the Wayfinder, there is a zippered pocket that is made of an easy to clean material. This pocket is made for wet items or shoes that you want to keep away from the main compartment. On the bottom of this pocket is a small drain to help with moisture control, and the drain can have a bike light attached to it for nighttime cycling. I may have called it a school bag earlier, but it functions as so much more.

Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

Laptop Sleeve

The laptop sleeve will house a 17” laptop and has an additional sleeve for a tablet. The laptop pocket comes with a water-resistant sleeve, so you don’t need to worry about your technology if you are caught in a rainstorm.

Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

Comfort and Harness System

The Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 has a backpanel that uses high-density foam for ventilation and comfort. The shoulder straps are also well padded and include sternum straps with a whistle in case of emergencies. The hipbelt is lightly padded but wide enough to be comfortable and carry weight off of your shoulders. The hipbelt can also be tucked away into the backpanel when not in use.

Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

Security and Material

Eagle Creek uses interesting Secure Zip Toggles to secure the laptop pocket. This system does not require a lock and will help keep your valuable technology safe. The main compartment does use a lockable zipper system to keep out any quick fingers while walking through busy city streets.

Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

The backpack is constructed using 300D Dual Diamond Heather Ripstop Nylon, which is a fancy way of saying it is durable and will keep your cargo clean. Eagle Creek has also added a recycled film that you would find on the inside of your car windshield that makes the bag water-resistant. This is a very cool innovation that helps to pull waste out of the landfill and add functionality to an impressive backpack.

The Bottom Line

For $130, the Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 is a steal! It does not have the same “carry-on” look like most of the other packs on our list, and it does not have a suitcase-style opening. But it provides excellent security to your valuables and has a great laptop storage pocket and a very comfortable harness system. Other than its school bag appearance, which I really don’t mind, it is hard to find too many faults in this pack.

I like the various internal stash pockets and the zippered hydration pockets with the central locking feature for storing valuables. Eagle Creek could have easily added a hydration sleeve, and this pack would have been perfect. With the low-cost and the great design, the Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 is our Best Budget One Bag Travel Backpack of 2020.

Best Travel Backpacks: Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40 - Gear Hacker

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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!