15 Best Minimalist Travel Backpack 2021: Review & Buying Guide

For travelers, not getting bogged down by heavy luggage is an extremely liberating feeling. Imagine walking down European cobbled streets with rolling luggage instead of a backpack. Would it be a huge hassle? When traveling by plane, do you want to avoid checking in luggage and save a ton of money? If your answers to these questions are yes, choosing a backpack that can carry all of your travel essentials may help. Find out what the best minimalist travel backpack is in our list of top 15 products in 2020. 

If you don’t want to look like a backpacker, there are many minimalist backpacks that look stylish and still have great compartments. However, selecting the right travel backpack that does not sacrifice quality for aesthetics, or vice versa, can be quite tricky. Therefore, in this post, we have also compiled a helpful buying guide to help you choose the best minimalist travel backpack. 

Let’s dive right in.

Best Minimalist Travel Backpack Comparison 2021

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** Below, you will find our detailed reviews of the Best Minimalist Travel Backpack, but you can also click these following links to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Bestseller No. 1
KORIN ClickPack Minimalist Anti Theft Travel Backpacks TSA Smart Laptop Backpack 15.6 inch USB Charging Port
  • ClickPack :The Best Functional Anti-theft BackPack,We designed the ClickPack Anti-theft Backpack as a result to combine security, storage, convenience, comfort and beauty.
  • The Best Seller in Kickstarter :reddot award 2018 winner;Good Design Award 2018 ,Authentic Clickpack anti-theft backpack lets you enjoy the scenery
Bestseller No. 2
Herschel Travel, Black, 20.0L
  • Black and white striped fabric liner
  • Padded/fleece-lined 15" Laptop and tablet sleeves
Bestseller No. 3
Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus (Commuter Backpack, Fits 15" Laptop) - Charcoal
  • Generous 22-liter capacity with separate laptop compartment
  • Vertical front pocket for keeping small items handy; hidden stretch pocket for sunglasses, cables, phone
Bestseller No. 4
KORIN ClickPack X Minimalist Anti-Theft Backpack Travel Smart BackPack easy USB charging3.0 port Smart Storage 15.6 inch Laptop Bag
  • The Best Seller in Kickstarter: reddot award 2019 winner; Good Design Award 2019, ClickPack X anti-theft backpack lets you enjoy the scenery.
  • Korin ClickPack X: The best function anti-theft backpack. This anti-theft backpack uses a level 5 full-cut-resistant fabric, over 80% of the surface area is cut-resistant fabric, which is 30% more than ClickPack Pro. The safety is greatly improved, and storage, convenience, comfort and aesthetics are combined at the same time.
Bestseller No. 5
School backpack, Lightweight Casual Classic Water-resistant School Rucksack Travel Backpack 15 inch Laptop Black
  • SLIM&SLEEK:The causal school backpack is made of high quality water resistant lightweight Polyester.The slim classic silhouette makes the backpack causal and easy to go with.
  • EASY TO ORGANIZE:Main compartment with double-zipper closure;One exterior zipper pocket; Water-bottle pockets on both sides,padded Ipad/Laptop pocket fits up to 15inch laptop,4 interior zipper pockets,leather zipper puller,adjustable padded Reinforced Strap ,anti-theft back pocket.
SaleBestseller No. 6
Canvas School Laptop Backpack , Durable Rucksack, Travel Notebook Bag, for Men Women Black
  • Durable & Popular: Our school backpack is made of durable 16 oz canvas (more than 50% cotton), which provides the best quality backpack for our customers. The classic style with diamond shape decoration is suitable for all kinds of people: young students, commuters, travelers and so on.
  • Lightweight & Functional: The lightweight daypack is designed a main compartment for tech electronics accessories and school supplies, such as your favorite magazines, books, iPad, etc. In addition, there is a separate space holding up to 15.6 Inch Laptop as well as 15 Inch,14 Inch and 13 Inch Macbook/Laptop.
Bestseller No. 7
936Plus Minimalist Urban Casual Backpack, Water Resistant Book Bag for College, Travel & Work, Army Green
  • More Bag for the Buck: Why pay $40, $50, or more for a spacious premium backpack? This large, sturdy daypack measures 18" x 12.6" x 6" and totes up to 16 lbs. at a price that won't bust your budget.
  • Practical Pockets Galore: With 9 pockets inside plus 3 outside, your well-designed laptop backpack keeps all your gear neatly organized. Holds 15.6" laptop, bulky binders, notepads & more.
SaleBestseller No. 8
Lenovo Laptop Backpack B210, fits for 15.6-Inch laptop and tablet, sleek for travel, durable, water-repellent fabric, clean design, business casual or college, for men women students, GX40Q17227, Grey
  • DURABLE DESIGN: Laptop backpack features a durable, water-repellent snow yarn polyester fabric and streamlined design with a padded interior to protect your laptop, notebook and other important stuff.
  • COMFORTABLE FIT: This compact backpack has a quilted back panel and fully adjustable shoulder straps making it comfortable for all day use, plus a quick access front zippered pocket for extra storage.
Bestseller No. 9
Everki Studio Slim Laptop Backpack, up to 14.1-Inch or 15-Inch MacBook Pro (EKP118)
  • Laptop compartment: 10.1 x 1.54 x 13.6 inch. Fits laptops up to 14.1-inch or 15-inch MacBook Pro
  • Integrated laptop corner guard system at bottom of bag provides extra protection for your laptop
SaleBestseller No. 10
Oscaurt Laptop Backpack, Anti-theft Travel Backpack, Business School Bookbag with USB Charging Port for Men & Women Fit 15.6 Inches Laptop Grey
  • Anti-Theft Backpack: Made of strong anti-scratch /-cut fabric, this college backpack keeps your belongings pretty safe with hidden zippers of the main pocket and a secret pocket at the back
  • Convenient Charging: Via the built-in charging cable on the inside of the laptop backpack and the USB charging port on the outside, you can just plug in and charge your device anywhere (Reminder: Power bank NOT included)

Top Best Minimalist Travel Backpack Reviews 2020

NOMATIC 40L Travel Bag - Best premium minimalist travel backpack

NOMATIC 40L Travel Bag- Duffel/Backpack, Carry-on Size for Airplane Travel, Everyday Use with TSA Compliant Built in Laptop and Tablet Sleeve, Updated V2 for 2020
  • LIFE ON THE MOVE: Patented strap design allows you to switch between duffle bag and backpack. You never have to worry about dangling straps again! Whether you're headed to the gym, the office, or a weekend getaway, the 40L travel bag will hold everything you need and more.
  • 20+ INNOVATIVE FEATURES: Find your things easily with pockets designed specifically for shoes, liquids, tech, and everything in-between. Features include a full perimeter zipper, RFID safe pocket, roller bag sleeve, mesh pockets, a cord pass through with an easy access pocket, water bottle pocket, water resistant pocket, shoe compartment that fits 2 pairs of shoes with a ventilated door, and more!

In the industry of travel backpacks, manufacturers may include too many features, which can be overkill and reduce the overall functionality, or sacrifice aesthetics for the sake of function (or vice versa). In contrast, this backpack finds the perfect balance between the three characteristics: number of features, looks, and function. The balance is so “just right” that Goldilock would definitely pick this backpack. 

The capacity is 40 liters - spacious enough for an average trip of one week and still able to have a dimension that fits into carry-on requirements. 

There are 20+ features - yes you read it right, 20 plus -  including pockets designated to separate different types of travel essentials, RFID safe pocket, full perimeter zipper, and shoe compartments. There is a specially designed sleeve that allows you to keep the laptop in the bag when going through TSA. 

What is more, the shoulder straps can be adjusted to turn this into a duffel bag,  avoiding the tangling mess of straps normally seen in travel backpacks. On top of that, the bag has a slim and sleek design given its large capacity and many features, and a premium material from sailcloth that is sturdy and waterproof.

However, the quality between bags can be uneven - some are of excellent build, some are sadly not.

PROS

  • Perfect balance between features, aesthetics, and storage capacity
  • Opens like a suitcase
  • Pockets designated for everything: liquid, tech, shoes, and more
  • Long-lasting and waterproof material

CONS

  • Inconsistent quality

Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack

NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Pack- Travel Camera Bag by Peter McKinnon for Photographers, DSLR Backpack for Men and Women
  • CUSTOMIZE YOUR PACKING: We partnered with Peter McKinnon and carefully designed this camera pack to allow you to pack and protect everything you need for your camera, while still leaving enough room in a separate clothing compartment to pack for a 1-5 day trip. With endlessly customizable folding dividers, you get to choose what you store, and where. Need more space? This bag expands from 35L to 42L quickly and conveniently.
  • QUICK ACCESS: Quickly access your camera with a convenient side pocket, or unzip for full access to the entire camera compartment - you'll never want to use another camera bag again! Also includes a laptop compartment that fits laptops up to 16", and plenty of other useful pockets to store cords, chargers or anything else you need to bring.

In a collaboration with famous photographer and Youtuber Peter McKinnon, Nomatic created the best minimalist travel backpack for photography enthusiasts and normal travelers alike. There are many special pockets for the photographer’s needs: a side pocket so you can quickly pull out the camera, and an easy access pocket to store items such as keys, batteries, and passports. 

The compartments are divided to organize camera gears separately, protecting them from damage. There are pockets for cords and some miscellaneous items. It also has a separate compartment to store some changes of clothes. The side can store externally a tripod, and it expands from 32 liters to 40 liters. Photography equipment can be heavy, so it has a special support system to lighten the load for you.

The price can be high for a normal backpack, but this backpack will be worth every penny for photographers who struggle to travel minimally.

PROS

  • Solves a photographer’s pain points: storing equipment when traveling
  • Separate camera cubes
  • Internal support system

CONS

  • The price can be prohibitive

Sterkmann Expandable Carry on Backpack 20-30L

Sterkmann Expandable Carry on Backpack for men Overnight Weekender for Travel & Business Waterproof Fits 15" Laptop With Packing Cube, Shoe Pouch & Laundry Bag (20L-30L Capacity, 3 lbs)
  • BUILT FOR THE ROUGH & TUMBLE OF TRAVELING - Our carry on luggage is made of waterproof coated eco-polyester. Exterior zippers keep moisture out. Reflective print lets you stay visible at night.
  • EXPANDABLE & VERSATILE - This laptop backpack expands from 20L to 30L capacity. Tuck in the straps to carry it like a briefcase. Instantly gives it a professional vibe! Fits up to 15" laptops.

Considering its price point, the backpack has a premium and well-built similar to products in higher price ranges. It can withstand wear and tear from years of use. However, because of the premium material, the backpack alone weighs 3lb (1.3kg). If you are willing to carry some extra weight for the sake of quality, then this is not an issue.

Moreover, it has a sleek Nordic design that suits the taste of us minimalists. The design also makes it suitable for business occasions.

Most importantly, the backpack is expandable so that you can adjust it to the exact size of our luggage. This will save a lot of hassle and keep your belongings in place.

PROS

  • Waterproof
  • Sleek Nordic design
  • 1 packing cube, 1 laundry bag, and 1 shoe bag
  • Expandable
  • Durable

CONS

  • Zippers are designed to be waterproof so they can be stiff at the beginning.

Incase EO Travel Backpack

Sale
Incase EO Travel Backpack (Black) fits up to 17" MacBook Pro
  • Padded back panels and shoulder straps with breathable mesh
  • Main compartment expands 35% for overnight travel

This is the best minimalist travel backpack for tech-savvy people on the go. It is spacious enough to hold a large 17 inch Macbook and some light camera gear. It is best for overnight trips and commutes, but the main compartment can expand to accommodate longer trips. It can fit 3-4 days’ worth of clothes, so if you travel minimally, it may even work for 2-month trips. 

Most importantly, the shimmer and sleek design with sharp edges can satisfy any minimalist.  The material is 70% cotton and 30% polyester - the mix of cotton and polyester makes it durable and breathable.

However, the product is quite minimal in features. It would be better if the shoulder straps could be secured to change it into a duffel bag, or there were more designated pockets for special items such as keys and passports.

PROS

  • Suitable for getting around the city
  • Sleek design
  • Expandable

CONS

  • More features would be desirable

Osprey Fairview 40 Women's Travel Backpack

Osprey Packs Fairview 55 Travel Backpack, Rainforest Green, Small/Medium
  • Large, lockable U-zip duffel-style access to main compartment - 55L total volume
  • Detachable daypack with designated laptop and tablet sleeve and scratch-free stash pocket

An important aspect to choose the best minimalist travel backpack for you is whether its build suits your silhouette. Therefore, manufacturers should design backpacks specifically with different genders’ fits in mind. Sadly, very few minimalist travel backpacks have a customized design for women’s specific fit, and Osprey Fairview 55 Women's Travel Backpack is arguably the best among them.

The backpack has the maximum dimension for carry-on, so there is no wasted space AND you still save money from luggage check-ins. Most importantly, it has a special technology called LightWire frame suspension system to transfer some of the weights from your shoulder to the hipbelt. This means less exhaustion in long hikes or flight transits. 

Osprey has gained a reputation in the market of hiking and travel gear thanks to its reliable quality and durability. The brand also has a unique lifetime warranty: it will repair any product damage due to any reason, whether manufacturing defects or simply wear and tear, for free. What’s more, there is no time limit on this 

However, the design is not really minimalistic or stylish, and there should be better color choices.

PROS

  • Built specifically for women’s fit
  • Maximum carry-on dimension
  • Can transfer load to the hipbelt
  • Lifetime warranty

CONS

  • Appearance could be better

Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack

Sale
Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack, Black
  • Large panel loading main compartment provides accessibility to inside contents
  • Dual stretch mesh side pockets provide additional storage options

If you take day hiking trips or simply want a medium-sized, lightweight yet sturdy add-on to your travel gear, Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack is perfect for you. The backpack’s capacity is 20 liters, so it is enough for 2-3 days’ worth of clothes, liquid bag, and a laptop. It is also suitable to get around the city - commuting or going to the farmers’ market.

Like every Osprey product, it has a lifetime warranty and durable quality.

However, the compartment strap to tighten your stuff from shuffling around must be unbuckled every time you want to get your stuff out. This can be a bit of a hassle, yet you will get used to it over time.

PROS

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Reliable quality
  • Can be attached to other Osprey packs
  • Lifetime warranty

CONS

  • Unbuckling the compartment straps every time you open the bag may be a bit of a pain.

Thule Subterra Backpack 34L

Thule Subterra Backpack 34L, Dark Shadow
  • Easy access to contents through wide rolltop opening with magnetic closure
  • Keep clothes organized while traveling thanks to removable packing Cube

Ever feel frustrated to keep your electric cords from becoming a tangled mess when traveling? Then this bag can solve your problem with a special Internal PowerPocket to organize cords neatly and separately.

It also includes packing cubes for a neat and no-brainer packing. The material is thick and sturdy 800D nylon, which can withstand years of wear and tear. It also has a magnetic rolltop opening that protects your bag from theft and allows easy access to content.

However, the back is not breathable so you can sweat after wearing it for a while.

PROS

  • PowerPocket to manage cords
  • Packing cubes
  • Sturdy material
  • Magnetic closure

CONS

  • Can make you sweat

Herschel Travel Backpack

Herschel Travel Backpack, Ash Rose, 20.0L
  • Black and white striped fabric liner
  • Padded/fleece-lined 15" Laptop and tablet sleeves

Thanks to its unique hipster designs, Herschel quickly becomes a favorite among young people. The Herschel Travel Backpack is a stylish and functional choice for modern travelers.

The bag can hold 2-3 changes of clothes, a laptop, and a pair of shoes. The material is also of high quality. Most importantly of all, it has a cute and stylish design that fits everyone, and many color choices.

However, the bag is not waterproof and only slightly water-resistant. The zippers constantly clink loudly when you walk, which can be a bit of a pain.

PROS

  • Stylish unisex design
  • Durable material
  • Suitable for day-long trips

CONS

  • Not water repellent
  • Loud noises from zippers

Hynes Eagle 38L Carry on Backpack

Hynes Eagle 38L Flight Approved Weekender Carry on Backpack Black with 3PCS Packing Cubes
  • Package: 1 x backpack, 1 x packing cubes 3 pcs set for worldwide travelers
  • 1 top handle, 1 side handle and suppressible adjustable padded shoulder straps for versatile carrying options

The backpack has an affordable price yet decent quality and a neat design. It includes 3 packing cubes to help organize your items neatly and maintain the backpack’s sleek shape. With a large capacity of 38 liters, it fits all necessary items for weeks-long trips: 3-4 days’ worth of clothes, a tablet/laptop, personal care, etc.

Best of all, it fits the size requirements for carry-on luggage of all airlines, even super strict ones such as Ryanair. This is great news for budget travelers.

PROS

  • Opens like a suitcase
  • Includes 3 packing cubes
  • Versatile carrying options.

CONS

  • Not water repellent despite the brand’s claim
  • Sternum straps need strengthening => may be tiring to carry heavy luggage for long periods

KORIN ClickPack Travel Backpack

KORIN ClickPack Minimalist Anti Theft Travel Backpacks TSA Smart Laptop Backpack 15.6 inch USB Charging Port
  • ClickPack :The Best Functional Anti-theft BackPack,We designed the ClickPack Anti-theft Backpack as a result to combine security, storage, convenience, comfort and beauty.
  • The Best Seller in Kickstarter :reddot award 2018 winner;Good Design Award 2018 ,Authentic Clickpack anti-theft backpack lets you enjoy the scenery

This backpack is an icon in Kickstarter and the receiver of many design awards thanks to a host of innovative features. 

It has anti-theft triple protection: a TSA lock, a metal wire lock, plus specially designed zipper. This makes the bag the best in terms of safety. On top of that, it has a USB charging port so that your digital gadgets can stay fully charged when you are on the go. 

The design team apparently has put a lot of thought into the backpack’s features to accompany the users’ needs. However, it can be overkill: sometimes all we look for in a bag is enough room, not USB ports or metal wire lock. Yet, the backpack only has storage capacity for trips of max 2-3 days. Therefore, this bag is only perfect for commutes, getting around the city, or at most, weekend trips.

PROS

  • Futuristic design
  • Triple protection
  • USB port

CONS

  • Not much storage capacity

Inateck 40L Travel Backpack

Inateck 40L Travel Carry-On Luggage Backpack, Flight Approved Anti-Theft Laptop Rucksack Large Daypack Weekender Bag for 17'' Laptop - Blue
  • Large Capacity: The dimensions of the backpack are 55x34x18cm (21x13x7 Inch). You can carry it onto an airplane. Sufficient room for a 17” laptop and clothes for short trip.
  • Ingenious Structure: Main pocket x 2, laptop compartment x 2 (fit for a 13” tablet and 17” laptop respectively), change pocket x 2, toiletry bag x 1, and many other pockets for different purposes.

If you are looking for a durable and affordable backpack for all purposes, this can be the right choice for you. The backpack has every basic feature that you can ask for in a travel backpack: many specialized pockets, side handles, anti-theft zippers, and more.

The sleek and upright design is suitable to store papers without crumpling them, and two compartments for your laptop and tablet respectively. Therefore, besides using for traveling, the bag is also great to use for school.

However, due to its slim width, the backpack cannot carry bulky items such as shoes. Despite the seller’s claim, the size when packed fully can also exceed the carry-on size of most airlines.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Decent quality
  • Upright design suitable for school

CONS

  • Slim width that cannot accommodate bulky items
  • Can exceed carry-on restrictions

HIKPRO 20L Travel Hiking Daypack

HIKPRO 20L - The Most Durable Lightweight Packable Backpack, Water Resistant Travel Hiking Daypack for Men & Women
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & FOLDABLE - Minimalist Designed, Ultra-lightweight, reduced excess shoulder load, backpack itself weight Only 7.5Oz, making your journey relaxing. It also can be easily folded into a small sandwich size for easy travel.
  • ROOMY - 20L Internal Space, Three Zippered Compartments,Keep Things Organized. The main pocket is Large enough to carry what you daily need. Outer smaller pocket great for quick access such as guidebooks and camera. Inner zippered pocket which doubles as the storage pouch is the perfect place for valuables such as cash, credit cards, and passport. Two large sides mesh pockets for water bottles or umbrella. Perfect for day trips, vacation, travel, day hikes, school, camping, and shopping.

This is a convenient and affordable choice for hiking gear. It is affordable, foldable, and compact. It has enough space for a day-long hiking trip. It has three compartments to organize your belongings neatly. The shoulder straps and back panel are from breathable mesh materials for your maximum comfort.

However, one downside of it is a small size. It can only accommodate a kid’s belongings or a day-long excursion, and no more than that. Despite the water-repellent material, the zipper is not waterproof so you still need a rain cover.

PROS

  • Affordable and foldable
  • Three compartments
  • Breathable materials

CONS

  • Small size
  • Non-waterproof zipper

AmazonBasics Slim Travel Backpack Weekender

Amazon Basics Slim Carry On Travel Backpack, Grey - Weekender
  • Slim backpack with comfortable fully vented and well-padded back panel; ideal for weekend trips; stylish Grey color
  • Dedicated laptop sleeve and top-load, fleece-lined tablet pocket for transporting electronics

Regarding the design, this AmazonBasics Weekender Backpack is one of the best. It has a casual yet minimalistic look with sleek edges, beautiful rugged-looking material, and the orange inner lining gives it a splash of boldness. 

The backpack has many special pockets to separate items such as a fleece-lined laptop sleeve and a tablet pocket. The side pocket for water bottles can be zippered and hidden to keep the pack’s minimalistic shape. 

The back panel is from a special material - Airmesh - so it is very breathable, allowing maximum comfort. 

However, the backpack is heavily padded so there is not much room left. The heavy pad is perfect to protect tech gear from damage though.

PROS

  • Beautiful design
  • Many pockets
  • Airmesh fully vented back panel

CONS

  • Not much capacity

Peak Gear Sling Compact Crossbody Backpack

Peak Gear Sling Compact Crossbody Backpack and Day Bag (Black)
  • ✅ WELL-DESIGNED compact bags for travel or sports. Beautify styled for both men and women. Great small cross body daypack.  Convenient packs for walking, hiking or on your bike.  Easily hold your camera or other sport accessories. Can be also worn across chest. Easily switch from left to right shoulder.
  • ✅ HIGHEST QUALITY - Experience the Peak Gear difference. Compare to similar mens or womens daypacks, backpacks or purses. Grey Canvas Snow Fiber material  is durable and lightweight. Water resistant. One strap design is very comfortable. This pack will hold up for years of use, whether your are biking/cycling or just walking.

If you simply look for an option for light urban traveling, this crossbody backpack will be enough. The size is just right - not too big and not too small for a cross-body bag. It fits all your essentials - keys, water bottles, wallets, etc. - when getting around the city or going on a walk. The bag is petite and sleek with a unisex design so both men and women can wear it. The material is water repellent so it can be cared for easily. There is a magnetic closure for easy access to the items.

However, the strap is not long enough for people with larger chests.

PROS

  • Just right size
  • Unisex design
  • Magnetic closure

CONS

  • Not comfortable for people with larger chests

Charmore Women Travel Backpack

Charmore Women Travel Backpack Anti Theft Rucksack Nylon Waterproof Daypack Lightweight School Shoulder Bags
  • Dimensions: Medium backpack: 12.99"L x 5.90"W x 13.38"H, Large backpack: 13.78″L x 6.7″W x 14.17″H. PS: Due to the anti theft design, the open way is on the back, medium backpack can put in max size 11" laptop, large backpack can put in max size 13.3" laptop.
  • Material: Stylish backpack made of eco-friendly waterproof nylon, soft and fashionable, classic and minimalist design really stands out from the crowd! No worry about the items in the bag get wet in rainy days.

The Charmore travel backpack is perfect for female travelers who want to look fashionable everywhere. It has a stylish design and looks good with any outfit. 

The bag is surprisingly bigger than it looks: it can pack all essential belongings for a short trip. There are pockets and compartments galore to organize stuff neatly, avoiding them to shuffle into a mess.

Thanks to its innovative adjustable strap,  the bag can be in three ways: as a casual backpack, a top handle purse, or a shoulder bag.  This makes it a versatile bag for any occasion: day trips, school, or date nights.

Most importantly, the backpack has an anti-theft zipper that stays hidden behind the wearer’s back.

However, the backpack is only suitable for day trips, and does not have enough ergonomic features to carry heavy luggage.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Chic and feminine design
  • Suitable for any occasion
  • Anti-theft zipper

CONS

  • Not suitable for heavy luggage and long trips

How To Choose The Best Minimalist Travel Backpack: Things To Consider

best minimalist travel backpack

Each traveler will have different tastes and needs, and different trips also require various types of backpacks. Therefore, there is no perfect minimalist travel backpack for everyone and every occasion. Choosing the right travel backpack can also be a taxing challenge as there are many aspects to take into consideration. Not to mention the market is so saturated with many brands and products with different prices, material, quality, and a host of new features added every year. You can easily get confused among all the options and jargons. Therefore, we have compiled the aspects that you should consider when selecting the best minimalist travel backpack.

Size & Capacity

best minimalist travel backpack

This is one of the deciding factors in choosing a travel backpack. If you embark on a weeks-long trip, or start to become a digital nomad, choose as big a backpack as possible. However, considering human strength, it is better to stay under the 50 liter capacity. If you travel mainly by plane and want to avoid hefty fines from exceeding size and weight restrictions, make sure to stick to the average dimension of 56 x 36 x 23 cm for carry-on and the average weight of 7 kg. From our experience, a 40 liter backpack can stay right under the carry-on restrictions of most airlines. However, check with the airline before you buy the backpack.

Durability

best minimalist travel backpack

As you pack all of your belongings into one place - your backpack, you should invest in a high-quality backpack that can last as long as possible. Believe us, there is no worse feeling than realizing that you lost your wallet in a strange place because the backpack was easily broken into, or torn down from use. However, it is quite difficult to determine the backpack’s durability upon purchasing - you can only test it throughout the years. However, you can judge this factor by the materials and parts. For example, the best minimalist travel backpacks will go for the best zipper on the market - YKK zipper. The fabric used is also a key factor to consider in terms of durability. Some good materials include rip-stop nylon, CORDURA® Nylon, polyester, and ballistic nylon.

Body Type

best minimalist travel backpack

When you carry a heavy backpack for long periods, comfort is a key factor. The backpack is, surprisingly, not an “one-size-fit-all” fashion item. For example, a good decently-sized backpack for a 5’5’’ person may not look as good on a 6’8’’ traveler.  Different body types will be of importance when you carry heavy luggage, which backpacks with good ergonomic designs can lighten. For example, many new backpacks are designed to the frame of specific genders, so there are women’s fit and men’s fit.

Harness system

best minimalist travel backpack

This is not a kinky term - harness systems in backpacks refer to the collections of straps and belts. A well-designed harness system can make a whole difference in terms of ergonomics. It can transfer the weights evenly, lighten the pressure on one part of the body, usually the shoulder.  There are, for example, hip belts/waist straps/sternum straps that go horizontally across your torso to carry some weights from the shoulder straps.

Padding

best minimalist travel backpack

The padding in the back of the bag and the shoulder straps also contribute to its comfort. It will help to ease the pressure from the weights. However, the padding should be from breathable mesh materials so you don’t end up with wet backs and sweaty shoulders.

Organization

best minimalist travel backpack

The contents in a backpack can easily shuffle from your movements if there is no organization system for them. While some may be able to live with that, we perfectionists cannot stand messy luggage. Therefore, we highly regard backpacks with smart designs of pockets and compartments. To help with the organization, you can also buy some extra packing cubes to separate belongings in the largest compartment.

Do you struggle to pack light and neatly into a backpack? Watch this short video to learn how to pack for a long trip with just a backpack:

Conclusion: My Top Pick For Best Minimalist Travel Backpack

1

Best premium minimalist travel backpack

NOMATIC 40L Travel Bag- Duffel/Backpack, Carry-on Size for Airplane Travel, Everyday Use with TSA Compliant Built in Laptop and Tablet Sleeve, Updated V2 for 2020
  • LIFE ON THE MOVE: Patented strap design allows you to switch between duffle bag and backpack. You never have to worry about dangling straps again! Whether you're headed to the gym, the office, or a weekend getaway, the 40L travel bag will hold everything you need and more.
  • 20+ INNOVATIVE FEATURES: Find your things easily with pockets designed specifically for shoes, liquids, tech, and everything in-between. Features include a full perimeter zipper, RFID safe pocket, roller bag sleeve, mesh pockets, a cord pass through with an easy access pocket, water bottle pocket, water resistant pocket, shoe compartment that fits 2 pairs of shoes with a ventilated door, and more!

2

Best minimalist travel backpack for photographers

NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Pack- Travel Camera Bag by Peter McKinnon for Photographers, DSLR Backpack for Men and Women
  • CUSTOMIZE YOUR PACKING: We partnered with Peter McKinnon and carefully designed this camera pack to allow you to pack and protect everything you need for your camera, while still leaving enough room in a separate clothing compartment to pack for a 1-5 day trip. With endlessly customizable folding dividers, you get to choose what you store, and where. Need more space? This bag expands from 35L to 42L quickly and conveniently.
  • QUICK ACCESS: Quickly access your camera with a convenient side pocket, or unzip for full access to the entire camera compartment - you'll never want to use another camera bag again! Also includes a laptop compartment that fits laptops up to 16", and plenty of other useful pockets to store cords, chargers or anything else you need to bring.

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Best minimalist travel backpack for tech savvies on the go 

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Incase EO Travel Backpack (Black) fits up to 17" MacBook Pro
  • Padded back panels and shoulder straps with breathable mesh
  • Main compartment expands 35% for overnight travel

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Best minimalist travel backpack for women 

Osprey Packs Fairview 55 Travel Backpack, Rainforest Green, Small/Medium
  • Large, lockable U-zip duffel-style access to main compartment - 55L total volume
  • Detachable daypack with designated laptop and tablet sleeve and scratch-free stash pocket

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Best minimalist travel backpack for all purposes 

Sterkmann Expandable Carry on Backpack for men Overnight Weekender for Travel & Business Waterproof Fits 15" Laptop With Packing Cube, Shoe Pouch & Laundry Bag (20L-30L Capacity, 3 lbs)
  • BUILT FOR THE ROUGH & TUMBLE OF TRAVELING - Our carry on luggage is made of waterproof coated eco-polyester. Exterior zippers keep moisture out. Reflective print lets you stay visible at night.
  • EXPANDABLE & VERSATILE - This laptop backpack expands from 20L to 30L capacity. Tuck in the straps to carry it like a briefcase. Instantly gives it a professional vibe! Fits up to 15" laptops.

Our pick of the best minimalist travel backpack - Nomatic 40L Travel Bag - has a balanced mixture of features, aesthetics, and function. This balance can satisfy minimalist travelers in almost any occasion and for any need. Not only it has over 20 special features with pockets galore to store every item neatly, it has an ergonomic design that lightens your load. The boxy design with stylish pearl-finish gray is also pleasing to the eye. It also stays right within the carry-on restrictions of most airlines, saving a ton of money. The material is also durable and long-lasting. We can say that it is the “Goldilocks’ choice” - not too much or too little, but just right. Therefore, it will be a great companion on most occasions.

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