The search for the best backpack for travel in Europe can be a daunting one. In addition to your plane ticket, a backpack might be the most important investment you make on your Eurotrip. Besides, you’ll be using your travel backpack all the time (that’s why they call it “backpacking Europe”).
My recommendations come from experience – I know what I’m talking about – as a travel blogger who has backpacked the world non-stop since 2016. Over the years, I’ve tested a lot of backpacks with my team of travel reviewers.
This post discusses the differences between hiking backpacks and travel-specific backpacks. By choosing the right backpack, you will be able to travel comfortably in Europe. Following years of European travel, these are our recommendations. In this section, we’ll discuss our top picks for a backpacking trip in Europe.
Also Read: Best Convertible Backpacks for Travel
8 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe in 2023
1. Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Anti
Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Anti-Theft
- Manufacturer: Outpac Designes
- Color: Black
- Weight: 3.97 pounds
With securable and puncture resistant zippers (can also be locked with padlock). Fabric is cut resistant for max security (lightweight steel mesh). Includes stainless steel cable to lock bag to objects with padlock.
Pacsafe is the go-to brand for travel backpacks that are organized, secure, and theft-proof. As one of the best backpacks for business and holidays, the Venturesafe 45L travel pack stands out as a perfect carry-on for long business or holiday trips of several months.
You can store most of your belongings in the main compartment, which opens like a suitcase. The smaller exterior compartment reveals more packing space, two zippered interior pockets, and a padded laptop sleeve.
You can comfortably wear your pack during your trip with adjustable shoulder straps, sternum straps, and hip belts. Keeping your pack slim and compact is made easier with external compression straps and stowable shoulder and hip straps.
A slash-proof fabric and interlocking and puncture-resistant zippers provide anti-theft protection. You can lock down multiple compartments with one padlock by snapping together the interlocking zippers and inserting them into the Roobar anti-theft anchor lock.
- The device is secure and theft-proof
- This is an excellent carry-on bag
- Comfortable straps for a secure fit
- Access to the bag’s contents is somewhat challenging
2. Osprey Farpoint and Osprey Fairview
Designed to offer the comfort and even weight distribution of hiking-style backpacks, Osprey’s Farpoint and Fairview are excellent front-loading travel backpacks.
For long-haul trips lasting several weeks or months, it’s the perfect backpack. You can access the main compartment with a large lockable zipper, and the main compartment has mesh pockets for arranging smaller items.
With well-padded shoulder straps, back panels, and hip belts, the pack fits comfortably on your back and distributes its weight evenly. Travel bags can be slimmer and more compact by tucking all straps and harnesses in a zipper compartment.
Besides its front compression straps, the Farpoint also has well-padded top and side handles, making it easy to carry when you aren’t wearing it. You can wear the Farpoint 55L backpack simultaneously and comfortably with the 12L detachable daypack, which has a padded laptop sleeve and scratch-free stash pocket.
Small, medium, and large sizes are available for the Osprey Farpoint and Fairview backpacks, so you’re sure to find the perfect fit.
- Long-haul travel made easy
- A 12L daypack that can be detached
- Straps with dual compression
- Detachable daypack with laptop sleeve
3. Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack 40L
Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack 40L
- ASIN: B0B5GQ8KD4
- Color: Gray
- Weight: 12.35 Ounces
A true hands-free carry on with suppressible shoulder straps, easily to convert from duffel into a backpack in seconds; 1 front zip pocket with multiple interior slip pockets, second compartment fits up to most 15.6 inch laptop.
Having all the features you need in an ideal European travel backpack, this 40L Hynes Eagle travel backpack is compact, lightweight, well-made, and perfect for a long trip to Europe.
This rectangular bag opens like a suitcase to reveal a large compartment that can hold most of your belongings for an extended business/vacation trip.
Organize and protect the contents of this compartment with compression straps. There is also a second front compartment with multiple slip pockets and a laptop sleeve that can accommodate a 15.6-inch laptop.
You can keep your belongings well-organized on your trip with this 40L backpack’s three packing cubes of different sizes. Adjustable sternum and hip straps ensure stress-free and comfortable wear with contoured shoulders.
When partially packed, these compression straps help provide maximum compression to the rectangular backpack, making it look compact and professional.
When the backpack straps are stowed, the cushioned side handle lets you carry it like a duffel bag. Because it fits in the overhead compartments and under-seat storage areas of airplanes, it’s an ideal carry-on for air travel.
- Suitable for airline travel, this backpack is excellent
- This set includes 3 parking cubes
- It is somewhat flimsy around the hips and sternum
4. Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Backpack
A backpack and suitcase in one is an excellent choice if you want both. Whether you’re traveling for business, vacation, or adventure, this hybrid suitcase backpack is ideal. With a large main compartment that opens like a suitcase, this 42L rolling backpack looks stylish.
The front zipper compartment has multiple interior pockets for organization, and a detachable laptop sleeve can accommodate a 17-inch laptop and a 10.5-inch tablet. The bag has four compression straps on the outside to keep it compact when partially packed.
All of these features contribute to weight balance and pack stabilization, including contoured shoulder straps, sternum straps, and adjustable hip belts. Unlike the roller suitcase, which has smooth rolling wheels and a mono-tube handle.
When used as a backpack, the wheels can be tucked away in a wheel cover. Easily convert from a backpack to a wheeled suitcase with stowable straps.
- A wheel cover that tucks away
- Priced reasonably
- Laptop/tablet sleeve with detachable padding
- There is not enough strength in the waist strap
5. Osprey Farpoint
You can’t go wrong with the Farpoint if you’re looking for one-bag travel in Europe. There are several sizes to choose from, and two of them come with removable daypacks – perfect for exploring the town for a few hours.
In terms of travel backpacks, the travel pack has everything you need. As a matter of fact, it is a backpack that functions as a suitcase.
There are multiple compartments and pockets, a laptop compartment, and compression straps to keep the load tidy and tight. It’s comfortable, and ventilated, has multiple compartments and pockets, and plenty of compression straps. It’s still easy to carry and you don’t have to drag a suitcase!
- The smallest size is the carry-on size
- Features that make organization easy
- Some models have a detachable daypack
- It’s pretty expensive
6. Osprey Fairview
Osprey Porter 30 Travel Backpack
- Material: Osprey
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 12.5 x 19.6 inches
- Weight: 2.82 pounds
Dual internal zippered organization side pockets and front panel organization with zippered pocket and key clip. Reinforced cord loops to attach an Osprey Daylite daypack (sold separately).
The Farpoint travel backpack is available in a women’s version. There are almost no differences between the two Osprey packs in terms of features.
As it was designed for women’s bodies, the Fairview is obviously slightly smaller and wider. The Farpoint travel pack also has all the benefits and drawbacks of the Farpoint travel pack.
- Fitted specifically for women
- Organizational features that are great
- The price is pretty high
7. Timbuk2 Wander
Travel backpacks like the Wander are great convertible options. The padded and ventilated back panel and harness make it comfortable to carry like a backpack. The Osprey does not have a hip belt, so it won’t be as comfortable as some of the previous models.
Whenever you want, you can transform it into a duffle and carry it that way. Stowaway harnesses don’t drag on the ground or hang from travel packs, so nothing goes on the ground. In spite of its large capacity, it is still compact enough to be used as a carry-on backpack.
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- There are many pockets for organizing
- The harness and back panel are padded and ventilated
- Comfort is reduced when there is no hip belt
8. Osprey Aether
Osprey’s Aether backpack is another large capacity travel backpack with a large capacity. The antiGravity harness keeps you comfortable regardless of how heavy the pack gets, just like the Atmos.
Additionally, this suspension system features foam-padded and ventilated back panels and shoulder straps. You can adjust the pack to fit your body as long as you do so properly.
Multiple compartments, plenty of pockets, front access to the main compartment, straps for all your gear, and multiple pockets make this travel backpack unique. You might find this pack ideal if you’ll be taking a lot of gear to Europe.
- The suspension system is excellent
- The main compartment is accessible from both the front and the top
- Organize your belongings easily with multiple compartments and pockets
- The carry-on size is not available
How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack for Europe?
You shouldn’t let your bag dictate how you travel around Europe. No matter if you are “backpacking Europe.” Your bag should make your trip more convenient, and not cause more stress.
It would be impossible to haul a suitcase across all of Europe, let alone up a flight of stairs. Despite being comfortable, hiking backpacks are disorganized.
The backpack you need for traveling is one that has been designed specifically for that purpose. An ideal backpack should combine the convenience and organization of a carry-on with the ergonomics and efficiency of a hiking backpack.
Despite knowing the differences between travel backpacks, many travelers don’t buy them. Here are some tips on how to choose a backpack for Europe that’s specifically designed for travel.
What Size Backpack Should You Buy for Europe?
Keep your hiking backpack at home when you’re on the road. No matter what you do, you’ll never succeed.
Travel bags need to be versatile so they can be used in any situation. Even if you’ll be riding more trains than planes, your backpack for Europe should fit in a carry-on.
You’ll need to know the exact size before you fly depending on the airline (or airlines). America and Europe have different carry-on rules. Don’t forget to check all airlines, especially if you’ll be flying a US carrier to Europe and European carriers within the continent.
Generally, the maximum size of a carry-on allowed in the US is 22 x 14 x 9 inches, or 45 liters. Europeans tend to have more variance. Airline restrictions there will limit bags to 21.5 inches (55 cm) in height and 8 inches (20 cm) in depth.
Check your airline’s baggage size restrictions, especially if you are traveling on a budget. The size and weight of your bag are usually more restricted on budget airlines.
Before you leave, make sure your bag is weighed. The cost of a checked bag could be saved by buying a cheap luggage scale for $10-20.
Not checking your bag will save you both time and money when you take your bag on a flight. Your airline can’t lose or damage your bag since you’ll have it with you.
For maximum flexibility across airlines and regions, we recommend a mid-sized carry-on backpack under 40L. Despite its size, this bag fits comfortably on your back and is easy to maneuver around trains and hostels. If you are going on a longer Eurotrip, you can fit one to two weeks of clothing that can be worn and washed multiple times.
Few Tips for Best Travel Backpacks for Europe in 2023:
Most backpacks are designed to be loaded from the top. You’ll have to unpack everything above your bag in order to get something out of the middle or bottom. In hostels and budget hotels with little personal space, you’ll need a better solution than that.
Make sure that you use a front-loading bag that you can pack like a suitcase. The front-loading backpack opens like a book, making it easy for you to reach everything in your bag without having to unpack everything.
Having your clothes strewn around the room will no longer annoy anyone else because they are easily accessible to you.
There are unfortunately a lot of cases of petty theft that happen in hostels, on trains, and on buses. Pickpockets target tourist areas because they know you’re likely to have money and possibly even important documents with you. Moreover, you’re distracted by the sights you’re going to see.
An easy way to close hiking bags is by using a drawstring or a buckle. There is no doubt that those bags are magnets for thieves. You can easily get into them and you will stand out as an obvious tourist when you do so.
Europe has buses and trains that will take you between accommodations and cities. Your backpack needs to be ergonomic since you’ll be walking a lot.
The best backpack for hiking is one that has a suspension system that mimics hiking. Hiking backpacks use padded hip belts, which transfer most of the weight to your leg muscles, which are stronger than the shoulders.
You can prevent back, neck, and shoulder strain by wearing a hip belt. Your life will never be the same again once you switch to a hip belt.
Buying Guide of Best Travel Backpacks for Europe in 2023:
Picking a great hiking backpack starts with thinking about your budget. Backpacks of good quality are expensive, but you don’t want to spend your entire budget on one.
If you invest in one of the best hiking backpacks on the market, it will last for years to come. Your product can be repaired by many companies, such as REI, Osprey, and The North Face.
Your hiking backpack should be comfortable on your back, just like anything else. At least two hours of hiking should be comfortable for you. If the backpack doesn’t fit you the way you want, check the return policy before buying online.
There is a great deal of importance to the design capabilities of hiking backpacks. It is not necessary to have a lot of bells and whistles to make a good pack.
You may want or need additional straps, harnesses, zippers, and clips depending on whether you want a top-loading backpack or a front-loading backpack.
Choose a hiking backpack made from high-quality materials. Dyneema or Ripstop Nylon are the most common materials used in packs. As a result of its lighter weight, Dyneema is generally more expensive, but both materials are extremely durable.
Decide what you will carry in your backpack, which will influence the size of the bag. It is recommended to start with 40-50L. Since you will be hiking with your pack for long distances, you will want to choose one that is relatively lightweight.
You can easily pack your heaviest gear in a backpack, so choosing one that is lightweight can make a huge difference to your comfort. The last step is to choose a frame that fits your needs. You may want to consider a lightweight frame if you carry a lighter load. In the opposite direction, it’s the same.
A backpack with ergonomics and portability combined with a suitcase’s organization and ease of packing make up the Backpack. All the items on your packing list can be stored in compartments or pockets.
You can store your clothes in the large main compartment, which has zippered pockets for cords, toiletries, and other small items.
TSA-friendly lay-flat laptop compartment lets you pack your laptop, tablet, or Kindle. There is a compartment on the front where you can store all the small items you need to access easily, like your notebook or sunglasses.
You can adjust the height of the Backpack to fit you perfectly. You can keep your stuff safe on rainy European days with the waterproof sailcloth bag.
In terms of ergonomics, organization, and adjustability, the Backpack is the best. Most European airlines accept 35L bags as carry-ons, so you will never have to check a bag.
After backpacking through Eastern Europe in 2009, we realized the shortcomings of existing bags. My bag was cumbersome, large, and disorganized. A cheap shoulder strap caused Jeremy’s bag to break after the first day of use.
Having been unable to find the perfect travel backpack, we decided to make our own. An ideal backpack for travelers is necessary if you’re heading to Europe.
The smarter option would be to invest in a backpack that is theft-proof. It’s not possible to be 100% theft-proof, but locking zippers can be a good way for you to slow down a thief.
Furthermore, by locking your bag, you’re sending a message to burglars that you’re not an easy mark, so they are more likely to skip your locked bag in favor of one that’s not locked.
For preparing your backpack for a trip to Europe, you will need a simple TSA-approved padlock. This little lock will serve as a huge deterrent to a potential thief who will move on to an easier target as soon as he sees it.
Frequently Asked Questions:
A backpack with a capacity of 40L-50L is recommended. As a rule of thumb, I don’t recommend bags larger than 65L, but some people prefer larger bags. It’s OK to go smaller – unless you have a minimalist travel style – but I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than 35L.
You are generally safe when backpacking in Europe. As long as you do your due diligence and follow safe travel tips, there are very few places that put you at serious risk.
If you keep your wits about you while walking around, you won’t be recognized as a non-local anymore. Despite my love of yoga pants, I like to at least look like a local so I usually wear jeans and flats.
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