2018’s best travel backpacks are both smart and stylish.
When it comes to the perpetual dilemma of carry-on suitcase vs. travel backpack, it all depends on your personal preferences and travel needs. Although, we have to admit, we’re leaning towards the backpack option, not because we feel nostalgic about the good old schoolyard days, but because we’ve found it to be the more practical alternative of the two, especially on budget airlines where you’re more concerned with the weight of your luggage.
Most backpacks tend to be lighter than standard luggage (they’re often made of sturdy polyester) and smaller, too — usually fitting neatly beneath the seat in front of you. Plus, you can easily take your carry-on backpack from the airport to the beach and beyond, while using your hard-shell suitcase as your beach bag is perhaps not the most functional idea.
Another component modern travel backpacks have going for them? Organization. Many of our favorite picks are thoughtfully outfitted with a place for everything. There are padded tech sleeves galore. Your water bottle, passport, pens, keys, and more will all have a designated spot — that means no more scrambling to find what you need in the security line. Some styles even open up with three-side zippers, just like standard luggage would.
And if you’re a fan of rolling your way through airports instead of having to speed-walk between terminals with 15 pounds of stuff on your back, we have some good news for you. One pick even comes with built-in wheels and a double-locking handle so you can have a suitcase and a backpack all-in-one.
Below, 17 durable and sleek backpack options that will have your back, literally, on your next trip.