The 14 Most Stylish Travel Backpacks for Women in 2023

Jet off on any adventure with our top pick, Everlane's ReNew Transit Backpack.

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Travel Backpacks for Women

Travel & Leisure / David Hattan

When carrying your belongings from the jetway to the jungle, there’s no bag quite like a backpack. A good backpack keeps your hands free, belongings tucked snugly in place, and weight balanced (no more asymmetrically sore shoulders). Equally importantly, the best backpacks look good.

We waded through endless recommendations and reviews and utilized our own backpack-wearing experience to find the best stylish travel backpacks for women — you don’t want to ruin your carefully crafted travel capsule wardrobe with something that makes you feel like it’s your first day of middle school. Our favorite stylish women’s travel backpack is Everlane’s ReNew Transit Backpack for its recycled materials, funky design, and simple structure. But there are plenty more where that came from if this doesn’t suit your style.

Best Overall

Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack

Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack


Why We Love It: It’s sustainable, water-resistant, and simple enough to be organized however you prefer.

What to Consider: It has fewer organizational pockets than some other styles, and getting larger laptops into the pocket may require some wrangling.

Our pick for the best stylish women’s travel backpack is the Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack.  It’s large enough to hold a 15-inch laptop without looking overly bulky since the laptop can slide into its own separate pocket (also a bonus when it’s TSA time). The folded-over top elevates the look and creates a space for a second front pocket once it magnetically attaches to the front of the bag. Meanwhile, the main compartment runs the length of the bag and has two slip pockets inside.

This isn’t the most structured bag, so you may have to do some adjusting to get things to sit correctly. There aren’t as many pockets inside, but we prefer that since it allows you to organize as you see fit without having to make everything fit into an exact space. The backpack is also water-resistant so you’ll be safe even in an unexpected storm. And, of course, we appreciate that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles and uses Bluesign-approved fabric dyes for its five neutral color options, too.

Price at time of publish: $95

Materials: Recycled polyester | Dimensions: 17.5 x 12 x 7.25 inches | Capacity: 27 liters | Weight: Not listed

Best Small

Lo & Sons Beacon Backpack

Lo & Sons Beacon Backpack

Lo & Sons

Why We Love It: It’s petite enough to blend in but large enough to hold a 13-inch Macbook and your other essentials.

What to Consider: It’s currently only available in black.

While the Beacon isn’t as large as some other backpacks, it still boasts a laptop compartment (that can hold computers up to 13 inches), as well as clip-on D-rings on both sides for additional gear. The front has a zippered pocket for items you want to keep within easy grabbing reach. Then, inside the main zippered compartment, you’ll find scads of pockets: two mesh, one zippered, three smaller slip, and one larger slip. Foam-padded shoulder straps reduce digging in, and the water-resistant fabric and waterproof zippers on the laptop compartment mean that a storm won’t ruin your day.

This one is ideal for the color-averse; it’s currently only available in black. And, while we like the petite size of the Beacon for easy carrying, if you want something larger, Lo & Sons also offers a more rugged Hanover 2 or convertible Rowledge. I carry an earlier version of the Hanover bag as my go-to when I need a larger, stylish backpack and have found it super comfortable, reliable, and cavernous enough to fit so many extra layers.

Price at time of publish: $298

Materials: Recycled nylon and polyester | Dimensions: 10.5 x 4.5 x 15 inches | Capacity: 11 liters | Weight: 1.6 pounds

Best Clip Top

Beis The Cargo Backpack

Béis The Cargo Backpack


Why We Love It: It adds visual interest without sacrificing comfort or pockets.

What to Consider: Most of the pockets don’t zip closed, so it’s not as secure as some other options.

If your favorite travel influencer is usually spotted carrying around a stylish neutral-hued bag, it’s probably a Beis. This popular company offers a slew of backpacks and, while The Backpack is a classic, we’re drawn to the puffy appeal of the Cargo Backpack as their best stylish backpack for women. There’s a zippered front pocket in addition to the main pocket, which closes via drawstring and flap, and has an included padded laptop section for laptops up to 15 inches along with a zipper pocket and two slip pockets. You’ve got two more slip pockets on the sides for water bottles and a luggage pass-through band so you can be fully hands-free whenever you need. Pick between three neutral options: black, beige, and a medium-brown maple tone.

Price at time of publish: $98

Materials: Polyester | Dimensions: 13 x 16 x 8 inches | Capacity: 23.5 liters | Weight: 1.5 pounds

Best Foldable

Paravel Fold-Up Backpack



Why We Love It: It’s small and sustainable without sacrificing any style.

What to Consider: The straps aren’t padded, so this isn’t as comfortable for longer wear.

Sometimes you aren’t sure if you’re going to really need a backpack or not. If you want something to throw in your bag just in case, Paravel’s Fold-Up Backpack can zip up into itself to make a flat pouch for easy carrying. Unfurled, it can hold up to a 15-inch laptop, and has a front zip compartment and large main compartment, the latter of which contains a secondary zipped pocket as well. The striped straps add a fun nautical element, and there are six different colors available to make sure you’re matched to the rest of your luggage. And for some extra eco cred, the bag is made with post-consumer plastic bottles and approved by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, and the Global Recycled Standard.

Price at time of publish: $75

Materials: Recycled nylon | Dimensions: 13 x 16 x 9 inches | Capacity: Not listed | Weight: 0.63 pounds

Best Minimalist

July Carry All Backpack

July Carry All Backpack


Why We Love It: It’s simple yet chic.

What to Consider: Some users have problems with the main pocket contents interfering with the laptop pocket.

Though this backpack looks nearly flat from the outside, it has plenty of pocket space to keep you organized. The front zip pocket has two internal compartments, while the main cavity has multiple dividers and pockets of its own, plus there’s a separate padded laptop compartment (for devices up to 16 inches). Slide it over your roller bag’s handle with the pass-through band, and stash your phone or passport in the secret back magnetic pocket for easy access. Slip a water bottle or umbrella in the zippered side pocket and hook anything else you want to add onto the side D-rings (perfect to clip on your travel pillow).

There are four chic water-resistant colors available, and you even get a five-year guarantee on manufacturing faults. If you need something larger, their Volume Plus backpack is equally stylish and can open up from 21 to 26 liters.

Price at time of publish: $175

Materials: Nylon with leather accents | Dimensions: 11 x 16 x 6.5 inches | Capacity: 20 liters | Weight: 2.2 pounds

Best Modular

Monos Metro Backpack

Monos Metro Backpack


Why We Love It: A detachable front pouch complements a well-organized interior.

What to Consider: The divisions of the main compartment don’t leave a lot of space to do your own organizing.

What’s even better than a front pocket? A detachable front pocket. The Monos Metro Backpack earned its spot on our most stylish travel backpacks list thanks to the removable Metro Kit, which slides and then snaps into place where you would usually find the smaller front pocket. If you need to stash your bag overhead but want to keep the essentials with you, or are packing light and want to leave the kit at home, just detach and slide it right off.

The main bag is divided into a separate laptop pocket and a main compartment that includes a waterproof privacy section to keep items that you don’t want mingling separate from the rest of its contents. There’s also a hidden magnetic back pocket and the classic trolley band. There are four colors available in the nylon build or three in vegan leather, all of which are waterproof so you don’t need to worry about the forecast.

Price at time of publish: $200

Materials: Nylon or vegan leather | Dimensions: 11.5 x 16.5 x  6 inches (without Metro kit) | Capacity: 18 liters | Weight: 2.4 pounds (nylon) or 3 pounds (vegan leather) plus 0.6 pounds for kit

Best Drawstring

Cotopaxi Tago Drawstring Backpack

Cotopaxi Tago Drawstring Backpack


Why We Love It: It has more organization and fun color choices than the classic drawstring.

What to Consider: This isn’t the most comfortable or secure build style.

Drawstring backpacks aren’t the most comfortable long-term, but if you’re committed to the string, or just want something that can pack a little smaller, we’d opt for the Cotopaxi Tago. The high-quality build on this pack means you won’t lose your strings to a heavy load, and you can carry it by the top carry handles if you need a break from the shoulder straps. There are also daisy chain loops on the front to hook on extra accessories, a zippered front pocket, and back accessory pocket. This isn’t for the faint of fashion heart either as it will also brighten up your outfit with Cotopaxi’s signature color-mixed Del Dia collection, which also reduces fabric waste.

Price at time of publish: $40

Materials: Repurposed nylon | Dimensions: 19 x 13 inches  | Capacity: Not listed | Weight: 7 ounces

Best Splurge

Tumi Voyageur Ruby Leather Backpack

Tumi Voyageur Ruby Leather Backpack


Why We Love It: It has a sleek leather exterior and plenty of organizational features.

What to Consider: Most of the bag isn’t waterproof.

One of Tumi’s bestsellers, the spacious Ruby will blend in anywhere you want to take it and hold everything you need along the way. You get the expected back secret pocket and trolley band on the rear; a separate padded laptop pocket for a computer up to 15 inches; a main compartment with its own interior zip wall section; and a front zipped pocket with slip pouch. There are also two side pockets, one of which is water-resistant and has a drawstring closure so your water bottle won’t leak or slip out. It comes in black with gold hardware or a smooth pearl gray. If you want something a little more streamlined and don’t mind sacrificing some size, go for the smaller Hannah, which is part of the same Voyageur line but loses the side pockets in exchange for an internal water bottle holder.

Price at time of publish: $650

Materials: Leather | Dimensions: 16.1 x 13.0 x 5.5 inches| Capacity: Not listed | Weight: 2.5 pounds

Best Convertible

Senreve Maestra Bag


Neiman Marcus

Why We Love It: In addition to four possible carry styles, there are many organizational pockets, leather textures, and available colors.

What to Consider: The large size can make it feel a bit unwieldy when carried as a crossbody.

Some convertible bags can go from backpacks to totes. The Maestra from Senreve can go from backpack to tote to crossbody to satchel, all while keeping your belongings safely zipped away. There are a total of seven interior compartments within the main cavity, including a padded laptop sleeve that holds devices up to 13 inches, and a rear exterior slip pocket. (The bag itself can hold a laptop up to 15 inches, but it won’t fit in the padded pocket; it will have to sit in the central compartment.) Zip it shut and then flip the flap closure over the top and adjust the straps to however you feel like carrying it today. If you choose to set it down, there are metal feet that will protect the bottom of the bag from dragging on the floor.

Naturally, if the bag has so many carry options, it should have multiple finish options as well. Choose between pebbled, mimosa, dolce, dragon, or vegan saffiano leather materials and then multiple color options within each. If you don’t need quite as much space, there are also Midi and Mini Maestras available.

Price at time of publish: $1,045

Materials: Leather | Dimensions: 16 x 10.25 x 6.75 inches| Capacity: Not listed | Weight: 3.28 pounds

Best Roll-top

Osprey Arcane Roll Top Backpack

Osprey Arcane Roll Top Backpack


Why We Love It: It boasts sustainability features, extra pockets, and a waterproof finish.

What to Consider: A roll-top style is harder to wrangle in tight spaces, since you need room to get it unwrapped and open.

Osprey’s classic build quality adds stylish-yet-simple vintage flair in the Arcane series. In addition to the main compartment, there’s a vertical-zip front pocket and a front slip pocket to stuff your outer layers into. There’s also a stretchy side slot for your water bottle. In the main pocket, you can fit a 15-inch laptop in the padded sleeve and document holder. A small mesh pocket on the shoulder strap can hold transit cards, earbuds, or anything else petite that you need within reach.

The whole bag is designed to have a low profile, so it doesn’t look like a bulky outdoor bag, and it is extra comfortable, thanks to a foam back panel and harness. The DWR finish keeps the interior contents dry, and the bag is made from recycled polyester derived from 12.5 plastic bottles, so you get an extra sustainability bonus as well.

Price at time of publish: $110

Materials: Recycled polyester | Dimensions: 19.69 x 11.81 x 8.66 inches  | Capacity: 22 liters | Weight: 1.65 pounds

Best Anti-theft

Travelon Parkview Backpack

Travelon Parkview Backpack


Why We Love It: It’s a secure backpack that doesn’t look tactical.

What to Consider: If you want to put your wallet in the RFID-blocking pocket, you’ll have to leave it in the front pocket, which isn’t our favorite place.

Anti-theft doesn’t mean anti-style. Travelon’s Parkview backpack is still one of the best stylish travel backpacks for women while also keeping your belongings secure thanks to a slash-resistant mesh on the panels and strap as well as locking compartments (both main and front), and an RFID-blocking organizer. The front zipper pocket contains an even smaller zipped pocket, as well as a mini flashlight on the key leash. Meanwhile, the main compartment has a built-in laptop sleeve that can hold laptops up to 15 inches, as well as three smaller slip-in pockets but it’s otherwise up to you to organize as you see fit. One external slide pocket can hold a water bottle, or be zipped up and tucked away.

If you want all the features in a slightly different aesthetic package, Travelon’s Urban and Metro lines also include backpacks that are equally protective but appeal to different style tastes. (While I’ve never tried their backpacks personally, I’m now on my third Travelon purse after traveling with their bags for years and have never worried about the security of my things.)

Price at time of publish: $115

Materials: Polyester | Dimensions: 11.25 x 15.5 x 6.5 inches | Capacity: 13 liters | Weight: 1.3 pounds

Best Canvas

Herschel Little America Backpack Mid-Volume

Herschel Little America Backpack Mid-Volume


Why We Love It: Leather accents top off a canvas bag loaded with pockets and other features.

What to Consider: The top doesn’t zip shut.

There was a time when it seemed like everyone in the world had a Herschel backpack, and for good reason. These classic canvas backpacks are super functional while still staying attractive enough for city travel. The padded and fleece-lined laptop sleeve protects a computer (up to 15 inches), and there’s an internal zipped pocket for items you’re worried about sneaking away. To close it, cinch the top drawstring and then snap down the covering flap. There are 22 color combinations available, and we’re big fans of the contrasting leather straps that add some style to the exterior. If you want something a bit smaller, you can also downsize to the 17-liter Little America Mid-volume.

Price at time of publish: $106

Materials: Nylon and polyester | Dimensions: 19.25 x 11.25 x 7 inches | Capacity: 25 liters | Weight: 2.2 pounds

Best Water-resistant

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack

Saks Fifth Avenue

Why We Love It: Neoprene fabric and fun colors complement a slew of pockets.

What to Consider: This waterproofing isn’t enough to stand up to a boating trip — you’ll need a specifically designed “dry bag” for that.

If you’re worried about keeping your possessions dry and frequently travel in the rain, the Dagne Dover Dakota may be the best stylish travel backpack for you. Its enjoyably squishy neoprene exterior protects the contents from moisture and dries quickly. A mesh laptop sleeve keeps laptops tucked in (though it’s not padded). The front panel of the main compartment has three included zip pockets, plus there’s the separate zipper on the front of this bag. There’s also a pouch pocket and an exterior vertical-zip pocket on each side, and you get a zip-top pouch and a shoe bag included with the backpack to stay extra organized.

The Dakota comes in small, medium, and large options, as well as six core colors and four seasonal shades, so you’re sure to find something complementary. We think the medium is a good option for most travelers unless you’re regularly carrying around a larger laptop and change of shoes.

Price at time of publish: $155

Materials: Neoprene and recycled polyester | Dimensions: 11.5 x 5 x 17 inches (medium) | Capacity: 16 liters (medium) | Weight: 2 pounds (medium)

Best For a Set

Delsey Chatelet Air 2.0 Backpack

Delsey Chatelet Air 2.0 Backpack


Why We Love It: There’s a variety of interesting color options that match the brand’s checked and carry-on bags.

What to Consider: There are quite a few pockets here, so you may need a packing strategy to find items quickly.

If you simply must have an entirely matching luggage set, you could do a lot worse than Delsey’s Chatelet Air 2.0 line. The contrasting, curving stripes on this backpack elevate it above a standard solid, and will keep it in sync with the matching checked and carry-on suitcases. Pockets are plentiful, including hidden front and back pockets, two side pockets, a business organizer, an accessory pouch, and not one but two padded sleeves (that can hold devices up to 15.6 inches). Carry it with the padded shoulder straps, top carry handle, or use the trolley strap instead. The backpack also comes with a TSA-approved lock and an internal antimicrobial coating, because sometimes you just have to throw in something a little dubious.

Price at time of publish: $380

Materials: Recycled polyester | Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 7 inches | Capacity: 23 liters | Weight: 2.3 pounds

Tips for Buying a Stylish Women’s Travel Backpack

Choose materials for your intended use

Think about where you’ll be carrying your backpack most of the time. Will it be heading back to the office with you? Go for a professional leather exterior. Trekking in the rain? Look for waterproof materials. Regardless of where they’re going, the best backpacks are durable enough to stand up to any sharp corners you may throw in them or that they may encounter in the overhead bin.

Consider your personal style

A good accessory can make your outfit, and anything you’re traveling with can also match with your aesthetic. Do you lean preppy or punk rock? Do you like your bags to blend in with your outfits in your preferred neutral, or provide the infamous pop of color? Think about the clothes you wear most frequently on the road and what will work best with those.

Prioritize functional features

There’s a correct number of pockets for everyone. If you like a very organized bag with a place for everything, you’ll want more pockets. If you like to do the organizing on your own — we love a zippered pouch system — opt for a bag that isn’t as overly designed.

You also want to make sure your backpack is comfortable. Check for thicker, padded straps to make sure your shoulders are comfortable no matter how much you’ve packed. A waist strap can also be a nice bonus for especially long carry days.

If you’re going to be toting a laptop, a padded sleeve is a nice feature that will save you from having to include a bulky carrying case. If you’re always staying hydrated, keep your eye out for external water bottle pockets. We also prefer when the main compartment of a backpack closes with a zipper, rather than snaps, so that nothing escapes under the seat, or risks getting pickpocketed on a crowded train.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What should I carry in a travel backpack?

    Anything important that you want to keep close to your person should go in your backpack while you’re in transit (though you don’t necessarily want or need to carry it once you’ve reached your destination). My usual carry-on backpack setup holds my laptop (if needed), various chargers (if I’ve checked my suitcase), a water bottle, Kindle, jewelry, medications, snacks, sunglasses, headphones, a scarf, a travel pillow, and a toiletry pouch. (Yes, I usually carry a large backpack.) But once I’ve checked in at my destination, most of that gets locked away in my suitcase.

    Cut it down to the essentials when you’re going out for the day. If you think there’s a chance you’ll be separated from your backpack (say, a bag check at a museum), you can stash a small wristlet or clutch inside with must-haves to keep those on you.

  • What size backpack can I bring on the plane?

    Always check your airline’s individual policies, especially since carry-on rules are getting increasingly complicated by different fare classes. Most airlines allow around 22 x 14 x 9 inches for an item going in the overhead bin and 18 x 14 x 8 for your personal item under the seat in front of you, with more variation in the latter across airlines.

  • Can I bring a backpack and a purse as carry-on items?

    Yes, but that will use up your two-item limit on almost all airlines. If you need to carry a wheeled carry-on in addition to your purse and backpack, consider a small purse that will fit into your backpack while in flight, and then can be removed once you reach your destination.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, T+L contributor Rena Behar researched travel gear and used her own personal experience as a travel writer to curate the ideal list of stylish travel backpacks for women.

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