10 Best Travel Backpacks 2017

best travel backpack

NameSizeBusiness or pleasure? 
Soarpop SA9360-UKFor laptopsBusiness Check Price
Wocharm Best Quality 40L40LPleasure Check Price
AceVivi 22L Ultra-Lightweight22LPleasure Check Price
Mardingtop 25L Rucksack25LPleasure Check Price
Slotra Laptop BackpackFor laptopsBusiness Check Price

Backpacks are forever associated with people who take time out and travel. The image of a backpacker, perhaps making their way through Europe or across Australia, is a familiar one seen in many a travelogue, and a backpack is far more convenient than your traditional suitcase. The backpack has come a long way since its original incarnation, and these days you can choose from many very versatile products offering a wide range of uses. They are built to be durable, offer a long life, and take the weight of whatever you are carrying off your arms.

Whether you are planning to use your backpack for travelling, or simply for the to and from work commute or perhaps for school or college, you will be certain to find one that suits you, but there is also a surprising amount to consider. Indeed, some of the models we looked at are designed specifically for business use, with carefully considered compartments for laptops, so offer a greater level of versatility all round. We took a look at the top 10 best backpacks on the market now, and considered their various attributes for you, but before we go on, let’s take a closer look at what a backpack is, and why you need one.

How It Works

So, a backpack: how does it work? It’s simple: you put things in it, put it on your back, and away you go! Indeed, that is the basic premise, but we discovered there is much more to these things than you might suspect. Some of the designs here are very clever indeed, and many are designed not for travel use, as such, but for commuting. Laptop backpacks are very popular, and offer a great way of carrying your valuable computer with you easily and safely. They are great for travelling on the train or bus – or even on a bike – and don’t get in the way as much as conventional bags.

If you are travelling, you need your backpack to be light, compact and yet able to contain everything you want to take with you, and some of these pack a great deal into a very small unit. Some clever and innovative designers have taken what is a simple, tried and tested concept, and given it a completely new – and very welcome – twist. Even if you are not going to use it regularly, a backpack is a useful item to have around the house for unexpected use, and they are not expensive. So, let’s check out the very best backpacks on the market, and see if we can find one for you.

Our Top 10 Travel Backpacks

1: Soarpop SA9360-UK

This one, from Soarpop – a brand with many backpack designs among its range – is a typical one in the business use class. It’s a good size, is roomy, and is designed for laptops and other equipment. The cleverly designed padded section will protect your laptop or notebook from bumps and bangs when on the move, yet it is compact enough to take on the bus without troubling other passengers. It’s made from breathable material so is comfortable to wear at all times, and it has fully adjustable straps so you can alter it to fit you perfectly.

It weighs just 1.5kg, so is light enough to fill and still be easy to move around, and it’s finished in a stylish black, so looks the part. You get a variety of pockets, including smaller ones for your MP3 player or phone, and the main inner pocket is big enough to put your clothes and other items in for travelling. This is a well-designed backpack, with ergonomically sculpted shoulder pads for added comfort, and at around £35 is a sensible price, if not the cheapest one here.

Pros
  • Well Designed
  • Laptop pocket
  • Sensible Price
Cons
  • None that we can see

2: Wocharm Best Quality 40L

This one is designed primarily for outdoor use – camping, hiking, running or any other activity – and doesn’t feel quite as high quality as the one above. It offers a 40-litre capacity, which is more than adequate, and does have a padded laptop section. Overall, however, this is clearly designed for more rugged use, rather than for the daily commute. It’s available in a few colours, so you can take your pick, and it is very light when empty at around 700g. It’s perfect for going away for a weekend, for example, and will serve its purpose well.

Make no mistake, this is a simple item when compared to some others here, and is one of the closest to a standard backpack; it’s made from waterproof material that claims also to be tear-proof, and comes with various pockets and sections for storing everything from your phone to implements such as torches. While we wouldn’t recommend this one for the daily commute it could do the job, but as a backpack for weekend or day trips, it’s good value at around £12.

Pros
  • Very cheap
Cons
  • Feels very cheap

Pros: Very cheap

Cons: Feels very cheap

3: AceVivi 22L Ultra-Lightweight

This is a backpack that is designed for occasional use, perhaps for a day trip. It’s only 22-litres, so doesn’t offer the capacity of that above, but is made from rip-proof and waterproof nylon, and is very durable. It would be a great choice, for example, for the school user, and it is very light. One thing we do like about this one is that, when not in use, it is designed to fold away, so you can take it with you in a pocket to the shops, and fill it up to take everything home.

We wouldn’t recommend this one for carrying a laptop, although it does have reinforced pockets, but for a trip where you don’t need to take much it’s ideal. It has shoulder straps made from breathable material for added comfort, and you can choose from as many as ten bright and breezy colours, so you will stand out from the crowd! Overall, this is a handy little backpack to have around for shopping or school, or perhaps for a camping trip, and at a little more than £10 it’s good value.

Pros
  • Compact
  • Cheap
  • Colours
Cons
  • Just 22-litres

4: Mardingtop 25L Rucksack

This very stylish design – you can choose from a variety of colours – from Mardingtop is a neat backpack with many fine features. It’s extremely light at around 650g, perfect for carrying on long journeys, and is clearly rugged enough for a camping trip or long hike. A number of compartments give you 25-litres capacity – that’s not the biggest but perfectly adequate for most uses – and it has a padded section that the makers say is perfect for carrying an iPad. It is perhaps not big enough for a laptop, however.

It is made from waterproof polyester with high quality, durable fastenings, has a mesh back for breathability and comfort, and is well-designed for long-term use. You get external loops, too, which are perfect for hanging a stick or other item you might need close to hand, and the shoulder straps are fully adjustable for comfort. All in all, it’s a very neat little backpack, is well-made and cleverly designed, and we think it good value for a quality item at a little more than £25.

Pros
  • Neat design
  • Durable
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Only 25 litres

5: Slotra Laptop Backpack

Just a casual glance at this one tells you it is designed with business use in mind: it is simple, purposeful and very neat, and differs from the others reviewed so far in many ways. It comes with a range of cleverly designed compartments, including one that is specially created for laptops of up to 17-inches, and the zippers are a clever design that allow for the fitting of a padlock, and that are designed to deter theft. It’s a very practical backpack, and would be perfect for the commuter or the student.

It features, in addition to the internal sections, pockets on the side of the backpack for quick access items, and there are special slots inside for the likes of a phone or iPod. The material is waterproof – although the manufacturer advises against use in heavy rain – and it is designed for comfort, with fully adjustable straps and ergonomic styling. It also has a sturdy handle on the top for carrying when on public transport, for example, and is very neatly put together. If you are looking for a backpack for the regular commuter run, this could be the ideal choice for you. While it’s not the cheapest – it’s around £30 – it is a quality item, and we think it stands up well among the competition.

Pros
  • Very neat design
  • Security features
Cons
  • Perhaps the price

6: Diamond Candy Outdoor Backpack

While the above backpack immediately screams business at you, this one – from the well-known Diamond Candy brand – urges you to get your hiking boots on and take to the hills. It’s a traditional travellers or campers backpack in every way, and is a quality item too. It looks the part – it’s chunky, rugged and purposeful – and it feels it, too. Made from durable, waterproof material, with high quality zips and cleverly designed to be comfortable whether worn by men or women, this is a backpack for the discerning hiker or outdoors enthusiast, and offers many fine features that make it so.

It is beautifully designed to follow the contours of the body, has fully adjustable shoulder and chest straps for added comfort, and is made from breathable material so is perfect for long-term use. It has an air-cushion back as well as shock-proof inner layer, so will be perfectly comfortable when traversing rough terrain. Make no mistake, this is a very serious backpack indeed, and with 40-litres capacity is good value at around £30. If you’re planning on regular camping trips, this one comes highly recommended.

Pros
  • Rugged
  • Comfortable
  • 40L
Cons
  • None, its a quality item

7: Topsky Waterproof Backpack

As with that above, this one is designed for outdoor pursuits, and is a very neat design with plenty of useful features. In fact, the makers claim it to be double waterproof protected, and it also comes with a special rain cover so is usable in even the worst of weather conditions – perfect for the UK, then! It has a breathable mesh back so is perfectly comfortable, and is equipped with fully adjustable shoulder straps so you can adjust it to suit your individual characteristics. It’s also available in a range of different colours, so you can choose the one you like the best.

This one is, in fact, designed with cyclists in mind, so features additional comfort and styling cues to make it wearable when on the move. Interestingly, it comes in a choice of sizes – from 25 to 40-litres – so there will be one for everyone to choose from. There are plenty of pockets, and it also features a helmet suspension system for when riding the bike. This is a quality design, made from excellent, durable materials, and one that is perfect for heavy-duty use, but you pay for the privilege at around £40.

Pros
  • Strong
  • Durable
  • Quality
Cons
  • Price

8: Wocharm 40L

We’ve already reviewed one from the Wocharm brand, and this one is practically identical, so: This one is designed primarily for outdoor use – camping, hiking, running or any other activity – and doesn’t feel quite as high quality as the one above. It offers a 40-litre capacity, which is more than adequate, and does have a padded laptop section. Overall, however, this is clearly designed for more rugged use, rather than for the daily commute. It’s available in a few colours, so you can take your pick, and it is very light when empty at around 700g. It’s perfect for going away for a weekend, for example, and will serve its purpose well.

Make no mistake, this is a simple item when compared to some others here, and is one of the closest to a standard backpack; it’s made from waterproof material that claims also to be tear-proof, and comes with various pockets and sections for storing everything from your phone to implements such as torches. While we wouldn’t recommend this one for the daily commute it could do the job, but as a backpack for weekend or day trips, it’s good value at around £12.

Pros
  • Very cheap
Cons
  • Feels very cheap

9: Aqua Quest Sport 25

With products such as these, it is easy to spot the quality items among those of a lesser standard, and this one – from Aqua Quest – is a primary example of a top quality backpack. This is a brand that is well-known for quality, and it shows in the material that this one is made from. It is extremely durable, fully waterproof and rip-free, and also features a special coating for added protection. Make no mistake, this is not designed for the commuter run or the student, it’s for outdoor, heavy-duty use in the most demanding of situations. It comes in a choice of grey or red colourways, each of which features reflective panels for added visibility in poor light.

There are many pockets and internal compartments, plus it uses top quality fittings such as zippers and so on, and it has a handy quick-access pocket on the front for those items you need to get your hands on in a hurry, such as your phone, and there is plenty of access to all internal compartments, too. However, having said all that – and it is a top quality product – there are two downsides: one is that it is only 25-litre capacity, and the other is that it will cost you around £60, which is far more expensive than any other so far. If you want the best quality backpack for regular heavy use, though, there’s little to match this here.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Top quality
Cons
  • Only 25 litres
  • The price

Pros: Durable, top quality

Cons: Only 25-litres, the price

10: Omoton Laptop Backpack

We are back to business with this one, from the Omoton brand, which is designed specifically with laptops in mind. Many people, after all, carry a laptop to work or college, and need to be able to do so with comfort, and also with security in mind. This one comes with clever anti-theft features, high quality zips that can take a padlock, and also offers a variety of pockets and compartments for the full range of versatility and usability. It’s a very nicely designed model, and also features a hidden compartment on the back for storing your money, wallet, passport and other valuable items.

It’s designed to be comfortable to wear, with fully adjustable straps and made from breathable material, and has a carrying handle on top so you can keep it out of the way when on the bus or train. There is nothing fussy about this one: it’s a supremely practical design that does what it is intended to do, and would be perfect for the student or business user. It’s not the cheapest at a little more than £30, but it is a very nice item.

Pros
  • Neat
  • Perfect for business use
  • Security features
Cons
  • Perhaps the price, but we think its worth it

That’s the top 10 backpacks for you, and we feel sure you will agree that there is a surprising amount of variation among them. Before we go on to sum up, let’s have a recap of the things to look out for when choosing one of these.

Important Features to Consider

When choosing a laptop, you need to make your choice according to what you will be using it for. Let’s consider the main points you need to look at:

  • Business or Pleasure – a number of the models reviewed here are designed specifically for business use, particularly with laptops in mind, while others are for sporting and outdoor pursuits. There is a clear line between how each is designed and built, so make your choice carefully.
  • Capacity – depending on what you are intending to use your backpack for, you need to think about capacity. Sizes range from 25 to 40-litres capacity, so consider your usage carefully.
  • Comfort – look for a model with fully adjustable straps and other comfort considerations, especially if you are to use your backpack regularly.
  • Price – there is a large variation in price here, from around £10 to £60, so it’s up to you to choose how much you want to pay. It’s worth remembering that, with these items, you do pay for quality, so consider wisely.

These are just a few of the considerations you need to think about when buying a backpack, and you may have many more, so all that remains now is to wrap things up.

Let’s Wrap It Up

So, have you seen the backpack for you among these? We hope so, and we reckon we’ve covered the subject pretty comprehensively. As we said above, choosing a backpack is about what you want it for: there are some here that are perfect for the commuter, others that are great for students, and some that are designed especially for heavy duty sporting and outdoor pursuits, so there is plenty of choice.

For the office or school user, we can recommend the very business-like Slotra model, at number 5, as it is perfectly equipped for carrying a laptop safely and securely. If you’re a dedicated outdoors person and want one of these for camping or hiking, we think the Diamond Candy model, number 6, is ideal and well-priced.
Whatever you need, we hope we’ve helped you find the one you want, so have fun with your backpacking, and stay safe!