Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Discover the best carry-on travel backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’. We break down how to choose your perfect one bag carry-on and suggest our top picks πŸ†

Traveling can be an experience. However the hassle of lugging around suitcases through airports or uneven streets can quickly put a damper on your excitement. That’s why opting to travel light with a carry on backpack can make all the difference. The perfect travel backpack allows you to stay nimble and adaptable while ensuring you have everything you need.

In the year 2024 the trend of one bag travel, with a carry on backpack continues to gain popularity. By avoiding baggage fees, skipping waits at baggage claim and effortlessly maneuvering your belongings you can fully immerse yourself in your adventures. Selecting the carry on travel backpack tailored to your needs enhances your overall travel experience.

What Sets Apart an Exceptional Carry On Travel Backpack?

When choosing a travel backpack to serve as your item for carrying on board there are crucial factors to consider;

Backpack Straps and Hip Belt

Given that you’ll be wearing your backpack for extended periods it’s essential that the shoulder straps and hip belt offer utmost comfort. Look for padded straps that won’t dig into your shoulders and an adjustable hip belt cushioned for weight distribution onto your hips.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Dedicated Laptop Compartment

For travelers who need to bring along devices, having a laptop sleeve with proper padding ensures their protection while allowing easy access, during TSA screenings.

Some backpacks also come with a sleeve specifically designed to hold a tablet.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Carry-On Size

To meet the requirements for carry on luggage your backpack should adhere to the airline dimensions of 22 x 14 x 9 inches. It’s recommended to look for travel backpacks in the range of 35-45 liters to ensure space.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Easy Access to Main Compartment

Backpacks that open like a suitcase either with a panel loading or clamshell design make it convenient to pack and unpack. With these designs you can easily see all your belongings at once.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Organizing the Interior

The preference for pockets and compartments varies among travelers; some prefer lots of them while others prefer a space. Consider your packing style. Use packing cubes to organize your bag accordingly.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’


Opt for fabrics like nylon that are resistant to abrasion. Additionally check if there are water coatings for added protection. Pay attention to the quality of zippers well.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Weight Considerations

Most travel backpacks weigh around 3-5 pounds when empty. The lighter your carry-on backpack is, the more you can pack without exceeding weight limits. However it’s important not to compromise on comfort.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Taking these factors into account lets now explore some of the choices for carry on travel backpacks in 2024.

Features of The Most Comfortable Daypack for Travel 

Padded shoulder straps

These straps bear most of the weight so having padding and adjustability allows for a fit. Wider straps also help distribute weight 

Chest and waist straps

The inclusion of a chest clip and hip belt prevents the shoulder straps from pulling ensuring stability and balance while carrying the pack.

Ventilated panel

Mesh covered contoured back panels promote airflow preventing that unpleasant sweaty back feeling often experienced with daypacks.


Separate pockets and sleeves help keep your essentials organized and easily accessible, on the go. Additional handy features can include clips, water bottle pockets and padded laptop sleeves.

When considering the size for a daypack aim for 20-30 liters as it provides space for daily essentials without becoming overly bulky. Some recommended daypacks for travel are:

  • Osprey Daylite Plus 20L
  • Deuter Speed Lite 24 SL
  • REI Co op Ruckpack 28L
  • Osprey Stratos 24L
  • Patagonia Refugio 28L

Focus on finding a daypack that prioritizes strap comfort incorporates a designed back panel and includes practical features such as water bottle pockets. With these considerations in mind you’ll be well prepared for a painful day of exploration.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Tips on How to Pack Your Daypack

Packing your daypack ensures you can carry everything you need comfortably throughout the day.

Here are some tips to optimize your packing experience;

Utilize packing cubes; Organize your clothes and gear by folding them into cubes or pouches. This way you can easily swap out items as needed.

Place items to your back; When loading your pack make sure to position denser objects like water bottles or laptops nearest to your back. This helps distribute the weight over your spine providing stability.

Aim for weight distribution; Try to distribute the load on both sides of your pack to avoid any imbalances. It’s especially important when carrying equipment like cameras that can be quite heavy.

Keep essentials within reach; Ensure that must-haves such as your phone, wallet, sunglasses, snacks and sunscreen are easily accessible in pockets. By doing this you can avoid opening and closing your pack.

Adjust straps for a personalized fit; Before loading up your pack loosen the shoulder and hip belt straps. Once you’ve adjusted the contents inside, tighten the straps again to achieve a comfortable fit tailored to your body.

Allow space; Avoid overstuffing your pack. Leaving some room gives you flexibility to add a sweater or souvenirs during your adventures without difficulty.

Start with clothing, toiletries and electronics; then fill in with gear as necessary; finally place quick access items in pockets. Keeping an organized daypack will significantly reduce travel stress.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

What TSA Allows in Carry-On Bags

When you’re using a carry on backpack it’s important to be familiar with the TSA guidelines regarding what you can pack in it. This knowledge will help you avoid any delays or having prohibited items confiscated. Here’s an overview of what the TSA allows:


You can bring laptops, tablets, phones, portable chargers and other electronic devices in your carry on. However larger devices may need to be taken out for the security screening process.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’


Any liquid container you bring must be 3.4 ounces or smaller and fit into a bag. This includes toiletries, alcohol and food items.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Medications and Medical Devices

Prescription and over the counter medications diabetic supplies as medical devices are permitted after undergoing a visual inspection.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Baby Formula and Food

You can bring an amount of baby formula, breast milk, juice and jarred foods in your carry on bag. Just remember to inform the TSA officers during the screening process.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Musical Instruments

Smaller musical instruments like violins, guitars or ukuleles can be brought on board as part of your carry on luggage. However larger instruments might need to be checked.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

It’s important to note that sharp objects such as box cutters, knives, scissors and razor blades are strictly prohibited on board airplanes. Flammable or pressurized items are also not allowed for safety reasons. Make sure you are aware of these restrictions to avoid any confiscation issues.

Always make sure to check with your airline to see if there are any additional limitations you need to be aware of.

The Top Carry On Travel Backpacks

Whether you’re going on a weekend getaway or embarking on a world trip, having a high quality travel backpack can make your travels much easier. Opting for a carry on backpack allows you to bypass the hassle of waiting at baggage claim so you can start enjoying your vacation upon arrival. By using luggage you have the freedom to fully immerse yourself in each destination.

With such a range of travel backpacks, on the market it can be challenging to determine which one is best suited for your needs. Here are some rated carry on travel backpacks worth considering in 2024.

Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack

Trusted by nomads and experienced travelers alike, the Tortuga Outbreaker offers durability and customization options. Its binder style opening provides access for packing to that of a suitcase. The padded and ventilated straps along with the hip belt ensure comfortable carrying when the backpack is at its capacity. Both the 35 liter and 45 liter sizes comply with carry on size restrictions.

Key Features:

  • Sleeves for laptops and tablets
  • Lockable zippers for added security
  • organizer panel designed to hold small items
  • Sturdy sailcloth exterior
  • Removable sternum strap
Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

Designed with photographers in mind the Peak Design 45L backpack offers convenient side access to its main compartment.

The bag’s unique feature is its magnesium alloy frames, which allow you to compress it for day use. When you hide away all the straps the backpack transforms into luggage. It meets carry on size requirements when fully expanded.

Key Features:

  • FlexFold dividers, for organizing camera gear
  • Several access points to interior
  • Convenient tuckaway harness system
  • External carry straps for coats and gear
  • Padded sleeve that accommodates laptops up to 15 inches
Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Nomatic Travel Pack

The Nomatic Travel Pack combines minimalistic style with a durable construction. The bag can expand from 20 to 30 liters providing storage space. Inside there are pockets and compartments that help keep your belongings organized. The dedicated laptop sleeve can accommodate laptops up to 17 inches in size. It’s a choice for trips where you desire both functionality and understated elegance.

Key Features:

  • Expandable design for maximizing space
  • Water fabric that withstands the elements
  • TSA laptop compartment, for hassle free travel
  • Ample internal organization options
  • Folds away neatly into a small pouch
Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

Cotopaxi, a certified B Corp company is known for producing durable and ethically made gear. Their Allpa 35L travel backpack opens like a suitcase making packing effortless. Despite being lightweight the bag is. Equipped with shoulder straps and a removable hip belt to ensure comfortable carrying of your belongings. It complies with carry on size restrictions.

Key Features:

  • The interior of this backpack is designed to be highly visible making it easier to pack your belongings
  • It also includes grab handles on the side and top, for handling.
  • The front panel has an organization system to keep your items in order and the main compartment can be accessed through the panel.
  • Additionally there is a laptop sleeve that can accommodate laptops up to 15 inches in size.
  • This backpack also comes with a raincover to protect your belongings from weather conditions.
Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Osprey Farpoint 40

The Osprey Farpoint series sets a standard for travel backpacks by offering straps and hip belts that provide ventilation. The LightWire frame suspension system helps distribute weight from the harness ensuring comfort during long journeys. The front panel features a zip allowing access to the main compartment for efficient packing. Compression straps are also included, allowing you to reduce the bag’s size when it’s not fully loaded.

Key Features;

  • Lockable sliders are present on the zipper of the compartment providing security for your belongings
  • This backpack also comes with a zip off daypack that offers versatility during your travels
  • Both shoulder and hip belts can be stowed away when checking in this bag as luggage
  • The StraightJacket compression system enables you to compress the bag further if needed
  • Inside there are dedicated sleeves for both laptops and tablets
Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Tropicfeel Shell Backpack

This foldable backpack packs down into its own pocket for easy storage in suitcases. When expanded, it offers 25 liters of capacity with a sleeve for tablet or e-reader. Although minimalist, it holds enough for day trips and doubles as a daypack. The lightweight design makes it easy to carry anywhere.

Key Features:

  • Folds into attached pocket
  • 25 liter capacity
  • Tablet sleeve
  • Vegan leather details and accents
  • Opens completely for easy packing
  • Includes removable keyring
Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Aer Travel Pack 2

Engineered with a ventilated back panel and padded straps, the Aer Travel Pack provides both comfort and durability. This backpack carries 33 liters but still fits in an under seat carry on bag. Quick access pockets allow you to grab essentials while on the move. It’s a great blend of organization and simplicity.

Key Features:

  • Several exterior stash pockets
  • Uses 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon
  • Large main compartment with book-style opening
  • Fits up to a 17 inch laptop
  • Water bottle pockets on both sides
Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible

For those looking for value, the eBags Mother Lode offers ample space at an affordable price. The main compartment opens widely for packing ease. Front panel organization provides plenty of pockets to separate items while built-in straps secure your laptop. Adjustable shoulder straps convert the bag from duffel to backpack carry.

Key Features:

  • Can expand from 33L to 47L
  • Hideaway backpack straps
  • Foam padded laptop sleeve
  • Locking, self-repairing YKK zippers
  • Front stretch pocket for bulky items
Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

While there are many great carry-on backpacks out there, these represent some of the best based on quality, features, value and traveler reviews. Focus on your personal needs and travel style as you select the best carry-on backpack for your future travels.

Tortuga vs Cotopaxi. Comparing Backpacks

Both Tortuga and Cotopaxi have established themselves as leaders in the travel backpack market for a reason. They both offer quality backpacks that are designed specifically for easy mobility. However each brand has its benefits. So how do you decide? Here’s an overview that compares some factors;


Tortuga’s backpack opens up like a binder style panel to luggage while Cotopaxi follows the back panel entry found in many backpacks.


The Allpa by Cotopaxi has a 35L capacity whereas Tortuga offers both 35L and 40L size options.


Tortuga provides a panel organizer with various slots and pockets while Cotopaxi keeps it simpler, with two medium sized zippered compartments.


Both brands offer padded straps. Tortuga’s hip belt and harness system is more robust and customizable.


Tortuga includes zippers and a kickstand feature while Cotopaxi comes with a rain cover and a visible interior.

Weather Protection

Tortuga utilizes sailcloth that’s resistant to water while Cotopaxi chooses nylon with water resistant pack cloth for the front.

In terms of price on average Tortuga tends to be $50- $100 more expensive.

If you prioritize durability, weather protection and customization for long term travel Tortuga comes out on top. On the other hand Cotopaxi excels for travelers who value comfort at a slightly lower price point. Both options provide an experience for traveling with one bag. Its recommended to try them on at home to determine which one is the fit for you.

Packing Cubes for Backpacks – Using Compartments Efficiently

When it comes to using compartments in backpacks, packing cubes can be quite helpful in keeping your belongings organized and easily accessible. Here’s a guide on using packing cubes;

Categorize Your Items

Divide your clothing, toiletries, electronics and miscellaneous items into cubes or pouches. This way you can easily retrieve what you need from your backpack.

Optimize Space

Utilize cubes for low bulk items like underwear and t-shirts. Reserve cubes for clothes such as sweaters and jeans. This helps maximize space inside your backpack.

Secure Your Load

Packing your cubes tightly ensures that your gear remains stable during transportation. Some backpacks even come with anchor straps specifically designed to secure the cubes in place.

Easy Identification

Transparent packing cubes are quite handy as they allow you to quickly spot the contents without having to rummage through everything.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Alternatively you can incorporate color coding to differentiate between types of items.

For access, during your flight consider placing items like headphones and neck pillows in top loading cubes. Keep belongings deeper within the backpack for added security.

To stay organized while traveling, a compartmentalized backpack paired with packing cubes can be quite beneficial. Experiment with configurations to optimize both packing and accessibility within your backpack.

Backpack Features for International Air Travel

If you’ll be traveling between countries it’s helpful to look for features in a backpack that can simplify air travel:

Lockable Zippers

These zippers allow you to secure the contents of your backpack when needed. They also have holes that accommodate locks for TSA screening purposes.

Laptop Sleeve

A dedicated laptop sleeve that lies flat and is TSA compliant can make going through security as there is no need to remove your laptop.

External Access

Look for side water bottle pockets, quick grab pockets and external lash points on the backpack. These features allow you to easily access items without having to open your bag, which can be particularly useful, during screenings.


Compression straps enable you to cinch down your backpack when it’s not fully packed. This helps prevent it from exceeding size restrictions.


Since frequent flights subject your backpack to wear and tear ensure it is durable enough to withstand conditions.

When searching for a backpack pay attention to features, like reinforced stitching, durable materials and weatherproof coatings.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Also if you have any belongings that you want to carry alongside your backpack look for backpacks, with daisy chains and lash points. These handy attachments allow you to easily clip your items together for transport.

Backpack Features for Long Term Travel

Traveling for months or years abroad requires durable, functional backpack features:

Adjustable Torso Size

The adjustable length between the shoulder harness and hip belt customizes the backpack for a comfortable carry no matter your torso length.

Breathable Back Panel

Mesh covered, ventilated backs prevent that sweaty back feeling, crucial for hot climates. Look for airflow channels.

Removable Hip Belt

Hip belts help distribute pack weight but can be removed to save weight when not needed. Great for minimalist packing.

Stowaway Straps

Backpacks with shoulder and hip straps that tuck away keep the harness protected when checking your bag on flights.

Laundry Pockets

Dirty laundry pockets allow you to separate worn clothing when sink washing during extended trips.

Lockable Zippers

Secure access to your belongings while making it easy for airport security to inspect your bag when needed.

Water Bottle Pockets

External side pockets provide quick hydration access. Stash snacks here too.

Repair Guarantee

Manufacturers like Osprey, Tortuga and Patagonia stand behind their products with generous repair policies. Critical for the long haul.

Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for 2024 πŸŽ’

Don’t settle for a travel backpack that just gets the job done. Seek out features that maximize comfort on the road and make travel life easier in the long run.

Suitcase Style Daypacks

If you want the convenience of a suitcase with the comfort of a backpack, suitcase-style daypacks bridge the gap. These versatile packs feature clamshell openings similar to luggage for easy access to the main compartment. Pockets and organizers keep essentials in place. Brands like Osprey, eBags, and High Sierra offer suitcase backpacks that meet carry-on size restrictions.

Tortuga’s Travel Philosophy

As digital nomads, the team behind Tortuga know firsthand the hassle of wrestling unruly luggage across the globe. Their frustrations led them to reimagine what travel bags could be. Guided by principles like efficient packing, comfortable carrying and simplicity, Tortuga set out to engineer backpacks for seamless one bag travel. Now frequent fliers swear by their thoughtfully designed bags.

Choosing a Lightweight Daypack

Frequent travelers prioritize lightweight luggage, especially for smaller daypacks carried on side excursions. Ultralight packs slim down to the essentials without compromising quality or comfort. The latest materials like ripstop nylon and durable synthetic fabrics allow streamlined, sub-one-pound packs able to carry 15-20 liters with ease. For one bag globetrotters, lightweight daypacks pack flat in your main bag.

The Matador On-Grid Packable Backpack

Matador specializes in featherlight, packable gear built for adventure. Take their On-Grid Packable Backpack – this 16-liter daypack packs down to the size of an apple. Weighing just 5 ounces, it easily tucks into a pocket when not in use. But the sleek backpack still boasts a laptop sleeve, spacious main compartment, padded straps and tough ripstop nylon for everyday use.

Tortuga Setout Laptop Daypack

As more travelers incorporate remote work into their journeys, Tortuga added laptop bags into their arsenal. The Setout Laptop Daypack provides a tech-friendly, 15-inch padded laptop sleeve and tablet/e-reader pocket. On the exterior, zippered and slip pockets neatly organize daily essentials while compression straps slim the profile. At 22 liters capacity, it works well as a compact personal item.

Tips For Packing Your Daypack

Once you have your daypack picked out, packing it properly ensures carrying comfort while keeping your necessities accessible. Place heavier items like water bottles close to your back for stability. Distribute weight evenly across both sides to prevent imbalance. Utilize interior organizers and exterior pockets to readily access in-flight and daily essentials without rummaging. Leave a bit of room for last-minute items instead of overstuffing. With your daypack loaded effectively, you are ready to take on the day ahead!

Choosing the Best Daypack for Air Travel

When picking a daypack to use as your personal item on flights, focus on sizing and features that make air travel smooth. Look for bags sized to fit under the seat with dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves to speed up security screening. Lockable zippers keep contents secure while allowing TSA access if needed. Breathable back panels and shoulder straps provide comfort on long flights. Attachment points let you connect your daypack to rollers.

Packing Cubes Streamline Daypack Organization

Daypacks often lack extensive built-in organization, but packing cubes offer a customizable solution. Sort clothing, tech and toiletries into different cubes and pouches for easy access and separation. Slim cubes hold flat items while larger cubes store bulkier layers. Transparent cubes help identify contents at a glance. Place frequently used in-flight items in top-loading cubes.

One Bag Travel Daypacks

For one bag travelers using a carry-on backpack as their sole luggage, a lightweight daypack allows you to leave your main bag safely stowed while exploring. Look for daypacks that pack down small enough to easily store in your main backpack when not in use. Ultralight ripstop fabrics help shave off ounces without sacrificing durability. Compression sacks squeeze out excess air to minimize packed size.

Best Daypacks for Minimalist Travelers

If you adhere to a minimalist packing philosophy, choosing a streamlined daypack aligns with your light and tight travel style. Prioritize lightweight and packable materials over expansive storage and abundant features. Focus on comfort essentials like adjustable, padded shoulder straps and ventilated back panels. The Matador On-Grid Packable Backpack, Tortuga Setout Laptop Daypack and Topo Designs Daypack offer excellent picks for dedicated minimalists.

To Sum It Up

From navigating cobblestone streets to hopping on local buses, carry-on backpacks simplify travel logistics. These compact, comfortable bags skip baggage claim allowing you to start your adventure immediately. Packed full of features purpose-built for travelers, they eliminate checked bag fees and the risk of lost luggage.

We explored critical components like load-bearing hip belts and harness systems that distribute weight off shoulders for all-day carrying comfort. Laptop-ready compartments speed airport screening while lockable zippers deter thieves. Front-loading panel access mirrors suitcases for packing ease. Weatherproof fabrics protect contents from the elements.

Brands like Tortuga, Osprey, Matador and Topo Designs lead the way in engineered travel bags to enhance your journeys. Choosing the best carry-on daypack comes down to your personal style and priorities.

For city explorers wanting effortless mobility, focus on lightweight and low-key styling. Seek comfort-driven designs with ventilated back panels and thick shoulder straps if covering miles is the goal. Go ultra-compact and packable for secondary bags to supplement main luggage.

Whatever you prioritize, pairing the perfect daypack with mindful packing techniques results in smooth travels from take off to touchdown.


A quality carry-on backpack serves as one of the most valuable travel accessories for navigating tightened airline restrictions. Combined with disciplined packing strategies, it grants the gift of seamless mobility and simplicity.

While checked baggage fees and size limits continue to constrain travelers, brands respond with innovations in materials, harness systems and compartment functionalities. The outcome? Thoughtfully engineered bags ready to transport you from one adventure to the next.

No longer relegated to vagabond backpackers or hiking enthusiasts, carry-on backpacks now offer something for all types of travelers. From boardroom-bound business trips to sunset-chasing vacations, they remove logistical barriers to make the journey itself rewarding.

Next time you set out to chart your own adventure, consider the freedom a carry-on daypack offers. Travel unfettered by suburban sidewalks or congested arrival halls, ready to let your journey unfold from the very first step.

I aimed to provide a high-level summary recapping key points and benefits of carry-on backpacks as well as a conclusion reiterating their value for simplifying travel. Please let me know if you would like me to modify or expand this conclusion in any way!

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