Having the right equipment to support a nomadic lifestyle is essential to efficiency and productivity. One of the widely used equipment for mobility is travel backpacks.
For digital nomads, choosing the right backpack that suits your style and needs is a crucial part of packing for your next destination. It can make or break your journey especially if the aim is to pack light for frequent travels.
Before I run down the recommended models, let me take you through several points to consider in choosing the best travel backpack with guide questions to ask yourself:
Size/Liters – How often are you planning to move? What essentials are you planning to bring? Do you prefer to stash everything in one bag or will you have other bags to use?
Function – Are you looking for a simple travel backpack with many compartments? Do you want a backpack with a dedicated laptop compartment or do you prefer to use a separate laptop sleeve? What type of gadgets are you bringing? Are you requiring a camera compartment? Do you plan to go hiking?
Having set your desired specs, below are the main features to look for in an ideal digital nomad backpack:
Protection – Check if the backpack has an “Anti-Theft” feature. Many leading brands now have this kind of technology for the protection of our valuables like laptop, camera, mobile phones, and other high-ticket nomad essentials.
Organization – This feature allows travel convenience and makes nomadic lives easier. Look for a backpack that has many accessible compartments and secret pockets that can accommodate important documents and things like boarding pass, passport, gadget cable wires, and money.
Carry-on Size – Most domestic and international airlines allow hand-carry backpacks that are no bigger than 22x14x9 inches or equivalent to a 45L backpack. Choose the one that fits the limit without sacrificing the function.
Durability – Since it will be used for frequent moves, this feature becomes a non-negotiable. Ensure that the backpack is made of durable material that will accompany you through many adventures ahead. Most of the time, durability does not come cheap but trust that you are paying for reliability and quality.
Warranty – As with other brands even in other categories, after-sales service is part and parcel of the whole process. Choose a brand that has a good reputation for product care. Consider the nature of damage that it is willing to cover, the duration or expiry, and how long repairs will take. Check for global service centers as well to make sure that you can bring your backpack for assessment or repair no matter where you are in the world.
See my curated list of recommended backpacks for the digital nomad in you:
- Tortuga Outbreaker 35L / 45L – maximized size for international carry-on and fits in the overhead cabin. It has a soft and thick padded shoulder strap for comfort ability. Moreover, it has a spacious compartment for your things.
- Price – $299 and $349
- Trip Length – 1 week or longer
- Dimension – 20x13x8 inches or 22x14x9 inches
- Weight – 4.5 lbs / 5.1 lbs
- Laptop size – up to 17” laptop plus a 9.7” tablet or iPad compartment
- Fabric – X-Pac, water repellent and durable fabric
- Hardware – YKK zippers and Duraflex buckles
- GORUCK GR3 45L – largest possible carry-on; open flat making it easier to organize.
- Price – $425
- Color – available only in black
- Fabric – special forces grade 1000D Condura that is highly water resistant
- A separate bombproof laptop compartment next to your back is extra-reinforced to secure the laptop from any damage.
- Weight and Size: 5.15 lb and 22x14x9 inches
- Padded top handle and 2 padded side handles, perfect for carrying through the airport, pulling out of the overhead bin, or camping and hiking.
- 2 large mesh zippered interior pockets and 1 small go-to zippered pocket plus external slant pocket for quick access to small items.
- NOMATIC 40L Travel Bag – the perfect travel bag for those 3-7 days
- The patented strap system allows you to go from duffel to backpack carry for those times when you need more.
- Custom laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes separate as you travel.
- Multiple Compartments – dedicated partitions for your shoes, clothes, tech stuff, , and water bottle
- Weight and Size: 3.42 lbs and 9x21x14 inches
- TSA-ready laptop sleeve
- AER Travel Pack 2 is a versatile carry-on backpack designed for traveling smart.
- Additional Colors : Gray, Navy, X-pack.
- Fabric – 1680 Condura Ballistic nylon exterior
- Quick access laptop compartments that fits up to 15.6” laptop
- Separate shoe compartment (fits up to men’s size 13 shoes)
- Side compression straps for stability and security
- Quick-access top pocket for small valuables
- Lockable zippers for additional security (main and front compartments only)
- Dimensions, Volume and Weight – 21.5×13.5×8.5 inches, 33L, 3.7 lbs
- Tropicfeel Shell – converts from 22L to 40L so it packs up to 20% more than the usual capacity
- Available in 3 color ways – All Black, Clover Green, Chocolate Red.
- A built-in wardrobe system that gives you minimum packing and maximum adventure.
- Adjusts to fit your needs – Shell’s 3-in-1 adaptable design shifts between 22L to 42L.
- Accesories included: Fidlock Toiletry , Fidlock Pouch, Camera Cube
- Fabric – Sustainable transparent – 100% CO2 neutral certified by climate neutral, 100% recycled nylon Mipan Regen. 64% Recycled polyester.
- Size: 24x9x12 inches
- Weight: 3.3 lbs
Have you found the perfect travel backpack from this list? If not, find the freedom to explore beyond the usual but stick to what you really need and want. After all, your travel backpack is your first buddy in the journey ahead.
Written By: Frances De Guzman