17 best travel backpacks 2023 UK; including cabin bag sizes | The Sun

17 best travel backpacks 2023 UK; including cabin bag sizes | The Sun

GOING away? Don't miss our pick of the best travel backpacks in the UK.

Whether you're off on a city break, beach retreat or a hiking adventure, having one of the best travel backpacks is an essential to take away with you and will provide a comfortable, practical packing option.

Backpacks are a great way to travel hands-free, with features like bottom-opening compartments, phone charging capabilities and weight-distributing straps making it super convenient and easy to access your stuff when you need to.

Plenty of backpacks are perfectly sized for use as your carry-on, or you might prefer something lightweight to pop into your suitcase and use when you arrive at your destination.

Whatever your budget and taste, we've rounded up the best travel backpacks in the UK below with a choice of unisex, men's and women's designs.

Best travel backpacks in the UK at a glance:

  • Best carry-on size on a budget: SZLX Travel Backpack with USB Charging Port
  • Best carry-on size for splashing out: Osprey Transporter Global Carry-On Bag
  • Best value: Eurohike Nepal 65 Rucksack
  • Best space-saving backpack: Go Travel Xtra Light Foldaway Backpack
  • Best two-in-one design: Voyager Wheelie 50 + 20 Litre Rucksack

SZLX Travel Backpack with USB Charging Port

  • SZLX Travel Backpack with USB Charging Port, £29.99 from Amazon – buy here

Made from a durable polyester that's also waterproof, this backpack comes in an array of cute pastel shades, but black is a classic option if you want something versatile.

With a main pocket, two laptop compartments that will fit a 13” tablet and 14” laptop and several other handy pockets, it features a built-in charging port allowing you to easily connect a power bank.

There's even a separate shoe compartment with ventilation, while wet and dry clothes can be kept apart thanks to dividing sections.

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As one review shows, it fits Ryanair's cabin bag sizer, so you'll be good to take it as your carry-on.

Material: PolyesterSize:W-42cm L-31cm H-17cm

BanGe Travel Backpack Flight Approved Carry-On

  • BanGe Travel Backpack Flight Approved Carry On, £69 from Amazon – buy here

"I absolutely love this bag! It’s ideal for overnight stays away from home. Carry handle as well as rucksack straps. Can’t fault this bag – very good value for money and a great purchase," writes one reviewer about this backpack by BanGe.

With thousands of positive reviews, shoppers praise it for its ample space, durable design and practical pockets.

If you're using it to work while you travel, the separate padded laptop compartment holds up to a 17" laptop, while if you're hiking – the adjustable chest buckle features an emergency whistle for SOS.

Plus, the expandable design means it can be widened by an extra 4.7 inches.

Material: OxfordSize:17.5×11.8×5.5inch

Voyager Wheelie 50 + 20 Litre Rucksack

  • Voyager Wheelie 50 + 20 Litre Rucksack, now £89.99 from Mountain Warehouse – buy here

This clever two-in-one bag features a 50-litre wheelie suitcase that can be worn as a backpack – plus a detachable 20-litre daypack that's perfect for day trips.

Features like compression straps and the padded air mesh back make this a really functional choice for travelling.

One customer who 'needed a larger rucksack' was extremely pleased with their purchase as it's 'ideal' for larger journeys.

Another customer called it an 'amazing product' and that it's 'really good when children have a school trip'.

Material: N/A Size:79 (H) x 38 (W) x 27 (D) cm.


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Mountain Warehouse Carrion 80L Rucksack

  • Mountain Warehouse Carrion 80L Rucksack, now £89.99 from Mountain Warehouse – buy here

Mountain Warehouse is always a great shout for backpacks in general, and this 80-litre design doesn't disappoint.

Shoppers say it's comfortable to wear and reasonably lightweight, with a narrower design compared to other rucksacks, which still manage to have plenty of space.

Features like the load balance adjusters allow you to distribute pressure evenly, while there's even a fold-out rain cover to keep the bag dry in bad weather.

Material: N/A Size: 84 (H) x 43 (W) x 36 (D) cm.

The Front Pocket Backpack

  • The Front Pocket Backpack, £155 from Away Travel – buy here

Carry your essentials in elegance with the Front Pocket Backpack.

Created from water-resistant Nylon, your belongings are safe from the British weather, and the spacious front pocket makes storage more organised, so there is no need to cram your electronics next to spill hazards.

The inside has a 15" laptop pocket so you can tuck away your Macbook on the office run thats secured with a magnetic locking zipper for added security should anyone get into your backpack while you're away.

Choose from black or coast to better compliment your style.

The backpack has gone down a treat as it has a perfect five-star rating on Away Travel, with customers praising it for its 'great pockets' and the 'nice waterproof material' that protects belongings from harsh winters.

Material: Nylon with leatherSize:  30cm x 15cm x 39cm

Large black Gym Backpack

  • Large Black Gym Backpack, £114.99 from Built for Athletes – buy here

Backpacks aren't reserved for long afternoon hikes. If you're serious about your gym game or just getting into it, the Large Black Gym Backpack is a great option.

Crafted for the everyday athlete, it's made from ultra-durable materials to accompany its huge carrying capacity. If you bring lots of equipment for your workout, it's the perfect choice to fit your water bottle, mats and other gear inside.

If you're used to carrying multiple bags to the gym, it's finally time to swap them out. No need to worry about the bag breaking on you since it's tested to carry up to 30kg worth of items without tearing – as long as you can carry it around without wearing yourself out.

Material:  rip-proof fabric, triple-stitched seams and water-resistant material Size:  48cm x 34cm x 29cm

Osprey Fairview 55 Women's 55L travel backpack with fully detachable daypack

  • Osprey Fairview 55 Women's 55L travel backpack with a fully detachable daypack, £180 from Osprey – buy here

Osprey's Farpoint/Fairview Series offers "a comfortable, gender-specific fit", so be sure to check out the men's version of this bag too.

The 2-in-1 design boasts a detachable daypack for day trips, plus it's also hiking-friendly, with a stowaway harness and hip belt.

So if you're a globetrotter or just like to go on long walks, the breathable harness and front compression straps make carrying all your essentials a breeze.

Material: PolyesterSize:  H-55 W-35 D-23cm

Osprey Transporter Global Carry-On Bag

  • Osprey Transporter Global Carry-On Bag, £150 from Osprey – buy here

This unisex backpack by Osprey is airline carry-on friendly and has a capacity of 36 litres.

A zipped external pocket houses toiletries, the rear panel gives access to a padded compartment for 16-inch laptops, and it has a fully flat opening which will make packing easy while keeping your precious electronics away from any hazardous items you need to bring.

Material: PolyesterSize:  H-50xW-35xD-27 cm

Eurohike Nepal 65 Rucksack

  • Eurohike Nepal 65 Rucksack, £30 from Go Outdoors – buy here

Add a Go Outdoors membership for £5 when you purchase this bag, and you'll get it for the price above – a huge saving on the retail price of £60.

With a capacity of 65 litres, it's lightweight with plenty of storage pockets, plus it features a padded harness "that spreads weight evenly across your back." Comfy.

The site states, 'many have been sold in the last 48 hours', so you'll need to act somewhat fast if you want to get your hands on a 'sturdy piece of equipment'.

Material: N/ASize: 72x28x22cm

Berghaus TwentyFourSeven Plus 30 Daysack

  • Berghaus TwentyFourSeven Plus 30 Daysack, £44 from Go Outdoors – buy here

Designed to be versatile, the TwentyFourSeven+ Rucksack from Berghaus is suitable whether for hiking or commuting.

With a 30-litre capacity, it boasts a Vented Foam Flow system for ventilation and comfort, adjustable straps and handy features like a tablet sleeve, key clip, reflective detailing and a walking pole attachment.

No matter how many items you're bringing, its various compartments allow you to stay organised.

Material: N/ASize: N/A

Go Travel Xtra Light Foldaway Backpack

  • Go Travel Xtra Light Foldaway Backpack, £14.99 from John Lewis – buy here

When you're travelling, and space is at a premium, this foldaway backpack will come in super handy.

"This backpack is a game changer for day trips as well as holidays," raves one reviewer, adding: "Takes up almost no room in a case or handbag. Is very lightweight. Holds so much. Very strong. Best backpack I've ever had."

At just £15, this backpack is an absolute bargain if you need something sleek and simple and seeing as it's got a 4.5-star rating, customers definitely agree.

Material: PolyesterSize:17×17.5x4cm

Forclaz Travel backpack 50L

  • Forclaz Travel backpack 50L, £39.99 from Decathlon – buy here

Forclaz's travel backpack is suitable whether you're trekking or travelling: the 50-litre capacity means there's loads of room for your adventure essentials.

Its simple and functional design boasts comfy foam straps, multiple compartments, plus a 10-year guarantee on the P600-coated fabric which promises abrasion resistance.

With 4,000 reviews and an impeccable 4.58-star rating, and reviewers stating they 'cannot recommend more' praising it for its 'endless pockets and attachment points, ' you're certainly getting a backpack you can rely on for long trips.

Material: PolyesterSize: 62 x 32 x 24 cm

Forclaz Women’s Travel Trekking Backpack Travel 900 50+6 L With Suitcase Opening

  • Forclaz Women’s Travel Trekking Backpack Travel 900 50+6 L With Suitcase Opening, £99.99 from Decathlon – buy here

This two-in-one backpack by Forclaz has a 50-litre capacity in the main area of the bag, plus an additional 6-litre section that can be clipped on top (as in the picture).

With a back-support belt and shoulder straps that are designed for the female body shape, there's plenty of foam padding to make carrying it a breeze.

Suitcase-style opening means it's easy to access all your stuff – and of course, we can't not mention that it looks great too.

Material: PolyesterSize:65x32x30cm

Regatta Bedabase II 15L Adults' Unisex Travel Rucksack

  • Regatta Bedabase II 15L Adults' Unisex Travel Rucksack, £16.75 from Decathlon – buy here

If you're looking for a travel backpack on a budget, this unisex style by Regatta is a great find.

With a 15-litre capacity, it boasts a tough-wearing fabric and air mesh straps to keep you cool and comfortable on your travels, so your only struggle will be getting up those pesky hills.

Material: PolyesterSize:N/A

Berghaus Unisex 24/7 30 Rucsac

  • Berghaus Unisex 24/7 30 Rucsac, £65 from Berghaus – buy here

Another bag is from Berghaus. This unisex design is available in black or blue and is packed with practical features.

Although sleek in appearance, it manages to fit in walking pole holders, two side pockets for bottles, an external bungee, plus a laptop sleeve – so you're covered wherever you're going.

If you sign up for the Berghaus newsletter, you can get 15% off of your purchase, saving you a few extra quid on your purchase.

Material: N/ASize:N/A

Nordace Henge – 45L Carry-on Backpack

  • Nordace Henge – 45L Carry-on Backpack, £143.99 from Nordace – buy here

Available in three shades, Nordace's Henge 45-litre backpack weighs just 1.56 kg (3.44 lb) and is designed to fit in the overhead bin when you're flying – although, make sure to check the size for carry-ons with your airline.

"One of the best backpacks I’ve ever owned. So well made, excellent design, versatile & lightweight," writes one impressed shopper.

Another who left a perfect five-star rating called it 'the best travel bag ever', praising it for being 'durable,lightweight' and its 'brilliant features'.

Material: Nylon and Vegan leatherSize:56x35x20cm

Trespass Albus 30L Backpack

  • Trespass Albus 30L Backpack, £20 from Argos – buy here

Finishing on another bargain, this Trespass design has plenty of pockets, front bungee cords to hold jackets and other larger items, plus a handy splashproof exterior.

"It’s durable, light and also the right dimension for cabin luggage", notes one shopper.

With 1,000 reviews and an impeccable 4.7-star rating, it's no surprise that customers call it 'perfect' and rave about 'the amount of pockets'that provide secure storage for your important possessions.

Material: PolyesterSize:H-45, W-30, D-12cm.

What is the best backpack for travel instead of luggage?

If you're flying, then firstly, it depends on whether you want a backpack that you can take onboard as a carry-on or if you're fine with it going in the hold.

The Osprey Transporter Global Carry-On Bag is a great option for taking as your carry-on, but if you need something bigger, the Eurohike Nepal 65 Rucksack is great value.

It's also worth looking at functional features like pockets, padded straps and splashproof fabrics.

Some also prefer to be able to open their backpack like a suitcase, as it makes it easier to access belongings. Forclaz Women’s Travel Trekking Backpack Travel 900 50+6 L With Suitcase Opening is great for that, if so.

Is a 40L backpack big enough for travelling?

It all comes down to how minimal you are with your packing – but yes, it can be done!

40-litre backpacks are a great size, as they're comfortable to wear – plus, most will fit airline dimensions to be used as carry-on luggage.

You should easily be able to fit in some tops, shorts, underwear, a pair of shoes, toiletry essentials, plus a laptop. If in doubt, head over to YouTube and watch some 40-litre backpack videos for packing inspiration.

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Where to buy the best travel backpacks in the UK

Travel backpacks can be found across many retailers and brands. For our roundup, we selected products from:

  • Amazon
  • Osprey
  • Go Outdoors
  • John Lewis
  • Decathlon
  • Berghaus
  • Nordace
  • Mountain Warehouse
  • Argos

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