TRAVELING

Best Backpack for Europe: Never Leave Your Gear Behind

Two traveling backpacks
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Traveling around the world is an amazing thing to do especially when Europe is first on your list. Europe has a lot of amazing places you can visit and the people there are pretty wonderful too. Your comfort is one of the things you should look out for while on a trip that is why it is vital to get a very comfortable backpack. There are different kinds of backpack available for anywhere you would love to go but it is important to get the best backpack for Europe.

Backpacks for traveling

Getting the best backpack for traveling Europe will not only make you feel absolutely comfortable during your trip, it will also make your trip fun.  Backpacks are a better choice compared to duffel bags because backpacks have compartments that help keep you organized on your trip and while carrying a backpack your hands are free to do other things.

THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN A BACKPACK

A backpack can either be a big plus or a burden to your journey. There are certain features that determine if the backpack you are about to purchase is the right fit or not. When it comes to buying the best backpack, it is not your journey alone you have to worry about, you also have to worry about your body.

The wrong backpack can damage your back and shoulder. Below are the essential features to look out for in the best backpack for traveling Europe.

CAPACITY

The capacity of your backpack is dependent on how much load you want to put in it. It is important that the backpack isn’t too small so it can accommodate all your items and isn’t too big so as to cause back pain. Your backpack should be able to accommodate as much as 7-10 days of clothing and also have enough space to accommodate other items in case you buy new things on your trip.

MATERIALS

A backpack should be able to withstand different kinds of conditions. That is why you have to go for a backpack made of sturdy materials. You would not want to buy a backpack that would start to tear after using it once or twice.

Backpacks for traveling

Its materials should be able to withstand being thrown at the back of the bus or the train. The materials determine its durability, so if you would not want to buy a backpack every two years then you have to go for sturdy materials.

CARRY ON SIZE

There are different size specification for carry-on luggage on airplanes. If you are on a low budget, it would benefit you to get a backpack that can be qualified as a carry-on size for airplanes. This would aid your comfort and you would not have to pay an extra amount for your luggage.

Some backpacks cannot be used as carry-ons because of their weight. You need to confirm the carry-on size limit for your airline and then plan within that range when purchasing a backpack.

ACCESSIBILITY

Another important feature you need to consider is the accessibility of your items. Backpacks are either top load or front load. The top load backpacks open from the top or bottom while the front load backpack open from the front. The front load backpack gives you full access to your items without having to disorganize your items.

A top load backpack is ideal for hiking or camping but the front load backpack is best for traveling. The front load backpack helps keep you organized all through your trip so you do not have to arrange your items over and over again.

Backpack for long travel

A top load backpack is ideal for hiking or camping but the front load backpack is best for traveling. The front load backpack helps keep you organized all through your trip so you do not have to arrange your items over and over again.

COMPARTMENTS

Compartments are one of the most important features of a backpack. A backpack should have at least 3 to 5 compartments apart from the main compartment. Most backpacks have special compartment for laptops/iPad which makes it a lot easier.

A backpack that has several compartments will help you stay organized because you will be able to keep different items in different places for easy accessibility. When purchasing a backpack, go for backpacks that have at least 3 compartments.

WATER-RESISTANCE

You might not be able to keep your backpack safe all the time, that Is why it is important to go for a backpack that is made of water-resistant materials. Most backpacks are not entirely waterproof but the material they are made of can resist water to some extent thereby protecting the items in your backpack.

LOCKABLE ZIPPERS

Getting a backpack that is easy to lock will make you feel very secure. Some backpacks cannot be locked because the metal zippers do not have holes in them. It is advisable to go for a backpack with holes in the zippers, as thieves are everywhere.

Backpack with concealed zippers

Getting a backpack that is easy to lock will make you feel very secure. Some backpacks cannot be locked because the metal zippers do not have holes in them. It is advisable to go for a backpack with holes in the zippers, as thieves are everywhere.

PADDING/CUSHIONS

Well-cushioned straps are important in a backpack. Backpacks tend to be heavy after all the load that has been put inside. When the straps are not well cushioned, much of the weight is felt on the shoulder which can be a risk to the shoulder.

When the straps are well cushioned, the pads in them help absorb the weight thereby reducing the amount of weight felt by the shoulder. Padded straps help protect the shoulder and the back from injuries that could cause lifetime damages to the back and shoulder.

HIPBELT

It is important for the weight of the backpack to be distributed round the body so as to protect the back. Hip straps help distribute the weight of the backpack to the hips therefore protecting the back. It is also important that the hip straps are padded so as to protect the hip.

Backpack hip belt

When buying for a backpack, it is important to look out for these features. Not all backpacks have these features and some backpacks have these features as well as some additional features.

Now that you know the essential features to look out for in a backpack, let’s take you through reviews of our top 7 backpacks.

Review of Backpacks for Europe

OSPREY PORTER 65 TRAVEL DUFFEL BAG

Osprey Porter 65 Travel BagWEIGHT: 4 pounds

DIMENSIONS: 15 x 26 x 19 inches

SPECIFIC FEATURES: Lower Zipper Compartment, Nylon hipbelt, Dual foam Padded Sidewalls, Straight Jacket Compression system, Dual Lockable Zips in front, Adjustable Straps, Nylon, 65 liters’ volume

If you love to go on backpacking trips, then you should get the Osprey Porter 65. Despite the thick and sturdy material it’s made of, it is light weight which makes it very easy to be carried.  Its material is water-resistant, so you can be sure your belongings are going to be safe.

Its main compartment is large enough to take 4 to 7 days of clothing for your trip. Right in front of the main compartment is a compartment large enough for your laptop, iPad or tablets. An amazing feature about this backpack is its stow-away straps. You do not have to worry about the straps dangling around when you are not using them, it can be tucked away nicely when not in use.

The straps are adjustable so they can fit your taste and comfort. Its external pockets can be used to store your footwear to prevent your clothes from getting soiled. The backpack can be used for any kind of trip, it is durable and very comfortable to carry around.

RELATED: Sold at a lower price than the porter 65 and also carries less weight, the Osprey Ultralight Stuff pack is still a considerable option to travel with. It has less compartments but has mesh sides for water bottles. It can only be used for really short trips because of its capacity.

Osprey Farpoint 55 travel backpack is another option from Osprey. It has the same features as the Osprey porter 65 with an additional feature of a sleeping bag. Though it is more expensive than the Osprey Porter 65, it is lighter and carries less weight.

Check the price on Amazon

OSPREY WAYPOINT 80 TRAVEL-TREKKING PACK

Osprey Waypoint 80 Travel-TrekkingWEIGHT: 5.5 pounds

DIMENSIONS: 8 x 17 x 26 inches

SPECIFIC FEATURES: Three inner pockets with zips, one exterior zipper, Adjustable Hipbelt, one small bag inclusive, Dual internal compression straps, 80 liters’ volume

The Osprey Waypoint backpack is great for people who love to go on really long trips with just a backpack. This backpack is strictly for men and this can be explained by its weight and capacity to carry as much load as possible. It is big enough to contain everything you will need for a long trip and also comes with a day pack that can be used for shorter trips.

The daypack can also be used along with the bag (it depends on your preference). The straps are adjustable and comfortable, and can be used by different body types. It is easy to keep your items as organized as possible because of the front opening of the main pack, which gives you full access to the main compartment without having to scatter everything you have previously arranged.

It is not only comfortable for those going on trips by bus, trains, ships and airplanes, but for those who want to trek around Europe. There are zippered covers where you can tuck away the straps nicely when not in use.

RELATED: As Osprey Waypoint 80 is for men so is the Osprey Women’s Wayfarer 70 for women. Though less expensive than the waypoint 80, this backpack is lighter and suitable for women who want to go on a backpack trip.

Gregory Mountain Products Border Backpack is another great backpack that can be used to travel round Europe. It is unisex, lighter and less expensive compared to Osprey Waypoint 80.

Check the price on Amazon

KELTY REDWING 50 BACKPACK

Kelty Redwing 50 BackpackWEIGHT: 3 pounds

DIMENSIONS: 12 x 26 x 16 inches

SPECIFIC FEATURES: Fabric/Polyester, U-zipper design, Load lifters, Sternum Strap, Hip belt stabilizer, Front large pocket, side pockets for water bottles, waist buckle, 50-liter volume

The Kelty redwing backpack is ideal for any kind of trip. It is comfortable and very convenient to carry around. The main compartment is roomy enough to accommodate 4 to 7 days of clothing for your trips. Its Panel loading feature gives you full accessibility to the pack all the way down to the bottom of the pack without having to disrupt your arrangements.

It is able to fit into overhead bins on airplanes as carry on. It is made of tough material which makes the pack very durable and rugged enough to  be used for numerous purposes. The straps can be nicely tucked away so it does not dangle aimlessly while moving from one place to another.

You do not have to worry about staying hydrated on your trip, as the backpack has pockets on the sides for water bottles. This backpack does not have holes in the metal zipper which makes it a bit difficult to lock. However, you can use the strings attached to lock the pack if you wish to.

RELATED: Other backpacks from Kelty are Kelty Women’s Redwing 40 Backpack and the Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack. These backpacks have the same features but differ in size and price.

Check the price on Amazon

OSPREY PORTER TRAVEL BACKPACK 46

Osprey Porter Travel Backpack 46WEIGHT: 1.2 pounds

DIMENSIONS: 27 x 14 x 7 inches

SPECIFIC FEATURE: Rubber, Top accessory pocket, One internal mesh zippered pocket, foam padded sidewalls, straight jacket compression, 46-liter volume

This is another great backpack from Osprey. It has various compartments apart from the main compartment which makes it easy for you to stash away items.  The straight jacket compression straps help stabilize the load while you are on the move.

The Osprey Porter Travel Backpack 46 is comfortable to carry and its hip belt helps distribute the weight of the pack to your hip preventing excess weight on your back. The backpack can also be carried on the shoulder by attaching the shoulder straps to it.

It can comfortably take enough items you will need for a 5-day trip. The Osprey Daylite Daypack can be attached to the backpack in case you are in need of extra luggage but it is sold differently from the Osprey Porter Travel 46.

RELATED: Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack can also be a plus for your backpack trip to Europe. It is less expensive but carries less load than the Porter Travel Backpack 46. It comes in different colors and also has the same features as the porter 46 apart from the size.

Osprey Porter Travel Duffle, 46 is the twin of the Porter 46. It has little to no difference and is sold at a slightly different price.

Check the price on Amazon

E-BAGS TLS MOTHER LODE WEEKENDER

E-Bags Tls Mother LodeDIMENSIONS: 9 x 22 x 14 inches

SPECIFIC FEATURES: Separate padded strap for shoulder, Expandable Zipper option, Deep external pockets, water bottle pockets, compression straps, fabric divider, lockable zippers

eBags backpack is a good option for travelers. If you want to tour round Europe or anywhere else, the E-Bags Tls Mother Lode Weekender is the perfect option. It is large enough to accommodate items for a week-long trip. Its size can be increased to accommodate additional things with its expansion zippers.

Dehydration is not an option during your trip because it has special pockets where you can store your water bottles. Just in case you are tired of strapping the backpack to your back , there are separate straps that can be attached to the backpack so it can be carried on the shoulders.

The straps are well padded so it doesn’t hurt your shoulders. It has numerous pockets to help you stay organized during your trip. It also has compartments to keep your laptop, iPad or tablets.

RELATED: We cannot get enough of eBag’s awesome backpacks. Other options from eBags are eBags eTech 2.0 Weekender Convertible and eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior. They all offer the same features as the eBag TLS Mother Lode Weekender.

The Weekender convertible and the Weekender Convertible Junior can both be converted into a duffel bag to suit your purpose. They all differ in size and price.

Check the price on Amazon

OSPREY MEN’S ATMOS 50 AG BACPACKS

Osprey Mens Atmos 50 AgWEIGHT: 1.5 pounds

DIMENSIONS: 8 x 17 x 29 inches

VOLUME:  50 liters

SPECIFIC FEATURES: Anti-Gravity Suspension System, Adjustable Harness, Adjustable Hipbelt, Removable Floating Top lid, Tool Attachment, side and internal compression straps, 50-liter volume

Unlike the conventional backpacks, theOsprey Men’s Atmos 50 Ag backpack is quite heavy, making it very ideal for men who love to have everything in one place during their trip. Despite its heavy weight, it is very comfortable and its anti-gravity suspension system helps shift the point of gravity a bit forward to aid comfortability.

It has adjustable hip belts and straps so you can fit it to your preference. Do you have excess load? Do not worry, the removable lid has got you covered. You can also remove the lid to reduce the weight of the bag.

For men who have to take tools with them on their trip, this is the perfect backpack for you, as the dual ice tool loops and clove hitch style bungee tie-offs secures your tools. The side and internal compression straps help stabilize the backpack while you are on the move.

RELATED: With Osprey, you can always expect a woman version when you see a man’s backpack. The Osprey Women’s Aura 50 AG Backpack is the woman version of the Men’s Atmos 50. The backpacks look the same and also have the same features but they differ in size and in price.

Check the price on Amazon

TIMBUK2 WINGMAN TRAVEL BACKPACK

TIMBUK2 WINGMAN TRAVEL BACKPACKWEIGHT: 2 pounds

DIMENSIONS: 7.9 x 20.9 x 15.7 inches

SPECIFIC FEATURES: Convertible to a duffel, expandable pockets, Padded pockets for phones, Fabric, 40-liter volume

If you have been looking for a perfect duffel bag/backpack that will also be a perfect carry-on, then the Timbuk2 Wingman Backpack is what you have been looking for. This backpack can also be used for road trips, it is comfortable to carry around, and can be switched between a duffel bag and a backpack.

The backpack straps can be tucked away nicely to avoid it dangling from the pack. It is lightweight and has several compartments, including those for a laptop or a tablet. It can conveniently accommodate a 15-inch MacBook.

This backpack does not have a lot of pockets like other types of backpacks which makes it pass for a duffel bag more than a backpack. It can conveniently contain clothing for a three-day trip but most travelers require more than that.

RELATED: Just like the Timbuk2 Wingman Travel Backpack, the Bago Duffel Bag can also be used as a backpack and also as a duffel bag. Its Capacity is much more than the timbuk2 bag and it is also less expensive. Other options from Timbuk2 include Timbuk2 Unisex Jet Pack.

Check the price on Amazon

MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION

Every backpack has its own specific size and dimensions, so it is pertinent you compare your height and body type with the size and dimension of the backpack. As a small person, aim for a backpack with smaller dimensions while a big person should also aim for a backpack with bigger dimension.

Backpack with orange accents

It is also important you get a backpack with adjustable straps so that you can always adjust it whenever you feel less comfortable. You know we always love to hear from you so do not forget to leave a message for us in the comment section.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Alexander Bianco

    I had something very similar to the Osprey Waypoint 80 seen above when I was doing a bit of backpacking through Southeast Asia. It’s a very different climate there than in most parts of Europe, but even so it was a wonderful companion on my adventure. Very comfortable with plenty of space.

  • Daniel Carraway

    I wonder what that could be? I’ve been to Asia and it’s mostly humid. So choosing a backpack with materials that can take on the weather is a challenge. Good thing there’s plenty of backpacks to choose from. Although a common feature that we should look for in these backpacks whether for Europe or any place is the durability. It’s no fun dragging these backpacks halfway around the world and finding out there’s a ripped seam or a busted zipper on your first stop – yikes!

  • Misty Reynolds

    I love the Osprey. It comes with a great daypack too, which is perfect for carrying around your electronics. It has great space plus I like being able to comfortably carry everything I need for a long trip of walking and sight seeing. It really is great. I don’t know anyone that’s had serious problems with theirs.

  • Daniel Carraway

    None that I heard of! This bag is so lightweight! I can even pack a week’s set of clothes and never feel that I’m carrying a ton! Of course, I don’t overpack and my clothes are pretty much lightweight. Just the same, the ease of carrying this bag is worth mentioning. The outer pockets are great, too since I can pack those things that I need right away and I can have swift access to it – great feature!

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