Enjoying a good vacation comes down to good vacation planning, and high on any traveler’s list should be procuring a quality travel backpack for Europe–the ideal way to comfortably tote your possessions. Whether you plan to backpack through the wilderness for weeks or months, or just bump around a new city for a couple of days exploring tourist attractions, your backpack is an essential tool, and choosing the right one is key to enjoying a successful vacation. Sure, cell-phone chargers, money-belts, and warm clothing are all important travel necessities, but your backpack is basically a mobile apartment for the duration of your trip, so choosing the proper pack to accommodate all your gear and souvenirs is imperative.
Traveling is a uniquely personalized experience, and different backpack styles accommodate different types of adventures. Sure, a top-loading, internal-frame hiking backpack is absolutely perfect for a rugged outdoor adventure, but something like this could end up being a huge hassle for the day-tripper in need of a light-weight go bag…
…So before hitting the shops on the hunt for the perfect travel backpack, take into consideration the factors listed below to determine the most effective pack style for your travels.
Considerations when Choosing the Best Travel Backpack for Europe
- Size: Will the bag serve as a carry-on? If so be sure to verify the dimensions of your backpack will meet the carry-on size limits enforced by the airline you’re traveling with.
- Weight: You don’t want to put unnecessary strain on your back, so having a lightweight travel backpack is important. Most travelers return home with more luggage than they left with, so you want the pack to be light from the get-go to accommodate whatever souvenirs you may bring back.
- Mobility: Much like weight, a backpack’s mobility can make a huge difference. Consider the type of transportation you will be using, and pick a pack accordingly. Spending the majority of your travel time in airports? Then a rolling-bag may serve your needs best. Traveling primarily by foot? A backpack with support straps would be more suitable for you.
- Versatility: Does your backpack have expandable pockets, support straps, or additional pocket storage? –all worthwhile considerations when choosing the best backpack for traveling.
- Quality: You don’t want to have to take a detour on your vacation to the hardware store because your backpack ripped. Stick with reputable brands, or well-reviewed products.
- Price: Decent quality backpacks will always run a little more expensive than standard day-packs, so price is definitely worth considering, granted, nice equipment doesn’t come cheap, so don’t skimp on your travel backpack if you can.
Best Travel Backpack Recommendations
Select a backpack image above to navigate to each specific review
Typically favored by skiers and snowboarders, Dakine’s Heli Pro backpack series provide perfect options for travelers. They’re lightweight, durable, have an abundance of pockets, and these packs offer one of the most comfortable back-support systems ever designed. What’s more, the Heli Pro’s slim profile makes it easy to navigate through large crowds without bumping into people. The overall versatility of the Dakine Heli Pro is a huge selling point–not only can it serve as a lightweight city-pack, the sternum and waist straps, hydration bladder sleeve, and external pull-straps make it a highly capable backpack for day hikes. In contrast to traditional “backpacking” backpacks–that load from the top, forcing you to unpack and repack every time you want to access anything on the bottom–the Dakine Heli Pro is a front-loading backpack, making it easy to organize and access all your belongings quickly.
Distinct Travel Advantages: The Perfect Day-Pack for Any Adventure
Versatility – front-loading and additional pockets accommodate easy use for both outdoor adventures or city exploration.
Size/Mobility – though 20L isn’t the largest volume for a travel backpack, the slim profile of the Dakine Heli Pro easily makes up for what it lacks in carrying capacity, and if packed correctly can easily store all your on-the-go belongings while still fitting within the airplane carry-on dimensions.
Weight – the additional sternum and waist supports makes even weight distribution very easy, and comfortable.
The North Face Resistor Charged Backpack is designed with the tech-savvy traveler in mind. Included within a sleeve in the front pocket is a removable Joey™ T55 battery pack that provides three-and-a-half full phone-battery charges and several days of partial charges. No longer do you need to fight through throngs of weary travelers at the airport to secure a seat by the only power outlet. Your backpack is the power outlet. Additionally, the removable battery is extremely rugged and durable and the Resistor offers travelers an abundance of capable storage pockets to house the battery for convenient packing. In addition to the mobile charging capabilities, the Resistor has numerous easy-to-access pockets, sternum and waist supports, and compression straps–ensuring even weight distribution and a comfortable fit.
Distinct Travel Advantages: A Frequent Fliers Best Friend
Versatility – the addition of a removable/rechargeable battery makes it so your devices will never die mid-flight ever again.
Size – even though it’s nearly double the volume of the sleek Heli Pro (above), coming in at 36 liters, North Face’s Resistor Charged Backpack is also slim in profile, and should easily fit within carry-on dimension requirements.
Weight – again like the Heli Pro, the Resistor Charged Backpack has sternum and waist support straps for proper weight distribution and a comfortable fit.
Of the recommended travel backpacks listed here, the Herschel Supply Co. Studio Collection Settlement Backpack is far and away the most streamlined and compact. The Settlement Backpack may look simple on the outside, but its minimalist exterior belies an interior bristling with helpful travel tech. Made from an incredibly durable and water-resistant tarpaulin material, the Settlement Backpack also includes laser-cut, waterproof zippers–helping to keep your possessions safe from the elements. What the Herschel’s minimal Settlement Backpack lacks in support and compression straps, is all but made up for in terms of overall ease of use and versatility–it’s light, small in size, water-resistant, and durable. For longer, more wilderness-oriented travel, the Settlement Backpack from Herschel Supply Co. may not be the best choice, but for day tours in urban environments this exciting offering from Herschel performs. It should definitely be one you carefully consider.
Distinct Travel Advantages: Keeping it Simple
Mobility – tied for the smallest pack on our list with a capacity of just 20L, Herschel Supply Co.’s Settlement Studio Edition Backpack is best for short day tours and impromptu site seeing.
Size – very slim profile, minimal extra gadgetry, perfect as a carry-on travel backpack for Europe.
Quality – Herschel’s premium materials: water-resistant tarpaulin and waterproof zippers keep all your possessions dry and safe.
Travel photographers, bloggers, and photo journalists rejoice! Burton has provided you with the ultimate travel backpack for your camera and accessories. The Burton Focus Camera Backpack 30L features customizable camera-specific compartments to keep your gear protected and accessible so you never miss your shot. Other features include heater pockets to help maintain better battery life on your equipment, a padded laptop sleeve, and a variety of support and compression straps for comfortable weight distribution. Like the Herschel backpack mentioned above, the Burton Focus Camera Backpack is also made of a water-resistant tarpaulin material, helping to stave off the elements and keep your precious camera gear dry and safe.
Distinct Travel Advantages: Durability Done Right
Versatility – For photographers it doesn’t get much better than the Burton Focus Backpack. Having a single backpack that can accommodate both camera gear and travel necessities can greatly reduce the number of bags you travel with, freeing you up for additional photo adventures.
Quality – having padded/fleece-lined pockets for all your expensive lenses and equipment is a must, and Burton never skimps in the quality department. The Focus Backpack’s usage of both water-resistant tarpaulin, and pocket padding is testament to Burton’s focus on quality.
Additional Adventure Resources for Your Next Big Trip to Europe