One of the most versatile pieces of travel gear, a great backpack or shoulder bag can serve a variety of purposes. We’ve found the best backpacks and shoulder bags you can buy for summer 2022.
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If you’re traveling by plane, a backpack or shoulder bag is generally considered a personal item if it’s small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. This makes the right size backpack or shoulder bag a convenient way to keep your travel essentials close at hand at all times. (For other carry-on options, see our guide to. And be sure to check out our picks for the too.)
So which backpacks and shoulder bags would be perfect for your next? Glad you asked.
The best backpacks for traveling
We’ve found a number of top-rated backpacks on Amazon and other online retailers. All are available for purchase now.
Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack
A sturdy and roomy backpack that doubles as a carry-on and holdall, the Fjallraven Kanken offers versatility. This backpack stands 16 inches tall, large enough to hold most laptops, tablets and other personal items. Zippers are covered with thick, water-resistant flaps; they make it all the more difficult for water (and pickpockets) to get into your bag. Available in 39 colors.
State Kane children’s travel backpack
This cleverly designed backpack for kids seamlessly transitions from a school bag to a travel backpack. The main compartment holds a 13-inch laptop, as well as books, pencils, and folders. Side pockets can hold two water bottles, while a front pocket adds even more storage space.
Want to buy matching luggage? Add on the Logan Suitcase ($220)available in 12 coordinating colors and patterns.
Amazon Basics Cabin Backpack
If your checked bags don’t make it to baggage claim, this cabin backpack from Amazon Basics can be used to store a day or two of your clothes. Its padded pockets help protect your laptop, while zippered pockets provide easy access to everything from water bottles to your passport.
Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack
This sleek neoprene backpack is perfect for everything from trips to the gym to jaunts around the world. The Dagne Dover Dakota offers tons of storage space for all your essentials. Store your electronics in the external zippered laptop pocket and/or internal tablet sleeve. Available in multiple colors, and in small, medium, and large sizes. The price shown below is for the large model.
Dakine Split Adventure 38L
The Dakine Split Adventure backpack offers tons of space and compartments for all your stuff. Its unique two-tier design makes it easy to organize your items. Compartments include a laptop sleeve (big enough for a 17-inch laptop), tablet pocket, shoe pocket, organizer pockets, and a bonus storage compartment. The bag is made from recycled nylon and polyester and features a water-repellent finish, handy in case you get caught in the rain. Prices vary by design.
Travelpro Platinum Elite women’s backpack
The Platinum Elite women’s backpack coordinates with the popular Travelpro Platinum Elite Luggage collection. The slim backpack features a spacious interior with a padded laptop and tablet sleeve, plenty of storage compartments, multiple exterior pockets and a special pocket with magnetic closure (which can be used to keep your smartphone safe) .
Prince Herschel Heritage Backpack Pro
Going on a tennis trip? Herschel Supply collaborated with Prince on this court-inspired backpack. It offers everything from a racquet compartment to a laptop sleeve (big enough for a 16 inch screen). Once on the court, hang the bag with a removable carabiner.
Away The Everywhere Zip Backpack
Are you looking for a backpack to coordinate with your Baggage outside? The similarly styled Everywhere Zip offers a minimalist look. It’s made of water-resistant nylon with leather trim and comes in navy, black, and asphalt gray. As for functionality, an interior padded laptop pocket can hold a 15-inch laptop (using a magnetic-lock zipper). Other pockets hold water bottles, travel documents and miscellaneous essentials.
One of the coolest features? The backpack opens like a clamshell, providing easy access to all your items.
Monos Metro backpack
Crafted from water-repellent nylon twill, the Monos Metro features a convenient clamshell design and plenty of pockets and compartments (including a 15-inch laptop sleeve). The front of the bag features a removable modular kit system – to better organize small items, such as electronics and liquids.
Athletica Kinetic Backpack
Whatever your destination, this recycled nylon backpack takes you there in style. Organizational features include a rear laptop pocket, front zippered pocket, shoe storage bag and compartments for two water bottles.
Bellroy Transit backpack
This very spacious backpack offers enough space for a weekend. Its organizational perks include a padded 16-inch laptop sleeve, internal compression straps (to keep everything secure), and low-profile external pockets for your travel essentials. Available in four colors.
The best shoulder bags
If a shoulder bag is more your style, good news: you can take one on your next flight as a personal item (just like you would a backpack). Here are some top rated shoulder bags for your consideration.
The spacious Bellroy Weekender shoulder bag offers many compartments: a zipped front pocket for toiletries; a padded laptop sleeve; interior pockets for water bottles or shoes; and a zipped side pocket for travel documents and magazines. Carry the bag however you like, either via its leather handles or via its removable shoulder strap.
Cabana Paravel Tote Bag
This large Paravel carry-on doubles as a beach-slash-pool bag. The roomy and chic tote holds everything needed for a day of travel. The bag is available in three sizes and four color combinations, each with a preppy stripe down the side. Get it monogrammed with your initials for as little as $25 more. The price listed below is for the small tote (no monogram).
Suitcase Filson Pullman
Designed to fit under the seat of a Pullman wagon, this vintage-inspired carry-on from Filson features a spacious interior and elastic straps to keep everything in place. The bag, with a rugged, water-resistant twill exterior, has bridle leather straps and accents.