Best Carry On Backpack Reviews 2018

A sturdy backpack is an indispensable item nowadays, especially those who travel frequently. In this review, we are going to focus on carry-on backpacks, which are specially designed for air travel and allow you to squeeze in as many items as possible without exceeding the luggage limits imposed by airline companies. The following backpacks come from some of the best carry-on backpack brands out there. If you want to explore more options, check out our review on carry-on luggage as well!
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Size
Material
Color
Pockets
Fits laptops
Our Top Choice
Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack
Osprey specializes in designing backpacks, carry-on luggage, and other travel accessories in a variety of dimensions and colors to meet your tastes and travel needs.
Available in three colors and two sizes. Two water bottle side-pockets. Made from durable nylon. Padded shoulder straps.
Not enough zippered compartments for some
22 x 14 x 9 inches
Nylon
3 colors available
Interior, exterior, and side pockets
Yes, up to 16 inches
Best Value
eBags Weekender Convertible Junior
eBags manufactures reasonably priced, durable bags, backpacks, packing cubes, and other travel accessories.
Available in eight colors. Easy to carry. Adjustable shoulder straps. Fits 17.5-inch laptops inside. Multiple zippered pockets.
Pack is quite heavy compared to others.
9 x 19.5 x 14 inches
840D & 900D Twisted Poly
8 colors available
Interior, exterior, and side pockets
Yes, up to 17.5 inches
High Sierra AT3 Wheeled Backpack
High Sierra makes a wide variety of backpacks and travel accessories. Whether you need a backpack for business, school, or travel, High Sierra has multiple options for you.
Available in Black or Graphite. Spacious and accommodating. Removable day pack. Made from durable fabric. Padded shoulder straps.
Minor issues with the extendable handle, avoidable if you read the instructions before use.
9 x 13.5 x 22 inches
Duralite Tech-Weave, 900-denier
Black or Graphite
Detachable front day pack
Yes, up to 16 inches
Timbuk2 Uptown Backpack
Timbuk2 is a leading manufacturer of backpacks, travel bags, and messenger bags. Their products are elegant, fashionable, and made from durable materials.
Available in four colors. Compact and lightweight. Made from durable polyester. Fits 15-inch laptops.
The mesh fabric on the back of the backpack may damage shirts made from delicate fabrics.
19.49 x 6.5 x 11.22 inches
400D Nylon Faille
8 colors available
Interior, front, and side pockets
Yes, up to 15 inches
Cabin Max Metz Cabin Backpack
Cabin Max makes eye-catching and spacious backpacks for kids and adults, including a diverse line of airline-approved backpacks.
Available in 28 colors and prints. Made from weather-resistant materials. Airline-approved. Adjustable shoulder straps.
Some backpacks arrived damaged but were replaced by the manufacturer.
22 x 17 x 1.5 inches
Water resistant 600D material
28 colors available
5 zipped compartments
Yes, up to 16 inches

(Updated )
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Watch Our Carry On Backpack Review

How Do I Choose the Best Carry On Backpack?

If you are a frequent traveler, hiker, or just a person who likes to have your stuff with you at all times, you probably already know that the world of backpacks is broad and diverse. There are so many products tailored to your specific needs, such as camera backpacks, cooler backpacks, business backpacks, school backpacks, and even picnic backpacks! All these travel accessories are created by experts to allow you to carry a plethora of belongings and keep them safe during your trip.

However, you are here because you are interested in a great carry-on backpack you can board on a plane. How is a carry-on backpack different from a regular backpack? Well, airline companies don’t allow backpacks larger than 22 inches in height to be taken with you as hand luggage, so carry-on backpacks are specially designed to fit these measurements and allow you to take as many personal belongings in the cabin with you as possible. In other words, carry-on backpacks are airline approved and recommended for air travel.

Getting a carry-on backpack allows you to safely take a couple of magazines with you on the plane, a portable DVD player, or even a laptop. If you have a long flight, you definitely want to be entertained, right? Keep reading this guide to find out how to pick the right carry-on backpack for your needs. Your future travels will be more comfortable than ever!
Price
You might be happy to learn that carry-on backpacks are not that expensive, nowadays, and include a multitude of features. First, let's talk about price. A good quality backpack can usually be bought for between 50 and 250 dollars, depending on its size, color, material, and compartments.

There are also many cheap carry-on backpacks out there for those of you who want to save a couple of bucks, but you should avoid such products because they tend to have manufacturing defects or poor-quality zippers. Go for a decent backpack from a reputable brand and you won’t get angry right before leaving on vacation!
Features
We mentioned earlier that carry-on backpacks can have different features that influence their prices. Well, let's talk about this in more detail and learn more about these travel accessories.
  • Material -- Some backpacks are made from nylon, while others are made from polyester or special weather-resistant fabrics. If you go outdoors often, you might want to choose a backpack made from a water-resistant material
  • Color -- Travel accessories can also be fashionable. Carry on backpacks come in various colors and designs, giving you a lot of freedom and customization options
  • Pockets -- Some backpacks come with large internal compartments, making it easier for you to carry your 17.5-inch gaming laptop. Other backpacks feature two water bottle side-pockets or extra exterior pockets.
  • Design -- Certain backpacks are designed to have a lightweight and slim construction while others are chunkier and more spacious
  • Before buying a backpack, you should assess your needs and come up with a budget. For example, if your laptop is relatively large, go for a bigger backpack with multiple compartments to accommodate your gadgets and accessories. Some carry-on backpacks even come with wheels or extended handles that can be very convenient in airports.
Construction and Design
Now that you know the basics of carry-on backpacks, let's explore a couple more features related to their construction and design. Today's carry-on backpacks almost always incorporate an internal compartment for your laptop and, in some cases, one for your tablet, Kindle, or iPad. On top of that, you also get zippered pockets for your cell phone, keys, wallets, cables, and so on. The laptop compartment is padded, so your expensive device doesn’t absorb the shocks and vibrations that usually come international travels or daily commutes.

What else can you put in your carry-on backpack? Well, in some cases you get a special pocket for your glasses, one or two pockets for water bottles, as well as an organizer. Backpack straps are generally adjustable and, if you want more stability while you walk, you can go for a backpack incorporating a waist belt.

Don’t forget that today's backpacks are available in a variety of colors, so feel free to express yourself and let others know your chromatic preferences. Pay special attention to the zippers and make sure they are made from metal or a similar material, especially if you want to use your carry-on backpack for a long time.
Performance and Ease of Use
Thanks to the fact that carry-on backpacks are airline approved, they can be handled easier at checkpoints and, in some cases, you can store them under the seat in front of you on airplanes. Such travel accessories are usually accompanied by a warranty period (usually one year, but some offer lifetime warranties), so remember to keep an eye out for that too. That's it, now you are ready to select your favorite backpack and enjoy a comfortable and entertaining flight!

What is the Best Carry On Backpack?

Now you are ready to find out which backpack is the most suitable for your needs. Remember to order well ahead of your planned vacation to make sure your backpack arrives on-time!
Our Top Choice
The Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack from Osprey is available in multiple colors and sizes and provides ample storage space, with multiple pockets and compartments for your gadgets. If you prefer a more spacious backpack with wheels, check out Osprey’s Ozone 22"\/46L Wheeled Luggage.
Osprey Farpoint 40 Carry On Travel Backpack – Available in 3 Colors & 2 Sizes

Osprey Carry On Backpack 10000294 – Volcanic Grey – S/M


Features
Osprey is a prestigious brand specializing in backpacks and travel bags for both kids and adults, as well as other useful travel accessories like hydration products and organizers. Osprey’s products have a great reputation with overwhelmingly positive customer reviews.

Osprey’s Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack features padded shoulder straps and a hip belt designed to stabilize your pack’s weight; keeping you balanced when navigating crowded train stations or uneven terrain. The durable nylon bag is available in two sizes (S/M and M/L) and three color options: Volcanic Grey, Jasper Red, and Caribbean Blue.

The pack includes numerous spacious compartments designed to keep your laptop, books, chargers, and other gadgets safe, organized, and easily accessible. Two mesh side-pockets are excellent for keeping your water bottle separate from your other belongings, and allow easy access to your refreshments on the go.

Measuring 22 inches in height and weighing just three pounds, this backpack fits the necessary size guidelines for international travels. Where will your Osprey backpack take you? We can’t wait to hear about it.
Best Value
The TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior backpack is available in eight color options and comes with lifetime warranty that covers any material defects or poor workmanship. If you want to save a few bucks and need a smaller backpack, take a look at the eTech 2.0 Weekender Convertible which comes from the same reputable manufacturer.
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior Pack – Available in 8 Colors

eBags Carry On Backpack LYSB06XB14LY1-SPRTSEQIP - Brushed Indigo


Features
eBags makes attractive and spacious travel bags, backpacks, luggage, and even packing cubes. Their durable products, made from polyester and nylon, are available worldwide. If you often travel by plane, you need to check out their line of airline-approved bags and backpacks!

The TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior backpack features a modern, eye-catching design available in eight colors -- including brushed indigo, sinful red, solid black and more! This bag is made from durable polyester, resistant to wear and tear, and comes with a lifetime warranty that covers all manufacturing defects.

The weekender has countless zippered pockets for all of your gadgets and gizmos, and can even fit laptops up to 17.5 inches. At less than four pounds, its impressively lightweight and easy to carry. Even at its heaviest, the padded shoulder straps soften the brunt of the weight. Despite the ample storage space, this backpack is small enough to fit under the seat on most planes.
The AT3 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack from High Sierra, available in Black or Graphite, features an extendable handle and wheels for easy transportation. If you require a relatively smaller backpack but still want wheels, check out the AT3 Powerglide Wheeled Backpack.
High Sierra AT3 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack – Available in Black and Graphite

High Sierra Carry On Backpack AT305-0 - Black


Features
This is not the first time we are reviewing a product from High Sierra, and it won’t be our last. They are an American brand selling bags, backpacks, water bottles, organizers, and other travel accessories worldwide.

In this review, focus on the AT3 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack, available in Black and Graphite. This backpack comes with a telescopic handle and features a large interior compartment where you can put your laptop, tablet, cell phone, and other personal belongings. The backpack is relatively large, but you can make it more compact for air travel by removing the front day pack.

We liked this backpack because it features high-quality fabric and durable metal zippers that won’t damage easily. The design also includes padded shoulder straps and two side-pockets for your water bottles. If you want a fully customizable backpack with wheels and an extended handle, this one should tick all the right boxes for you and your travels!
The Uptown Travel Backpack from Timbuk2 is available in several color options and it is made from a 400D Nylon Faille material which makes it highly resistant to wear and tear. If you prefer a slimmer backpack with a superb design, check out the airline-approved Spire Backpack.
Timbuk2 Uptown Travel Backpack – 15-Inch Laptop Pocket, Available in 4 Colors

Timbuk2 Carry On Backpack 252 - Nautical


Features
If you’re the type who’s always on the move and needs to take your laptop with you, investing in a backpack or messenger bag from Timbuk2 is a smart way to go. Their reputation extends worldwide for making a multitude of accessible backpacks, laptop bags, travel bags, and messenger bags in various colors and sizes. Not only that, Timbuk2's products are durable, fashionable, and eye-catching.

The Uptown Travel Backpack from Timbuk2 is available in four color options: Nautical, Jet Black, Surplus (a shade of grey), and Diablo. A special material - 400D Nylon Faille – increases the pack’s durability and resistance to wear and tear.

When it comes to interior space, you benefit from a large compartment that can easily store a 15-inch laptop or tablet. This backpack also features a front pocket for every day stuff, such as phone chargers, keys, or wallets. You also get a side pocket for your water bottle and high-quality zippers that won't break easily.

Why go for this backpack? This superbly designed, lightweight carry-on backpack will make you stand out from the crowd without making you look like a turtle (you know, with a giant backpack behind you).
The Metz Backpack Flight Approved Carry On Bag from Cabin Max is available in a plethora of 28 color options and it is made from a weather-resistant material. If you prefer a backpack with wheels and an extended handle, check out the Manhattan Hybrid Trolley Backpack from the same manufacturer.
Cabin Max Metz Backpack Flight Approved Carry On Bag – Water Resistant, Available in Multiple Colors and Patterns

Cabin Max Carry On Backpack - Black


Features
The last product in our review is from Cabin Max, a manufacturer that makes almost any type of backpack you can possibly imagine, including picnic backpacks, business backpacks, airline-approved backpacks, wheeled backpacks, pink backpacks, and kid backpacks -- you name it! The options are endless, and their products are all made from durable materials featuring eye-catching designs.

Let's take the Metz Backpack Flight Approved Carry-On Bag from Cabin Max and explore its strong points. This backpack is available in a multitude of colors such as black, green, red, blue, as well as special designs such as ocean and graffiti. It is specially designed to be allowed on multiple US and European airlines, including Spirit, Frontier, Air Berlin, Volotea, Turkish Airlines, and more.

This backpack will also make your life much more comfortable, as it features multiple zippered pockets where you can put your laptop and personal belongings. Made from a weather-resistant type of nylon, this backpack will protect your stored electronics even if you get caught in a storm. As with all Cabin Max backpacks, this one has adjustable straps and even comes with a 1-year warranty. What more can you ask for?

Get the Best Carry On Backpack of 2018!

We hope our review helped you set your eyes on a particular backpack. Next time you travel by air, you can comfortably travel knowing you own one of the best carry-on backpacks currently on the market!

Our Top Choice
Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack
Best Value
eBags Weekender Convertible Junior
High Sierra AT3 Wheeled Backpack
Timbuk2 Uptown Backpack
Cabin Max Metz Cabin Backpack