Also, although we like that the daypack integrates seamlessly into the top of the main pack, it’s fairly small and probably won’t fit a full-size laptop.

In addition to their use in outdoors pursuits, backpacks are sometimes used in other sports as well. Below is a basic guideline in matching pack weight and hauling ability. More important, they were all different sizes and shapes. Our testing confirmed that it fits female bodies better than the Farpoint. Geoff Morrison at the top of the Rock of Gibraltar. Photo: Geoff Morrison In addition to being the A/V editor here at Wirecutter, I write about travel and tech for Forbes and CNET and on my personal site, BaldNomad. I used what I learned in my years of near-constant travel, plus what I found out from other travelers I know, to come up with what we think most people would want in a travel backpack. First of all, there’s no standard carry-on size. But because a frame takes up a lot of space in a pack, you might want to consider a duffel-backpack hybrid like the one we recommend in our guide to the best travel gear instead—they won’t be as comfortable over longer distances, but that’s the tradeoff for packing a month’s worth of clothing and gear into a carry-on-friendly package.

Pair incredible mountain vistas with the unique flavours of Canada at three spectacular summit restaurants. It looks fantastically well-made, but at $480 it’s just too expensive. One of the considerations we had putting this guide together was whether or not to consider carry-on size as a requirement for our picks. The real issue is that this is really just a big “regular” backpack. Jonathan, our largest tester, found that—and I’m quoting exactly per his request—the straps didn’t fit his “big fat tummy.” If your belly is on the plus side of plus-sized, this might be an issue if you’re considering the Farpoint 55. Note, some manufacturers also provide load ratings for their packs, which is another helpful reference point.

Our women’s pick from REI has been discontinued, but Osprey released a new version of our men’s top pick called the Fairview. Some aspects might seem obvious, others counterintuitive, but living out of something you carry with you fine-tunes your sense of what you want and need rapidly.

2) Use packing cubes! This was suggested to me by EVERYONE who knew I was going on this trip, and they were so valuable. Most airlines’ staff probably won’t notice (or care) that it’s an inch or two over the limits. I’ve also met dozens of travelers from all over the world and have talked about backpacks with them, some of whom were also testers for this guide. The average vertical size is 22 inches, but though some airlines allow luggage as large as 26 inches long, others max out at 17! Width and depth can vary as much as 5 inches as well. Compartmentalize with ultralight stuff sacks like the Pack-It Specter Compression Cube Set to achieve both and prevent hassles. The REI pack, however, fit him fine.

I’ve spent the majority of the last 3½ years traveling the world. Because I am but one average-sized man, I recruited some help testing out the packs. Those packs are similarly designed but place greater emphasis on ease of access to things you’d need on a trail (like tools and snacks), weather protection, and lighter weight. So in order to come up with a guide that’s even remotely useful, we had to come up with some specific rules as to what we were looking for. The overall point is that you can better appreciate the beautiful simplicity of nature when you’re not freezing or tending to wounds, due to mistakes that you made while packing. It fit her well, and she loved the design. Refuel at Castle Mountain Coffee Co with fresh grab-and-go meals, visit Northern Lights for market-style dining, or treat yourself to a world-class dining experience at Sky Bistro.

A heavier pack is logically most often capable of hauling more weight. That whole time I lived out of a backpack. Turns out, the answer is more complicated than we expected. Most of our testers were experienced travelers. For extended-travel use, other annoying things about backpacking backpacks are that they tend to load only from the top and are sealed with a drawstring. Travel Made Simple has a handy chart (most recently updated in September 2016) that gives some idea of the problem. There are several resources online to help you fit your pack correctly, including our own guide to Getting the Perfect Fit.

Though it’s possible to get these picks into an overhead compartment, they’re really designed to be checked luggage. My longest trip was 4½ months with the Farpoint, and I could have gone on indefinitely (had I so desired). Alternately, you can clip it to the shoulder straps and wear it in the front.

First of all, this Highlander Outdoor model matches the Osprey in all the main features we like: It has a removable daypack, it has stowable straps so you can check the main pack as luggage, the straps themselves are well padded, and perhaps best of all, the shoulder straps are adjustable, so it can fit a wide range of torso sizes. They make your life so much easier and way more organized than you ever thought living out of a backpack would be. They minimize use of heavy-duty materials and zippers and have a host of external straps and pockets that make them less likely to survive being checked and abused by baggage handlers. I’ve lived and worked in 24 different countries across five continents, including spending 10 months all over Europe, five months in Australia, a month in Brazil, plus time in Southeast Asia, and more. We felt the Farpoint 40 was a better option at this size.

Whether you’re mountaineering, climbing, scrambling, or skiing, we know you’ll need a functional, durable pack designed meet your requirements. If you prefer a sling to a daypack, however, the Versant is worth checking out.

Many airlines now charge you for checking luggage, depending on the length of the flight. About Us Careers Media Travel Trade

I had a great backpack, but never learned how to wear it properly and comfortably. However, it didn’t fit tester Hollie at all, and the other female testers didn’t love it or hate it. A lot of you probably want very similar things to what we want, which is why this guide is so specific. Backpacks that carry skateboards have also become more popular in the youth culture.

However, a backpack can be a very personal choice, like picking out a wallet or a purse: You know what you want, and that might be different from what someone else wants. That’s not to say that these can’t be used for international travel, but they’re not worth the trade-off in weight or durability.

Also, the hip belt isn’t as generous as some other options. It fit Carolina and me just fine, with adjustability to spare (though it didn’t fit as nicely or feel as comfortable as the Ospreys). However, if you plan on traveling to multiple climates, or need to carry bulky gear like hiking boots or a thick jacket, the Farpoint 70/Fairview 70 are essentially the same design as the 55, but are very slightly larger in every dimension. This passion and sense of adventure still drives the research and design of our packs today.

It’s not enough to bring along all the ultralight gear you can find if you can’t pack it right. Personally, I find sling/shoulder packs annoying and uncomfortable, especially loaded with 15-plus pounds of camera, laptop, batteries, and more. It zips onto the main pack, and is doubly secured by the main pack’s compression straps. There is also a small but thriving industry devoted to creating historical reproductions of military gear; such companies generally produce period-appropriate uniforms and other gear in addition to backpacks.

Thule Versant 50L: This pack is tied with the Eagle Creek as the most expensive we considered. We inspire travelers and each other. It might take you a couple of outings to pack correctly, but after many trips, I’ve created this list of essentials, below.

Many police tactical units, as well as players of military-style combat games such as paintball and airsoft, use these military-style tactical backpacks and webbing for storing gear and ammunition. Your stuff needs to be well organized both for even weight distribution and accessibility. Though it’s also a little short on organizational slots and pockets, it is the biggest integrated daypack we found. It has some interesting features, like a waterproof bottom and lots of adjustability. Consumer Reports has a great article on this called What’s the right size for carry-on luggage? So where does that leave us? Our main pick is 25 by 13 by 13 inches and has soft sides (the other picks are larger). Osprey Ozone Travel Pack 46: This is a great pack, and was tester Carolina’s favorite of the carry-on–size packs. If carry-on is your only intended use, we have a recommendation below. It will have a beefy frame, tough fabrics and thick padding. Before I started traveling basically full time, I had traveled in Africa, China, and throughout Europe with a variety of terrible backpacks and luggage, so I know what’s best to avoid. This design saves weight and means one less thing to break, but is a total hassle to deal with in the event you want something from the bottom, because you have to unload and then reload the entire pack. There are some exceptions, and backpacks overall are becoming lighter—take for example the Gregory Baltoro, which dropped a lot of weight between models (about 9 ounces to get down to 5 lbs.), but is still adept at comfortably handling a heavy load. I’ve brought it onto airplanes as a carry-on several times. Seriously. Otherwise, you may get backaches, blood blisters on your shoulders, or bruised hips. We never stop searching for the places we’re passionate about, connections we value and moments that bring us joy. I’d use some large Ziploc bags for your shoes.

As you’ll see, the 55 liters available with the Farpoint/Fairview 55 is a lot, and easily enough to carry everything you need for extended adventures. (But if you are, our pick in our travel gear guide is better than most in both regards.) If you want those features, consider our carry-on pack.

The memories we create for our guests aren’t typical —every experience is unique, personal and unforgettable. Packing cubes. You can’t fully open the main section like you can those of the others we tested, so it’s more of a half-top-loader-half-clamshell. All that, for around half the price of our main pick.

Tom Bihn Hero’s Journey: You’ll need 48¢ for each of your thousand faces to afford this bag. The “big three” US-based airlines (American, Delta, and United) use one size, smaller airlines use another, and non-US airlines have any number of combinations of sizes. Instead of a daypack, the top of the pack comes off and converts into a sling/shoulder pack. That’s fine, but please take a moment to read through what we were looking for. Five women, ranging from 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 6 inches, and five guys, ranging from 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 2 inches.

I’m not a huge fan of the latter, as they don’t usually offer much padding for the contents and most won’t hold a laptop. It easily fits a 15-inch MacBook and is comfortable to wear over long treks. Because this makes it a bit more cumbersome, more difficult to stow on trains/buses, and even less likely to work as a carry-on, we think the 55 is a better option for most people. Hydration packs, sometimes used by athletes and military personnel, carry water (in either a bladder or a rigid bottle) and have a tube connected to them from which the wearer can drink without removing the pack; this feature is also included in some more general-purpose hiking backpacks. They also tend to be expensive because lightweight, water-resistant materials don’t come cheap. It has the same layout and is made of the same materials, but it’s designed with more narrowly set shoulder straps and is sized to accommodate shorter torsos. 50 years ago we were inspired to start creating backpacks for the pioneering climbers of the day. If they do, and you have to check it, how much money is this going to cost you? How often, even on an extended adventure, are you going to fly? Even in the worst case, the times you can’t carry on might cost you a couple hundred dollars a year. They’re not expensive and you only need 3 — one for your bottoms, one for your tops and one for your intimates. It also comes in different colors.

The daypack is the Farpoint’s best feature. Be certain to get the right fit (so it’s not too tight or too loose) and walk around with the pack on before you leave for your trip. In our opinion, having the perfect bag that holds all your stuff comfortably—a bag you’ll use every day—is worth the potential expense.

First off, a travel backpack is not a “spend several days away from civilization” backpacking backpack for the wilderness.

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