Best Travel Backpacks for Europe

10 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe in 2022 – Buyer’s Guide

(Last Updated On: November 4, 2022)

Whether you’re a first-time backpacker or an enthusiast, European backpacking can be the most daring. Although there’s a long list to prepare, the right backpack is certainly a key element to your backpacking success. We’re here to show you the top tested and proven as the best backpacks for your European adventure!

Instead of a typical backpacking backpack, a European tour requires a travel-sized backpack. A backpack that can fit your needs for a couple of weeks but also sit on your back comfortably while you navigate through trains and hostels in the cities. We’ve narrowed down your list to the top ten so you can hop on those trains with ease!

In a Hurry? The test winners after 14 hrs of research

Osprey Porter 46L Travel Backpack

Osprey Porter 46L Travel Backpack – Premium Pick

Why is it better?

  • Laptop placement in the back
  • Top compartment still useful even when the main compartment is full
  • Organization feature is outstanding
  • Great weight distribution

Inateck 40L Travel Backpack

Inateck 40L Travel Backpack – Best Value

Why is it better?

  • Spacious compartment
  • Compartments are thoughtfully placed
  • Fits comfortably
  • Minimalist and professional design

Best Travel Backpacks for Europe – Overview

While many may confuse bringing an actual backpacking backpack for a European backpacking tour, we’re here to save you some sweat before you even start to think about it. With Europe’s crowd and bumpy streets, a huge backpacking backpack or even a duffle bag is the last thing you would want to worry about while exploring its amazing cities. If you also choose not to pay for extra luggage fees, most of these backpacks we’ve picked for you are carry-on approved by most trains and even planes.

Travel Backpacks for Europe Reviews

1. eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender

eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender

The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is hard to miss if you’re an organizer devotee. The first thing that caught our attention with this backpack is the orange interior, as it can ease-up searching for your stuff among other stuff! The zippers for the compartments open all the way down, again for easier packing and access. Inside the main compartment, a lot of things may seem to be going on, behold, it’s for good reasons. Mesh compartment on one side, compressors, and pockets on the other, this bag definitely has it together.

A unique feature with this bag is the water bottle pocket that you can zip and hide and we think it’s pretty smart. We don’t want the evaporation going all over our bags after all. Of course, the bag’s expandability is also a feature that’s not to miss. Add a point to it’s versatility!

Key Features:

  • 840D Polyester exterior – Durable!
  • Lockable zippers and YKK material
  • Zip expansion for 1.5″ extra space

Specifications:

  • Brand: eBags
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 22″ H x 14″ W x 10″ D
  • Weight: 3.15 lbs
Pros
  • Sturdy material and look
  • Overall has good organization pockets compared to other brands
  • Strategically located laptop sleeve and fits up to 19″
  • Can be your one-bag because of quick accesible pockets
Cons
  • Hip belts aren’t padded
  • Not-so lightweight

2. Osprey Farpoint 40L Travel Backpack

Osprey Farpoint 40L Travel Backpack

The Osprey Farpoint 40L Travel Backpack is known for its quality. From its nylon fabric to its sturdy zippers, it’s definitely one of the most lightweight and durable ones in the market. The highlight of this backpack is its LightWire frame suspension inside that helps transfer the weight from the harness to your hip. Another edge of Osprey products is how it sits comfortably on your back, with the meshed back and padded hip belt, this sure could be your savior.

While its main compartment opens like a clamshell, we do recommend using organizers to avoid uneven bulkiness due to the flexibility of the material. There is a dedicated laptop sleeve on the second pocket where you can also put some of your small items. Lastly, a quick tip: while there are some front pockets with this bag, it may be hard to use them if you already have your main compartment full. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best travel backpacks.

Key Features:

  • Padded top and side handles
  • Two internal compression straps
  • Stowaway back panel

Specifications:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 22″ H x 14″ W x 9″ D
  • Weight: 3.17 lbs
Pros
  • Great quality and longetivity
  • Straps can be hidden away
  • Main comparetment is very spacious
  • Padded hip belt and great suspension for comfort
Cons
  • Lacks quick access pockets
  • Laptop sleeve is not strategically located
  • Front pockets are hard to access if the main compartment is full

3. Kelty Redwing 40 Backpack

Kelty Redwing 40 Backpack

The Kelty Redwing 40 Backpack is specifically and craftily designed for women and this is not very common in other brands. With its 40L capacity, this bag can definitely hold a pretty solid amount of stuff you have for weeks out. It comes with a lot of compartments and pockets as well which is perfect for quick access. The hip belt is removable and does have pretty great padding for comfort.

Although it opens like horse-shoe shape vs full clamshell-style, we think that the opening is big enough to reach the majority of the things inside. Further, there are two sides and a top compartment for things you need as ready access. The laptop space can fit up to 15″ and is located at the back of the bag which is good for weight although it could be hard to reach if the bag is loaded with stuff. Overall, we think that this is a very great bag for women because of its extra features and thoughtful design which we didn’t see much in other brands. Make sure you also check our selection of the best travel backpacks for women.

Key Features:

  • Top loading, horse-shoe style
  • Shoulder straps, hip belt and back panel have great ventilation and padding designed for women’s body
  • Side compression straps

Specifications:

  • Brand: Kelty
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 23″ H x 14″ W x 12″ D
  • Weight: 2.10 lbs
Pros
  • Adjustable shoulder and hip straps
  • Back panel fits great for women’s body
  • Lots of quick access pockets
  • Lightweight material
Cons
  • Top loading style may not be so convenient
  • Zippers are not lockable

4. Hynes Eagle 44L Travel Backpack

Hynes Eagle 44L Travel Backpack

The Hynes Eagle 44L Travel Backpack is the concealed space master bag. This bag may not look as big enough for a travel bag at first glance, but it opens up like a suitcase and holds much more stuff than you can imagine! So, if you’re the type who likes to pack a little more, we recommend this to be your go-to bag. While it holds 44L, it does compress to a 38L hence is why this bag is approved by most airlines as a carry-on. Doesn’t that sound magical?

This bag has compression straps in and out for locking your stuff up. The zippers are sturdy and great. Further, the front part of the bag has enough compartments to fit your small items. At the very back of the bag is where you put your laptop which fits up to 17″. Lastly, how can we forget that this bag is made out of a water-repellant polyester! Something you may need for rainy trips? In all, with this bag’s affordability, we think that that we can both agree that this bag has checked quite a lot of great travel features.

Key Features:

  • Water repellent material
  • Includes 3 expandable compressor organizers
  • Tuck-away back strap

Specifications:

  • Brand: Hynes Eagle
  • Capacity: 44L
  • Dimensions: 21.3″ H x 13.8″ W x 13.8″ D
  • Weight: 2.05 lbs
Pros
  • Space capacity is above average
  • Four carrying options
  • Lightweight material especially for a 44L
  • Adjustable sternum strap
Cons
  • Top loading style may not be so convenient
  • Long term quality may not be as par with the best in the market

5. Tortuga Setout Backpack

The Tortuga Setout Backpack may be designed for the “average” traveler, but it might just be your go-to backpack for many other travels to come. With its minimalist style, it’s easy to overlook how spacious it actually is inside. Not only does it open like a book for ease of access, but it also has various compartments to organize your techie stuff down to your accessories. As advertised, it literally is very much like a suitcase turned into a backpack!

Some of its subtle and quite understated features would be the padded hip belts that have two big pockets where you can put things for quick access. Laptop space is smartly placed right behind your back for full protection against theft and in case you drop your bag. While the main compartment doesn’t have any dividers, the cover of the bag has two mesh containers where you can put some of your dirty laundry or other small items, pretty clever?

Key Features:

  • Padded hip belt for great weight transfer
  • Carry-on approved by most airlines
  • Injection-molded foam straps

Specifications:

  • Brand: Tortuga
  • Capacity: 35L – 45L max
  • Dimensions: 22″ H x 14″ W x 9″ D
  • Weight: 3.9 lbs
Pros
  • Very Spacious
  • Weather resistant
  • Organizational pockets
  • Padded and removable hip belt
Cons
  • Fitting may be a little box-y
  • Torso fitting is only from 17-19 inches

6. Witzman Travel Backpack Canvas Rucksack

Witzman Travel Backpack Canvas Rucksack

The Witzman Travel Backpack Canvas Rucksack is just as stylish as it can get. Vintage, metal, luxurious PU leather trim, what more can you ask for your Instagram shots with this icon. This bag is the exception to the saying “looks can be deceiving”. Surely, this is bag isn’t just about the looks and the high-quality material used for it to last, it also reigns versatility among many brands. Backpack, duffle bag, over the body carry-on, you name it, it’s got it all!

Let’s look deeper inside this gorgeous piece, it comes with two large front pockets with great zippers, side pockets, and the main pocket with a laptop sleeve plus many other small compartments for smaller items. While it’s made out cotton and some leather to it, don’t be fooled, the back straps offer to mesh for breathability and comfort. Further, they’re also removable. All in all, with its style and durability, this bag won’t disappoint! Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best canvas backpacks.

Key Features:

  • 3 carry options: side, duffle, backpack
  • Multiple compartments for various purposes
  • Large capacity

Specifications:

  • Brand: Witzman
  • Capacity: unknown
  • Dimensions: 21″ H x 13″ W x 7.5″ D
  • Weight: 3.00 lbs
Pros
  • Stylish and durable
  • Multiple compartments
  • Fits a lot of things
  • Meets European restrictions
Cons
  • It’s a side-load style

7. Osprey Porter 46L Travel Backpack – Premium Pick

Osprey Porter 46L Travel Backpack

The Osprey Porter 46L Travel Backpack can be easily confused with Osprey Farpoint 40L which was earlier in our review. Needless to say, these two deserve to be debated against each other. The main differentiating point between these two backpacks is while Osprey Farpoint 40L boasts an incredible comfort overall, it lacks organization savviness, and that is where Osprey Porter 46L Travel Backpack picks up the game of Osprey. This backpack is built with thick materials that keep it upright and sturdy by itself. This backpack solves Farpoint’s most apparent weakness which is the material flexibility.

Osprey also upgraded the small pockets outside and provided us with more compartments for better organization. Further, the laptop placement is now moved to the back, again solving our main issue in Farpoint. While this backpack may seem like an upgrade overall from Farpoint, it did have some minor weaknesses in it. We noticed that the back padding wasn’t as great as Farpoint or other brands in the market. Surely, it still does feel comfortable, but how it feels like for long periods of time leaves us some questions. Nevertheless, this bag is designed for more of an urban traveling, such as a European tour, than a hiking/ trail adventure after all. Our guide to the best Osprey backpacks offers more great products like this.

Key Features:

  • Top pocket organization for quick access
  • StraightJacket protection for compression
  • Convertible to a duffle bag

Specifications:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Capacity: 44L
  • Dimensions: 23″ H x 15″ W x 13″ D
  • Weight: 3.40 lbs
Pros
  • Laptop placement in the back
  • Top compartment still useful even when the main compartment is full
  • Organization feature is outstanding
  • Great weight distribution
Cons
  • No water bottle holder

8. Inateck 40L Travel Backpack – Best Value

Inateck 40L Travel Backpack

The Inateck 40L Travel Backpack can be your perfect minimalistic and inexpensive backpack to go. It basically has most of the best features of our other top backpacks, just at a cheaper price! Yes, about a third of the cost of the comparable backpack from other brands, but still holds great durability and essential features. Multiple carrying options, compression straps, multiple compartments plus a sassy water bottle holder on the side, do you need to ask for more?

Often understated and overlooked, we think this deserves some spotlight not only for its affordability but for the amazing features it possesses. It opens clamshell-style, has a laptop compartment that fits up to 17″, water-resistant material and a bonus bag protector too. Overall, this bag can complete your trip with ease. Love backpacks? Check out our review of the best 40l travel backpacks for our top picks.

Key Features:

  • Include rain-proof cover material
  • Anti-theft zipper
  • Hidden zipper on the shoulder strap

Specifications:

  • Brand: Inateck
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 21.6″ H x 13.4″ W x 7.1″ D
  • Weight: 3.63 lbs
Pros
  • Spacious compartment
  • Compartments are thoughfully placed
  • Fits comfortably
  • Minimalist and professional design
Cons
  • a little heavier than other brands

9. Thule Subterra Convertible Carry on 40L Travel Backpack

Thule Subterra Convertible Carry on 40L Travel Backpack

The Thule Subterra Convertible Carry on 40L Travel Backpack is probably the introvert and full of information type of backpack. On the outside, it can easily be mistaken as a regular backpack but dig a little deeper and you’ll realize it does offer quite a lot of surprises with it. Just like many of the best backpacks so far, it opens clamshell-style, holds a 40L, hide-away straps, convertible to duffle and lastly, a removable laptop bag! Yes, a removable laptop bag! Talk about extra space and versatility?

The fun doesn’t stop there, while it looks plain on the outside, it actually has a separate compartment at the bottom where you can put your shoes. Very clever of them not mixing your shoes with all your other stuff huh? This bag looks at the bigger picture, bigger compartments, bigger quick access pockets, curved front material to provide extra space on the inside. Thinking outside the backpack? This backpack is for you! Our handy guide to the best travel backpacks for carry on features more great products like this.

Key Features:

  • Removable laptop bag
  • Cord organization with internal power bank pocket
  • Separate compartment for dirty laundry or shoes

Specifications:

  • Brand: Thule
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 21.7″ H x 13.8″ W x 8.3″ D
  • Weight: 3.50 lbs
Pros
  • Slim and sleek yet holds a lot
  • Great quality materials
  • Extra laptop bag
  • Versatile features
Cons
  • No water bottle holder or small pockets on the outside

10. Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Travel Backpack

Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Travel Backpack

The Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Travel Backpack has a name that says it all. With its anti-theft design and a securable and puncture-resistant zippers, you sure a headed for a theft-worry free trip. Not only that, but it’s also made out of eXomesh Slashguard technology covering up a stainless steel mesh that makes your bag completely slash-proof. On top of that, this backpack comes with an RFID pocket, smartly placed zippers, and a clamshell-style opening so it doesn’t rob you from quickly accessing and packing your stuff while keeping those thieves out.

Furthermore, we can’t ignore the fact that this bag is made out of an eco-friendly product, ECONYL fiber, which is a product of recycled fishnets. Thanks for saving our mother earth! We think that this bag also brings out a subtle yet stunning style for you ready for a photogenic shot of you in Paris. Overall, if the trains and packed subways bother you, this sure can give you much more peace of mind while traveling Europe. Be sure to also check out our list of anti-theft backpacks for travel for more great items like this.

Key Features:

  • Anti-theft features and slash-proof body
  • Has an internal frame to keep it upright
  • Top-quality buckles and materials overall

Specifications:

  • Brand: Pacsafe
  • Capacity: 45L
  • Dimensions: 21.6″ H x 13.8″ W x 8.7″ D
  • Weight: 3.75 lbs
Pros
  • Security features
  • High quality material
  • Comfortabe back padding and shoulder straps
  • Outstanding functionality
Cons
  • Compartment space may be a little smaller than competing 45L brands

Buying Guide

Features

When considering what features have to be present, we’ve narrowed down the top features to look out for: firstly, it depends on which time of the year you are visiting Europe. Winter season will require you to buy a water-repellant material, obviously, while for the summer season, a good water pocket may come in handy. Getting in and out of trains, it would also be smart to get a backpack that has lockable zippers. Organization compartments are also something to highly consider, whether you’re an organizer pro or not, the last thing you’d want to use your time for is searching for a cord in the middle of all your stuff. Lastly, a clamshell or front-loading style can be a huge relief in case you need to get something from your backpack in the middle of those busy streets.

Size

Size definitely matters. Europe may have some very restrictive rules for your backpack, hence, we made sure that these top ten meets have been tried and tested by many users in and out of trains in Europe. Also, you wouldn’t want to carry something too big because that will be like whipping your back, or you also would not want to go too small where you’ll run out of stuff in the middle of your trip. Based on our numerous research from various sources, a 35L – 45L range would be ideal, anything below is too small while over 45L may be a pain in your back.

Breathability

You will be carrying this for the most part of your trip, breathability’s gotta be a must. Great padding on the back as well as on the shoulder straps can lighten your trip a lot. Some backpacks have contoured straps, removable hip belts, adjustable sternum straps, all of these can help the backpack fit on your back perfectly. Some brands also have a women’s version that is better sculpted as well and that is definitely something to consider when picking your backpack.

Materials

For a two-week trip or three, the material may not be quite an issue. Nonetheless, the material can save your life in Europe, durability, quality, theft-protection, these are materials that you wouldn’t want to ignore if you’re being extra careful. While nylons can be stronger than polyester, polyester is more water-resistant and easier to clean. Further, nylons tend to retain heat which may bother your back during summers. While both materials have their own unique features, we recommend a good polyester material, as it will be just as durable as nylons.

Value

We think that anything between $99 – $199 is reasonable for a backpack, anything over that is a little above and beyond.

Frequently Ask Questions

Should you carry a backpack in Europe?

For the most part, a backpack would be the best option in terms of space and safety. You do want to be careful nevertheless from pickpocket and bag slashers. And if you are planning to move a lot from place to place, a backpack would be your best bet in carrying your items. Carry-on luggage for Europe is also another feasible option.

What size do you need for a travel backpack for Europe?

Do not lug around an oversized hiking backpack while you are on the road. It will just slow you down, especially in Europe. You need a bag that will fit in all travel scenarios. It should be a carry-on-size travel backpack for Europe, even though you are going to be traveling on trains and not flying on flights. The size of bags should be no more than 22 “x 14” x 9 “in order to fit under the carrying regulations of the airlines. The capacity of 40L is lightweight enough to stay big and comfortable on your back and can be easily maneuvered around trains and hostels. They are perfect for 1-2 weeks of clothing.

What is the best backpack for traveling Europe?

The Osprey Porter 46L Travel Backpack in our own opinion will be the best backpack for traveling within Europe. Its organization, comfort, and durability combined outmatch most travel backpacks out there.

Conclusion

We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best travel backpacks for Europe as well as our guide on features to look for in a travel backpack for Europe. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.