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Great overall bag: spacious, durable, light, and functional
You see this Osprey bag often all around the world and for good reason: it's a really good all around bag and not to mention Osprey's top notch reputation and customer service. It comes with a big panel loading main compartment with compression for easy packing and a lockable front panel with padded device compartments. The technical and outdoorsy look, however, isn't for everyone.
A sleek, minimalist bag made to the highest standards
Despite not knowing anything about making backpacks, two kiwis decided to scratch their own itch and create the Minaal Carry-on: one of the most well thought out travel backpacks ever. It's admittedly expensive but the quality and craftsmanship are absurdly good, like comfortable magnetic load bearing shoulder straps that are stowable for a minimalist briefcase look. Its sleek design works everywhere including the office and its clamshell design opens fully for easy packing. If you want the best travel backpack, this bag is definitely up there.
A high quality bag optimized for city travel
Tortuga is one of the best brands focused on city travel and their flagship Setout backpack continues that tradition with quality components across the board: lockable YKK zippers, DWR coated 900D polyester, duraflex buckles, and more. It has a clamshell design for easy packing and a padded, lie flat laptop compartment.
Best security focused option
Paranoid or traveling to a sketchy region? Pacsafe is known for producing high quality, security focused travel products. The Venturesafe EXP45 epitomizes that anti-theft ethos in a sleek bag that doesn't compromise on space or features. You can secure all zippers into a single point, lock the bag to a fixture with an integrated cable, and know your bag is safe from slashing with its steel mesh embedded fabric. For easy packing it has a clamshell design compartment, dedicated device pockets, and stowable straps.
Best budget option
Can't justify the higher prices for brands like Tortuga or Minaal? Reliable ol' AmazonBasics has a version of a travel backpack that gets the job done for most people. It has a clamshell opening for easy packing, is big enough at around 45L, and its straps are adjustable for comfort.
The main downsides are a mediocre polyester fabric that might not hold up as long term, a slightly heavy 4.1 lbs, and a short 1 year warranty.
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