Have you been wondering what the best backpack for European travel is? Perhaps you’re finally ready to make that trip to Europe, but you’ve been having a hard time selecting a backpack.
Well, you are in the right place!
We have carefully reviewed a wide range of travel backpacks appropriate for European trips based on the most appropriate size, convenience, and overall performance. I’m talking about a backpack that will hold everything you need for your trip without being too big or bulky.
Ready? Great. Let’s dive in!
What are the best backpacks for European travel?
In my view, the best backpack for European travel is comfortable, durable, and of course, spacious enough to fit your travel essentials. But how much space you need depends on how long your travel is. If you’re going for a short trip, say 3-5 days, then you need a small and lightweight bag like the North Face Recon backpack.
If you’ll be traveling for over a week, or more, then you need something larger (preferably not beyond 40L), while still being carry-on sized for airline travel, I’d recommend the Osprey Fairview/Farpoint pack, which has a 40L storage capacity and can fit a few weeks’ worth of travel gear.
But for those looking for a pack spacious enough for an extended period say three weeks or more, a large backpacking backpack like 45L+ that can fit even more travel gear is your best bet. In my estimate, the Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L pack is a good consideration.
However, if you do not like the idea of hauling a heavy backpack on your back for hours, I suggest you look into a backpack with wheels. Using a rolling backpack like the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler XT Wheeled Duffel will allow you to wander freely without feeling weighed down by your belongings.
Read on for more details…
17 Best Backpacks for European Travel
Here is a preview of the top best backpacks for European Travel in 2023!
- EVERKI Atlas Travel-Friendly Backpack
- Fjallraven Travel Pack
- North Face Recon Backpack
- AER Travel Pack 3 Small
- Minaal Carry-on 3.0
- Osprey Fairview and Farpoint
- Nomatic 40L Travel Bag
- Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti-Theft Carry-on
- COTOPAXI Allpa 35L Travel Pack
- Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack 35L
- Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L
- Osprey Aura AG 55
- Osprey Aether 65 Pack
- Yorepek 54L Travel Backpack
- The Backpacker by Salkan
The best backpacks for European travel in this category are minimalist options for quick trips or weekend getaways. They are spacious enough to fit your needed travel essentials and much easier to maneuver in crowded places.
You won’t have to worry about your backpack getting caught on anything or knocking people over. Not to mention, it’s much easier to carry around in trains and buses without taking too much space on storage racks.
Summary: The Everki Atlas laptop Backpack is loaded with handy features and is great for digital nomads who travel with lots of techs.
The EVERKI Atlas Travel-Friendly Laptop Backpack is a great choice for European travel. It’s comfortable and practical, with features that help make your trip streamlined and efficient.
This backpack was designed with the active traveler in mind and is equipped with four spacious compartments, and organizational pockets for storing all of your travel essentials, from maps and guidebooks to your passport and tickets.
The external pockets include a quick access top pocket, zippered flap pocket, an innovative magazine sleeve, two water bottle pockets, and an organizer compartment. As a result, your water bottle, passport, pens, keys, cables, and more all have a designated spot to avoid you scrambling to find what you need in the security line.
There is even a dedicated technology compartment for a 17.3-inch laptop and tablet, while the main compartment is large enough to carry whatever you need both on planes and in hotels.
The Atlas is great for train, bus, and airplane travel.
It allows you to go through checkpoints without any hassle, thanks to the laptop compartment that unzips and lies flat, effectively making it one of the best backpacks for European travel. And since this is a moderately sized pack, you’ll find it easier to maneuver in crowded places, especially on trains and buses without being in the faces of other passengers.
What we also love
The Atlas is well-constructed and includes a padded back panel and padded shoulder straps for added comfort. The five-point ergonomic strap system on the Atlas helps evenly distributes weight to avoid exhaustion while the strap management system prevents dangling or wayward straps.
The Everski has a padded grab handle that allows you carry it in your hand when you’re on a bus or train so you can avoid smacking somebody else with it when navigating tight quarters.
The bag comes with a lifetime warranty and includes a trolley strap that makes it easy to attach to your luggage when you’re traveling by plane. Plus, it’s stylish enough to be used as your everyday backpack, even when you’re not traveling.
What’s not great
The EVERKI Atlas Backpack is not great for extended travel.
While it may be fine for a quick weekend getaway, the central compartment is quite small and cannot pack more than a few days worth of clothing. Additionally, the bag which weighs 4 lbs when empty can be heavy when packed full and the water bottle pockets are a tight fit for larger bottles.
Fjallraven Travel Pack
Summary: The Fjallraven Travel Pack is stylish, functional, and comfortable.
The Travel Pack from Fjallraven is a fantastic backpack designed for travelers. It’s the perfect size for a carry-on and will fit everything you need without being too bulky.
It also looks comfortable and lightweight, which is great for carrying around European cities. The best part is that it’s made from durable G-1000 fabric, which can be treated with Greenland Wax for extra protection against the elements. This fabric is also eco-friendly and has the Fjallraven’s quality stamp, so you are sure it can withstand some wear and tear.
Also, this is one of the best backpacks for European travel that is spacious enough to fit most of your essentials.
You can pack a lot into this 35L bag.
The main compartment features a clamshell-style opening with several compartments and pockets to help you keep everything organized.
Also, there’s a separated and padded tech compartment with pockets that can fit a 15” laptop, tablet, documents, etc. so you can keep your devices safe from scratches. I like that this compartment makes it easy to go through TSA checkpoints because it opens for easy access.
Even better, the harness system of the Fjallraven Travel Pack is thoughtfully designed to provide optimum comfort and support. The shoulder straps are padded and adjustable so you can customize the fit, while the back panel is breathable, which is great for ventilation.
What we also love
The bag is streamlined, and it comes in a variety of stylish colors to choose from. Plus, the stylish design means you’ll look great when you arrive at your destination! Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, the Fjallraven Travel Pack is a great option for travels of all types.
What’s not great
There are a few potential downsides to the Fjallraven Travel Pack for women. Firstly, it’s not suitable for carrying large or heavy loads – so if you’re planning on packing a lot of gear, you might want to look at another option. Secondly, the fabric shows marks and scuffs fairly easily, so it won’t look great after a lot of use.
And finally, there’s no side water bottle pocket, which can be a pain if you’re trying to stay hydrated on the go. Overall, though, it’s a well-made and stylish backpack that could be ideal for lighter loads and shorter trips.
North Face Recon Backpack
Summary: The Recon backpack provides both functionality and style, making it a reliable and versatile option for European travel.
Coming in with a 30L carrying capacity and a weight of 2.5 lbs, the Recon is just the right size for carrying all of your essential items without being too bulky or cumbersome. It features three separate compartments, a big stretch pocket, and several interior pockets where you can easily fit gadgets, water bottles, and a change of clothes in the backpack, with room to spare for other items.
Additionally, there is a dedicated, highly protective 15” laptop compartment, an extra padded tablet sleeve, and fleece-lined pockets for sunglasses or electronics– very convenient features for both travel and everyday use. Also, the front of the bag features a bungee cord system meant for lashing external gear on.
This is also one of the best backpacks for European travel with the best ergonomic support for the wearer.
It features a hip belt and removable chest strap for added stability and load control. Compression straps help bring the weight closer to your body for a more compact effect. And on top of that, the harness system includes a heavily padded back panel and mesh shoulder straps with custom injection molded foam for extra comfort and ventilation.
All of these mean this bag would be easy to carry whether you plan to take it around 24/7 or just for a few hours.
And guess what?
If there’s no designated place to put your luggage, you can easily carry the Recon on your lap or fit it under the seat in front of you, whether you’ll be traveling on a train, plane, or on bus.
What we also love
Like most North Face bags, the Recon is made of a combination of high-quality 210D recycled nylon ripstop and polyester materials that will hold up well in a bunch. On top of that, it’s decently water-resistant and more than up to the challenge of exploring the outdoors around Europe.
What’s not great
There are a few aspects of the Recon that I find less appealing. The first is that it lacks structure and tends to fall over when you try to load and unload it. Also, a few buyers did not like that this bag does not perform well in the rain.
Without a rain cover or when in a heavy downpour, the content of your bag would be soaked through. Since this backpack is not waterproof, you may need an extra backpack rain cover to keep your gear dry in rain.
All in all, I recommend the North Face Recon backpack to anyone looking for a versatile and reliable option ideal for European travel.
AER Travel Pack 3 Small
If you’re looking for a sleek backpack that will make traveling through Europe a breeze, consider the Aer Travel Pack 3 Small. This backpack is streamlined and well-organized, making it easy to keep your belongings neatly sorted and within easy reach.
Despite its minimal design, the organization is well thought out.
And if you’re a tech enthusiast who wants the best protection for your devices, the Pack 3 delivers with a well-padded and suspended 16-inch laptop compartment that’ll protect your tech from the effects of accidental drops.
Also, the bag features an expandable water bottle pocket, a hidden smart tracker pocket as well as quick-access top and side pockets that are perfect for holding your passport, boarding pass, sunglasses, or other small valuables that you don’t want to lose track of.
Its lay-flat main compartment allows for spacious storage and easy packing. Additionally, it comes with compression straps with magnetic fasteners to keep your belongings securely in place, which is important when trying to pack everything into a small bag.
And thanks to its lightweight design, you’ll barely notice the weight of this pack on your shoulders.
Made with durable 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon, YKK zippers, and Duraflex hardware, this is one of the most durable backpacks for European travel. Plus, the fabric is water resistant and durable, so you can rest assured your belongings will be safe even in the event of a sudden rainstorm.
What we also love
The AER Travel Pack 3 is one of the best backpacks for European travel that can also be used for business travels, weekend jaunts, and even as a daypack on trains and buses when compressed.
Why, it weighs 3.9 lbs, with a carrying capacity of 28L, which fits a few days’ clothes and your tech. And since it’s not so big, it’s easier to fit in the overhead bins of airplanes or trains.
You will also find it comfortable to wear.
The harness system features padded straps, a breathable back panel, a nice sternum strap, and load lifters for support and comfort. There are also handles on all sides, so you have lots of options for handling the pack in a crowd. Additionally, it features a lockable zipper design, a luggage pass-through as well a lifetime warranty to seal the deal.
What’s not so great
A downside of the Aer Travel Pack 3 Small is that some users find it to feel a bit heavy and bulky when empty, so make sure to pack light. Additionally, the hip belt and rain cover need to be bought separately, which can be a bit of an inconvenience.
Minaal Carry-on 3.0
Summary: The Minaal Carry-on 3.0 is a sleek and innovative travel bag that’s perfect for European travel.
The Minaal Carry-on 3.0, which is an improved version of the popular 2.0 bag, is one of the best bags for European travel, especially for the one-bag traveler or digital nomad.
This 35L bag is even sleeker and features more innovative features and tech-savvy organization. It features a shock-proof, dedicated tech compartment that lays flat and fits 16″ laptops & 11″ devices. This makes it easy to keep your electronics and other essentials neatly arranged and within reach.
It also comes with plenty of other compartments and pockets, so you can easily stash all of your essentials including an elasticated water bottle pocket, and a hidden valuable pocket for your passport.
Plus, the bag has a compression strap system that helps you keep everything organized and in place. And best of all, the easy clamshell packing makes packing a cinch!
You can easily access everything you need while on the go, making it a great choice for shorter trips or trips that involve a lot of packing and unpacking. And the external access to the bag’s main compartment makes it easy to grab what you need without having to unpack the entire bag.
Also, this is one of the best backpacks for European travel on the market, due to its 4-point harness adjustment system that makes it comfortable to wear around European cities. It has an adjustable chest strap and a sturdy grab handle that make it perfect for carrying on your back or in your hand.
The bag is also a carry-on complaint, so you can take it with you on any flight.
This is a bag that you can use for many years.
It is sustainably made with recycled yarn and a 600D Picton material that is very resistant to tears, abrasions, and water, so you can rest assured that your belongings are well protected while you’re on the road. Plus, the Carry-on 3.0 comes with a built-in warranty!
What we also love
I like that this bag has minimal exterior branding and details while still being sleek enough to not appear flashy such that everyone knows you’re a tourist. The backpack/briefcase conversion feature is really handy, as this allows you to easily switch to the mode of carrying that’s most convenient for you.
Additionally, the lockable zipper prevents others from gaining unauthorized access to your belongings, and the free rain cover ensures your belongings stay dry even in inclement weather. All of these features make it the perfect travel companion for long trips or even just quick weekend getaways.
What’s not great
There are a few cons to the Minaal Carry-on 3.0 bag that I think could be problematic for some travelers. When the bag is loaded full, it can be quite heavy to carry around, especially if you’re planning to explore multiple destinations or do a lot of walking/carrying your belongings with you throughout the day.
Additionally, because it’s so big and floppy, it’s not the best choice for a daily carry bag – you might want something smaller and more structured.
Related: Best Backpacks with Chest Strap
The backpacks in this section are medium-sized and are under 40L. These are the best backpacks for European Travel that can count as carry-on luggage that fits into the overhead bin compartments of major airlines.
Osprey Fairview and Farpoint Pack
Summary: A sturdy and spacious travel pack you can trust to carry your belongings to various continents, countries, and cities.
The highly rated Osprey’s Fairview & Farpoint backpacks are both great considerations for the best backpacks for European travel. This is because, with either of these babies, you get the organization of carry-on luggage with the ergonomic design of a hiking backpack.
Not to mention, they are one of the most popular travel backpacks on the market because they are very comfortable and versatile, with plenty of organizational features to help you stay organized while on the road.
Each bag can fit a 15” laptop, a tablet, two water bottles, and sunglasses, and comes with a capacity of 40L so you can pack as light as possible without the temptation to haul excess weight.
They are both carry-on sizes with a dimension of 21 x 14 x 9 inches! And I have read reviews of actual people who have traveled with it on a bus, train, and even on airplanes.
Worried about comfort? Well, don’t be.
With the Farpoint/Fairview pack, you get the organization of a carry-on with the ergonomic design of a hiking backpack.
Each pack features a LightWire frame suspension and comfortable waist strap that takes the weight off your shoulders and transfers it to your pelvis so your back doesn’t feel the pressure. They both have a sternum strap to help spread the weight more evenly.
There is also a ventilated mesh back panel that helps keep your shirt dry in hot or humid conditions. Both packs come with a stowaway harness and hip belt that can be tucked away when not in use. And it goes without saying, you can’t go wrong with an Osprey bag. The pack is incredibly durable and can withstand beatings with being thrown from airplanes to cars, as well as being lugged around a plethora of different cities.
What we also love
The Fairview is designed specifically for women and has a shorter torso length and narrower shoulder width. The Farpoint on the other hand is designed for men.
Both come in two different color options and other sizes, so you can always go for what suits you best. And you’ll get to love either of these packs for a long time to come thanks to Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee.
What’s not great
There are a few disadvantages to the Osprey Fairview and Farpoint backpacks I think you should be aware of.
First, there is no added daypack like on the larger versions. This can be a bit of a pain if you want to carry additional gear with you on a hike or walk.
Also, the bag’s laptop sleeve is located at the front of this bag, which means that if you have a heavy computer, you may experience some discomfort when walking because the weight is not well distributed. Additionally, the compression straps can block access to the pockets on the sides of the pack.
This can be frustrating if you need to get to something quickly and can’t easily access it. All in all, the Fairview and Farpoint packs from Osprey are both very well-made with lots of positive reviews and ratings.
Related: Best Backpack Brands You Can Trust
Nomatic 40L Travel Bag
Summary: The Nomatic Travel Bag offers the needed storage and carrying comfort for extended travel around Europe!
The Nomatic travel bag is one of the top-rated options backpacks for European travel. It has a lot of compartments and organizational pockets!
There’s a wide-opening main compartment for easy organization of your clothes, a shoe compartment, a water bottle pocket, and even a laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate from your other items.
And for your tech, there’s a dedicated laptop and tablet compartment that lays flat to make TSA checkpoints a breeze! With a 40L carrying capacity, this is one of the best backpacks for European travel because it is spacious enough to fit items for 3-7 days trips around Europe! The bag also doubles as a carry-on since its 21 x 14 x 9 inches measurement and 3.42 lbs weight fits within most airlines’ size restrictions.
The Nomatic Travel Bag is comfortable to wear.
That’s thanks to the padded shoulder straps, a padded back panel, a chest strap, and of course, a waist belt that distributes the weight evenly across your body. Even better, the shoulder straps and sternum straps are adjustable so you can get a customized fit.
The Travel Pack is made from durable tarpaulin material with a water-resistant exterior that you expect will hold up well for a long time and also keep your belongings safe and dry. You should however note that while tarpaulin is sturdy, it’s quite sensitive and so accumulate scratches and marks over time that do not run away or disappear.
What we also love
The Travel Pack is easy to carry.
It comes with three handles: two by the side for when you wanna carry the bag as a briefcase or lift it into an overhead compartment and a thickly padded handle at the top when you’re just carrying or picking it off the ground.
This backpack can be carried as a duffel bag! Other amazing features include a hidden pocket for your valuables, a luggage strap in the back to attach to roller luggage, and a Nomatic lifetime warranty.
What’s not great
The Nomatic Travel Bag has its drawbacks.
When loaded out, it can get quite heavy and uncomfortable to carry because the shoulder straps are not densely padded enough, and there are no load lifters to prevent sagging. To mitigate this, I advise you use the hip belt if you’ll be wearing the backpack for a longer period for weight distribution.
You should also note that while tarpaulin material is sturdy, it’s quite sensitive and so accumulate scratches and marks over time that do not run away or disappear.
And finally, a 40L bag can seem too big for someone with a small torso. But all in all, this is a functional pack with an elegant minimalist design and lots of helpful features for life on the go.
Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti-Theft Carry-on
Summary: The Pacsafe EXP45 gives you the peace of mind that your belongings are secured on your travel.
Looking for a versatile, and antitheft travel backpack that’ll help you travel with peace of mind in busy cities The Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 ECONYL Travel Pack is the bag!
For one, this bag has a lot of features that make it theft-resistant so you can rest assured that your belongings are safe, from hotels to restaurants and on the road.
It features eXomesh Slashguard technology that makes it cut-proof, with slash-proof straps, lockable and puncture-resistant zippers, as well as RFID-blocking pockets to help keep your belongings safe while you travel.
The stitching and construction are designed to prevent anyone from slashing or cutting into your bag to steal your belongings. The bag also comes with a built-in locking metal cable that you can use to attach it to a fixed object, keeping your belongings safe from pickpockets and thieves.
The EXP45 is also one of the best backpacks for European travel with makes it perfect for travel. There is a padded 16” laptop sleeve, pockets for organization, several attachment points, and a clamshell opening for easy access to your belonging. And at 21.7 x 13.8 x 8.7 inches (HWD), it is roughly within most airline carry-on size requirements.
What we also love
This popular bag can be carried as a backpack or briefcase. Plus, it comes in a variety of fun colors, so you can choose the one that best suits your style.
It’s also comfortable to wear, which is a plus.
The adjustable sternum strap and the adjustable, padded hip belt help make it easy to carry around all day. Plus the padded shoulder straps, and waist straps, can also be tucked away during transit.
What’s not great
Pacsafe’s Venturesafe EXP45 is far from perfect.
While the bag is made of water-resistant material, some users wished it was more waterproof or that it came with a rain cover. So you’ll need to buy one separately if you want to protect your belongings from the elements.
Finally, if you travel with lots of gadgets and gear, this may not be the best option for you as it doesn’t have a lot of compartments or organizational pockets like the Nomatic Travel Pack.
Overall, the VentureSafe EXP45 is an excellent option for those looking for a safe and secure pack to travel within Europe or anywhere else in the world!
Related: Are Anti-Theft Backpacks Worth it?
COTOPAXI Allpa 35L Travel Pack
Summary: The Cotopaxi Allpa is durable and loaded with features that make traveling with it a cinch.
The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack is an excellent option for the best backpacks for European travel. This pack features a sleek design and 35L of space for whatever adventure awaits you in Europe, be it exploring new cities or cross-country train tours with friends.
What’s more? This backpack is an internationally approved carry-on size (20 x 12 x 8 inches), meaning that you can take this pack with you straight on and off the plane, with no baggage claim required.
This bag is also organization friendly.
The clamshell main compartment features interior organization, complemented by padded laptop and tablet sleeves as well as many exterior pockets so every item has its storage. Also, it features compression straps to help keep items tight and snug.
Additionally, the fabric is tough enough to stand up to any terrain and is coated with thermoplastic polyurethane—making it very water-resistant. And if you want more protection, there’s also a removable rainfly in case of a heavy downpour.
The harness system is pretty amazing too.
It consists of contoured shoulder straps, a padded, removable hip belt, a breathable air mesh back panel, and an adjustable sternum strap. When you’re out for your adventure, I believe you’ll find the Allpa very comfortable to wear.
What we also love
I like that this bag is available in many fun colors and has an elegant design that will make you stand out in any crowd! It also features multiple grab handles, theft-proof webbing sewn across the openings on all external zippers, and four lash points that allow you to carry even more gear.
What’s not great
The Allpa 35L doesn’t weigh that much, but once you start adding in all your belongings it can quickly become a burden. To avoid this, I suggest you pack light if weight is a problem for you.
Also, customers have complained that it seems this backpack is tailored for people on the shorter side with smaller builds, so it may not work as well if you have a large torso size. This is because the waist belt sits a little high off the hips of tall people, instead of being on the top of your hips. So, if you are tall and like using your waist belt, this is something you may want to keep in mind.
Additionally, the bag does not hold its shape unless it is full, so if you’re carrying around less stuff it can look quite saggy and unappealing. Overall, if you’re looking for a durable and well-made bag with a stylish design, the COTOPAXI Allpa 35L Travel Pack is a decent option.
Related: Best Travel Backpacks for Women
Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack 35L
Summary: The Tortuga Outbreaker can handle anything from weekend getaways to long-term travels.
The Tortuga Outbreaker is designed specifically for travel, with a lot of features that make it perfect for taking on planes, trains, and buses.
Measuring 22 x 13 x 8 inches, with a weight of 4.51lbs, the Outbreaker is a great carry-on standard size that fits in the overhead bin.
It has a 35-liter capacity, so it can hold everything you need for a week’s trip, including your laptop and other electronics, making it one of the best backpacks for European travel.
It features a front-loading, clamshell design that opens up wide like a suitcase with lots of mesh dividers, which means you can easily access your belongings without having to navigate through a maze of straps and buckles.
There is also a dedicated 17” padded laptop and tablet sleeve compartment, two water bottle pockets as well as plenty of organizational pockets to keep everything neatly sorted.
The Outbreaker is not a comfortable unisex carry-on!
It features a weight-bearing hip belt and an adjustable harness system that can be customized to fit your body, which is great if you’re carrying heavy loads or traveling long distances.
Additionally, the load lifters and sternum strap help distribute the weight evenly, making it more comfortable to carry for extended periods.
Plus, the contoured back panel, as well as padded straps, make it comfortable to wear even when loaded down with gear.
What we also love
The Outbreaker is one of those bags that won’t suddenly break down after just a few trips.