Four of the best backpacks for europe

7 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe Ranked [2021]

Finding the best travel backpack for Europe can be a daunting task. A backpack might be the biggest investment you make in your Eurotrip beside plane tickets. Plus, you’ll use your travel backpack literally all the time (they don’t call it “backpacking Europe” for nothing)!

I am a travel blogger who has been backpacking the world non-stop since 2016 (see section below on why you can trust my recommendations – I know what I’m talking about). My team of travel reviewers and I have tested many backpacks over the years.

As of summer 2021, Travel Lemming’s overall top rated backpack is the Tortuga Setout Backpack.

While the Setout definitely is the one “all-around-can’t-miss” recommendation on this list, it’s also honestly not the only bag for Europe (in fact, it’s not even what I’m using anymore). Different bags are better for different people, and for different use cases. This post includes the 7 best travel backpacks we’ve tested to date, as well as the 3 best travel daypacks. They are all very different from each other, but that’s the beauty of it in my mind – I think everyone is likely to find their perfect bag somewhere among these 7 travel backpacks:

7 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe Compared

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

In a rush? Here’s a quick summary of the top 7 travel backpacks for Europe reviewed in this post below:

Best Overall
Tortuga Setout
From $179

You can definitely tell that the Setout was designed by travelers. Its perfect organization lets you can pack everything you need for Europe into one bag. Plus, the super durable construction and timeless style means this bag is built to last. If we could only choose one bag, this would be it.

My Current Bag
The Backpacker by Salkan
$250

I use Salkan now because it's THE most comfortable backpack I've ever found. The straps and weight distribution are unbelievable - it barely feels like I'm carrying it! Perfect for those long walks between hostels. I also love that it's BOTH front and top loading, the built in laundry bag, and the customizable colors. For a serious backpacker like me it's worth the investment. Note: You can get the main bag alone, or the "Backpacker" bundle with Salkan's stylish daypack.

Best Value Buy
Osprey Porter 46L

I've personally taken this bag to over 60 countries, and it's held up remarkably well! A timeless design and durable construction, backed by Osprey's famous "All Mighty Guarantee," is why this is the popular bag you will see in Europe's hostels. If on a budget but can't sacrifice quality, choose the Osprey Porter.

Best for Digital Nomads
Nomatic Travel Backpack
$269

The viral Nomatic bag is taking the digital nomad world by storm for good reason. The bag has dozens of innovative features designed for remote workers - or just obsessive organizers. It has thoughtful features for stashing away everything you need, and is still carry-on size.

Best for Carry-On Travelers
Tortuga Outbreaker
$269

Just want a single carry-on friendly bag? This is it! Durable construction and timeless style means this investment will last for many trips. Comfortable straps, sensible organization, and more. Tortuga thought of it all!

Best for Security
Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti-Theft Travel Backpack
$191.04

Worried about safety on your Euro backpacking trip? Pacsafe is made for worrywarts like you. This bag comes loaded with anti-theft and security features, plus it's pretty stylish and comfortable to boot.

09/16/2021 11:00 pm GMT
Best Large Bag
Osprey Farpoint 55L
$119.94-$225.00

You've got plenty of space to add some extras to your pack! Though I prefer to travel light, for travelers who want more space, this is the best travel backpack for Europe. Men's and Women's versions available. Plus, it comes with Osprey's lifetime guarantee.

Ok, that’s the summary. But maybe you want a little more info to help decide which one of these awesome travel bags is best for you? Let’s deep dive into the best backpacks for traveling Europe, starting with our top ranked bag:

#1 – Tortuga Setout Backpack

Best Overall
Tortuga Setout
From $179

You can definitely tell that the Setout was designed by travelers. Its perfect organization lets you can pack everything you need for Europe into one bag. Plus, the super durable construction and timeless style means this bag is built to last. If we could only choose one bag, this would be it.

✔️ Pros

  • Carry-on compliant
  • Men’s and women’s fits
  • Thoughtful organization
  • Super durable construction
  • Extremely comfortable

Cons

  • Price means its an investment
  • Only available direct from Tortuga (but at least they have free shipping and returns!)

Video Review

Tortuga Setout Review

The folks at Tortuga seems to have thought everything with the Setout travel backpack. Heck, they even made a separate fit for men and women!

✔️ What We Love: The Tortuga Setout packs like a suitcase with the mobility of a backpack. It’s not a top loading bag, which means easy access even as you bounce from hostel to hostel (those top loading backpacks can become a real mess after awhile!). Plus, both the 35L and 45L sizes are carry-on compliant for most airlines, which means you’ll avoid checked bag fees to boot!

💲 Thoughts on the Price: Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than some other bags, but it’s built to last for years to come. So if you’re planning more than just one trip with this bag, it’s worth the investment.

🤗 Supporting Small Businesses: You can only buy this bag from directly from Tortuga. Tortuga isn’t a huge corporation – they’re a small but well-regarded business built by two travelers who wanted to bring quality travel backpacks to the world.

#2 – The Backpacker by Salkan

My Current Bag
The Backpacker by Salkan
$250

I use Salkan now because it's THE most comfortable backpack I've ever found. The straps and weight distribution are unbelievable - it barely feels like I'm carrying it! Perfect for those long walks between hostels. I also love that it's BOTH front and top loading, the built in laundry bag, and the customizable colors. For a serious backpacker like me it's worth the investment. Note: You can get the main bag alone, or the "Backpacker" bundle with Salkan's stylish daypack.

✔️ Pros

  • Front AND top loading
  • By far the most comfortable bag to carry I’ve ever tested (the harness system is awesome at distributing weight)
  • Thoughtful touches like a detachable laundry bag
  • Comes bundled with included day pack
  • Free shipping and returns

Cons

  • The size is technically just a couple inches longer than most carry-on limitations (with that said – I’ve now personally carried it on planes twice with zero problems).

Salkan Backpacker Review

The author modeling the Salkan Backpacker bag
Me with my bag – I love how easy it is to carry for long periods!

Having personally tested over a dozen bags, I personally choose to travel with Salkan’s The Backpacker these days. Here’s what I personally like about this bag (and why it might not be right for everyone):

✔️ Why I Chose This Bag: Salkan is a small company founded by serious travelers, and it shows in the design of their signature bag The Backpacker. The bag is loaded with features, like a built in rain cover and laundry sling, and has a sturdy weatherproof exterior that someone manages to stay fashionable while still being highly functional. I travel full time all around the world, and so chose this bag to carry with me as it is more versatile than any other I’ve tested.

🎒 Front AND Top Loading: One of the biggest debates in travel backpacks is whether to go with a front or top loader. Front loading is easier when you are trying to organize and pack your bag, but top loading can be much more convenient when actually using the bag in a crowded hostel dorm room or out in the wild. The Salkan Backpacker is the only I’ve ever seen that offers both options, so you don’t have to choose!

🎒 Perfect Daypack Combo: The Backpacker comes with a detachable daypack that is perfect for an “under the seat bag,” carrying a laptop, or throwing essentials in a pack for a day-to-day use around whatever European city you’re currently exploring.

💯 Lifetime Guarantee: Salkan bags are built to last, and you can literally feel it in the quality of the material. I’ve already put this backpack through a lot, and I’m guessing it can survive a lot more, but they offer a lifetime guarantee just to be sure.

📦 Free Returns and Shipping to USA: Salkan is a British outfitter but they ship free to the USA, though, and my bag arrived in just a couple days. Plus, if for whatever reason you don’t like the Backpacker, they offer free returns.

Read a my full review of the Salkan backpack for a more in-depth look at this bag’s many features.

#3 – Osprey 46 L Porter Backpack

Best Value Buy
Osprey Porter 46L

I've personally taken this bag to over 60 countries, and it's held up remarkably well! A timeless design and durable construction, backed by Osprey's famous "All Mighty Guarantee," is why this is the popular bag you will see in Europe's hostels. If on a budget but can't sacrifice quality, choose the Osprey Porter.

✔️ Pros

  • Converts to a duffel
  • Lightweight, simple design
    Single compartment great for stuffing in more clothes
  • Best value/quality combination
  • Carry on size
  • Backed by lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Shoulder straps have minimal padding (they need to be small to stowaway)
  • Very few pockets – just one big compartment

Osprey Porter 46L Review

The Osprey 46 L Porter is the most up to date version of the travel backpack I’ve used for the past several years.

✔️ What We Love: Travel backpacks have come and gone over the years, but the Osprey Porter 46L maintains its popularity becuase its relatively affordable and the perfect size for backpacking around Europe. The Porter has shoulder straps and waistband for easier carrying, but they can be tucked away to make this appear like a duffel bag.

🎒 Packs Like a Pro: The Osprey Porter has one large front-loading main compartment. This makes it super easy to pack on the go. It also has some nifty compression straps that help to keep your profile small (it can function as a carry-on backpack for most airlines if not overfilled).

🧳 Converts to a Duffel: One awesome feature is that this bag converts from a backpack into a duffel bag by folder the straps into the back. This means you can carry this backpack like a suitcase, though the price you pay for that is that the shoulder straps are a little thin.

Don’t Look Like a Dirty Backpacker: I happen to think it looks pretty stylish (I have the black version) compared to other backpacks that scream “I’m a scruffy backpacker who hasn’t showered in days” to everyone you meet.

💯 Lifetime Guarantee: I love Osprey because they have a lifetime guarantee – Osprey will repair any bag they’ve ever made for any reason!

#4 – The Nomatic Travel Backpack

Best for Digital Nomads
Nomatic Travel Backpack
$269

The viral Nomatic bag is taking the digital nomad world by storm for good reason. The bag has dozens of innovative features designed for remote workers - or just obsessive organizers. It has thoughtful features for stashing away everything you need, and is still carry-on size.

✔️ Pros

  • Built specifically for digital nomads and remote workers
  • The best organization features of any bag I’ve ever seen
  • Expandable size (20 L to 30 L)
  • Splits open in center, making packing easy
  • Simple but sleek design, quality construction

Cons

  • May be too small to serve as the sole bag for those who pack a lot

The Nomatic Travel Backpack Review

The Nomatic Backpack
Me trying out The Nomatic

I loved the organizing features of the Nomatic Travel Bag and, for my latest trip, very nearly chose it as my personal bag … except that it just doesn’t have quite enough space for me personally. If you’re a light packer, or looking to carry two bags though, it could be a great option. Here’s my thoughts on it:

💻 Made for Digital Nomads: the bag went viral in the digital nomad community for good reason. It is well designed for organizing tech gear, and the many pockets and sleeves make it easy to find and grab items on the go.

Expandable Carry-On Size: the Nomatic Travel Backpack expands from 20 L to 30 L, which means it is pretty versatile. Expand it out to carry on an airplane, then size it down for a day at the co-working space.

#5 – Pacsafe Venturesafe Carry-On Travel Backpack

Best for Security
Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti-Theft Travel Backpack
$191.04

Worried about safety on your Euro backpacking trip? Pacsafe is made for worrywarts like you. This bag comes loaded with anti-theft and security features, plus it's pretty stylish and comfortable to boot.

09/16/2021 11:00 pm GMT

✔️ Pros

  • Anti-theft slash-proof design for security
  • Super comfortable
  • 45 and 65L carry on sizes
  • Easy access front compartments

Cons

  • Hideaway straps are a cool feature, but they can be tricky to finagle into the bag

Pacsafe Venturesafe Review

If you want a quality bag loaded with security features, the Pacsafe Venturesafe is a great travel carry on bag for Europe.

🔪 Slash-Proof – Bag slashing is one of the more common crimes targeting backpackers in Europe. Since slashers tend to target corners of bags, Pacsafe reinforced this bag with its eXomesh stainless steel mesh. Good luck cutting through that!

🤐 Lockable Zippers – While backpacking Europe, you’ll spend a lot of time leaving your bag in random places: hostel floors and common rooms, open shelves on trains and ferries, and in large stacks of other bags. These lockable zippers make it much harder for a pickpocket to snatch something while you aren’t looking.

🎒 Organized and Comfortable – The anti-theft features aren’t the only thing this backpack has going for it – it’s also pretty comfortable to carry and loaded with smart organization features.

#6 – Tortuga Outbreaker

Best for Carry-On Travelers
Tortuga Outbreaker
$269

Just want a single carry-on friendly bag? This is it! Durable construction and timeless style means this investment will last for many trips. Comfortable straps, sensible organization, and more. Tortuga thought of it all!

✔️ Pros

  • Perfect for the carry-on traveler who wants to deal with just one bag
  • Durable construction built to last
  • All around perfect organization
  • Raving reviews from users

Cons

  • Priciest bag we’ve ever reviewed (otherwise it might be our #1 pick)

Our Video Review

Tortuga Outbreaker Review

This bag is awesome! Honestly, the Tortuga Outbreaker might have been our pick as the overall best travel backpack for Europe … IF it wasn’t for the hefty price tag of $269. If you have the cash, though, this is the Rolls Royce option for Europe travel backpacks.

📈 Premium Price Point Means It’s an Investment: If you’re willing to invest in a high-quality bag for the long-term, and you want something that is carry-on friendly, you can’t find a better premium bag than the Tortgua Outbreaker.

✈️ Best Carry-On Backpack: This shockingly comfortable bag comes in both 35L and 45L sizes, and fits clothes for up to a week of travel, plus a 17 inch laptop in a special padded laptop compartment.

✔️Crazy-Good Organization: The Tortuga Outbreaker has plenty of space on the inside, plus an incredibly smart front pocket organizer with space for things like your passport, wallet, keys, and more. It even has a little zipper pocket on its hip belt that functions like a fanny-pack – great for easy access as you’re walking around European old towns!

#7 – Osprey Farpoint 55

Best Large Bag
Osprey Farpoint 55L
$119.94-$225.00

You've got plenty of space to add some extras to your pack! Though I prefer to travel light, for travelers who want more space, this is the best travel backpack for Europe. Men's and Women's versions available. Plus, it comes with Osprey's lifetime guarantee.

✔️ Pros

  • 55 L means LOTS of space
  • Popular because it gets the job done
  • Good price/quality balance
  • Backed by Osprey lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • A little heavy
  • Very few pockets – just one big compartment
  • Not carry on size

Osprey Farpoint Review

Not a light packer? Then I suggest upgrading to the Osprey Farpoint 55.

🎒 Space to Fit It All: The Osprey Farpoint has almost 10 liters of extra space to fit in those extra shoes, clothes, or whatever else it is that you need on your trip, plus a good hip and harness strap system to allow you to comfortably carry that extra weight.

👉 Need Even More Space? Check out Osprey’s 70 liter version.

🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Popular for a Reason: This is definitely one of the most popular backpacks for traveling Europe. So if you want a safe bet that many others seem to like, this is a good choice. I’ve seen this exact backpack MANY times in hostels all over the European continent! So obviously a lot of other people think it’s one of the best backpacks for traveling Europe. Just be sure to tag yours so it doesn’t get taken by the wrong person!

3 Best Travel Daypacks for Europe

Most backpackers in Europe carry a daypack or laptop bag in addition to their main backpack. This makes a lot of sense since a lot of times you’ll need something to carry your camera and other essential items while you are out exploring for the day. It also gives you extra space to pack things if you are trying to carry on a plane (since daypacks can fit under the seat in front of you, and usually count as a personal item).

Tortuga Outbreaker Laptop Bag

Tortuga has consistently produced the best “main” backpacks we’ve tested at Travel Lemming, so I was really excited when they announced that they were also going to put out the Tortuga Outbreaker laptop bag. My partner Clara is currently using this bag, and absolutely loves it:

👉 Great Organization: As you would expect from something with the Tortuga brand, this bag offers many different organization features, pockets, and places to stash away small items like keys, a passport, or a charger.

Super Cushy Straps: Laptop bags are usually the bag that spends the most time on your shoulders, and laptops tend to weigh a fair bit, so Clara loves that this bag has super comfortable padding.

👖 Usable as Your Only Bag: This is meant to be an under-the-seat “personal item,” but it honestly has the space not just for a laptop, but everything you’d want in a backpack for a shorter trip. If you were only taking a trip for a long weekend and wanted to just carry one bag, you could probably get by with just the Outbreaker laptop bag!

Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack

Best Daypack
Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack
$70.00

I've carried this trust daypack to over 50 countries all over the world. For the price, you won't find a better value. Solid construction, lots of colors to choose from, and sensible compartments. All at a remarkably affordable price.

09/17/2021 02:41 pm GMT

This is a classic daypack. I absolutely love The Osprey Daylite Daypack, and took it to over 50 countries. It’s a simple bag, but it really works. Here’s why:

✈️ Lightweight But Feature-Rich: 13 liters, it’s the perfect size for packing your camera and other items (I even fit my drone in there!). This daypack is lightweight so it doesn’t hurt my back, and it has a small hip strap that can be useful at times.

🔒 Osprey Locking System: Best of all, it straps into my main Osprey Porter 46 backpack through their proprietary locking system, meaning it’s possible to attach the two bags together and just carry them as one!

✔️ Lifetime Guarantee: In case you couldn’t tell that I love Osprey by now – the Daylite daypack also comes with Osprey’s incredible lifetime guarantee.

Salkan Daypack

Can’t decide between a laptop bag or a more traditional daypack? Consider the Salkan Daypack, which offers the best of both worlds. It comes bundled with the Salkan Backpacker, but can also be bought separately. I can confidentially say it makes for an excellent choice for a daypack for Europe because it’s what I’m personally using these days!

✔️ Great for Laptops AND Day trips: I use my daypacks for two similar but different purpose. First, to keep my laptop and day-of essentials close to me on flights. Second, when I am already in a destination, I like to have a bag I can grab to keep important things like towels, umbrellas, and other basics on hand while exploring a city or beach. The Salkan is the only bag I’ve found that is perfect for BOTH use cases.

Super Stylish: I don’t know about, but I think it just looks really cool right?

How to Research Travel Backpacks

Why Trust Our Recommendations

Best backpacks for traveling Europe: me and my backpack
With my trusty Osprey 46L – which I took to 60+ countries!

So who am I and why should you trust my travel backpack recommendations?

I’m Nate Hake, a full time traveler since 2016.

I quite literally live out of a backpack and a daypack.

Above you can see me and my 46L Osprey Porter in Amsterdam. Oh, and I’ve also traveled in Europe a LOT. I’ve been to nearly every country in Europe (I’m coming for you Albania!), and I backpack somewhere in Europe almost every summer. (Side note: if you’re getting wanderlust right now, check out my list of the best places to backpack in Europe and our huge guide to Backpacking Europe).

And guess what I’ve learned in all that travel? I’ve learned that a quality travel backpack can be your best friend while traveling through Europe.

First, I have a few tips for picking the best travel backpack for Europe properly …

4 Tips for Picking a Backpack for Traveling Europe

Let’s start by covering some of the basic things you should be looking for when shopping for a backpack for traveling in Europe.

Most of these things apply universally to shopping for any sort of travel backpack, but there are a handful of unique considerations when backpacking Europe that might matter:

#1 – Sort Out Your Desired Size First

Most importantly, you need to decide how much luggage space you need in your travel backpack. Personally, I suggest aiming to be as lean possible. You’ll be carrying this bag a lot on your trip, so the less weight you have on it, the better and more comfortable it will be.

Reasons why smaller = better include:

  • Carry-on sized bags help save money on checked bag fees (especially on European budget airlines like Ryan Air).
  • Smaller bags are easier to stuff into the overhead compartments on trains, or into the sometimes small lockers in hostels.
  • You don’t want to be that backpacker who has a huge bag hogging up the corner of the crowded dorm room!

And I know what you’re thinking: but what about laundry?

Well, fortunately, that’s easy and cheap to find when traveling Europe. Most hostels offer a laundry room or laundry service and, when they don’t, it’s usually just a few blocks away. Or you could always carry a Scruba laundry bag with you and just do it in the shower!

So leave the extra outfits at home and just plan to do a wash every now and then!

Best Backpack for Travel
Don’t pack too much in your bag or you’ll end up like this …

One thing to note about travel backpack size:

Size is typically expressed in liters or “L”. If you’re an American, like me, this might be hard to wrap your mind around so let me give you some context:

The travel pack in the photo of me above in Amsterdam above is a 46 liter bag, which I use as my main bag now and which is about the maximum size you can have before you start to have to check your bag.

Keep in mind when looking at that photo that I’m very tall, so it may look bigger on you.

#2 – Make Sure Your Travel Backpack is Comfortable

You’re going to be walking around with this bag on your shoulders a fair amount, so finding a bag that comfortably fits your frame is important.

One thing that REALLY helps distribute the weight of a heavy backpack is a hip-strap.

If you’ve not used a hip strap suspension system before, it can feel a bit funky the first time, but it works wonders by moving a lot of the weight from your shoulders to your hips. Trust me, your shoulders will thank you at the end of the day for using the waist-strap suspension system!

On the other hand, backpacking Europe isn’t the same as trekking through Nepal or Patagonia.

Honestly, you will seldom carry your travel backpack more than a kilometer or so at a time, so it’s not like you need to bother getting an expensive and bulky hiking backpack (which are usually top loading and often have way more features for comfort like padded hip belts and complex suspension systems).

#3 – Don’t Sacrifice Durability for Price

I’ve seen so many backpackers in hostels with tears in their bags, ripped straps, or just generally discolored and gross looking backpacks.

Backpacks take a beating and it’s important to buy a brand that gets good reviews over the long haul.

So even if you are trying to travel cheaply in Europe, you’ll save money by buying a backpack that lasts longer.

#4 – Consider What Features You Want: But Don’t Overthink It

Traditional hiking backpacks have a ton of pockets, as well as the main compartment that is usually accessible only from the top.

Some people like this because it helps them to organize – they designate a pocket or compartment for toiletries, other compartments for shirts and underwear, other compartments for pants, etc.

Personally, I think a lot of compartments and pockets are constraining, and I find that having fewer, larger pockets is more versatile and makes packing easier and quicker.

Also, note that some backpacks also are designed with an option for a built-in waterproof cover.

While a nice feature, I personally don’t think this is necessary if you just need a backpack for travel in Europe.

Sure, it rains, but you’ll be inside most of the time (again, this isn’t Patagonia) and it’s almost always possible to quickly find cover in Europe.

Whatever you do, don’t overthink small features like pockets. The truth is that you’ll find a way to pack your stuff in most bags, so it’s size, comfort, and durability you should be focusing on when picking your backpack.

What to Pack for Europe

One more thing before you travel to Europe:

Don’t forget these items that should be on every backpacker’s packing list …

Compression Bags

A great way to fit more items in your travel backpack is to use compression bags to squeeze the air out of your clothes.

I personally use these fabric compression bags, but these plastic bags are a high-rated option that give more compression.

European Travel Plug Adapter

If your electronic devices are from the USA/Canada/Australia/UK, you’re going to need an adapter to be able to charge them!

This is a solid one that also works in many different locations around the world.

A Retractable-Cable Lock

Why this specific type of lock?

Because the retractable cable comes in handy when you need to secure your travel backpack (for example in a dorm where the hostel doesn’t have a locker, or the locker won’t fit your bag).

Here is a highly-rated and affordable one to try.

Travel Neck Pillow

Photo of woman with travel neck pillow on airplane

Backpacking Europe = a LOT of time spent on trains, planes, and buses (not to mention hostels without adequate facilities).

I wouldn’t dare try it without a travel neck pillow in my backpack.

Because I’m obsessed with perfection, I had our writer Hedy test out 5 of the best travel neck pillows.

The winner of our test?

The TRTL Travel Neck Pillow … by a landslide. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and fits easily in a backpack.

Travel Umbrella

An umbrella is one of those things you don’t think to pack and then later realize you need it … but only when you REALLY need it.

So safe yourself some trouble and just pack one now.

And I’ll help you get the best one quickly, because another one of our writers (Lydia) actually tested out the best umbrellas for travel.

Her top choice?

The Rainmate Compact Travel Umbrella. It’s lightweight yet durable, packs down small, but gets the job done at an affordable price.

Travel Insurance for Europe

Are you covered in case of an accident during your backpacking trip through Europe? If not, you could be in for a real crisis if an emergency happens. That’s why I always add travel insurance to my packing list.

World Nomads is the most popular choice for backpacker insurance in Europe, and I’ve personally used them many times in Europe.

A House Sitting Membership

What’s house sitting?

Well, it’s where you watch someone’s home (and usually their pets) while you stay in it without paying.

It’s cheaper than a hostel (well, unless you happen to get one of those sweet hostel jobs through a service like World Packers). Plus, you don’t have to crash on a couch, and you get MUCH more space to unpack your travel backpack than you would anywhere else.

Read our post on How to Housesit to learn why many think it’s the ultimate hack to backpacking Europe.

Or check out Trusted Housesitters if you want to start browsing available properties now.

FAQs About Buying a Europe Backpack

Europe Travel Backpack in Venice
Grab some coffee and let’s chat while watching the scene in Venice ….

Is it safe to travel with a backpack in Europe?

Generally traveling with a backpack in Europe is very safe. You can protect yourself by exercising caution, never leaving your bag alone, and investing in a bag lock. You may also consider a anti-theft bag like the Pacsafe Venturesafe.

What is a good backpack for traveling Europe?

Our top 3 backpacks for Europe are the Osprey Porter 46 L, the Tortuga Outbreaker, and the Tortuga Setout. All three receive good reviews and are carry-on compliant.

Is it better to travel with a backpack or suitcase in Europe?

It depends on your personal preference. If you are staying in hostels, you’ll find that most travelers use backpacks for ease of portability. Though it’s a never-ending debate, the truth is you can travel Europe just fine with either.

How big of a backpack do I need to travel Europe?

The smaller the bag, the better. It’s easy to do laundry in Europe, and you’ll have more mobility if you have less to carry. A bag around 40-50 liters is plenty big.

Is a 40l backpack carry-on?

Usually a 40l backpack qualifies as a carry-on in the US and Europe, though restrictions vary by airline.

***

That’s it for this guide on the best travel backpacks for Europe!

Let’s get planning your Europe trip:

Do you have an opinion on the best backpack for traveling Europe? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

And if you have any questions or need further help to choose your best bag for travel in Europe, just let me know! I’m always here to help my readers. 

4 thoughts on “7 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe Ranked [2021]”

    1. No, just inside the daypack! I only travel with my ASUS flipbook usually. Sometimes (like when I was in Mexico), I managed to also fit a full on laptop in there. It’s bigger than it looks!

  1. Christy Abate

    My son is traveling to Europe for 15 days in June. I want to get him a good sized backpack that he doesn’t need to check in at the airport. What do you recommend?

    1. Hi Christy! That sounds like a great trip for your son! June is such a wonderful time to travel to Europe (in fact, I’m going myself for that month!).

      While carry on requirements vary by airline, the Witzman backpack listed in the article is 21 inches, which is compliant for most airlines as long as you don’t over-stuff it. It should be totally fine for most major international carriers, but some of the budget carriers in Europe like Wizz Air and Ryan Air can be strict about carry ons (though usually it’s actually cheaper to check your bag on those airlines anyway, since they charge for carry-ons).

      If you wanted to be extra safe, they also have a 18.5 inch option which you will see available on Amazon. I always say that lighter is better, but it does depend on how much space he’ll need.

      The Osprey 46 L, which is my personal favorite bag, also CAN be carry-on compliant but it depends on the airline and how much you stuff into it (it can expand quite a bit beyond its official dimensions if filled to the brim).

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions! And I hope your son enjoys Europe as much as I do!

      Thank you,
      Nate

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