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Travel Backpacks That Will Change the Way You Pack

Because nobody likes waiting around at baggage claim.


The secret to flying without being nickel and dimed lies in the travel backpack: a bag large enough to hold several days worth of clothing, yet small enough fit in an overhead compartment (bypassing luggage fees and baggage claim altogether). One-bag travel also demands smarter, more streamlined packing. Regardless of destination or duration, load-stabilizing straps, multiple carrying options and hard-wearing fabrics should be considered essential.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45

Best for a Week: The Tom Bihn Aeronaut has something of a rabid following, and for good reason. The U.S.-made bag can be carried as a backpack, shoulder bag or duffel, built with a ballistic nylon exterior and ripstop interior in a contrasting colorway (no more rifling through a dark abyss). It’s impossibly roomy, with internal mesh pockets and modular compartments for improved organization and increased versatility.

Buy Now: $295

Eagle Creek Converge Weekend Bag

Best for a Weekend: The clamshell-style zipper, which allows for lay-flat packing, makes Eagle Creek’s new Converge bag a solid option, but it’s the front pockets — containing a designated laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, mesh pocket, slip pocket and key fob — that set it apart. The hard-wearing twill body and water-repellent base don’t hurt, either.

Buy Now: $179

Mission Workshop Vandal Cargo Backpack

Most City-Friendly: To say that Mission Workshop’s Vandal backpack has range would be a massive understatement. At its smallest, the bag has a volume of 29 liters. But when fully expanded, the main compartment boasts a capacity of 65 liters (read: it more than doubles in size). With urethane-coated zippers, waterproof fabrics and an internal carbon fiber frame, plus tech-friendly zippered compartments, it holds it all and looks good, too.

Buy Now: $325

Arc’teryx Bora AR 50 Backpack

Best for Trekking: Arc’teryx’s latest hiking pack is its most innovative yet, featuring the new, free-floating RotoGlide hip belt for an uncompromised range of motion. The height and width of the bag’s shoulder straps can be adjusted for a more comfortable, more precise fit, and weatherproof fabrics have been strategically placed in high-exposure areas to boost durability.

Buy Now: $500

Bonus: Aer Duffel Pack

Aer has quickly made a name for itself by modernizing the gym bag in a variety of ways. The Duffel Pack unites most of the brand’s best features into one versatile pack. Highlights include a large front-loading main compartment, a padded laptop pocket that fits up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro, and a dedicated bottom compartment that’s perfect for a pair of running shoes or dirty clothes. It’s why we’ve decided to stock it in our own Gear Patrol Store. Buy Now: $150 (Black) | $150 (Gray)

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