Top 15 Best Carry on backpacks in 2018

We have read and checked 45,235 reviews to make this top 15 list!

First, here's the best reviewed carry on backpack of all the many bags we have checked:

Patagonia Black Hole

There are quite a lot of carry on backpacks available, but not of all of them are equally fantastic.

Some packs are much better than others, so it's super important that you spend some time comparing the different brands and models before you choose your new pack.

To help you choose, we have read and checked 45,235 reviews to find the best reviewed carry on backpacks.

Now, let's take a look at the 15 best rated carry on backpacks here in 2018:

Rankcarry on backpackRating
1Patagonia Black HolePatagonia Black Hole4.7
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2The North Face JesterThe North Face Jester4.7
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3Osprey FarpointOsprey Farpoint4.6
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4OGIO SohoOGIO Soho4.6
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5Oakley Kitchen SinkOakley Kitchen Sink4.5
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6Timbuk2 UptownTimbuk2 Uptown4.5
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7Deuter TransitDeuter Transit4.5
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8Timbuk2 WingmanTimbuk2 Wingman4.5
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9Osprey FairviewOsprey Fairview4.5
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10Pacsafe VenturesafePacsafe Venturesafe4.4
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11Hynes EagleHynes Eagle4.4
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12High Sierra AccessHigh Sierra Access4.4
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13High Sierra FreewheelHigh Sierra Freewheel4.3
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14Cabin Max MetzCabin Max Metz4.3
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15Samsonite VizAirSamsonite VizAir4.1
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List based on 45,235 checked reviews.

How we rate the bags

We have checked 45,235 carry on backpack reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of all the bags.

Using the average ratings, you can check what all the reviewers think instead of just viewing the subjective opinion of one specific reviewer.

It's much simplier to find the best bags that way.

Not sure what carry on backpack to choose? Read on as we are going to take a closer look at each bag!

The carry on backpack buyers guide

If you love carrying around a backpack on a regular basis, you will probably look for something similar to take with you as carry on luggage. The good news is that there are actually quite a few options available to you. At the same time, you need to be aware of all of the features that need to be included in such a bag.

In this guide, we inform you of all that you need to know when choosing a carry on backpack. This way, you will be fully equipped to make this decision by yourself. Not to mention, there is a higher chance of you doing it the right way, too. Here are all of the factors that you need to consider.

Tips for Choosing a Carry On Backpack

In some ways, choosing a carry on backpack is a lot like choosing a traditional backpack. At the same time, there are also a lot of features that you need to think about, that you may not have considered before. Considering that there is quite a lot of information to process regarding this decision, it is fairly easy to get confused. In this article, however, you will find all of the information that you need to guide you through this process:

Types of Carry On Backpacks

There isn’t a huge variation for you to choose from when it comes to carry on backpacks. It is, however, important for you to understand the distinction so that you are able to choose the one that is most suitable for your journey:

Travel Pack

There are actually a few versions of travel packs. In terms of carry on backpacks, though, these travel packs are fairly small, typically no longer than 22 inches. These are suitable for more adventurous vacations where you will be spending a lot of time outdoors or carrying much of your belongings on your back.

Wheeled Backpacks

These are a good option if you want to carry a greater number of items but don’t want to have to shoulder all that weight. In many cases, you can actually detach the backpack from the wheel-and-handle system and use it as a daypack. This type of backpack is quite versatile.

Carry On Duffel Bags

These duffel bags tend to be a bit smaller than most backpacks although they do retain the barrel-like shape of the original design. This type of bag is very useful when you are only traveling with carry on luggage and want to pack in as much as possible. These can be usually distinguished from backpacks by the placement of the handles which is on the center of the bag.

Laptop Backpacks

These are one of the most common types of carry on bags since it is quite common to find people carrying their laptops with them. While the main component of this bag is to have a place for your laptop, there is usually enough room for a few other items as well.

Size and Dimensions of Carry On Backpacks

When choosing a carry on backpack, size becomes very important. This is because both domestic and international airlines have specific rules as to the size of the bags that they will allow on board. Now, this does tend to change, depending on the airline and where you are flying to. Typically, however, you should be able to take any backpack that has a length less than 22 inches, a width that is 14 inches, and a height less than 9 inches.

As you can imagine, due to the size restrictions, there is also some limitation to the capacities of these bags. If you want a backpack for an overnight or day trip, you will find ones that have a capacity between 20 and 35 liters. If you are looking for bags that can carry enough clothes for a weekend stay, you may want to consider one that can hold up to 50 liters.

Remember, there are weight limitations that you have to adhere to as well with carry on backpacks. So, always check with the airline that you are traveling on, just how much weight you are allowed to carry in one bag.

Carry On Backpack Material

Carry on backpacks can be made of several materials. To decide which one is right for you, you must first think about what you need your backpack for. If you will not be making much use of your backpack and are simply using it as a means to carry some clothes or documents, then you should be fine with one that is made of good quality polyester.

If you will be taking your backpack with you wherever you go and are bound to be in some rough terrain at some point, you are going to need one made of sturdier material. Here you should look for one that is made from nylon or even rip-stop nylon. These materials are tougher and have greater abrasion resistance, meaning that they are less likely to tear.

Now, depending on where you are going and where you are taking your backpack, you may require one that is weatherproof. If you don’t expect to encounter much moisture, you will be able to make do with a backpack that is simply water resistant. If you want a bag that can withstand downpours, however, you will be better off with a fully waterproof backpack, perhaps one with a polyurethane coating.

If you don’t want to spend money on a waterproof backpack but still want to be prepared for all kinds of weather, consider backpacks that come with rain covers. These can also be purchased separately and are quite good at keeping moisture away from the contents of your bag.

Typically, sturdier fabrics or materials are usually quite heavy. You will need to remember to take this into consideration when making your choice. After all, the heavier that your backpack is when it is empty, the less that you will be able to pack into it.

Organizational Features

Unless you are taking your backpack on an extended camping trip, you will need one with compartments – both internal and external. If you want a laptop backpack, for instance, look for a laptop sleeve that is complete with a strap to keep the laptop in place. These type of bags also have other small mesh pockets and compartments where you can store stationary and documents.

With other backpacks, you may not need quite as many pockets or compartments. Still, you should look for a few exterior ones so that it is easier to separate your items. Most exterior pockets are quite small and are good for smaller gear or for keys and phones.

If you are headed out on a bit of trek or adventure, there is a good chance that you may need to take additional gear or equipment with you. For these situations, you should look out for a bag that is equipped with lashes and loops to which you can attach gear to.

The Suspension System

Even if you don’t plan on wearing your backpack for too long, it is still worth it for you to look at its suspension system. This will determine just how comfortable the pack will be while you are carrying it.

One of the first things you will need to do is to measure the length of the backpack. Then, compare this to a measurement that you make of the length between the base of your neck and the area around your hip bones. The backpack should always sit above your waist so adjust the shoulder straps so that it sits like this on your back.

Speaking of shoulder straps, you should look for ones that are wide and that have plenty of padding. This way, it will not sink into your skin but instead, the weight will be evenly distributed across your flesh. Now, since you aren’t carrying too much of weight, there is no need for a sternum strap. A hip belt, however, can come in handy for heavier packs. These, too, should be padded, particularly the area that sits above your hip bones. This will prevent any chaffing from occurring.

Additional Features

Here are some of the additional features that you should go over with your carry on backpack:

Lockable Zippers

Just because your carry on luggage is often near you at all times, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the necessary security precautions. It is important for you to lock up your backpack, even if it will be on your person in most cases. To do this, you will need to have zippers that can be locked. You should look for bags with two zippers that can have openings on the top that can fit a small padlock. This will prevent items from being stolen when you are not paying attention.

Compression Straps

As we have already discussed, airlines will not let you take bags that look overstuffed into the plane with you. if you are trying to pack in a lot of items but still maintain a certain height, you are going to need compression straps on the outside. These will help to keep the backpack as compact as possible. They also work to prevent any of the items inside your backpack from moving around. So, it can help to avoid damages as well.


If you are choosing a wheeled backpack, you should take a good look at the wheels that are attached. First and foremost, they should be durable and made from good quality material. This way, you can be sure that they will last longer. You should also look for larger wheels as they are easier to transport around since they are less likely to get stuck in places.

So, here you have it all of the information that you require to make an informed decision regarding carry on backpacks.

Popular Carry On Backpacks Brands

Here are some of the most popular brands that make carry on backpacks:

High Sierra

High Sierra Sports Company manufactures thoughtfully innovative bags and luggage that appeal to the intelligence and esteem of the outdoor consumer and active lifestyle. High Sierra produces some very popular and functional carryon backpacks like High Sierra Access and High Sierra Freewheel.

High Sierra designs feature-rich, versatile adventure lifestyle gear for adventurers everywhere. They have committed themselves to manufacturing affordable and durable product with distinctive details, delivering the freedom to go anywhere, since their founding in 1978. High Sierra stresses top-notch craftsmanship in all product produced while proudly sporting the High Sierra name.

All duffels, luggage pieces and backpacks from High Sierra boast an incredible amount of organization and features so that their buyers get their money's worth with every purchase. High Sierra even features a wide selection of uprights, business cases, daypacks and totes that are all designed to keep the users daily business needs close at hand and neatly organized in a stylish and durable bag or case. Since their founding, their styles have changed, but their commitment to manufacturing the best and most affordable equipment has remained consistent.


Kelty is known as a leader in the outdoor industry and has been at the forefront of innovation and outdoor product technology for more than 60 years. Their carryon backpacks like Kelty Redwing and Kelty Flyway are famous for quality and functionality.

The Kelty collection includes different types of outdoor products which are reliable and durable to accommodate any type of hiker, outdoor enthusiast, camper and backpacker who have an active lifestyle. The brand designs and manufactures different types of products from lightweight backpacks for day trips and school to waterproof sleeping bags and easy to put up tents and shelters for campers and hikers to child carriers for outdoor adventurists who want to bring their little ones along for the trip.

Kelty products are designed to be both durable and lightweight and have an authentic American quality loved by mountaineering experts and weekend backyard campers alike.


Osprey is a global brand that manufactures backpacks and sleeping bags based in Santa Cruz California. Osprey Ultralight is one of the best lightweight luggage by osprey that one must use.

Almost 90% of Osprey packs are available in different sizes to fit a big range of torso lengths. Additionally, many styles have adjustable or interchangeable hipbelts and harness to further customize the fit. The new Isoform4 CM™ and Bioform4 CM™ hipbelts on their Aether/ Ariel and Xenith/ Xena series continue their history of innovative custom moldable hipbelts. They set a new standard in the industry with their mesh-covered lightweight 3D-foam AirScape™ backpanels. They keep the pack's weight close to the user's body for stability, provide additional ventilation and cushioning for a comfortable gear-carrying experience.

Osprey’s wide range of products include Technical Packs, Backpacking Packs, Hiking Packs, Climbing & Mountaineering Packs, Skiing & Snowboarding Packs, Featured, Anti-Gravity Packs, Women's Packs, Travel Packs & Bags, Wheeled Bags, Duffel Bags, Hydration Packs, Hiking Packs, Mountain Biking Packs, Trail Running Packs, Everyday Packs, Urban Commute Packs, Kids Packs & Carriers, Child Carriers and Packs for Kids.


Patagonia, Inc. is a USA based clothing company that produces outdoor clothing. They focus on manufacturing carry on backpacks. Some must try carryon luggage from Patagonia are Patagonia Black Hole and Patagonia Headway.

Their Mission is to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis, cause no unnecessary harm and build the best product. They stayed faithful to their core ethics during thirty-plus years in trade. It has helped them establish a company they are proud to run and work for. And their focus on creating the best products possible has made them successful in the marketplace. They run a continuous search for more environmentally friendly fabrics. They are using more hemp, in several products in combination with recycled polyester.

Patagonia grew out of a little company that made gears for climbers. Alpinism remains at the heart of a worldwide business that still makes clothes for skiing, climbing, snowboarding, surfing, trail running, paddling and fly fishing.

The North Face

The North Face, Inc. is a USA based outdoor product company That manufactures mainly fleece, outerwear, shirts, footwear, coats and equipment like tents, backpacks and sleeping bags. The North Face Jester is one of the best-selling carryon backpacks from The North Face.

For over 35 years, The North Face has pushed the limit in advancing technology, especially in their equipment, and this has made them one of the most sought brands among the outdoor enthusiasts. Northface bags are durable and Sturdy and are made to withstand the elements so enjoy hiking, mountain climbing to the peaks, biking with their lumbar packs, and extra large backpacks nicely designed with comfort straps and extra padding to protect electronics and valuables while on the go.

Now, several decades after its humble grand opening, The North Face manufactures an extensive line of performance apparel, footwear, and equipment. They say that they push the boundaries of innovation so that their users can push the boundaries of exploration.


Timbuk2 is a San Francisco-based bag marketer and manufacturer. The company produces a wide range of made-to-order and pre-made bags. Timbuk2 Wingman, Timbuk2 Uptown are very widely used carryon backpacks from Timbuk2.

Their new collection of Packs combine functionality and durability and their signature style with great features such as Swing Around Access™, which allows the user to leave the bag on while easily accessing useful compartments and pockets. They evaluate the durability and performance of their materials by testing their seam slippage, tensile strength, tear abrasion, water column, ball burst, colorfastness, and mullens. Only materials that pass their rigorous testing earn the right to be used in Timbuk2 products. They also evaluate the environmental impact of their materials.

For more than 25 years they have built tough custom bags for urban adventurers who thrive off of city-life. Timbuk2 makes a large variety of products including, laptop bags, backpacks, messenger bags, totes, travel accessories and laptop sleeves.

The 3 best reviewed carry on backpacks in 2018

Rankcarry on backpackRating
1Patagonia Black HolePatagonia Black Hole4.7
Check price »

2The North Face JesterThe North Face Jester4.7
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3Osprey FarpointOsprey Farpoint4.6
Check price »

Missing a great carry on backpack? Let us know in the comments below.

Last updated 17/06/2018. Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API.

Last updated on June 17, 2018

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