Top 10 Best Packable backpacks in 2018

We have read and checked 9,910 reviews to make this top 10 list!

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


Gonex Ultra

Packable backpacks need to be able to handle being used again and again, but unfortunatly not all brands are of the same high quality.

It's therefore super important that you spend some time checking the different brands and models, so you can avoid buying a low-quality pack.

To help you choose, we have read and checked 9,910 reviews to find the best reviewed packable backpacks.

Now, let's take a look at the 10 best rated packable backpacks here in 2018:

Rankpackable backpackRating
1Gonex UltraGonex Ultra4.7
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2Cotopaxi LuzonCotopaxi Luzon4.6
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3Eddie Bauer StowawayEddie Bauer Stowaway4.6
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4Outdoor Research IsolationOutdoor Research Isolation4.6
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5Osprey UltralightOsprey Ultralight4.5
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6Aqua Quest HimalAqua Quest Himal4.5
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7Zomake UltraZomake Ultra4.5
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8Arcteryx IndexArcteryx Index4.4
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9Eagle Creek PackableEagle Creek Packable4.4
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10Kalusi LightweightKalusi Lightweight4.2
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List based on 9,910 checked reviews.

How we rate the bags

We have checked 9,910 packable 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 packable backpack to choose? Read on as we are going to take a closer look at each bag!





The packable backpack buyers guide


While backpacks are one of the more versatile bags available, they themselves can be a bit bulky and heavy. So, if you are looking to travel light, it is a good idea to get yourself a packable backpack. This way, you will have the freedom to move around without being burdened by your bag.

Since packable backpacks are still a bit of a novelty, you may not be certain about how to choose one. However, if you want a pack that will be able to last you through your adventures, you will need to be careful about your choice. In this guide, we take you through all of the features and elements that you need to keep an eye out for when shopping for packable backpacks.

Packable Backpacks: Your Guide to Traveling Light

There is a good chance that you turn to your trusty backpack for almost all types of traveling. Whether you are getting on a plane or hiking through the woods, a backpack is the only bag you need. While it is incredibly handy, these bags can be a bit difficult to lug around as they can be a bit heavy themselves.

If you want all of the advantages of a backpack but none of the burdens, then you should consider a packable backpack. Also known as foldable or folding backpacks, these can revolutionize the way that you travel. In this article, we discuss the best way to find one suitable for you:

The Benefits of Packable Backpacks

Now, we have established that one of the main advantages of this type of backpack is weight. Due to the way that they are designed and made, these bags are made from thinner material and often don't have the same framework as a typical bag. So, while the average backpack weighs around a pound, usually more, packable backpacks can be as light as 3 ounces. As you can see, that it is a considerable difference. If you are looking for an ultralight backpack, this is it.

Weight is not the only advantage afforded by this type of backpack, however. By its very nature, this backpack can be folded until it can fit in a small pouch. This makes it excellent for storage purposes as it can be kept almost anywhere. In fact, packable backpacks are often kept in emergency kits for precisely this reason.

Types of Packable Backpacks

Packable backpacks can be categorized by how they are folded. Some backpacks have external pouches. So, once the bag is empty the frameless backpack becomes slack and can easily be followed and then placed in the pouch. The advantage with these backpacks is that folding up the bag is hassle-free and it doesn't have to be in a discernible pattern as long as it is the right size.

The other type of backpack is where the pouch is built into the bag, often in the form of a pocket. Here, the bag is folded up in a specific way so that it can be fed back into the pocket. The great thing about this type of bag is that it doesn't require you to remember to bring the pouch along with you – it is always there. On the other hand, it can sometimes get a little tricky trying to get the bag into its own pocket.

Choosing the Capacity

There is actually not a great deal of range to choose from when it comes to foldable bags. This is because the most common option is a packable daypack. This means that most of the foldable backpacks that you come across will be able to carry between 20 and 35 liters.

So, if you are headed out camping, this is a good choice for food, water, and a change of clothing. If you are traveling and are only taking clothes, you may be able to take enough for a weekend trip.

Size of the Backpack

Due to limited size range with packable daypacks, you aren't likely to encounter an overly large or long backpack. That being said, you still need to pay attention to the dimensions of the bag. Ideally, a good well-fitting backpack will fit between your lower neck and the top portion of your hips. With these measurements, you will be able to carry most of the weight with your hips – which is how it should be.

The Fold Down Size


Typically, when you consider capacity and size of a backpack, you think about just how much you can fit into the bag. With packable backpacks, though, there is something else that you have to take into consideration – the size that it can be folded down to.

Depending on the size of the bag and the material it is made from, the packed version can greatly differ. Some are the size of a large envelope or even bigger. Others can be folded down into the size of a small wallet. So, you should always take this factor into consideration when choosing a packable backpack.

The Material

Most of the packable backpacks tend to be made from either nylon or polyester, although the fabric can change from manufacturer to manufacturer. While this isn't always the case, polyester tends to be lighter than nylon. Of course, it is not as strong, though. So, if your main concern is weight, these backpacks are a good option. With nylon packable backpacks, you are being afforded a bit more durability. Of course, the offset is that they can be a bit heavier and pricier too.

Both polyester and nylon packable backpacks are available in ripstop versions as well. These materials have been constructed so that they are resistant to abrasion. Not only are they unlikely to develop tears, if tears do appear, they don't spread. If you want your backpack to last a long time, then ripstop polyester or ripstop nylon is your best option.

If your packable backpack is for solely outdoor purposes, you may want to look into waterproof options as well. Here, the polyester or nylon is coated with a water-resistant finish that helps to keep moisture away from your belongings.

The Suspension System

While a packable backpack might be lighter, it does need to function in the same way as a traditional backpack. This means that it has to make it easier for you to support the weight that you are carrying. So, in order to choose a backpack that helps with this, you will need to look at the suspension system.

The suspension system refers to the straps and belts involved with your backpack. The first thing to look at is the shoulder straps. These need to be adjustable so that you can customize the backpack to fit your torso length. Also, the straps need to be wide enough to be comfortable but not so wide that they will fall off your shoulders. Padding can help to disperse the weight further so that the straps don't cut into your skin.

If you want to carry heavier loads, you will need to look for a hip belt and maybe even a sternum strap. This is something that you may need to search for as it is not available with all packable daypacks. With most traditional backpacks, you will find a padded hip belt although this is unlikely with a packable backpack. So, you will need to be mindful of chaffing if you are carrying a heavy backpack.

Additional Features

Here are some of the additional features that you want to look for:

Waterproof Features

It is not all that common to come across a waterproof packable bag. Still, there are ones that can almost completely prevent moisture from seeping in. For this feature, you will need to look at sealed seams instead of just stitches. The zippers will also need to be coated with a watertight seal on the inside of the bag. Last but not least, a rolltop cover can also help. This makes it more difficult for the water to find its way in.

Attachment Loops

If you are going camping and want to carry more equipment or items, then backpack loops come in handy. You can then use these as attachment points for anything that you need. This is especially handy for bags that don't have a lot of internal capacity.

Ventilated Backs


If you are going to be a lot of walking or if you will be experiencing warm weather, it can help for the back of your bag to be ventilated. Most backpacks simply have mesh in this area so that none of the sweat will be absorbed. If you really want to stay cool, though, look for mesh-covered, padded protrusions on the back. This will allow the air to circulate, cutting down on how much you perspire.

What You Need to Know About Packable Backpacks

To wrap things up, there are just a few things to keep in mind about this type of backpacks. First and foremost, you will have to compromise a bit when choosing a packable backpack for yourself. Often, you will have to choose either comfort and function or weight. The lighter the backpack is, the more compact it can become. However, this also means that it will have a fewer number of pockets, no hip belt, and may even lack padding.

As mentioned, these backpacks are made from much thinner materials than what you are traditionally used to. This can make them quite vulnerable to the elements, particularly rain. So, if you plan on spending any time outdoors, a water-resistant option really is best. In the same vein, if you plan on spending any time outdoors, a water-resistant option really is best. In the same vein, if you plan on using your packable backpack quite regularly, you should look for a tougher material as well.

So, you should ensure that you are choosing and using your packable backpack in the right situation. On that note, this is the extent of what you need to know when perusing through the array of packable backpacks available to you.



The 3 best reviewed packable backpacks in 2018


Rankpackable backpackRating
1Gonex UltraGonex Ultra4.7
Check price »

2Cotopaxi LuzonCotopaxi Luzon4.6
Check price »

3Eddie Bauer StowawayEddie Bauer Stowaway4.6
Check price »

Missing a great packable 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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