10 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe

travel backpack europe

Getty Backpackers arrive at sunset on July 25, 2010 in the quiet village resort of Agios Nikitas on the island of Lefkada, Greece. Thousands of young people leave home every year after finishing their college degrees to explore the world with a backpack and on shoestring budgets before starting their job careers.

If you’re looking for the perfect travel backpack for a Europe trip this year, you’re probably not alone. In 2016, Americans traveled abroad in record numbers, and most of them went to Europe. With so many historic cities, iconic sights, beautiful landscapes, great food, and more to see and do, it’s no wonder Europe is eternally popular.

Whether you’re taking a gap year and want to travel with only a backpack, or are looking for something to bring along with your luggage for day trips, we’ve scouted out the best travel backpacks for Europe. The front end of this post includes some larger, high capacity travel backpacks while the back end includes smaller sized daypacks or supplementary luggage as I like to call it!

Wherever you’re headed in Europe, enjoy!

What Are The Best Travel Backpacks For Europe?

kelty redwing travel backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Panel loading backpack for easy access
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Exceptional organization potential
Price: $89.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
teton sports backpacking backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Comfortable and durable
  • Large gear capacity at 55 liters
  • Excellent value
Price: $75.77 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
osprey atmos travel backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Anti-gravity suspension
  • High capacity/organization potential
  • Zippered pocket right on the hip belt
Price: $269.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
mountaintop internal frame backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Top and front loading
  • 55 and 65 liter options
  • Hydration system compatible
Price: $65.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
best europe travel backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 46 liters while remaining low profile
  • Easy organization
  • High-quality brand
Price: $92.39 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
cor surf waterproof backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Keeps sensitive contents TOTALLY dry
  • Reflective patches for safety
  • 25 or 40 liter options
Price: $64.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
osprey backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Comfortable and breathable
  • Lots of storage space and compartments
  • High-quality brand
Price: $49.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
venture pal travel backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Water-resistant
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
herschel-supply-co-little-america-backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Stylish and comfortable
  • Affordable for quality
  • Versatile applications
Price: $70.09 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
arcenciel travel backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Highly water resistant + rain cover
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Breathable back for hot days exploring
Price: $35.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Editor’s Choice: Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack

    Pros:
    • Panel loading backpack so you can easily access the bottom of the bag without having to unpack
    • Exceptional organization potential
    • Carries heavy loads very well once properly adjusted
    • Hydration system compatible
    • Laptop sleeve
    • Several sharp color options
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive
    • Just a bit small to be your only bag unless you know how to pack light
    • Mesh side pockets are fragile, be gentle with them

    I’ve owned this backpack for years now and as a frequent traveler, it has gone above and beyond my expectations. I travel with my Redwing 50 and a smaller waterproof backpack made by Orvis – if you have a solid daypack to go along with this bag then you’ve got more than enough capacity for a Euro-trip. My Kelty and I have backpacked Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Belize and have been all over Europe together. I even bring it out to the Western US as my main hiking bag when embarking on fishing excursions – this bad boy does it all!

    It’s comparable to a regular style backpack in the sense that it’s a panel loader, but also has all the features you would want in a nice hiking pack. If you plan on getting into the wilderness at some point during your trip to Europe, this will be the perfect companion. 

    The main compartment, side pouches and side pockets all add up to quite a bit of garment and gear capacity that’s easily organized. There’s an internal laptop sleeve and front zippered pocket as well. I’ve found the front zippered pocket is perfect for stashing your toiletry bag. 

    The back panel is designed for optimum ventilation in order to keep you cool on the trail and when the city streets heat up. The shoulder and waist straps are also designed for maximum airflow, greatly increasing breathability.

    This bag is compatible with a hydration system so you can bring along a bladder and drink while on the trail or exploring the city! The Redwing also loads from the front and top, so it’s a piece of cake accessing gear anywhere in the pack (my favorite feature).

    For the cost, this is a seriously killer value travel backpack. I’ve beat the absolute hell out of mine and it’s barely showing any signs of wear. I’ve got no plans to upgrade any time soon, everybody I encounter abroad is jealous of my Redwing 50. 

    VideoVideo related to editor’s choice: kelty redwing 50 backpack2019-02-20T19:12:29-05:00

  2. 2. Best Value Top Loader : Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

    Pros:
    • Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
    • Large gear capacity at 55 liters
    • Includes a waterproof cover
    • Sleeping bag compartment
    • 600D ripstop polyester is built dam tough
    • Limited lifetime warranty
    Cons:
    • Too large for some travelers
    • Top loader rather than a panel loader - it's a matter of preference
    • A lot of exterior buckles and strapping makes for a lot of clutter - remember, this is a hiking pack

    If you’re looking for a travel backpack for Europe that will be your main luggage and get you through days of travel, this backpack from Teton Sports could be a great fit. It’s extremely comfortable for its size, it has a waterproof rain cover, and it fits an amazing amount.

    Mesh lumbar support, padded shoulder straps, an internal frame, and bendable aluminum stays make it comfortable even after hours of walking. It’s designed for hiking and camping, but it should excel traveling between cities.

    The bag holds 55 liters worth of clothing, toiletries, and more. Clever packers can fit as much as they need for weeks in 55 liters (I once packed for a whole 8 months in a backpack this size) but it also comes in 65 and 75 liters at a slightly higher price if you need to bring more.

    The 600D ripstop material, Oxford canvas shell, and rainproof cover help keep your belongings safe in any weather. It also has a sleeping bag compartment (great if you’re traveling between hostels in Europe and want to bring your own clean bedding), and multiple interior compartments. The bag even has a limited lifetime warranty that covers the material and craftsmanship, and is much more affordable than similar bags from other brands.

    VideoVideo related to best value top loader : teton sports scout 3400 internal frame backpack2018-10-08T12:40:37-04:00

  3. 3. Best For Carrying Heavy Loads: Osprey Atmos AG 65 Liter Backpacking Pack

    Pros:
    • High capacity and organization potential at 65 liters
    • Anti-gravity suspension - this is a great option for you if you struggle to carry heavy loads
    • Zippered pocket right on the hip belt is perfect for a phone or passport
    • Different size options for different sized people (they are all 65 liters)
    • Exccellent customer satisfaction - everyone loves their Atmos!
    Cons:
    • Expensive option
    • Boring color options
    • Not a ton of external storage/attachment points

    If you’ve traveled internationally (especially in Europe), then you’ve likely seen this model backpack all over. The Atmos backpack by Osprey is a top of the line unit. If you have the funds to spring for a pack of this caliber, then you’ll absolutely feel the difference in how it fits and operates compared to less expensive travel backpacks.

    This bag employs Osprey’s anti-gravity suspension system that is designed for both maximum ventilation and carrying comfort. It’s a highly reviewed backpack that is praised for its use as a thru-hiking pack as well as for use traveling internationally. This is a high-end outdoor product, so you can count on it supporting weight wonderfully and lasting for many years.

    The internal pocket schematic is very well thought out for organization and is capable of stashing all sorts of garments and gear orderly and effectively. The exterior of this pack is fairly streamlined, but there are still some storage spaces, gear loops, and tabs. My personal favorite feature of this pack is the zippered pocket right on the hip belt – it’s perfect for stashing your essential items during a travel-day like your phone and passport.

  4. 4. Best Value Overall: Mountaintop 55L/65L Internal Frame Backpack With Rain Cover

    Pros:
    • Top and front loading
    • 55 and 65 liter options
    • Top and front loading for easy access to your gear anywhere in the pack
    • Hydration system compatible
    • Quality zippers and hardware are built to last
    • Excellent price point
    Cons:
    • Boring color schemes
    • This bag is built up rather than out. If you don't mind a narrow pack, then it's no problem
    • Materials used are certainly not as high quality as the top brands

    Here’s an excellent value hiking backpack from Mountaintop that will operate wonderfully as a travel backpack for Europe. This internal frame backpack is a steal for the cost and well equipped for some serious traveling. It’s offered as either a 65 or 55 liter size, so choose wisely depending on your second bag (if you have one).

    Eight compression straps ensure that you have plenty of space to stow all sorts of equipment externally, while the inside of the pack has some well thought out dividers and pouches for garment organization. This pack has been built with the trail in mind, so it’s designed to maximize how much you can carry, and also to keep it all orderly.  

    This backpack has a nice quality torso-length adjustment so you can set it up for your height and body type effectively. Between the custom adjustments and the hip and sternum belts, this is a travel backpack that carries weight quite well.  

    This pack opens from the front as well as from the top so you can access your belongings anywhere in the bag without having to unload the entire dam thing. This is a massively underrated feature – we’ve all seen the frustrated traveler with their entire life strewn on the hostel dorm floor just to find a pair of clean socks!

    This bag is also hydration system compatible with access on one side of the pack for a hose tjat feeds into the main cmpartment. A great feature if you do end up using this bag for some trekking.

    Mountaintop includes a high-vis rain cover with this pack, so if you get caught in the rain you’ll be prepared. This is truly a great value bag that hits all the bases when it comes to key travel features!

  5. 5. Best Intermediate Size: Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack

    Pros:
    • Fits 46 liters while remaining low profile and lightweight
    • Organizational pouch and laptop sleeve
    • "Straightjacket" protection
    • Reputable, top notch brand
    • Removable, packable straps
    Cons:
    • More expensive than others
    • It may not be carry-on compatible with budget airlines
    • Intermedite size is a bit large as a secondary pack, and a bit small as a main pack

    When it comes to the best travel backpacks for Europe, Osprey is on most lists. The brand has been making high-quality travel gear for years and has amassed a loyal base of frequent travelers.

    This backpack features a stowaway harness, straightjacket protection, a medicine pocket, and a laptop sleeve, as well as a main pocket and two smaller front zip pockets. It’s the largest carry-on compatible Osprey bag and can hold enough for up to a week of travel, while still being easy to carry.

    It’s not a top loader, like most backpacks. Instead, you can open it all the way with a flap-style zipper, which makes it feel more like you’re traveling with a suitcase that you can carry like a backpack.

    The straightjacket compression and padded panels help keep gear and clothing safe and dry, which reviewers loved. You can fit much more than you think inside, then use the straightjacket compression to suck everything in and make the bag smaller. The laptop sleeve in back and the top zipper pockets help you keep things separate and organized.

    One reviewer said “there is no better backpack for the carry-on traveler.” Keep in mind this is fairly large as a secondary pack, and fairly small as a main bag, so unless you travel light this might be a difficult size pack to work with. 

    VideoVideo related to best intermediate size: osprey porter 46 travel backpack2018-10-08T12:45:43-04:00

  6. 6. Best Travel Dry Bag: Cor Surf Waterproof Backpack

    Pros:
    • Effectively combines the best traits of a good dry bag and a good backpack
    • Tough 500D PVC Tarpaulin construction makes this bag strong and flexible
    • Reflective patches are a nice added safety feature
    • 25 or 40 liter options
    Cons:
    • Roll top closure might be frustrating pulling in and out of airplane/train overhead bins
    • Front zippered pocket is not waterproof if the pack gets submerged
    • Only two available color options

    How about bringing along a dry bag? You may have never thought of utilizing a backpack like this for international travel, but when you think about it, it’s actually a brilliant option for traveling Europe! A backpack like this will keep electronics and water sensitive items bone dry in the hardest of rain, and can even be thrown overboard into the water! Now THAT’S a valuable feature!

    The tough 500D PVC Tarpaulin construction makes this backpack both strong and flexible. Because it’s a roll-top bag, you can more or less control the size by how much you fold it down. There are also two size options – 40 and 25 liters. It stuffs pretty well into tight spaces and is virtually indestructible so go ahead and wail on this one.

    There’s not a lot of organization potential with this one, but there is at least an external zipper and mesh pocket. I would recommend the 25-liter size as a secondary bag to travel Europe with – it’s the perfect day-pack that keeps all of your essentials (including your laptop) safe and sound. The 40-liter pack could be used as your main bag, but you have to be a light traveler for that. 

    All in all, this is an absolutely killer backpack option at a more than reasonable price that is perfect for the adventure-type traveler. 

  7. 7. Best for Day Trips: Osprey Packs Daylite Backpack

    Pros:
    • Breathable and comfortable back
    • Lightweight
    • Multiple pockets and compartments including a hydration pocket
    • Can be added to bigger Osprey packs with a modular system
    • Good size for day trips at 16 liters
    • 10 color options
    Cons:
    • Not large enough for multi-day use
    • More expensive than other brands
    • The streamlined aesthetic is not for everyone

    This lightweight backpack is great for travel in Europe, as it works well for wandering cities, long hikes, or to pick up groceries at a local farmer’s market. It attaches to larger Osprey packs and can be packed in your carry-on then pulled out to use on a day trip.

    The mesh back panel makes it comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and it also features a hydration pocket (to store a water back during outdoor activities), a laptop pocket, mesh water bottle pockets on the sides, and a larger front pocket with several smaller compartments.

    The bag is 18 x 9 x 9 inches, and weighs 15 ounces. Users found it comfortable and high-quality, and loved it for day trips, especially those that involved hiking. Some found it too small for more than a day. It comes in 10 colors.

    VideoVideo related to best for day trips: osprey packs daylite backpack2018-10-08T11:37:27-04:00

  8. 8. Best Budget Daypack: Venture Pal Daypack

    Pros:
    • Inexpensive
    • Double layered bottom
    • Comfortable to wear even when loaded up
    • Lightweight
    • Water-resistant
    Cons:
    • Material is 'crinkly' sounding
    • Not terribly durable
    • Not fully waterproof

    This travel backpack weighs only 0.7 pounds and costs under $20, which are both part of the reason it’s a favorite among travelers to Europe. The bag is water resistant, making it great for outdoor activities, and can store up to 35 liters in multiple compartments.

    The shoulder straps are made with a breathable mesh fabric that allows you to carry it for long stretches without discomfort. The double-layered bottom helps hold heavier objects without strain, and a chest strap helps you lock it securely in place.

    The backpack has one main pocket, two zippered front pockets, and two side pockets. There are two separators in the main pocket. When not in use, the backpack folds into a zippered inner pocket to save space, so you can pack it in your luggage then take it out to use for day trips on vacation.

    It comes in nine colors. On Amazon, it has nearly 4,000 reviews and the overwhelming majority are positive. “I carried it on my back for about 12 hours one day, and I have to say it was pretty darn comfortable,” said one user.

    VideoVideo related to best budget daypack: venture pal daypack2018-10-08T12:36:39-04:00

  9. 9. Best for Wandering Cities: Herschel Little America Backpack

    Pros:
    • Stylish and comfortable
    • Affordable for quality
    • Versatile applications - this bag can do it all
    • Huge array of color options
    Cons:
    • 25 liter size is a bit big to be a secondary pack depending on your size
    • Lacks organization potential
    • Aesthetic is not for everyone, this pack has a specific style

    This is a great travel backpack for Europe because of its versatility. It can go from outdoor adventure to strolling through cities and even to the bar! This bag fits quite a bit while still looking slim. Plus, it comes in 40 attractive colors.

    The style is classic, with modern touches like leather straps air mesh back padding, and contoured shoulder straps. Herschel is a well-known travel brand and provides a limited lifetime warranty.

    Each backpack has a padded, fleece-lined 15-inch laptop sleeve; adjustable drawstring closure; adjustable strap closures; a front pocket with a hidden zipper; a key clip; and striped fabric liner.

    These bags are beloved for their classic design that can fit numerous situations around Europe. Some users wished they had more interior pockets, or external water bottle pockets.

  10. 10. Best Value Daypack: ArcEnCiel 25L Waterproof Military Backpack

    Pros:
    • Highly affordable
    • Great internal and external schematic
    • Breathable design yet
    • Highly water resistant and also includes a rain cover
    • Adjustable strapping
    Cons:
    • Side mesh pockets are too tight for larger sized water bottles or canteens
    • Small capacity at 25 liters
    • Military aesthetic is not for everyone

    This military style backpack by ArcEnCiel is a highly effective pack for both outdoor use and travel. Its array of interior pockets allow for safe storage of a laptop, and the fabric is highly water resistant. It’s a great option for your supplementary backpack for traveling Europe. 

    It’s just 25 liters, but the interior compartments coupled with its exterior pockets and mesh pouches should ensure that there’s room to bring along everything you need for a day of exploring. This backpack is furthermore designed with great air permeability using a thickened sponge on the back of the pack so it’s great for those hot and sticky days of touring around.

    It’s inherently water resistant, but if you want to really ensure your gear stays totally dry it comes with a rain cover included.

    The higher quality nylon buckles of this pack should hold up long term and the material of the pack itself is rot resistant. If you take good care of this one it will be around for many Euro-trips to come!

See Also:

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