13 Best Backpacks for Europe 2018 – 2019 Reviewed

Whether you are old or young, straight out of school, or needing to escape the mundanity of life behind a desk, backpacking through Europe can be a life-changing experience. The first thing you will need before you even leave, though, is the right backpack.

Backpacking doesn’t always mean you need a massive hiking pack that can store every little thing you may need, and actually, traveling leaner is almost always the better option. Small, versatile, and huge storage capacities are the name of this game.

Best Carry-On Backpack

The best carry-on backpack has got to be the OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L. It is very well designed, lightweight, can carry everything you may need and can easily be used as a carry-on when traveling.

Best Top-Loading Backpack

The best top-loading backpack is the AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack. It is very well priced, versatile and durable. It is great for a hiking trip, as well as camping or traveling a new country.

Best Front-Loading Backpack

The best front-loading pack is the Osprey Packs Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack. Osprey quality shines through in this bag, and the simple design, as well as the detachable smaller bag, make this a must for any traveler.

Top Small Backpack

The best small backpack is the Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack . It is one of the smallest bags in their range, but still big enough to fit all of your essentials with ease Being so compact, you can transport it and store it with ease.

Top Backpacks for Europe Comparison Table

Best Backpacks for Europe Reviews

AmazonBasics Internal Frame Backpack Review

Pros
  • Large 75L capacity
  • Can store a sleeping bag
Cons
  • Zipper quality inconsistent
  • Very basic and simple

The AmazonBasics Internal Frame Backpack is a simple, 75L top-loading backpack designed for extended traveling. The backpack has a 70L capacity, with a 5L extension collar.

The pack has a very large storage compartment able to hold all of your gear and clothing. There are also multiple smaller pockets for extra storage and a sleeping bag compartment. The bag has compression straps to keep the pack compact and minimize space.

The pack is incredibly comfortable to wear. It has adjustable straps, as well as adjustable shoulder straps to suit everyone’s needs. The back of the pack has an open-cell foam lumbar pad and molded channels for lower back support and airflow.

  • Very large storage capacity
  • Can store a sleeping bag
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Water repellent and resistant

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OutdoorMaster Travel Backpack Review

Pros
  • Incredibly versatile
  • 50L capacity
Cons
  • Zipper quality inconsistent
  • Lining prone to rips

This OutdoorMaster Travel Backpack is a compact, but spacious 50L backpack that is designed to carry everything you may need for traveling while staying lightweight and easy to carry.

The bag has a plethora of pockets, as well as attachment points. You are able to fit all of your necessary gear, big and small, as well as items such as sleeping bags, hiking poles and even a tent. It is incredibly versatile and can be used for a multitude of scenarios.

The bag also features a padded laptop compartment and a built-in rain cover in case the weather turns. It is designed with comfort in mind, with padded and adjustable shoulder straps, as well as mesh ventilation to keep you cool.

  • Very spacious
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Incredibly versatile

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Mountaintop 40-Liter Hiking Backpack Review

Pros
  • Multiple straps for different pieces of gear
  • Large storage capacity
Cons
  • Zippers prone to snagging
  • Poor customer service

The Mountaintop 40-Liter Backpack may seem a bit small for a travel backpack, but the multiple straps and hooks allow you to travel with extra gear attached to the pack. This pack is ideal for travel and backpacking.

The bag is fitted with 6 adjustable straps. These adjustable straps allow you to store and carry extra gear on the bag if you don’t have enough space inside. You can easily attach a tent, sleeping bag, hammock or a camera tripod.

The bag has a large main compartment, with a smaller mesh pocket on the inside. For comfort, the pack has an adjustable sternum strap, a breathable and molded foam back panel, and S-shaped shoulder straps.

  • Very well priced
  • Lightweight
  • Can carry extra gear externally
  • Comfortable

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Teton Sports Scout 3400 Review

Pros
  • Incredible quality
  • Lightweight but very spacious
Cons
  • Sleeping bag compartment quite small
  • Colour could run in the rain

The Teton Sports Scout Backpack is another high-quality and incredibly well-designed internal frame backpack by the folks at Teton. Teton is world renowned for their outdoor gear, and this pack keeps that reputation intact.

The pack is a great beginner pack and is also suitable for both men and women. It has a multi-position torso adjuster to allow it to fit any size and shape body. The lumbar pad and molded channels allow for maximum support and comfort.

The bag does come with a compartment which allows you to store a sleeping bag. It is quite small so it can only really fit a thin summer sleeping bag. The bag has many compartments and pockets as well as compression straps to keep the bag compact.

  • Exceptional quality
  • Suitable for both women and men
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Large storage capacity

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Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack Review

Pros
  • Very high-quality
  • Great for day and overnight trips
Cons
  • Price, depending on budget
  • Unsatisfactory customer support

The Kelty Redwing is a 50L backpack that is ideal for days out in the city or even an overnight stay in the wilderness. It can easily hold everything you may need, even for a night of camping.

The pack has a hybrid loading U-Zipper design that works as both a top-loader and a panel-loader. This allows you to gain easy access to your gear, no matter where it is in the pack. No need to unpack everything just to find your wallet or keys.

Comfort is a given with this pack. It is designed with a Light Beam aluminium stay and an HDPE frame sheet. This ensures the load is spread evenly through your shoulders and hips and allows you to comfortably carry your pack all day, even when fully loaded.

  • Versatile
  • Hybrid packing design
  • High-quality
  • Spreads weight easily and comfortably

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Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack Review

Pros
  • Can accommodate 3 liters of hydration
  • Brilliant suspension and load support
Cons
  • Price, depending on budget
  • Not suitable for people over 6’3”

The Osprey Exos 48 Backpack is a high-quality and durable nylon pack that is suitable for a variety of adventures and trips. It is very comfortable to wear and can store most, if not all, of the gear you will need.

The bag is made with the Exos peripheral frame, which is made of 6065 aluminium alloy. It also has an internal suspended cross-strut. This combination provides excellent load support and suspension.

The hip belt has sewn-in ExoForm with layered mesh foam. This hip belt provides incredible comfort, cushioning and load transfer. The pack has a removable floating top pocket, as well as multiple cord tie-off points.

  • High-quality
  • Durable and versatile
  • An internal frame provides excellent load spreading
  • The hip belt adds comfort and load support

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Kelty Coyote 80 Internal Frame Backpack Review

Pros
  • Very strong and durable
  • Superior suspension
Cons
  • Price, depending on budget
  • No bottom straps

The Kelty Coyote 80 Backpack is an internal frame backpack fitted with CloudLock II. CloudLock II has adjustable suspension and dual LightBeam stays give the pack incredible support while carrying heavy loads, and can easily adjust for a custom fit.

The pack is a top-loader, and you may think this will make it difficult to reach any gear at the bottom of the pack. This is the furthest from the truth, as you can open the front panel and side pockets to reach any gear you may need.

The bag itself is made of 420-denier polyester Ball Shadow body fabric, with 420-denier polyester Oxford reinforcement fabric. It also has side compression straps, load stabilizer straps and a lid that converts into a lumbar support.

  • Very high-quality design and materials
  • Strong and durable
  • Large capacity
  • Extremely comfortable to wear

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ibagbar Canvas Backpack Review

Pros
  • Price
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Zipper quality inconsistent
  • Not aesthetically pleasing

The ibagbar Canvas Backpack is a simple pack that can be used for a variety of activities. It is easily suited for fishing, camping, hiking, mountaineering and touring. It can also be used as a carry-on while flying.

The bag itself is made of highly durable Oxford fabric, which is both heavy duty and water resistant. The strong buckles ensure the bag stays secure. The leather used is very durable and the sewing is reinforced.

The bag has a relatively large storage capacity. It has one large main compartment, 2 front zipped pockets, 1 side mesh pocket, as well as one laptop compartment that can securely store most sized laptops.

  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Strong materials
  • Large storage capacity

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Military Tactical Backpack Review

Pros
  • Brilliant in any conditions
  • Strong and durable materials
Cons
  • Zipper quality lacking

This Military Backpack is one of the most versatile and durable backpacks on our list. The backpack performs incredibly well no matter the task and can be used for backpacking, traveling through the city and camping.

The bag is made of exceptionally high-quality mercerized cotton, which is also waterproof. All of the pockets are secured with 2-way zippers, and the wide shoulder straps distribute weight evenly and make the pack incredibly comfortable to wear.

This backpack uses the Features PALS system, which allows you to bind all your gear and fasten it to your pack. The pack also has a pocket for your laptop, protecting it when you are traveling or hiking.

  • Very durable
  • Strong materials
  • Incredibly versatile
  • Can store extra gear externally

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Wasing 55L Backpack Review

Pros
  • Well priced
  • High-quality, durable materials
Cons
  • Hip belt buckle sometimes unreliable
  • The fit will need constant adjusting

The Wasing 55L Backpack is an internal frame backpack that is made of rip-stop and water-resistant polyester that makes it ideal for dealing with the wear and tear that comes with traveling, hiking, and camping.

The pack has a 55L capacity, which is more than big enough to carry clothing, sleeping gear, and any other essentials you may need. There is an extension collar with two drawstrings that allow you to expand the storage capacity.

The pack itself has one large main compartment, a hip belt pocket, a bladder sleeve to add a hydration pouch, 1 front pocket, and a compartment on the bottom that stores a rain sleeve to keep your entire bag dry.

  • Large, 55L capacity
  • Rip-stop and water-resistant polyester
  • Expandable storage
  • Rain cover included

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Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack Review

Pros
  • Osprey Quality
  • Smaller, detachable pack
Cons
  • Price
  • Zipper sometimes snags

The Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack is a 2-in-1 travel backpack that is brilliant for traveling and day adventures. We say 2-in-1 because it has a removable, smaller pack that clips onto the large pack.

The pack has a total volume of 55L, with the main pack being 42L and the daypack being 13L. These two packs allow you to store everything you need for a trip in the main pack, then simply unpack the smaller one and take your essentials.

The pack has a sleeping bag strap for quick and easy storage of a sleeping bag. The adjustable sternum strap adds stability for hiking, and the hip belt and harness system can be easily stowed away to keep the bag slim and compact for traveling.

  • Brilliant quality
  • Large storage capacity
  • Detachable daypack
  • Lightweight and compact

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Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack Review

Pros
  • Large storage capacity
  • Brilliant suspension system
Cons
  • Price, depending on budget
  • Fabric seems scratchy

The Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack is made of 420D Poly Small Back Stafford for durability and strength. The pack is designed to be simple and effective when using it, with no frills and fuss.

The packs’ suspension system is an HDPE frame sheet, a Hex Mesh back panel, shoulder straps and waist belt, a ventilating back panel, a load lifter strap and a sternum strap. All of these combine to spread the weight effectively to make the bag incredibly easy to carry.

Like we mentioned above, the pack is meant to be simple, it is meant to allow you to reach everything you need quickly. The pack is top-loading and has one main compartment, zippered side pockets, organizational front pocket, a front pouch, and it is hydration compatible.

  • Easy to use
  • Great suspension system
  • Strong and durable
  • Compact and lightweight

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Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack Review

Pros
  • Extremely high-quality
  • Compact yet spacious
Cons
  • Price, depending on budget
  • Zippers sometimes snag if the bag is fully loaded

The Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack is another great pack from Osprey and is one of the more compact backpacks in their line. It is made of strong and durable nylon, and like their other packs, it is very sturdy and long-lasting.

The pack has a large main compartment and is accessed through a zipped panel. The pack also has a laptop and tablet sleeve, which is a lockable compartment, keeping them secure and protected.

The bag is made with a stowaway back panel, a harness, and a hip belt. These straps spread the weight from your shoulders to your hips, allowing you to carry the fully loaded bag for extended periods of time without pain.

  • Extremely high-quality
  • Very strong
  • Secure compartments
  • Brilliant weight distribution

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Backpacks for Europe Buyers Guide

When you are purchasing a new pack, there are some aspects you need to take into consideration before buying. You need to be clear about the type of pack you want, how big it needs to be, and how easy it is to travel with.

Front-Loading vs Top-Loading

While you may think backpacks are all basically the same, there is one major design difference between packs. That difference being a pack is either front-loading, or it is top-loading.

A front-loading pack is probably more recognizable as it looks like most school and laptop backpacks. It has zippered pockets that you, yeah you guessed it, pack from the front. This design is a very typical backpack design.

The benefits of a front-loading pack is that it is much easier to unpack and find exactly what you are looking for, there is no need to unpack everything just to find your toothbrush. They also generally have many smaller pockets on the outside for easy access to gear.

The downside of a front-loading pack is the zippers. No matter how well they are made or how strong the zipper is, there is always a good chance you’ll pack your bag just too full and the zipper will pop, not the best outcome when you’re in the middle of nowhere and now have to carry everything by hand.

Top-loading backpacks are the traditional hiking styled backpacks. Where you load everything down into the pack from the main hole at the top. These packs have a superior suspension system due to the fact that they are generally used for hiking.

The benefits of a top-loading pack is that there are no zippers to break and to have to fix while on the move. These packs are also usually much more lightweight, making them more comfortable to wear when combined with their incredible suspension system. They are also more waterproof due to the lack of zippers.

The downside of a top-loading pack is if you need to find something in a hurry, it will most definitely not be an easy task. You will need to unpack everything to find it and repack it all again.

Another downside, that can also sometimes be seen as a benefit of top-loading packs, is the number of straps they have. These straps can help you carry the bag and keep it stable, but they can also get caught on conveyor belts or indoors etc.

Comfort

How comfortable the bag is to wear is one of the most important features you need to look out for. You are going to be wearing this pack for most of the day, for weeks on end, you can’t have it hurting you within the first hour.

Many packs nowadays have built-in suspension systems and strapping that moves the weight from your shoulders and spreads it to your hips. The straps also keep the bag in place and the weight evenly spread out.

We highly suggest packing the bag full and then wearing it before your trip. Ensure the weight is spread evenly and that you can easily wear the pack, no matter its weight.

Size

The size of the pack you buy is determined mainly by how light or heavy you are packing. We always suggest to pack lean, it is easy to pack for every possible scenario without needing more than one bag.

Smaller bags are also money savers if you are going to be traveling, as you will most likely never have to check them in. They are also a lot easier to store and travel with, whether you’re in a plane, train or car.

Durability vs Price

Many of us know you can get two of the same products, from two different manufacturers, at two vastly different prices, but they perform exactly the same for the same amount of time. In the case of a travel backpack, you should be prepared to pay more.

Considering this is going to be your main travel companion that will store all of your gear, clothing, and valuables, you need it to be made well, with high-quality materials. You don’t want it failing on you, ever.

Features

Considering the day and age we live in, a backpack won’t just be a backpack, it will have extra features that you may or may not need. These features will obviously influence the price, and you must decide if they are worth it.

A backpack that has the capability of charging your phone with its built-in solar panel may sound like a great idea, but if the makers have put more emphasis on the extras and not the actual bag, it’s not worth purchasing.

Another feature would be the bag coming with a waterproof cover, once again, it may sound like a good idea, but you aren’t going to be walking in the rain all day, you will spend those days indoors.

Packing Efficiently

Europe’s Hidden Gems

Conclusion

Finding the perfect bag to travel across Europe with does not have to be a daunting task. If you know what you need from the bag, and follow our simple guide, the perfect bag will be a breeze to find.

We hope this guide has given you the direction and knowledge you need to find your next pack, and we are sure that no matter which one you choose, it will serve you incredibly well during your European adventure.

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