The Best Travel Backpacks For Women

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by Rachel Dunkel
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PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: A model wearing Calvin Klein backpack outside Schiaparelli during Paris Fas...

Backpacks aren’t just for school. Whether you’re planning on using your backpack as a carry-on for a flight, as a bag for everyday commutes, or anything in between, the best travel backpacks are as stylish as they are functional. From trendy mini designs to larger minimalist styles, there’s sure to be a fashionable backpack (or several) that’s a perfect fit for when you’re on the move. And with materials like sumptuous leather, vegan-friendly pleather, and canvas in bright shades for a nostalgic throwback moment, there’s sure to be one to suit every mood.

So how do you choose a backpack specifically for travel? For exploring a new city on foot, heading out on a road trip, or using as your allotted personal item on a plane, wearing a mini backpack (or any compact backpack) as a purse is a great idea. If you plan to use your backpack to hold your luggage, though, you’ll likely need a larger size — and one with separate compartments, a padded laptop sleeve, and/or a trolly sleeve for securing the bag around a luggage handle can make it even more useful.

Not only are backpacks super practical, but they can also look effortlessly chic, so it’s no wonder that elevated versions of the classic silhouette are perennially trending. Here are some of the best travel backpacks to help you stay organized on the go — and look good while doing it.


A Leather Backpack That Will Only Look Better With Age

FRYE’s Logan backpack is made of pull up leather that will soften and look even better as you use it over time. Its silhouette is a traditional backpack shape with a large zippered main pocket, zippered interior and front pockets, and two exterior side pockets for water bottles or anything else you might need to tuck away. Whether you use it as a carry-on, weekender, or day pack, it’s a bag that’s sure to serve you for a long time.

  • Available colors: 3


A Chic Backpack Purse That Comes In 50 Colors

This chic backpack can convert into a shoulder bag with an additional strap — which makes it an extremely versatile option for carrying your items while you travel. It’s made of faux leather that’s available in tons of colors so you can find one that really speaks to you. The backpack has multiple zippered pockets and open side pockets for organizing anything and everything.

  • Available colors: 53


A Well-Organized Suitcase Backpack For Longer Trips

Cotopaxi has made a name for itself with its cult-favorite fleece jackets and outdoor gear, and its Allpa Travel Pack fits the style-meets-function mold. The backpack comes in neutral and more eye-catching colorways, and it’s made of a water-resistant polyester and nylon lining to protect your belongings from any wet weather you face on your journeys. But its organization is what really sets it apart: The inside is split in two mesh sections, one with a large compartment and the other with three smaller zippered compartments. The effect is a backpack with what are essentially built-in packing cubes.

  • Available colors: 7


An Editor-Approved Convertible Backpack

For effortlessly switching between a handbag and a backpack, this HOBO Merrin bag is a go-to for TZR editor Wesley Salazar, as it doesn’t require any additional straps. Salazar explains: “The thing that sets these apart from many convertible styles is that they seamlessly transition from a backpack to a handbag with just a pull on the strap. That means you don’t have to carry an extra strap or mess with reattaching straps in different ways when you want to switch it up.” It’s made of a soft leather that comes in both brights and neutrals, has one zippered main compartment with four smaller interior pockets, plus two easy-to-access exterior pockets. According to Salazar, it’s a brilliant option for travel: “I like to wear it as a backpack when I’m sightseeing and tuck it over my shoulder and under my arm as I travel through the airport. It’s practically perfect.” She adds, “I’m lucky enough to own two convertible HOBO bags, and I have this particular style in black.

  • Available colors: 6


A Canvas Backpack That’s Machine Washable

Baggu has the trendy bag market on lock, and this recycled cotton canvas backpack continues their legacy of casual-cool bags. It has a drawstring top with an additional snap closure, one large drawstring compartment, and two deep exterior pockets. It doesn’t have a laptop sleeve, but the bag is large enough to accommodate 13-inch laptops if you need to stow yours. Another perk? It’s machine washable — so don’t worry about getting it dirty as you explore a new city on foot or plop it on a car floor during a road trip.

  • Available colors: 2


A Laptop Backpack With A Classic Style

This Herschel laptop backpack, with its iconic faux-buckled straps, is a ubiquitous accessory at this point, and for good reason: It’s incredibly roomy and functional. I would know, as I’ve been rocking one for a while and am just as thrilled with it now as 2000s twee is coming back. It’s made of polyester and faux leather, and its main compartment is secured with a drawstring and snaps. The padded laptop sleeve can accommodate 15-inch laptops, and it’s also equipped with a front pocket with a key clip and hidden zipper.

All in all, I’ve used this backpack as a carry-on, commuter bag, weekender, and road trip bag for close to a decade, and while it definitely looks a little worse for wear these days, it’s handled it all with style and grace. Choose from two different sizes and dozens of colors.

  • Available colors: 58


A Mini Backpack In Tons Of Bright Colors

For keeping it casual as you stroll about on your travels, consider the mini version of the cult-classic Fjallraven backpack. It’s made of durable, water-resistant Vinylon F, so you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain. It has a simple construction with one main zippered pocket, a front zippered pocket, and two side pockets for your essentials. And since the bag is available in tons of fun colors, you can have fun color-blocking, coordinating, or contrasting it with the rest of your outfit.

  • Available colors: 59


A Laptop Backpack Made Of Vegan Leather

This sleek Kenneth Cole laptop backpack is made of vegan leather that’s available in three neutral shades to match with practically everything. Its main zippered compartment has a padded laptop sleeve that can accommodate 15.6-inch laptops, as well as an interior mesh pocket. It has an additional zippered front compartment, two exterior side pockets, and a trolley sleeve to effortlessly take it from commuter to vacation mode and back again.


A Trendy Sling Backpack That Crosses Over Your Body

If you’re looking to bring some effortless street style to your travel looks, consider this Champion sling backpack. The oversized belt bag style is easy to carry and has a zippered main compartment, plus additional exterior pockets so all of your essentials will be within reach whether you choose to wear it on your back or your front.

  • Available colors: 1


A Faux-Leather Backpack That Converts Into A Crossbody Bag

Made of faux leather, this rectangular Fossil backpack converts easily into a crossbody with just a single strap, making it a versatile option when on the go. It has a roomy zippered main compartment with two interior pockets and one hidden, easy-access zippered pocket on the outside to keep all of your travel belongings safe and organized. With two sizes and a range of styles to choose from — patchwork, textured, and riveted options are all present and accounted for — there’s no need to sacrifice style for functionality.

  • Available colors: 15


A Travel Backpack From A Beloved Luggage Brand

Samsonite is known for their travel gear, and this laptop backpack with multiple pockets can help ensure everything you need to bring along with you has its own dedicated space. It’s made of top-grain leather for a sleek look and feel, and has three zippered exterior pockets, plus a padded laptop sleeve that can accommodate laptops measuring up to 14 inches. A trolly strap attaches it securely to your carry-on, making it the perfect backpack for any trip.

  • Available colors: 2


A Roomy Square Bag With A Port For Your External Battery

If easily charging your devices from your backpack is top-of-mind, consider this stylish square bag that has a USB charging port on the outside that you can attach to your go-to external battery. Its main compartment is roomy and rectangular, with extra storage pockets on the front and sides. It also has a trolley strap and a padded laptop sleeve that’s available in three sizes to accommodate 14-, 15.6- , or 17-inch laptops.

  • Available colors: 51


A Spacious Rolling Backpack That You Can Carry 2 Ways

This rolling backpack has a large 45-liter capacity — but it has wheels, too, which means you have the option of wheeling it when it’s full or carrying it on your back when it’s lighter. The interior has a 14-inch padded laptop sleeve, as well as exterior zippered pockets. Best of all, the aluminum alloy handle retracts, and there’s a wheel cover to cover the wheels (and protect your clothing) when you want to pick it up and carry it on your back.

  • Available colors: 2


A Suitcase-Style Backpack That Comes In Lots Of Bright Patterns

Maximalists, rejoice. Vera Bradley has a travel backpack in updated spins on florals — and it’s also incredibly efficient. Made of a recycled water-resistant fabric, the backpack unzips fully on three sides so you can lay it flat and use it like a true piece of luggage. Its main compartment has a mesh panel separating it into two sections, and it also has a padded pocket that can accommodate 15-inch laptops, a front pocket with separate sections, an exterior side pocket, and a trolley strap for easily sliding it over your favorite piece of rolling luggage when needed.

  • Available colors: 11


A Best-Of-Both-Worlds Backpack & Tote Bag

Carhartt is a popular choice for functional, stylish workwear, and this backpack from the brand offers a similarly smart, flexible design. Made of durable, water-repellent polyester, the zippered bag can be carried as a tote, backpack, or cross-body bag. The large main compartment has a padded laptop sleeve that can fit laptops measuring up to 15 inches, plus there are additional interior and exterior pockets so all your travel essentials are at your fingertips.

  • Available colors: 3