Find The Best Carry-On Backpack For You – Detailed Review 2019

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The trend of traveling with only one Carry-on Backpack is increasing. With the backpack in the hand luggage you are more flexible, can travel cheaper, are saving time and you are less stressed out. In addition, the trend of minimalism is pursued.

Nomatic Travel PackNomatic Travel Bag250$
Akra from ArcidoAkra from Arcido — The Backpack for Digital Nomads199$
Pacsafe VenturesafeBest Carry On Backpack Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45180$
Fjällräven Travel PackBest Carry On Backpack FJÄLLRÄVEN Travel Pack225$
Aer Travel Pack 2Best Carry On Backpack Nomatic Travel Bag Aer Travel Pack 2230$
Osprey FarpointBest Carry On Backpack Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Packmin. 130$
Cabin MaxBest Carry On Backpack Cabin Max Backpack35$
AmazonBasicsBest Carry On Backpack AmazonBasics49$

We travel for some time only with Carry-on Backpacks and are very satisfied. In the following article, I will present eight different Carry-on Backpacks and describe the particular features, show advantages and disadvantages and give my subjective conclusion.

However, choosing the right backpack is very individual, so be mindful of your personal interests and preferences! Depending on which type you are, what kind of traveling you’re planning for and what you value, you can choose between comfortable, very safe, well thought out, high-quality durable or cheap but lower-quality backpacks.

General Information for Traveling with Carry-on Backpacks:

Although some backpacks may exceed the airline’s approved cabin baggage allowance, you don’t have to worry. On all my journeys I’ve never been checked on my Carry-on backpack, neither on the weight nor on the measurement. And even if that happens they’re often let it go.

If you want to go 110% sure, just take a small bag in which you can temporarily store some stuff from your big backpack to get down to the allowed measurement and weight.

Best Carry-on Backpacks:

  • Nomatic Travel Pack
  • Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP 45
  • Fjällräven Travel Pack
  • Aer Travel Pack 2
  • Osprey Farpoint 38/40
  • Cabin Max
  • AmazonBasics Carry-on Backpack

The Nomatic Travel Pack – The High-Quality Allrounder Backpack

General Information:

Price: 250$
Measurement: 47 x 30,5 x 15 – 24 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Weight: 1,8 kg
Volume: 20 l – 30 l

Let’s get started with the Nomatic Travel Pack! Normally, the Nomatic Travel Pack has a volume of 20 litres, but it can be extended to a volume of 30 litres thanks to the well thought out zipper system!

This backpack can be used in addition to the application as a Carry-on Backpack and travel backpack in other situations. The design of the backpack is simple and modern, the adjustable size let the backpack also be used as a day, leisure, work or school backpack.

Moreover the material is water resistant. Included in the purchase prize is a lifetime warranty, that shows us that the manufacturer is very confident about his Carry-on backpack.


  • high and good quality
  • water resistant
  • a well thought out and organised structure
  • Laptop compartment on the back
  • inconspicuous but yet modern
  • Hip and chest strap
  • lifetime warranty


  • expensive and heavier as the competitions


The Nomatic Travel Pack is not only suitable as a Carry-on Backpack, due to its design and the structure it’s also perfect as an allrounder for all everyday situations. If you choose this backpack there will not be a need for another backpack in your whole life also because of the lifetime warranty.

Akra from Arcido — The Backpack for Digital Nomads

General information:

Price: 199$
Measurements: 55 x 35 x 20 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Weight: 1,3 kg
Volume: 35 l

The carry-on backpack Akra by Arcido is the next one on our list. The gray backpack can be ordered bundled with the practical daypack Vaga, a shoe bag, a cosmetic bag, and three packing cubes.

The organization and structure is very successful designed, there is a large main compartment in which the largest proportion of the 35 l is housed. In addition to a deep front section, which is accessible from the outside as well as from the inside from the main compartment, the backpack has a Quick Access pocket on top and an elastic opening for bottles with a small secret storage behind it on the side. There is also another small compartment at the back where valuable items can be stowed.

The highlight is perhaps the laptop compartment, this is also on the back of the backpack. There is a custom fit holder that fits laptops up to a size of about 39 cm. The holder is closed with a pull tab, with which you can also pull the laptop out of the holder. It also allows the laptop to stay in the center of the backpack, therefore it is better protected. On the opposite side of the holder, other items such as charging cables, pens or even a tablet can be sorted well.

Furthermore, the backpack has padded straps and a padded back, which could prevent a sweaty back.

The backpack is equipped with a hip belt and a chest strap as well. The hip belt is also padded and has small compartments in which ID cards, credit cards or cash can be stowed. Hip belt and chest strap can be removed.

Moreover the material and especially the quality of the reverse coil zippers are very high quality and it comes with a warranty of five years!


  • good organization
  • Space for large bottles in the bottle compartment
  • Hip and chest strap removable
  • little compartments in the hip belt
  • very safe storage of the laptop
  • high quality
  • innovative
  • cool extension in the bundle purchase
  • 5 years warranty


  • hip belt may be too high for taller people
  • Does not stand by itself all the time


The Arcido carry-on backpack Akra is highly recommended for Digital Nomads. The safety of the laptop is as good as guaranteed. But also for other traveling minimalists, the backpack is a good choice. The designers dare to be innovative in their design and layout, and they succeed.

Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP 45 – The Secure Backpack

General information:

Price: 180$
Measurements: 55 x 35 x 21,7 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Weight: 1,8 kg
Volume: 45 l

Already recognizable from the name of the backpack, the Pacsafe Venturesafe puts a lot of value on security. It comes with anti-theft details such as a backpack lock for the zippers on top, a puncture-proof double zipper and a steel cable to tie the backpack securely.

The backpack is also equipped with a three sided zipper, a hip and breast strap which can also be stowed and let the Carry-on Backpack transform into a kind of a Carry-on Suitcase.

In addition to the large main compartment, the Carry-on Backpack comes with a smaller front pocket where laptop, papers and small items can be stored and a bottle holder on the side.


  • very safe
  • many anti-theft features
  • good quality and good processing of the material
  • inconspicuous because of simple appearance
  • hip and breast strap can be stowed
  • compression straps
  • sustained from recycled Nylon


  • The laptop compartment is on the front side
  • expensive and heavier in comparison to competitions
  • no quick access pocket


I have been using this Carry-on Backpack for several year now. For me, the backpack is worth the investment. Due the large volume, I can take a lot and I really don’t have to worry about theft.

To sad that there is no quick access, to get out little things like your passport quickly. You have to unlock the backpack lock to get it and that takes some time.

All in all the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP 45 can be recommended for everyone who puts value on quality and especially safety.

Fjällräven Travel Pack – The Sustainable Backpack

General Information:

Price: 225$
Measurements: 46 x 32 x 27 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Weight: 1,65 kg
Volume: 35 l

The Swedish backpack manufacturer also enters the Carry-on Backpack game with the Fjällräven Travel Pack. The backpack is made of 65% recycled polyester and 35% organic cotton and has been waxed with the Greenland wax. In addition to the sustainably production, the Carry-on Backpack is also wind and water resistant due to the wax..

The outside of the backpack is surrounded by a hard outer shell. That, in the empty as well as the packed state, it’s always in the same form. Depending on the personal taste, it can be an advantage or a disadvantage.

It takes some time but the straps can be hidden without a trace and the backpack can then be transported with the high quality carrying handles.


  • straps can be hidden without a trace
  • wind and water resistant
  • good placed quick access pocket
  • sustained production
  • structured and organized compartments
  • Laptop compartment on the back


  • no side pocket for a bottle
  • no hip and breast straps
  • prone to scratches because of the wax


Overall, the Fjällräven Travel Pack is a well thought out Carry-on Backpack that can set itself apart from other competitors through the good quality and the sustained production. I would recommend this backpack for city, leisure and business trips, because of the non existing hip and breast straps and with much stuff in it, it can get a little bit uncomfortable on long trips.

Aer Travel Pack 2 – The High-Quality Backpack

General Information:

Price: 230$
Measurements: 55 x 34 x 22 cm (Height x Width x Depth
Weight: 1,67 kg
Volume: 33 l

The Aer Travel Pack 2, the successor and update to the Aer Travel Pack, has been carefully considered and effectively improved. In addition to a wider quick access pocket on the top of the backpack, it has become more water resistant with water resistant zippers and by removing the holes in the shoe compartment at the bottom.

The side pocket is great for long items, but can also look well integrated when not in use, thanks to the existing zipper closure. The back of this Carry-on Backpack is well padded and therefore comfortable.

There is even a handle on the back of the backpack for a quick lift, as well as on the side and on top. The padded hip strap and the breast strap are detachable.


  • compressions straps
  • water resistant
  • detachable hip and breast strap
  • many well thought out compartments and features
  • laptop compartment on the back


  • can’t hide the straps
  • no upholstery at the bottom of the laptop compartment
  • more expensive and less volume in comparison to the competitors


The Aer Travel Pack 2 is a really good overhaul of the Aer Travel Pack. Many small features have been improved or added. Whether it’s a weekend or a year trip, if you’re willing to spend over 200€ on it, it’s totally worth it!

Osprey Farpoint 38/40 Travel Pack – The Most Popular Backpack

General Information:

Price: starts at 130$
Measurements: 54 x 37 x 35 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Weight: 1,44 kg
Volume: 38/40 l

The Osprey Farpoint 38/40 is one of the most popular backpacks from all Carry-on Backpacks. But is he also entitled one of the most popular?

The Carry-on Backpack has next to hip and breast streps, even a shoulder strap. All straps can be hidden quickly with an extra compartment on the back. The compression straps are also special compared to competitors, these go on the outside from one side to the other over the front.


  • quick and simple hiding of the straps
  • hip, breast and shoulder strap
  • compression straps on the outside and the inside
  • durable


  • Laptop compartment on the front
  • the front compartments are limited when fully packed


Overall, the Osprey Farpoint is worth a recommendation for an average consumer, but it doesn’t leave the competitors behind. The two different variants (Osprey Farpoint 40 and 38) make the Carry-on Backpack even more consumer friendly.

The smaller version is especially recommended for smaller people, because with a fully packed backpack, you can actually feel the two liter difference clearly.

For the money you get a good quality and a long guarantee (the phrase about how long it goes is unclear on the website but it’s probably not a lifetime guarantee).

Cabin Max Backpack – The Cheap Backpack

General Information:

Price: 35$
Measurements: 55 x 40 x 20 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Weight: 0,7 kg
Volume: 44 l

The Cabin Max 44l is the cheapest Carry-on Backpack that I could find in my research. The Cabin Max is very simple, has a main compartment and a compartment on the front with a simple layout. At only 700 grams, it’s also one of the lightest Carry-on Backpacks.


  • unbelievable cheap
  • light
  • large volume


  • not really well thought out
  • no hip and breast strap
  • without pocket for bottles or a compartment for your laptop
  • material feels cheap (actually it is)


I would recommend the Cabin Max as a beginner model. For the unbeatable low price you get a decent quality and a very light backpack. And through packing cubes you can bring some structure in the simple layout of the backpack.

In the long run, the comfort suffers from missing hip and chest straps and poorly padded straps. For people who really just want to try if traveling with only a Carry-on Backpack, this Backpack can be recommended.

AmazonBasics Carry-on Backpack – The Beginner Backpack

General Information:

Price: 49$
Measurements: 51 x 38 x 20 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Weight: 1,65 kg
Volume: 50 l

The AmazonBasics Carry-on Backpack is another backpack from the cheap section. The straps of the backpack are padded and therefore the wearing comfort is okay. They can be stowed at the top of the back, the non padded hip straps can be removed.

By opening a zipper, the backpack is expandable in the volume. The organization and the structure are simple.


  • hip, shoulder and breast strap, hip and shoulder strap are removable
  • straps can be stowed
  • expandable volume
  • laptop compartment is on the back


  • Zippers not very stable
  • hip strap not padded
  • not the best quality and durability problems
  • no pocket for bottles


The AmazonBasics Carry-on Backpack is not an eternity backpack and is definitely not made of the finest materials. But due the low price these problems are irrelevant, because no good quality is expected. I would prefer this backpack to Cabin Max and also recommend it as a beginner model for short trips.

If you liked this article, check out our other guides about travel items!

Best Carry On Backpack

Find the perfect Backpack here.