12 Best Backpacks for Europe in 2017

Traveling around Europe would be a fun way to spend the summer or any time of year for that matter! One key part of traveling is luggage: if you don’t have the correct luggage, it can put a big damper on your entire trip.

One excellent piece of luggage for exploring Europe is a backpack: they are easily carried, and can often be brought on an airplane as a carry-on item, depending on the size.

It can be confusing, though, deciding which type of backpack to get as there is such a wide variety of backpacks. To help you prepare for your Euro trip, we’ve listed 12 of the very best backpacks and provide you with detailed reviews of our five favorite ones.

Top 12 Backpacks for Europe Ultimate Table

Design Name Size Is It Waterproof? Rating (1-5)
   1. eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible  9” x 22” x 14”  No  4.7
   2. Bago Duffel Bag Convertible to Backpack  12.1” x 9.9” x 6.1”  Yes  4.6
   3. OutdoorMaster Sling Bag – Small Crossbody Street/Travel Backpack  18.9” x 12.6” x 4.0”  No  4.6
   4. Witzman Men’s Vintage Canvas Duffel Shoulder Backpack Travel A2020  13” x 21” x 7.5”  No  4.6
   5. KAKA Terylene Fabric Backpack  12” x 22” x 7”  Yes  4.5
6. Coreal Hiking Foldable Backpack Packable Lightweight Daypack  21.5” x 11” x 7.8”  Yes  4.4
7. Samsonite Luggage Tectonic Backpack  13” x 9” x 19”  Yes  4.2
8. High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack  13.5” x 8” x 20.5”  Yes, mostly  4.2
   9. High Sierra AT3 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack  22” x 13.5” x 9”  No  4.2
   10. Everest Hiking Pack  24” x 13.5” x 8”  Yes  4.1
   11. Cabin Max Metz Backpack Flight Approved Carry on Bag  21” x 16” x 3.5”  Yes  4.1
   12. Samsonite Luggage Mvs Spinner Backpack  19” x 12” x 12”  No  3.8

What Is Most Important to Consider When Buying a Backpack for Exploring Europe?

As you look through the backpacks, keep in mind what you plan to do in Europe. Do you want to backpack, or just explore cities? How much luggage do you want to bring? Will you bring other luggage as well, or will the backpack be your only equipment?

Along with those questions, there are a few other aspects of backpacks you should be sure to scrutinize as you shop.

  • Wheels – Would you like wheels on your backpack? Some people love them; some people hate them. One of the benefits of having wheels is that you can drag the backpack behind you similarly to a wheeled suitcase. It can save your back from working quite as hard! However, the wheels can add a small bit of extra weight. If you plan to hike a lot or be in an area without a place to wheel your backpack, you may want one without wheels. It’s all a matter of preference.
  • Waterproof – Waterproof backpacks are quite helpful. You don’t want to have to worry about your clothes (or even laptop!) getting wet while you’re exploring the countryside. Choosing a waterproof backpack can give you peace of mind and keep you from having to purchase a poncho.
  • Size – If you want to bring your backpack on a plane as a carry-on item, you definitely need to make sure the size of your backpack is allowed by the airline’s rules that you’re flying with.

You also need to make sure the backpack can hold all the items you want to bring. If, however, you mostly want a backpack for day trips, a smaller size could be appreciated.

  • Pockets – Pockets in a backpack can greatly change how useful it is to you. If there are no pockets, you’ll likely have a hard time keeping your items organized! There are different types of pockets that you may or may not need. The following section goes into the topic in more detail.

Understanding Types of Pockets

What types of backpack pockets do you need? That question can only be answered after you’ve thought a bit about what you want to carry in the backpack. Think through what you want to pack while reading over the pocket types below.

  • Laptop – If you want to bring a laptop, a specific laptop pocket is quite useful! They can add extra padding and protection for your laptop to give you greater peace of mind.

It should be noted, just because a backpack can fit a laptop does not mean it has a special laptop pocket. Be sure to keep that in mind while going through backpack options.

  • Water Bottle – Water bottle pockets on the outside of a backpack are especially helpful for those of you who will be hiking or walking for long periods of time while wearing the backpack. If you’d rather not have to stop and take your pack off every time you want to get a drink, having an outside water bottle pocket is essential.
  • Zippers – Zipped pockets are particularly helpful for carrying smaller items such as money, passports, and plane tickets. They’re also quite helpful if these pockets are on the outside or top of your pack.

Speaking of zippers, we also recommend that you take a close look at the quality of them: are they thick and sturdy enough to handle the rough treatment and numerous times that they’ll be opened and closed?

They should be, because we all know that if the zipper gets ruined, then the rest of the bag becomes useless.

Top 5 Best Backpack for Europe Reviews

1. eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible

This first backpack is possibly the best backpack for Europe for those of you who want one that will work as a carry-on bag. It even has a patent-pending Laptop Sling that will adjust to hold your laptop secure and safe inside.

It is not waterproof, but it should be fine if it’s outside in a gentle rain for a brief trip. Otherwise, you may want to consider investing in a waterproof bag cover.

The bag has so much room it can even accommodate packing cubes! It has quite a few pockets to allow you to have a perfect place for everything. It has both zipped as well as open pockets. It also has a water bottle pocket.

It does not have wheels but is comfortable to carry. It has comfortable straps that can actually be stored away if you prefer it to look like a suitcase. It has several handles on it so you can even carry it like a traditional suitcase!

2. Bago Duffel Bag Convertible to Backpack

Another excellent backpack for accompanying you to explore the streets and countryside of Europe, this backpack is made with high quality and durable materials. It is also made with waterproof materials, which is a definite bonus!

There are no wheels on this one, but you can carry it as a duffle bag or wear it as a backpack, whichever is most comfortable for you.

There is no outside water bottle pocket and no specific laptop pocket. There is, however, enough room for a laptop and plenty of other pockets for keeping things organized!

It is an excellent size for bringing everything you need with you. Some airlines allow it as a carry-on item, while for others it would need to be a checked bag. If you plan to bring it as a carry-on item, before going make sure to check with your airline to make sure it is allowed for that specific airline.

3. OutdoorMaster Sling Bag – Travel Backpack

This next backpack is rather different from the other options we’ve covered so far. It’s a smaller sling style backpack. It would work as a carry-on! The shoulder strap is reversible, making it comfortable for both lefties and righties.

Although it is small, the backpack is spacious and organized with a variety of pockets. One of those pockets is an outside water bottle holder. The small size of the pack makes it light and easy to carry around. If you want a pack big enough to hold what you need for a day but small enough to not slow you down, this could be just the thing for you. There are also no wheels on this pack to weigh it down.

It is not waterproof, so if you plan to be out in the rain with it, you may want to consider getting a waterproof bag cover to slip inside to have it on hand in case it starts to rain.

4. Witzman Men’s Duffel Shoulder Backpack A2020

This fourth option not only looks stylish but has incredible quality and versatility. You’ll have people asking you where you got it!

It is not waterproof and does not have an outside water bottle pocket. It does, however, make up for what it lacks by providing its user with excellent service. It is a durable, top quality backpack with plenty of pockets. It includes a laptop compartment for safe carrying of your computer.

To make it comfortable for you, it has air mesh shoulder and sweat pads in place. The breathable nature of it makes it an excellent choice for those hoping to wear it for extended periods of time. To make it even more comfortable for you, it gives you the option of converting it into a messenger bag or a more typical no-wheels suitcase! It will fit most carry-on restrictions.

5. KAKA Terylene Fabric Backpack

This final choice is an impressive on to end on. It is well-made and created with high-quality materials. It looks stylish while also providing you with the room and organization you need to comfortably pack what you want.

It comes with several pockets, one of which is a laptop compartment. It also has two side pockets for water bottles. It will help you stay hydrated!

This backpack comes with a one-year warranty. You likely won’t even need a warranty with the high quality the bag was made with. The material used to make the backpack is thick and sturdy. The lining is water resistant to help ensure your belongings will stay dry.

This backpack would be another excellent choice for exploring Europe!