Traveling between 5 countries and many cities within those countries, I really don’t want to have to check a bag and wait for it every where I go. Nor do I want to have to lug around a suitcase – hands free is the goal.


Pack everything in one backpack that can be carried on to planes, trains, and automobiles.


Here is what I’ve found:


  • Backpacks are measured in liters (i.e. 50L, 46L, 55L, 75L, etc.)
  • Males and females (M/S = female, M/L = male)
  • Volumes are the same, this is in regards to the backpack and waste straps

Top Brands

  • REI (generic), Osprey, Eagle Creek, Gregory, Deuter, Kelty

Top Stores

  • – notice the ‘smile’ before amazon. Everyone should use this. It is the exact same thing as, only they donate a percentage of every purchase to charity.


  • Unless you’re hiking, you will need a backpack labeled ‘Travel’ backpack.
    • Hiking backpacks tend to be more intense, and not well suited for carry-on.
  • Check your flights carry-on size limits
  • Make sure to check the dimensions of the bag before purchasing, many bags do not compress down
  • Hip-belts are good to shift the weight of the backpack from your shoulders to your hips for long walks
  • Should be able to put luggage locks on it
  • Darker colors show less damage


Carry-on Safe
Borderline Carry-On Safe
Could pass for Carry-On, but likely too big