Over the years you do gain a lot of wisdom. If you like to take a backpack when travelling then the choice you make will ultimately define the success of your travels.
I have travelled to many places and over they years I have gone through my fair share of backpacks. Now in those days I did make some really good choices, but also made my choice of very bad choices.
I am here to tell you that making the wrong choice is a very painful mistake. My back, arms and shoulders paid the price for a hasty decision on which was the best backpack to buy for air travel.
Hopefully I can now pass on my wisdom and leave you pain free and avoid making the bad choices.
It may not seem like that big of a decision but please believe me that it is. That is especially true if you plan on going on a longer trip or perhaps visiting a number of destinations such as travelling around Europe.
So to help you out I have provided a guide that should help you find the best travel backpacks in the United Kingdom.
Why Choose a Backpack for Travelling?
There are so many choices for luggage these days, why bother with a backpack at all? Many people prefer the suitcase on wheels or the good old duffel holdall where you can just chuck everything in and go. For many years I did what most travellers do and just pack a good suitcase and go on my holidays.
The bottom line though is that by using a backpack, well a comfortable one, just makes travelling a great deal simpler and easier. The main point I guess is that you can get them over your shoulders and that leaves your hands free for anything else that you want to do. (No more having to set your hand luggage or suitcase on those toilet floors)
The key to getting one of the better travel packs is of course to get one that fits your size and build, and then make sure that when packed, the weight is evenly distributed across the entire pack, and not as a lead weight in the bottom of it.
I think this is really important if like me you use public transport when abroad, or like to visit tourist attractions and are on and off buses, walking over difficult enough terrain, and even simple things like escalators and stairs.
Top 10 Backpacks for Air Travel
Just below we have listed the top 10 backpacks for air travel. These are listed by the backpacks with the highest buyer satisfaction rating in decreasing order. In other words those with the highest rating are at the top of the list.
If you click on any of the product names, then you can read a concise review on each of the backpacks on my list.
- Travel Laptop Backpack
- Laptop Backpack,Beyle Slim Anti-theft
- SEAGULL Black Laptop Backpack
- Under Armour Men's Ua Hustle
- Berghaus Twentyfourseven Plus Rucksack
- Laptop Backpack, Sosoon Anti-Theft
- G4Free Lightweight Small Chest Sling Shoulder Backpacks
- Trespass Albus Backpack, 30 Litre
- BagBase BG125 Fashion Backpack
- 25L-30L Rucksack Foldable Ultralight Packable Backpack
Professional Business Backpack Review
This is the highest buyer rated backpack for air travel on my list. It has multi compartments and a padded laptop section suitable for any device up to 15.6"
It also has a hidden anti-theft pocket and comes with a built-in charging cable and USB port.
It is made from a waterproof polyester fabric with smooth metal zippers. Adjustable comfortable straps then complete this backpack.
Under Armour Men's Ua Hustle Ldwr Traditional Backpack
Coming in at number 4 on my list is the popular Under Armour brand with one of their best selling backpacks.
This one is available in 13 colours so you should be able to find one that suits you. This backpack is made from a highly water resistant material and can hold up to a 15" laptop.
It also has an abrasion resistant bottom panel, and a soft lined laptop sleeve. There is also a water-repellent front valuables pocket to help keep your stuff safe, and to top it off there is adjustable HeatGear shoulder straps for extra comfort.
G4Free Lightweight Small Chest Sling Shoulder Backpack
You do see quite a number of people opting for this sling shoulder bag style and it is simply just a mini backpack.
I included this on my list as this one is slightly different but may suit many people. It can carry up to a 7.9" tablet and for some users that is all they want this for. Well that and a few of their valuables and charging appliances and leads.
It is made from a water and tear resistant nylon fabric and has a metal zipper. The edges have reinforced stitching. It measures 38 x 19 x 6 CM and big enough to hold all your essentials.
There is one main compartment with an internal pocket, a front zipped pocket, and a side mesh pocket.
It weighs only -.13 kg and has a well padded back and broad shoulder strap.
Trespass Albus Backpack
This remains a very popular choice for many UK buyers. The main reason for that is that it is good quality, but it is also at a very affordable price.
It is available in four colours and is made from a tough and durable polyester material.
If you plan on hiking when you get off your flight, then this is a good choice. There are 3 sipped sections on the front, a side mesh pocket and an internal key ring. It has a large 30 litre capacity
BagBase BG125 Fashion Backpack
This backpack is available in a whopping 38 different colours. It is made from polyester and has a padded back panel.
This is a basic type of backpack and that is reflected in the price. Please note this can only be hand washed.
It measures 42 x 31 x 21 cm, weighs 350 grams and has an 18 litres capacity.
Rucksack Foldable Ultralight Packable Backpack
This backpack is the cheapest on my list and yet it still comes with a lifetime warranty. It is a lightweight backpack with a 25 litre capacity.
It fits into an ultra-compact pouch. It is also easy to folds up into a small pocket size. That means you can pack it in your suitcase and have an extra bag without it taking up space.
How to Pick the Right Backpack for Air Travel?
When people travel they usually bring with them a large piece of luggage and a piece of hand luggage. These will be restricted in size depending on the airline that you travel with. When it comes to backpacks, then you can take a larger one that will need checked into the cargo hold, but you can also bring a small pack for taking into the cabin itself.
Alternatively you can take a suitcase with you for your main luggage and a smaller backpack to use as hand luggage. That is a great idea as it can double up as your hand luggage, but is also super handy for day trips, coach tours, going down to the pool or the beach.
The backpacks that you pick will of course depend on the type of holiday that you are planning. For most people though they will simply want a backpack that can be used for hand luggage and it will end up being a multi-purpose bag.
The only real question that you have to ask is what is the main purpose of your backpack? In simple terms what will it be used for the most? For some it will be used mainly for business trips and to carry a laptop, some papers etc? Some will want a pack for hiking and other outdoor activities. Some will want a pack to hold some basic things needed for the flight and the hotel check-in, like passports, travel documentation, some water and some sweets.
No matter what the reason is, once you have determined how you want to use the pack, consider whether a travel backpack is really the best option for you? I know for example many younger people like to travel around a lot and use hostels or camp sites, so it is worth keeping in mind that a good quality backpacking backpack can double up really well as a backpack for general travelling.
Make Sure YOUR Backpack has These Features
The Right Size
Yes I know that this may at first seem obvious, but I have seen more mistakes than enough at the airport check-in to know that many people get this wrong. The size allowed varies from airline to airline. Small backpacks which are ideal for hand luggage usually are considered to be anything less than 22" x 14" x 9". Anything under that size will be allowed onboard as standard hand luggage.
Cabin Max Backpack - Best in Class
In my opinion, and according to over 2,000 buyer reviews at Amazon UK, the Cabin Max easily wins the best in class for this type of smaller backpack. It has a great 44 litre capacity, is ultra lightweight at just 660 grams and will suit Easyjet, Ryanair and most other airlines.
This backpack is the best for air travelling of almost any kind. It comes in 35 different colours so something there for everyone. It has a 3-year guarantee and is made from a shower resistant material so will keep your items dry.
It comes with 3 main compartments and two internal compartments all of which are zipped. So those along with padded adjustable shoulder straps, and internal packing straps make this one of the best in the UK market in 2016.
So we know that size is important but having padded straps is for certain high on the list for comfort. It is not enough though that they are padded, but we all have different sizes of body frames, so they also need to be adjustable. Just be aware that some of these packs do have adjustable straps, but are not as adjustable as they should be.
Likewise your pack should also have side compression straps as these help hold everything in place and stop the bag from becoming bottom heavy. Having these helps evenly distribute the weight across the pack and therefore across your back and shoulders.
Best Backpack for Business Travel
The Cabin Max I have mentioned above does a very good job for general business travel. However most people who travel on business will regularly use a laptop, and many want extra protection for that expensive item.
For those travellers I would still recommend the Cabin Max, but this time they do the same back with a padded notebook or laptop compartment. That makes it an ideal choice as it is a good backpack for business travel, and it will keep your laptop or tablet safe and sound.
There is not the same choice in colour but it is a much safer bet to have the padded compartment.