Top 10 Best Backpacks for Air Travel 2021

In today’s world, most people fly at least occasionally. This leads to many people wondering what the best backpacks for air travel are. Airlines tend to have specific requirements for backpacks and other bags that are allowed on flights, with stricter requirements for carry-ons than checked bags. You could simply grab any old backpack off the shelf of your local store, but that simply won’t be convenient. There is a much better selection online which lets you get the best possible bag to take on your next flight.

List of best backpacks for air travel:

Cabin Max Backpack44L$$4.9
High Sierra Not listed$$$4.8
Hikpro Ultralight Packable25L$4.8
Supra Ballistic Nylon Not listed$$$4.8
Victoriatourist V6019 Not listed$$4.7
bagoNot listed$$4.7
Sandpiper of CaliforniaNot listed$$$4.6
Trim Fit Life30L$$4.6
Ody Travel Gear20L$4.5
Reland Equipment28L$3.9

Detailed review of best backpacks for air travel and their features:

Victoriatourist V6019 Laptop Backpack

good air travel backpacks

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As the name implies, this is one of the best backpacks for air travel options with a built-in compartment for your laptop. It can hold the majority of 15-inch laptops and is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you on a flight. The laptop compartment is padded. There are also interior organization areas to let you fit your cell phone, pens, power adapter, mouse, and anything else you need.

The backpack is highly durable, made from heavy-duty 1200D nylon with SBS metal zippers. It even has a multi-panel design in the back that brings air to your back so you don’t get too sweaty while walking around the airport.

KROSER Travel Laptop Backpack 17.3 Inch XL Heavy Duty Computer Backpack

good rated backpacks for air travel

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The main area of this best backpacks for air travel holds a laptop with a screen that is up to 15-inches. There are also plenty of interior organization compartments so you can fit all of your devices, cables, and other supplies. There are even areas that are the perfect size for your airline tickets and identification.

This bag was made of high-quality fabric that can stand up to abuse without a problem. It is also resistant to wear as well as water retardant so you don’t have to worry about water damage to your computer.

Hikpro Ultralight Packable Travel Backpack

top backpacks for air travel

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For those who want a slightly larger backpack for flying, this Hikpro model is great. You can even fold it up into a sandwich-size pocket of the bag you don’t need it. At 19 by 12 by 8 inches, it is small enough to work as a carry-on bag so you can pack it on the way to your destination and use it on the way back.

The high-quality nylon is tear and water-resistant and the metal zipper is a resistant SBS model. The bag has been reinforced in over 12 places and comes with a five-year warranty. It is also incredibly comfortable with the breathable, wide shoulder straps and the adjustments for the strap length. You can carry plenty of travel supplies in the large compartment and the outer pocket will even hold a magazine or tablet. There is also a smaller outer pocket as well as an inner zippered one for your valuables. Storage is complete with two side mesh pockets for an umbrella or water bottle and hence this is one of the best backpacks for air travel.

High Sierra A.T. Ultimate Access Carry-On

good backpacks for air travel

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Travelers who want the best rolling backpack for air travel will love this option. You can use it as a day pack, backpack, or wheeled bag depending on your needs. Simply remove the front day pack to have a compact backpack well within the carry-on limits. The day pack has its own two side water bottle holders, zippered accessory pocket, headphone access port, organizer, and back strap. You can use the exterior compression straps to make the bag take up even less room. Because of features like these this is in our list of best backpacks for air travel.

The main compartment opens like a book and has hold-down straps to organize your clothing. The backpack straps can be hidden in a panel when using the skate-style oversized wheels. The telescoping handle locks in place and hides in a zippered compartment when you don’t need it.

Cabin Max Backpack

best backpacks for air travel

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This is a great bag for those who want to maximize storage space while still using a carry-on backpack. The backpack easily fits within the maximum size limits but still holds 44 liters of luggage.

It is lightweight, but the shower-proof nylon material has a high strength for durability. There are three main zippered areas as well as two interior zippered compartments. The carrying handles, shoulder straps, and side straps are all adjustable.

Features to look for purchasing the best backpacks for air travel.

To help narrow down the thousands of backpacks on the market and find the best backpacks for air travel for your next trip on an airplane, you will want to consider several factors. Some will come down to personal preference while other features are a good idea for any traveler to have.

Carry-On or Checked

The first thing to think about is whether you want a backpack for air travel that you can use as a carry-on or if you mind checking it. The majority of backpacks will be small enough to work as carry-ons, especially if they are 30 liters or less. Only the largest backpacks need to be checked, but if you plan on backpacking across Europe or another area for weeks, you may want to consider larger bags that can be checked.


Durability is particularly important for checked backpacks as they will be thrown about, loaded onto conveyer belts, and piled high in stacks of bags. If you are checking your backpack, make durability a priority and ensure it can put up to being manhandled. You may also want to double check it can easily support the maximum weight limit, which is typically 50 pounds.

Even if you are looking for the best carry-on backpack for air travel, you want it to be durable. You will probably load it up with all the items you need for a day of traveling and want space for crucial things like medications in case your checked bag is lost. Not to mention, more durable bags will last longer, saving you money over time.


You will need to consider whether or not you want a sturdy frame on your backpack. This feature is typically found on larger backpacks, but you can find standard-sized ones with frames and larger hiking ones without. Frames make it easier to protect your luggage and add some element of organization. On the other hand, they make the bag heavier and limit the size to which you can compact the bag, making some too large for carry-ons.

Weight and Size

The weight and size of your bag is another important consideration when looking for the best backpack for air travel, especially when using it as a carry-on. Most airlines have similar size restrictions for their carry-on bags which means you should avoid backpacks that are bigger than 22 by 14 by 9 inches for carry-ons. You will need the bag to be even smaller if you want it to fit under the seat in front of you or count as your personal item to be paired with a larger carryon bag. Many travelers find it best to stick to a bag within the upper size limits as this maximizes the amount they can fit inside and since airlines rarely check the weight of carry-ons.

Exterior Compartments

Next, consider the compartments and pockets in the backpack. The best backpack for air travel will have an easily accessible compartment to hold important documents like your identification and boarding pass. You should also have plenty of interior compartments to let you organize your items to your satisfaction.

Where It Loads

When looking at the larger backpacks for air travel, it is always smart to choose one that loads in the front as opposed to the top. Otherwise, you will find yourself having to remove everything if you want an item near the bottom.

Computer Area

Think about whether you need your bag to have a designated computer slot. Many bags have this built-in compartment with padding now and it is incredibly convenient. If you get a bag with a computer slot, choose a TSA-approved one so you don’t have to take your laptop out of your bag.

Water Bottle Holder

Smart traveling involves bringing an empty water bottle through security and filling it up once you reach the other side. To do this, you need somewhere to put the bottle so opt for a bag with a designated water bottle holder.

Padding and Adjustability

The best backpacks will have adjustable straps with padding on them to help support the weight comfortable. Some bags may even have removable waist or sternum straps, which are ideal in larger options.


Think about whether you want an expandable backpack. These are perfect for travelers who want to bring souvenirs back home.


Consider whether you will be comfortable with a rolling backpack or a standard non-rolling one. Wheels make it easier to move but increase the weight.

Lockable Zippers

Finally, think about whether you want to lock your bag and if this will be an option.

Once you have figured out what features you need in your best backpack for air travel, you are ready to look at the some of the options. The following items are all comfortable, durable, and great for flying. Most are carry-on sized while some must be checked.

How to pack your backpack for air travel

Whether you go for a short or a long trip, when it comes to packing backpack you have to pack your things well organized and smartly. Here in this tutorial you will learn how to do packing all in one bag.


No matter which bag you choose from the list, you will own one of the best backpack for air travel options. Soon you can be flying without worrying about keeping an eye on your luggage or organizing your items.

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