15 Best Packable Backpacks for Travelers in 2024

Pack light and travel far with using packable backpacks designed to fit inside your main travel pack; these bags fold into compact sizes, blending portability with functionality.

For one-bag travelers, there’s nothing better than packable backpacks. They combine the utility of small, light bags designed for short adventures with the convenience of being able to shove them into a side pocket of your main bag.

Whether you’re taking your big hiking backpack into the wilderness or filling your carry-on luggage for your next trip abroad, these bags are great companions.

You can explore side trails without lugging your tent with you, or take a packed lunch and your camera on your next sightseeing tour. Or simply have an extra bag for all your souvenirs when you return home!

Recently there has been an explosion in the number of these packs on the market. Every year, backpack brands are making their bags lighter, more waterproof, more durable, and more supportive.

While it’s fantastic to have so many options, it can be tough to pick which one is right for you.

I’ve tested dozens of travel backpacks in search of the best ones and what makes each one so special. You might even say I’ve got a thing for a good travel bag, especially a well-constructed carry-on backpack.

Whether you’re a digital nomad, avid hiker, city traveler or just love a good adventure, this list of the best packable backpacks has what you need.

1

Matador Freerain22: Best Overall Packable Backpack

Matador Freerain22

If you are looking for the best all-around packable backpack, check out the Matador Freerain22. This pack stands out from most packable daypacks by offering a fully capable pack for hiking and travel rather than just a flimsy bag with shoulder straps.

Matador has gone out of their way to make the bag as waterproof as possible. With 70D Robic® nylon UHMWPE reinforced ripstop fabric, internally sealed seams, and a rolltop opening, this bag can take some liquid punishment. Seriously, you could stand in a torrential rainforest downpour wearing this bag and still have no seepage into the main compartment!

Unfortunately, the exterior pockets areonly water-resistant, so beware of putting your phones or wallets in there.

Besides the waterproofing, there are many other features that I like about this packable daypack. There is a sternum strap and plenty of adjustment options (without the straps getting too messy). The shoulders have lots of support for carrying bigger loads, and there are gear loops with shock cord captures. Crucially, the material used is designed to be very resistant to wear and tear. Packable backpacks tend to be light and flimsy, so it’s nice to see that this one is built to last.

All in all, it’s a very well-rounded daypack. While waterproofing is the key feature, there is plenty more to like about the Matador Freerain: It’s comfortable, durable, and has all the pockets and features you need.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Waterproof.
  • Cool design.
  • Sternum strap for added support.
  • Very adjustable .
  • Two water bottle pockets for extra hydration!
  • Exterior pockets are not waterproof
Dimensions19.5" x 10.5" x 7" inches
Dimensions When Packed3.75" x 3.75" x 5.75" inches
Weight10.6 oz
Capacity22L
Fabric70D Robic® nylon UHMWPE reinforced ripstop
2

G4Free 20L Lightweight Packable Backpack: Best Budget Packable Backpack

G4Free Packable Daypack 20L

G4Free is a brand that makes backpacks in China and sells them on Amazon. No, you shouldn’t expect outstanding quality and durability, but for the price, their stuff is actually pretty good.

Essentially, you have two reasons to buy G4Free 20L Lightweight Packable Backpack: it’s very cheap, and it’s very light. At just 5.6oz, this is a feather-light packable daypack. If you’re concerned about your carry-on luggage weight or being weighed down on the trail, you can leave those worries behind with this packable daypack. The price point definitely leaves you a bit of extra room in your budget too.

However, this packable daypack also has a number of flaws. My biggest concern is the straps, which are made of mesh only. This sheds weight but means there is zero padding, so you’ll be uncomfortable if you’re carrying a heavier load. The bag itself is roomy at 20L, but with no shoulder padding, you won’t be able to pack it full without making yourself seriously uncomfortable.

Furthermore, while this packable daypack has a few pockets, the front zippered pocket zips vertically, making it difficult to actually use.

This is not a bad daypack by any means, and if you are looking for a light bag on a budget, it works. However, if comfort and utility are concerns for you, there are better packs on the market.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Very lightweight.
  • Many different styles and colors .
  • Unique features .
  • Very accessible price .
  • Large 25L capacity
  • Thin mesh shoulder straps.
  • No padding
Dimensions16.5 x 11.5 x 7.1 inches19 x 8.2 x 13 inches
Dimensions When PackedPalm-size
Weight5.6 oz
Capacity20L (35L also available)
FabricRipstop Nylon
3

Bellroy Lite Daypack: Most Stylish Packable Backpack

Bellroy Lite Daypack

Bellroy has been around for a while, and they know their stuff: useful, aesthetic gear with features that travelers need. This packable bag definitely fits that bill.

First things first: the Bellroy Lite Daypack just looks really cool. Most packable daypacks are floppy, saggy, and unappealing; Bellroy has found a way to make their version a fashion item. This is definitely one you could wear around the city as well as the trail.

This bag has a streamlined exterior design that gives this bag the kind of sleek aesthetic that Bellroy is known for.

It also has a lot more to it than most packable backpacks. There is a breathable back panel. The shoulder straps are actually surprisingly comfortable. Plus, there is a great array of pockets on the inside to keep everything organized.

The tradeoff is that the Bellroy Lite Daypack is a bit heavier than others on this list, and it doesn’t pack down as small.

If you need the utmost packability, this probably isn’t the best option. For a stylish bag with a few more features that still packs into your suitcase, this is a great option

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Very stylish design .
  • Great internal organization.
  • Better-than-average comfort
  • Heavier than many packable backpacks.
  • Not as packable as other options
Dimensions18.9 x 10.6 x 7.1 inches
Dimensions When PackedWater-bottle-size
Weight12.3 oz
Capacity20L
Fabric100% Recycled PET
4

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack: Most Versatile Packable Backpack

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack

Osprey is one of my all-time favorite backpack brands. These guys are the heavyweights of the backpack world, at the top of the game for hiking and traveling gear, and this packable daypack is their latest hit.

Osprey Ultralight is a packable daypack with an extremely minimalist design. There is nothing on this backpack that doesn’t need to be there! You get a water bottle pocket, a tiny zip pocket, and that’s it. The whole thing tips the scales at 4oz and packs down into an apple-sized storage pocket.

It’s like wearing a bag made of air.

You would expect that such a lightweight packable daypack would have made every comfort compromise possible, but surprisingly, it wears quite well. While you would not want to be hucking around a chunky camera or your rock collection in this bag, it’s perfect for your average day trek or sightseeing trip. It has the added plus of being moderately water-resistant, as well as coming in a few funky colors.

This bag is a feather-light way to easily carry your essentials with you, and it won’t add anything extra to your luggage. If you’re on the hunt for a weight-efficient packable daypack, this is one of the best options on the market.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Space for your essentials.
  • Sleek design.
  • Surprisingly durable for such a light bag .
  • Protected by Osprey’s excellent warranty
  • Not many organization options.
  • Bottles tend to fall out of side pocket.
  • Would do better with a hydration bladder
Dimensions17 x 9 x 7 inches 
Dimensions When PackedApple size
Weight4 oz
Capacity18L
Fabric40D Nylon Ripstop
5

Aer Go Pack: Most Packable Laptop Backpack

Aer Go Pack 2

If you’re wanting a compact packable backpack that can also carry a laptop (safely), you’re options are pretty limited. Most packable backpacks are very minimal and don’t have a good laptop pocket.

Aer is a San-Fancisco-based brand that specializes in sleek, functional gear for travel and everyday urban use. Like many modern startup brands, they got their start through crowdfunding campaigns. Now they build some of the best travel packs and bags on the market.

The Aer Go Pack is a unique product. It is a full-featured travel/city daypack with great styling, lots of pockets, comfortable shoulder straps, a padded back panel, and a suspended laptop sleeve.

Unlike other packs on this list that stuff down into their own pocket, the Aer Go Pack is designed to pack flat inside luggage. It definitely isn’t quite as compact as other packable backpacks, but I’m willing to make that tradeoff to give my laptop a little better protection.

As far as features go, you get two stretchy side pockets for bottles, a front pocket that’s great for stuffing in a jacket, a top zipped pocket, and a small zippered pocket inside that’s perfect for do-not-lose items like passports.

Even if you don’t need to carry a laptop, this is a great lightweight bag for travel that gives you more comfort and features than most packable backpacks.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Durable materials.
  • Comfy padded shoulder straps and back panel.
  • Suspended laptop compartment.
  • Stylish design
  • Heavier than others.
  • Doesn't pack down as small
Dimensions17 x 11 x 5.5 inches 
Dimensions When Packed17 x 11 x 1 inches (flat packed, can also be folded in half)
Weight1 lb 5 oz
Capacity20L
Fabric210D Cordura Nylon (Bluesign approved)
6

WANDRD VEER 18L: Best Packable Camera Backpack

WANDRD VEER 18L Packable Daypack

WANDRD earned its fame a few years ago with a Kickstarter to build a backpack for photographers, and they ended up with the PRVKE. With the enormous success of that initial product, they’ve come back again with VEER, a packable daypack designed for photographers.

This bag’s unique features are impressive and it’s designed to carry a lot of stuff. The standouts are the inflatable components: to save packing space and increase comfort, the back padding is actually a tubing system that you manually inflate. The bag also comes with a space-efficient inflatable camera cube that protects your precious gear from any knocks and bumps.

Structurally, this packable daypack is pretty sound. It wears well, with aerated padding in the shoulders and back for sweat-wicking, and a good fit for your spine’s natural curvature. The sternum strap adds even more support. The bag itself is made of very robust materials and WANDRD offers a lot of compatible add-ons for your lenses and other equipment, plus some daisy chains to lash a tripod onto the back of the bag.

When not in use, it packs to the size of a tissue box.

Would I recommend it to you? Only if you’re a photographer. There are a lot of interesting features in this packable daypack, but the hefty price tag is difficult to justify unless you’re camera-happy.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Inflatable strap padding and camera cube.
  • Natural and ergonomic fit .
  • Built for photographers.
  • Sternum strap
  • Relatively large when packed.
  • Expensive.
  • Not so good for non-photographers
Dimensions18 x 11 x 9 inches 
Dimensions When Packed6 x 9 x 2 inches 
Weight12.8 oz
Capacity18L
FabricWeather Resistant N100D Robic Dynatec and N210D Robic HD Oxford
7

Exped Splash 15: Best Waterproof Packable Backpack

Exped Splash 15

Most backpacks are made of water-resistant materials, but that doesn’t mean you should rely on them to keep your gear dry in a thunderstorm or on a paddling trip.

The Exped Splash is a unique little backpack. It was originally designed for river swimming, and it draws on Exped’s expertise in drybags to deliver a fully waterproof construction. It has a roll-top opening and fully taped seams, which is something you don’t see often, even in packs claiming to be waterproof.

This bag definitely is not for everyone. It doesn’t have any organization pockets, it isn’t super comfortable, and it looks a bit…unique. If you’re looking for a better all-around backpack that can shed rain, the Matador FreeRain is a better choice.

The Exped Splash is absolutely the best pack on this list though for pure waterproofness. If you’re heading on a kayaking, paddleboarding, or rafting trip and want to be sure your stuff will stay dry, this is the bag for you.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Roll-top primary compartment .
  • Fully taped seams.
  • Lightweight
  • Not great for everyday use
Dimensions16.5 x 9.4 x 4.7 inches
Dimensions When PackedApple-size
Weight3.7 oz
Capacity15 L
FabricPolyurethane-coated, recycled 70-denier taffeta nylon with 7,000 mm water column
8

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil: Best Lightweight Packable Backpack

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil

Just when I thought packable backpacks couldn’t get any lighter, Sea to Summit came along to prove me wrong. I’m a big fan of Sea to Summit products in general, so I was pretty keen to see what this one had to offer.

The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil weighs 2.5oz. That’s right, two point five ounces! It’s a shockingly lightweight packable daypack that folds up into a keychain-sized pouch.

As you might expect, everything has been stripped out to make this packable daypack lighter. There are no pockets except for the main compartment. There are a couple of webbing loops at the bottom where you can attach a bike light, but that’s the only frill about this backpack.

Sea to Summit has managed to design this packable daypack in a way that is still reasonably comfortable despite its thin shoulder straps and lack of padding, mostly thanks to its innovative stitching and a shape that hugs close to the back. This is a sturdy bag that will stand the test of time, built from durable materials and put together with care.

The standard warnings about light backpacks still apply to the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil: the lack of padding impedes comfort, and it’s not suitable for carrying a lot of gear. But at 2.5oz this bag takes up virtually no space, and that’s essential for any light traveler.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Ultralight.
  • Packs down to almost nothing at all .
  • Excellent minimalist backpack with only one pocket
  • No padding.
  • Thin shoulder straps
Dimensions11 x 18 x 8 inches 
Dimensions When Packed2 x 1 x 1 inches 
Weight2.5 oz
Capacity20L
Fabric450D Mini Ripstop PU
9

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Pack: Best Roll-Top Packable Backpack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Pack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear builds some of the best outdoor packs out there, hands down. Their backpacks are all hand-made in Maine, and they use the most advanced materials on the market to give you lightweight, durable, waterproof gear.

While zippers are the standard closure method for backpacks, there are a lot of advantages to a roll-top design. It’s simple, more durable, and can be fully waterproof with the right fabric. Plus, you always look cool opening a roll-top.

The Hyperlite Stuff Pack is a featherweight roll-top backpack that’s designed for minimalist hikers. It’s made from high-tech dyneema composite fabric. Combined with the roll-top design and taped-seam construction, this bag is virtually waterproof. I don’t know if I’d quite trust it on a whitewater rafting trip, but anything other than that should be totally within its water-repelling capability.

The shoulder straps don’t have much as far as padding goes, but they’re wide and well-shaped to deliver the best comfort.

If you’re looking for features, this pack has none. It’s one big top-opening compartment with shoulder straps sewn on. That’s it. You don’t get anything in terms of organization here, but if you’re looking for a simple, durable pack that feels like it isn’t there, this is the one for you.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Ultralight.
  • Fully waterproof materials and design.
  • Surprisingly durable for its weight
  • No padding.
  • No organization
Dimensions11 x 18 x 8 inches 
Dimensions When PackedApple-size
Weight4.7 oz
Capacity30L
FabricDyneema composite fabric
10

Matador Beast28 Ultralight Technical Backpack: Best Packable Hiking Backpack

Matador Beast 28

If you’re looking for high-performance packable backpacks for hiking and other outdoor pursuits, the Matador Beast28 Ultralight Technical Backpack is a purpose-built lightweight pack for exploring the outdoors.

While it is designed to be packable, Matador didn’t skimp on performance with this well-designed pack. The biggest difference between this and pretty much any other packable daypack is that it has a built-in frame to provide extra support. I was blown away by how they were able to have a framed backpack that’s still packable.

The frame is a spring-steel hoop sewn into the back panel. When in use, it does a decent job at distributing the weight (though it definitely isn’t enough for really heavy loads). To collapse the backpack, you just twist the entire frame, and it folds in on itself into a much smaller package. Crazy!

There is also a removable padded hip belt. Combined with the frame, this works well for getting some of the weight off your shoulders and onto your hips. The shoulder straps are also very comfortable, making this the best pack on this list for carrying slightly heavier loads.

Beyond that, this bag is packed with all the features you’d expect from a fully equipped hiking daypack. There are two stretchy bottle pockets, a hydration bladder sleeve, great pockets for keeping smaller items organized, and loops for an ice axe or trekking poles.

The downside to all these features is that this bag is a bit heavier than the others on this list. It also begs the question: do you really need a packable daypack? If you’re looking for a full-featured hiking pack, you may be better off getting one with just a bit more structure and skip the packability.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Framed design for great support.
  • Very comfortable shoulder straps.
  • Tons of features for hiking.
  • Durable
  • Heavier than other packable backpacks.
  • Doesn't perform as well as a more structured daypack 
Dimensions22 x 11 x 7 inches
Dimensions When Pack9 x 9 x 3.5 inches
Weight1 lb 8 oz
Capacity28 L
Fabric210D Robic Nylon
11

Eagle Creek PACK-IT Reveal Org Convertible Pack: Best Small Packable Backpack

Eagle Creek Pack It Reveal Org Convertible Pack

Do you need to carry just the essentials and want a daypack that takes up the minimal space in your travel bag?

The Eagle Creek PACK-IT Reveal Org Convertible Pack is a unique design based on Eagle Creek’s packing cubes. While traveling, use it like a normal packing cube to keep your stuff organized. Then, when you get to your destination, turn it inside out, and it becomes a tiny daypack.

How’s that for multi-purpose?

It has an organization panel with tons of little pockets to keep your phone, cables, headphones, identification, and other small items compartmentalized during travel, whether it’s in your travel bag or on your back.

 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Doubles as a packing cube.
  • Great organization.
  • Durable materials
  • Too small for some people.
  • Heavier than many alternatives
Dimensions10.25 x 16.75 x 3 inches 
Dimensions When PackedPalm-size 
Weight8 oz
Capacity13.5L
Fabric100% Recycled 300D Polyester
12

Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable 20L: Most Comfortable Packable Backpack

Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable 20L

Eddie Bauer was a man who started making outdoor adventure gear almost 100 years ago. To this day, his company is a leader in American adventure gear, and I was excited to test their new packable daypack.

The Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable 20L is a decent packable bag. It has an ergonomic shape designed to hold your items close to your back and to evenly distribute weight. The shoulder straps have a fair bit of integrity with some padding for comfort. Although, once again, I wouldn’t want to be carrying anything heavier than a water bottle in this bag—it’s just not built to easily carry heavy loads, despite being a 20L.

There are several handy pockets on the outside and inside, but they have made the front pocket a vertical pocket. As I mentioned before, this isn’t a great design feature and it really limits what you can put inside that pocket.

In terms of material and design, this packable daypack really shines. The polyester composite is partially waterproof, meaning that your stuff won’t be drenched in a sudden shower. The designers also thought to include a few loops to attach extra stuff to the back.

Finally, the amount of colors and designs for the Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable Daypack are pretty awesome. There are some really unique designs on the product website!

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Water-resistant material .
  • Good weight distribution.
  • Padded shoulder straps.
  • Extra webbing loops.
  • Lots of color options
  • Heavier than other options.
  • Not great for heavy loads
Dimensions18 x 10 x 9 inches 
Dimensions When PackedN/A
Weight11 oz
Capacity20L
Fabric200D Ripstop Polyester
13

Matador ReFraction: Best Packable Everyday Backpack

Matador ReFraction

Matador shows up on this list multiple times for good reason. They specialize in making some of the best packable backpacks around, and that shows in their innovative designs and impressive quality.

If you’re looking for a backpack to use every day, the Matador ReFraction is a great choice. It’s simple, streamlined, and stylish. It has just the right features for minimal everyday carry.

Most packable backpacks are pretty bare-bones, with not much besides a single zippered opening and some fabric shoulder straps. That doesn’t work well for everyday carry, because you don’t have any way to organize your stuff.

In true Matador form, the ReFraction changes that with a utilitarian design that includes two water bottle pockets, a top zippered pocket, and comfortable shoulder straps. It’s still very stripped-back compared to a full-featured backpacks, but this packable daypack is one you’ll actually want to use on a daily basis.

 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Stylish design.
  • Useful features and pockets.
  • Durable construction
  • Not as light or compact as some alternatives
Dimensions17 x 10 x 7.5 inches
Dimensions When Packed5.5 x 8 x 3 inches
Weight7.9oz
Capacity16L
Fabric100D recycled nylon, PU waterproofing
14

Osprey Remnants: Most Durable Packable Backpack

Osprey Remnants

Not everyone wants the absolute lightest pack that’s made with featherweight materials. If you are a bit harder on gear, you need something tougher.

Osprey is known for building durable backpacks, and the Osprey Remnants packable backpack. It’s made from tough 210-denier ripstop nylon. That, combined with excellent build quality and a simple design, makes this pack ready to take a beating.

You get two water bottle pockets and a top zippered pocket with this pack, so it offers more utility and organization than many packable bags.

The best part is in the name. The Remnants backpack is made from remnant fabric that’s left over while manufacturing Osprey’s larger backpacks. That means that leftover fabric is being kept from going to the landfill. It also means Osprey offers this bag at a very low price. Win, win!

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Durable materials.
  • Made from left-over fabric from other products.
  • Very affordable
  • Not great for hiking.
  • Not super comfortable
Dimensions15.75 X 10.24 X 7.48 inches 
Dimensions When PackedPalm-size
Weight8.3oz
Capacity17L
Fabric210D mini hex diamond ripstop nylon
15

Cotopaxi Batac 16L: Most Eco-Friendly Packable Backpack

Cotopaxi

If you’re looking for something truly unique, this is the bag for you. That’s because every single Batac backpack is a unique item, created by the Cotopaxi workers from scrap material from other products. How cool is that? Not only is it unique, but it also reduces the environmental impact of the bag.

The fact that it’s made from leftovers means that each bag is slightly unique in build as well as color. While each bag has the same broad strokes in terms of structure and design, some bags will have slightly different materials in terms of elasticity, breathability, and flexibility. All Batac bags are made with ripstop nylon, so there’s no need to worry about the quality of the materials overall.

Oh, and did I mention color? These bags are a riot of visual delight, with all kinds of different colors patched together according to the whims of the manufacturer. This is definitely the daypack for someone who wants a bit of self-expression.

In terms of packability, this one won’t fold into its own pocket. However, as it is very lightweight and unstructured, so it compresses very easily and takes up relatively little space in a larger piece of luggage.

As far as other features go, there is a vertical zippered pocket down the side which I think is an excellent idea if you are after something in a hurry.

All in all, this is an unconventional choice to be sure. But I love the color splash that these backpacks provide, as well as the knowledge that this bag represents a little less waste in the world.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Technical Specs
  • Eco-friendly choice as it’s made from leftover materials from other products.
  • Colorful.
  • Good design.
  • Comfy shoulder straps
  • A little heavy
Dimensions19 x 11 x 4 inches 
Dimensions When PackedN/A
Weight12oz
Capacity16L
Fabric75D-210D Nylon

How to Choose a Packable Backpack

Packable backpacks are a rising trend in the travel and outdoor adventure world; they provide a valuable addition to any luggage. There are many factors that might go into your decision to buy one. Let’s start with why they’re are a great idea:

  • They make it easier to explore side trails if you take one in your hiking backpack. Leave the big fella at the campsite and race ahead with the baby version and some snacks!
  • They can be a great addition to your carry-on luggage on the plane. If you’re all about a one-bag travel lifestyle, these packs allow you to be so much more versatile. Plus, it means one less bag to keep track of once it’s stowed in your main luggage.
  • They’re super lightweight. They’re great for peak bashing and climbing in the summer.

So, when is a packable daypack not a good idea? If you have to carry a lot of heavy items, such as heavy camera equipment, lots of food, or several days of gear. Unfortunately, the fabrics that make these daypacks just aren’t strong enough to carry that kind of thing!

Let’s have a look at some key factors.

1. Materials

Advances in fabric technology mean that packable daypacks have gone from simple totes to essential equipment. This means there are quality products out there, so you shouldn’t settle for a backpack with the integrity of a supermarket bag.

Make sure you find a packable daypack that will last, ideally built of high ripstop nylon or waterproof sailcloth.

2. Weight

A crucial asset in addition to materials. You won’t be carrying multiple water bottles with these packs (most don’t even have water bottle pockets). They’re designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, and excess weight can be pretty obtrusive. Be careful with how light you want your bag — too light, and the structural integrity will be compromised.

If you think you’ll need to carry lots of heavier stuff, make sure your pack has sternum straps to balance a heavier load.

3. Padding

While this is less of a concern in a packable daypack that won’t be carrying much weight, padding is still important. Not only does it provide that little bit of extra comfort, but good back and shoulder padding (and a good shoulder strap system) also provides air access to wick away excess sweat. Because, let’s face it, no one loves a shirt soaked in back sweat.

4. Weatherproofing

While most packable daypacks don’t claim to be waterproof, it’s nice to know that they won’t get soaked immediately if the rain starts falling. There are waterproof packable backpacks out there, so make sure you take a look if you expect to be walking through wet and rainy areas.

Final Thoughts on Buying a Packable Backpack

While the Matador FreeRain is one of my favorite packable backpacks on the market, it all comes down to choosing what’s right for you and what you want to carry. If you’re a city traveler, you probably don’t need the bells and whistles of a climbing backpack.

At the end of the day, these packs are meant to make traveling easier on you. I hope you find the bag of your travel dreams!


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Packable Backpacks FAQs

What is a packable backpack?

A packable backpack is one that can be stuffed or rolled into a small package or into its own pocket.

What backpack fits as a carry-on?

Backpacks under 45 liters work as a carry-on.

What backpacks are good for travel?

Travel-specific carry-on backpacks are the best for travel.

What size backpack can fit under airplane seat?

To fit under an airplane seat, a backpack needs to be less than 18″ x 14″ x 8″.

Does backpack under the seat count as carry-on?

A backpack that fits under the airplane seat counts as your personal item. You can still bring a separate carry-on.

About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.
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