Looking to start a minimalist travel journey? Packing light and enjoying more? Great! Because in this article you will see the best minimalist travel backpack for digital nomads, to start your minimalist travel adventure.
Choosing the best minimalist travel gear is essential to have a hassle-free traveling experience.
However, we all have different travel needs and budgets, so in this article, you will get a detailed list of the top 8 minimal backpacks that are:
If you are wondering what we’ll cover today here is a snippet of the best minimalist backpacks for digital nomads:
- How To Choose The Best Backpack For Minimalist Travel?
- Top Pick- Best Overall Minimalist Travel Backpack
- Best Minimalist Carry On Travel Backpack
- Best Minimalist Waterproof Travel Backpack
- Best Minimalist Travel Backpack For Hiking
- Best Minimalist Ultralight Travel Backpack
- Best Budget-Friendly Minimalist Travel Backpack
- Best Minimalist Antitheft Travel Backpack
- The Best Minimalist Laptop Travel Backpack
- What Is A Good Size For Minimal Backpack Carry-On?
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How To Choose The Best Backpack For Minimalist Travel?
The best minimalist backpacks for you will highly vary based on what type of traveling needs you have, for example, the tech gear a leisure traveler may need is not the same as a business traveler or as a freelance writer digital nomad.
However, when choosing the best minimalist backpack for you, there are some things you should consider:
Weight And Size
Weight and Size are important factors when choosing a minimalist backpack as they both affect the baggage fee you could pay for, so it’s travel-wise to choose a backpack that can be used as a carry-on to save money on baggage fees.
Also, the size of your minimalist backpack will affect how many things you can bring, so it can’t be too little so your essential stuff can be packed without any problem.
Finally, weight can affect your physical health, more specifically your back and shoulders, so it is important to analyse the best minimalist backpacks that are made of lightweight materials or which design optimizes adequate weight distribution.
This brings us to our next big factor, comfort.
Some things that make a backpack more comfortable are:
- Carry Handlers;
- Back panels;
- Waist and shoulder straps;
- Hip belt;
All of those things help you relieve the weight stress on your shoulders and back, so you should look for backpacks that have all or some of those accessories.
Also, although it is possible to find budget-friendly minimalist backpack options you should know that the more comfortable a backpack is the pricier it gets, so always have your budget in mind.
Speaking of backpack accessories, another important factor is usability.
This factor will vary based on what you are going to use the backpack for.
For example, if you are going to a not-so-secure city you would like an anti-theft minimalist backpack, whereas if you are going kayaking a waterproof backpack will be best for you.
So, although the design is important for a backpack minimalist approach as you want it to look sleek, professional, and thoughtfully designed so it doesn’t just look like another hiking backpack, it is still crucial to consider what you are going to need the backpack for and the available budget.
If not, you could end in a rabbit hole looking for hours and hours.
Finally, durability, you want your investment to last as much as possible right?
If so, buy a backpack according to your travel activities, how many things you will pack, and if you’re going to take it for hiking or other outdoor activities that demand high durability.
For example, a lightweight pack won’t have the same storage capacity and sturdiness as a hiking pack, so always bear in mind the use before making your purchase.
Top Pick- Best Overall Minimalist Travel Backpack
The Peak Design Travel Line Backpack is at the top list of the best minimalist travel backpacks thanks to its high travel usability and durability.
Weather is for work, leisure, or both. With it you can travel to mountains, go hiking, surfing, weekend getaways, travel the world as a digital nomad, you name it.
The organisation of this backpack is awesome (especially if you combine it with Peak design organization accessories which are incredibly useful), so you can easily stuff in your cameras, laptop, tablets, travel clothes passport without worrying about things getting broken or not fitting in.
However, if we stick just to the backpack it offers hidden pockets, top pockets, and different internal organization compartments as well as easy to access compartments you can access from both sides, front and back of the backpack.
This way you can easily access your travel gear and save time. Plus, for better internal storage and organization it has a zippered diving panel which helps separate the bag into two compartments or merge it into one if you desire!
Finally, putting aside easy accessibility, high durability, and large storage capacity, this backpack can be used as a carry-on in the majority of airlines, helping you save checked-in luggage money. (Although it is at the maximum capacity allowed)
Product Dimensions: 22 x 9 x 13 inches
Capacity: 35L configuration expandable to 45L max storage.
- It is made of a tough recycled 400D nylon shell;
- Has external straps to carry even more (good for photographers or media producers that travel with large tech gear);
- The backpack contracts so it can be used as a daypack;
- The shoulder straps are comfortable and can be tucked away;
- Has adjustable waist straps;
- Has several pockets accessible from the outside, including and top pockets to store important items;
- Offers dual side zippers for instant camera and item access;
- Quick tablet and laptop access using the main back zip.
- Looks very sleek.
- Some clients consider the backpack material bulky and too rigid;
- It is very expensive.
Best Minimalist Carry-On Travel Backpack
TSA Ready, the Nomatic 40L Travel Bag has the ideal measures ( 9″ H x 21″ W x 14″ D) to conveniently be used as a carry-on bag while still having a great amount of space for your stuff.
The innovative space design of this backpack puts it ahead of its competition as travelers love the well-though different and useful compartments this backpack has specifically designed for avid travelers.
Instead of having multiple zippers with compartments without any specific use, this backpack includes a myriad of useful compartments such as a shoe compartment where it fits 2 pairs of shoes.
But, not only that, the shoe compartment has a ventilated door and can easily be cleaned.
This thoughtful designed it’s present in other compartments such as the water bottle compartment that has a waterproof lining or the gadgets compartment that has a soft fabric to protect your tech gear.
This is why this backpack is so loved, as it is designed to be useful and sleek instead of just being pretty.
Dimensions: 9″H x 21″W x 14″D
Available sizes: 40L
- Very lightweight;
- You can organize your things better;
- Has a lot of storage capacity;
- It has a sleek design that looks professional;
- It is very comfortable and resistant;
- Secure design as it’s difficult to open from outside;
- The back can be put on the floor, flat which makes it easier to travel with;
- The outer material is nice looking but easily scratchable;
- It is difficult to use as a duffel bag because the shape is too squared and if it is heavy, the weight will bounce a lot;
- It is only available in one color;
- It is expensive.
Best Minimalist Waterproof Travel Backpack
If you want complete waterproof protection where your items are dry and safe the Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack is for you.
With very high durability this backpack is the best if you’re planning to go fishing, kayaking, camping, or just about any travel activity where water splashes, rainfalls, and blizzards could occur.
As for storage capacity, the 35L version has plenty of room for your things so you can use it for trips that last more than one day and take your lunch, dinner, emergency kit, a pair of clothes, water bottle, some books and you’ll be fine.
Not only this, but you’ll also enjoy some extra storage pockets where you can store things in the front splash-proof pocket and easily access them without unrolling all the bag.
Very comfortable too. This backpack comes with 3 important features to increase your comfort:
- Padded Straps;
- An ergonomic back panel;
- A heavy-duty waist belt to support the load weight.
Dimensions: 21″H x 18″W x -“D
Available sizes: 35L and 55L
- Ergonomic design;
- Waterproof material;
- If you purchase this backpack you receive a free waterproof phone case;
- Handy extra storage pockets.
- It is not a cooler backpack (your clothes will be cold if the temperature outside is cold);
- The front zipper pocket is water-resistant not waterproof;
- It does not have a dedicated laptop compartment.
Best Minimalist Travel Backpack For Hiking
Are you ready for some minimalist hiking?
If so, one of the best minimalist travel backpacks for this important mission is the Osprey Farpoint 40L.
To tell you the truth, it is quite difficult to make a minimal backpacks list and not mention Osprey backpacks.
Osprey has been creating travel gear since 1974, and you can see their experience in this backpack as it is an ideal example of comfort, durability, and LARGE internal storage capacity (loads up to 40 pounds!).
So, you can easily shove in 4 days (or even more) worth of travel clothing, your laptop, tech gear, and other travel essentials without worrying your back will break.
Regarding comfort, it utilizes an internal LightWire frame suspension system which helps relieve shoulder and back pain as it transfers the load from the harness to the hip belt.
Plus, it has a good minimal design so you can use it for different situations than hiking, like exploring a new city (especially if you go with the classic black).
Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 8 inches
Sizes: 38L and 40L
- It can be used as a carry-on;
- Highly durable;
- Comfortable padded shoulder straps;
- Offers lockable zipper access to padded laptop & tablet sleeve (fits up to most 15″ laptops);
- The main compartment opens up flat which helps find things easier and pass security checkpoints;
- The stowaway back panel makes it easier to go through security and stowing in the overhead or under the seat.
- The zippers align so you can put a luggage lock through it.
- The laptop pocket is not in a protection-friendly location (the front of the pack);
- The front pocket sleeves are not usable for holding water bottles once the bag is fully packed;
- You would need some packing cubes to organize your things, as there are not a lot of organization compartments inside.
Best Minimalist Ultralight Travel Backpack
Ultralights travel backpacks go very well with a minimalist travel mindset; pack light, travel lighter.
However, durable ultralights travel packs that don’t break easily and have a decent storage capacity are hard to get by….until you get an Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack.
This beauty checks all the critical aspects a lightweight travel pack needs to have:
- Good storage capacity;
With its 18L volume, this pack offers you enough space to store your personal items, small sports gear, and clothes. Plus, the top zip pocket is useful to store smaller items and easily have access to them.
It is not suitable for long-term trips, that’s for sure, but this is one of the best options in the market if you are looking for a sturdy light pack for daily activities or for 1-2 days trips.
Finally, what makes this backpack shine between its competition it’s the durable 40D Nylon Ripstop fabric it’s made of, which makes this backpack difficult to tear and a good option for those who want to store more than a pen but travel lightly.
Dimensions: 17in. x 9in. x 7in.
Available sizes: 18L
- Made of durable Nylon;
- It has a dual-zippered main compartment;
- Convenient top zip pocket;
- Super affordable
- A secure back for places where you are worried about pickpocketing.
- A 15.6” laptop could not fit in.
- The material is super thin so you can see some things through it.
- Every item will bump against all other items inside so it is not suitable to take fragile things inside.
Best Budget-Friendly Minimalist Travel Backpack
Versatility Meets Style
Though the Mark Ryden 38L Carry-On Travel Backpack is less affordable than the previously mentioned Osprey Lightweight backpack, the Mark Ryden offers higher storage capacity, comfort, and traveling convenience features.
Therefore, it is one of the affordable best minimal backpacks if you consider the overall value, storage capacity, and features it offers.
As for storage capacity, this backpack has a compressed capacity of 25L expandable to 40L. A 30% increase in storage capacity!
It has 3 main pockets which include 7 compartments inside, including a padded laptop sleeve, so you can easily travel with your laptop, a tablet sleeve, and other basic and mesh compartments.
It even has an anti-theft backside pocket to store important things you want to protect against pickpocketing.
You can use it as a carry-on and it is a very comfortable backpack to wear as it has a special cushion for back and shoulder straps for relieving load weight.
Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x5.9 inches.
Capacity: 23L expandable to 40L
- Fits up to a 17.3 laptop;
- Has a convenient external USB pocket for charging your phone;
- Adjustable waist straps and breathable mesh shoulder straps to support your back and shoulders;
- The laptop compartment unfolds flat which is convenient for airport security checks;
- It has an anti-theft pocket;
- It has a high storage capacity;
- The internal mesh dividers make organizing easy to do.
- It is not waterproof.
- It is not very comfortable when the backpack is fully loaded ( 40L) as it expands away from your body;
- The internal USB port is USB-A, so make sure you have appropriate conversion cables.
Best Minimalist Antitheft Travel Backpack
Made by Pacsafe, a company specialized in creating anti-theft travel gear, the Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 is a compact, durable and safe backpack that will protect your stuff when traveling.
This backpack has an anti-theft design with 3 safe features that make it your personal backpack security guard if you could afford one while traveling!
Those features are:
- eXomesh Slashguard: a lightweight steel mesh that protects your back from quick slashing.
- Carrysafe Slashguard Straps: lightweight stainless steel wires under your straps to help prevent slashers from slicing through and run with your backpack.
- Lockabout Security Clip: a security clip that has 3 levels of security to prevent pickpockets from robbing you.
Plus, it also offers to turn and lock security hooks and an RFID blocking pocket to keep your credit cards/ IDs safe. This is backpacking anti-theft technology at its best!
Dimensions:18.9 x 12.2 x 6.3 inches
Capacity: 25 L
- Comfortable padded carry handle and shoulder straps adjustable from 26.8″ to 36.2″ inches;
- Can be used as a Carry-On;
- This company offers a guarantee of 5 years for bags, and 2 years for accessories;
- Offers 1 padded & suspended interior notebook sleeve (Fits 15″ Laptop);
- There are many useful pockets, including large expandable side pockets for water bottles or umbrellas.
- No waterproof material;
- It can get too hot on your back;
- For short people ( 5’9” tall for example) the backpack may hang beneath the beltline, which can be uncomfortable for some.
The Best Minimalist Laptop Travel Backpack
The go-to tech backpack for the Geek on the Go!
The Incase Icon Laptop Backpack offers one of the most comfortable and usable minimalist laptop backpacks for traveling lightweight with your tech work accessories.
To start off it offers a fully padded and faux-fur-lined dedicated laptop compartment to protect your laptop, up to a 16-inch MacBook. And, a medium-sized side pocket fit for tablets too, preferably up to a 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
However, if you have a larger table, and other tech accessories don’t worry, this backpack has a main compartment for larger items, flat documents, and small accessories.
Whilst its secondary compartment offers a variety of organizer pockets to hold tech accessories or other small objects. Plus, a convenient easy to access zip-up pocket on the top.
On the other hand, you can use this backpack as a carry-on and enjoy extreme comfort with its padded shoulders with multiple adjustment points and an integrated sternum strap that helps weigh down the load.
Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 12.5 x 8.75 inches
- Easy to access pockets;
- Durable material (840D ballistic nylon);
- A very stylish backpack that works for professional work travel;
- Comfortable to use as it helps distribute the weight which prevents chest and back pain;
- Has a hip-side power pocket with an integrated cable port for portable power or audio.
- It is not suitable for mass storage;
What Is A Good Size For Minimal Backpack Carry-On?
Though each airline will have different travel rules, as a rule of thumb if your carry-on backpack fits under the seat in front of you then it’s good to go.
As for the exact dimensions, there can be 1 or 2 inches of difference between airlines, however, a good size minimal backpack carry-on for the majority of airlines is between 40-45 Linear inches or those that don’t exceed 22″Lx14W”x9D.
Also, it is important to know this is a standard, you can have a carry-on backpack that is 1 more inch in length or width and still be ok.
If you are unsure send a message to the backpack company or ask verified clients in the review section to verify if anyone has successfully used it as a carry-on.
Minimalist travel backpacks make your life easier.
Minimalist backpacking or minimalist camping may be a trend now, but packing less, just the essentials, helps you focus on the here and now, on quality before quantity.
By picking the best minimalist travel backpack you say no to overpacking, and yes to an optimal way of traveling where you are more thoughtful about what travel gears you really need to help you achieve your travel goals, whatever they might be.
Also, if you are a digital nomad (or planning to be), I have an article about the Best Digital Nomad Essentials Packing List For 2021, check it out and take note of the must-haves for digital nomads!