If travelling the world while still earning money sounds like your dream, then getting a nomad backpack is one of the first things you need to think about.
A comfortable nomad backpack will let you:
- travel light,
- fit all your essentials securely, and
- give you peace of mind to chase your dreams.
Having the freedom to choose anywhere in the world to work and live is an enticing lifestyle that many are embracing, despite the lockdowns happening around the world.
Carrying your home and work everywhere and literally living out of your bag means nomad backpacks are one of the most essential pieces of gear for anyone choosing the nomadic life.
We’re breaking down the best nomad backpack that will help you travel the world. Let’s get straight to it!
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Best Nomad Backpack
- Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack
- Nomatic Backpack
- Tortuga Outbreaker
- Pacsafe Venturesafe Exp45
- AER Travel Pack 2
- Nomad Batura 55
- Hanergy Solar Powered Backpack
- Minaal Carry On 3.0 Bag
- Slicks Biz
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What To Look For When Buying A Nomad Backpack
Before getting into which nomad backpacks you should buy, here are some things you should look for when choosing your nomad backpack.
The first thing you need to do is decide on what your backpack would be used for. Are you looking for an all-in-one luggage backpack, that can fit all your belongings for long haul travel, or a smaller daypack to use for everyday excursions around town?
For daypacks, there should be enough space to carry essential items that you use daily, but not too bulky that it hinders your agility.
If you will be using your nomad backpack as a carry-on, make sure it follows cabin size regulations. If you are checking it in as luggage, a bigger backpack is perfect.
As a nomad, you will be carrying your backpack a LOT. Your nomad backpack must be comfortable for long periods of wear.
Make sure the shoulder straps are adequately padded, offer great support, and don’t dig into your neck or shoulders.
If you foresee yourself carrying heavy loads to and fro (eg, laptop or photography gear) then you may want to look for backpacks that have a hip belt. Hip belts help distribute the weight better and literally take a load off your shoulders.
Choosing a lightweight backpack will allow you to pack more essentials into your bag rather than being limited by a bag that eats up precious weight allowances.
Additionally, a lightweight backpack will be easier on your body – especially if you will be carrying it for extended periods.
The materials used in your backpack should also be lightweight – usually the more lightweight and durable they are, the pricier the backpack gets. Find the right balance between price and quality according to your needs and budget.
Being always on the go means you need to take extra precautions when it comes to safeguarding your valuables.
It’s important that your nomad backpack is secure against theft – this means lockable zippered compartments, anti-theft pockets, and slash-proof materials to thwart pickpockets.
The best nomad backpacks are usually loaded with handy features to make your mobile lifestyle easier. A padded laptop compartment is top of the list of the must-have features – you want your livelihood to be secure through all the bumps and knocks when travelling.
Other features that offer convenience and practicality include large adjustable compartments, water bottle holders and easy-access pockets.
Waterproof And Durable
Having a waterproof backpack is a lifesaver for any digital nomad. You can keep to your schedule and move around without worrying too much about bad weather affecting your gear.
Being always on the move means your nomad backpack will probably go through more wear and tear than someone with a 9-5 job.
Getting a high-quality durable backpack that will last you a long time is cost-efficient in the long run, even though they might run at a higher price upfront.
Being a nomad means managing money is particularly important. But if you are thinking of skimping on a nomad backpack, you might want to think twice.
While you don’t have to splurge on luxury bags, you don’t want to compromise on quality either.
A cheap bag may save you a few dollars but might not last a long time, and might not be as safe/secure.
The Nomad Backpack That Will Help You Travel The World
The Osprey Farpoint is a crowd favourite and is often at the top of most nomad backpack review lists. It is a simple, fuss-free and lightweight backpack with exceptional quality and handy features to make any kind of nomad happy.
If you want a roomy yet small enough backpack, opt for the 40L model.
This size is big enough to fit all your essentials and small enough to be used as a carry-on. You can also choose larger capacities if you feel like you want to use the Farpoint as a check-in backpack as well.
The straps and handles are all padded to help distribute weight, and the ventilated mesh panel on the back ensures comfort even in hot weather and prolonged carrying.
- Multiple lockable compartments
- Large easy access stash pocket
- Front-loading style opening
- Internal and external compression straps
- Padded handles and hip belt
- Variety of sizes and colours, also available in a women’s version
- Supportive frame suspension and ventilated mesh back panel
- Straps can be stowed away in the back panel for more secure check-in
- High quality and lightweight materials
- Suitable for urban and outdoor use
- Laptop pocket located at the front of the backpack instead of against your back, making awkward weight distribution
- Not many internal compartments for organising items
- Water bottle pocket difficult to access
- Hip belt does not come with pockets
If hopping on and off public transport, zipping through the crowds, and being a city slicker describes you, then the Nomatic Backpack will fit your style perfectly.
The slim design is sleek but does not compromise on function or looks.
While the capacity of the Nomatic might not be the biggest on the market, you can still pack plenty of items into the 20L (expandable to 24L) backpack, thanks to its clever organisation pockets and sturdy design.
It’s perfect for the minimalist nomad who does not want to carry too much with them, or for those who want to use it as a lightweight daypack.
The inside of the Nomatic Backpack features 2 compartments:
- the main compartment and
- a front compartment.
Strategically placed throughout the backpack are over 20 pockets, including a removable organizer panel, elastic mesh pockets, lockable RFID security pocket, protective sunglasses shell, mesh zipper pockets, notebook pocket, and a hidden pocket for your valuables.
- Wide front opening for easy packing and access
- High-quality, durable, water-resistant materials
- Over 20 organisation pockets, with removable organiser panel
- Sleek design, can be converted into a briefcase carry style
- Soft padded shoulder straps and back panel
- Magnetic side pockets for water bottles collapse when not in use.
- Easily attaches to suitcase
- Back panel not very breathable
- Harness not fully adjustable
- Higher price point
- Not very spacious
- No hip belt or compression straps
If comfort and organisation are top of your list, the Tortuga Outbreaker is the nomad backpack for you.
The padded straps are extremely soft and supportive, while the height-adjustable harness system ensures a comfortable fit for most body sizes.
One of the best features of the Tortuga Outbreaker is the clamshell opening style, which means you can open the backpack wide and pack it like a suitcase. You also get a completely separate, lockable laptop compartment for easy access.
Inside of the backpack is an organisation junkies dream. It features so many compartments to help keep all your essentials in place.
When not in use, the sleek compartments do not take up any space and you still have a huge main compartment for all your gear.
- Carry on sized
- Thick, soft padding on straps and back panel for comfort
- Adjustable suspension system
- Padded, removable hip belt
- Separate Laptop compartment with lockable zippers
- Wide front clamshell opening with plenty of organisation compartments
- High-quality premium waterproof materials
- Higher price point
- Wide dimensions might make it unsuitable for smaller framed individuals
- Slightly on the heavy side
- The boxy shape and shiny fabric might not be everyone’s taste.
If you’re a digital nomad setting up office in a digital nomad coworking space, security and safety might be your biggest priority.
The Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 might look simple, but don’t let the plain looks deceive you. This is one of the most secure backpacks you will find on the market.
Built with 5 different security features including internal locking cables and even an extendable cable to secure your bag to immobile or large objects should you need to leave it for a while.
The unique slash-proof fabric is integrated with stainless steel mesh for extreme durability.
The 45L nomad backpack adheres to most cabin baggage allowances and has a hip belt to help distribute loads.
Despite all the safety features, it opens up wide like a suitcase meaning you can pack with ease, while over 12 organisational pockets in the front compartment keep your smaller items in place.
- Wide front loading clamshell opening
- Adjustable hip belt, sternum strap, and padded shoulder straps
- Built-in locking cable
- Puncture resistant interlocking zippers
- Slash proof materials and water-resistant fabric
- Internal and external compression straps
- 3 external gear attachment points
- Backpack and briefcase carry style
- Padded laptop pocket relatively small
- Front compartment opening quite small
- Shoulder straps a bit difficult to stow away
Toted as an all-in-one backpack designed by backpackers, the Aer Travel Pack 2 is one of the highest-rated nomad backpacks.
Perfect as a carry on and daypack due to its compressible size, this 33L backpack packs a bunch of features into a sleek minimalist design.
Featuring 3 compartments – a large main compartment, a feature-loaded front compartment, and a dedicated shoe compartment, the Aer Travel Pack gives you plenty of organisational options.
The main compartment opens wide and lays flat, allowing you to pack it like a suitcase.
One of our favourite features is the dedicated laptop pocket, accessible via a secure lockable zipper from the outside, meaning you do not have to open your bag and expose any other contents when trying to access your laptop.
The Aer Travel Pack 2 is one of the best digital nomad backpacks perfect for those who want the convenience of carrying just one backpack, or for those who love travelling light.
- Separate compartment for shoes/dirty clothes
- Sleek minimalist design with premium durable materials
- Dedicated quick access padded laptop area
- Plenty of organisational pockets including quick access pockets
- Wide clamshell front opening
- Cabin sized with luggage pass-through strap
- Padded top and side handles, padded mesh back panel
- External side compression straps
- Lockable zippers
- Internal frame system offers structure and support
- Small water bottle holder
- Hipbelt sold separately
- No internal compression straps
The owners of Nomad clearly knew their target market – why else would they choose such an apt name! Our pick from this Dutch company’s selection is the Nomad Batura 55. This large backpack will fit everything you need to escape to another country should you decide a change of scene is in order.
The Nomad Batura backpack (which you might also find in Dutch under Rugtas Nomad, Nomad Rugtas, or Nomad Backpack Dames) is also available in a slim-fit model which is targeted towards women or smaller framed individuals.
It’s perfect for those who want a medium-sized check-in backpack, as the 55L capacity is too big to be a cabin bag or daypack.
The lightweight polyester materials might not be the most premium but they are still lightweight and relatively durable. The main compartment of the Nomad Batura 55 can be accessed from the top or front, so you can access items deep in the bag easily. Carrying the bag is comfortable with its adjustable chest, waist, hip, and shoulder straps.
- Top & front-loading design eases accessibility
- Adjustable back that fits all
- Internal compression straps
- Raincover included
- Hydration system compatible
- Slightly pricey for the basic features and materials
- Not expandable
Any digital nomad will know that having charged devices is important – especially if you are travelling to less-developed areas where a simple plug point might not be available.
If staying powered is essential to you, then look no further than the Hanergy Solar-powered Backpack.
Made by Hanergy, a company that specialises in producing solar panels, you can rest assured that the solar panels on this backpack are the best quality. Plug in your phone and get a full charge in just 4 hours!
The large solar panels are waterproof and zip away when not in use.
Size-wise, the Hanergy Solar-powered Backpack can easily fit enough gear and essentials for an overnight trip in its 26L capacity. The main compartment zips open almost all the way around, giving you easy access to the padded laptop compartment and velcro pocket inside. The front compartment has a slew of nifty pockets to keep smaller items in place.
- Built-in slim Solar panels, hidden when zipped up.
- 2 USB ports for intelligent device charging
- Lightweight waterproof materials
- Sturdy and keeps its shape even when not fully packed
- Convertible carry style with top and side handles
- Cabin friendly with luggage pass-through strap
- No hip belt
- Minimally padded shoulder straps
- No internal or external compression straps
- No water bottle pocket
This upgraded version of their immensely popular 2.0 version, the Minaal Carry On Bag 3.0 delivers even more juicy features for the discerning nomad.
The upgraded harness system provides a supremely comfortable carry, while the premium durable materials made from recycled yarns mean this bag will last you a long time.
The dedicated tech compartment at the back of the bag is shockproof through it’s suspended padded system and fully opens to lay flat. The main compartment also opens flat so you can pack it just like a suitcase.
With its 35L capacity, you can fit plenty of essentials for a 2-3 day trip.
The minimalist exterior looks professional and sleek, and overall the Minaal Carry On 3.0 quietly delivers excellent quality throughout without being over the top. This nomad backpack is perfect as a carry on as the name suggests, but also as a daypack and portable office.
- Sleek professional look
- Lifetime warranty
- Durable recycled materials, tear and water-resistant.
- Hidden quick access pocket for valuables
- Dedicated suspended and padded laptop compartment
- Clever organization pockets throughout
- External compression straps
- Lie-flat clamshell main compartment and laptop compartment
- Stowable padded shoulder harness with lift-loader straps
- Top and side handles for convertible carry
- Built-in rain cover
- High price point
- Hipbelt sold separately
- Water bottle pocket a bit of an afterthought
8. Slicks Biz
If you’re a nomad who has to attend corporate business meetings and dress up in formal suits, then the Slicks Biz backpack is perfect for you.
Featuring dedicated modular packing solutions including a trip cover, shirt cover, and a suit cover, this smart packing system ensures your garments are crisp, fresh, and wrinkle-free right out of the bag.
You’ll never look like a crumpled mess again! Also included are a wash bag and a laundry bag to keep everything organised.
Aside from the removable modular packing bundles, the Slicks Biz backpack offers plenty of premium features such as a dedicated laptop compartment, high-quality materials, plush padded top and side handles, as well as adjustable hip belt straps.
- Convertible carry style
- Dedicated laptop compartment
- Rain cover included
- Personalisable modular packing system
- Premium materials and finishings
- Clamshell opening and lay flat packing
- Internal and external compression straps
- Shoe compartment and quick access pockets
- Stowable shoulder straps
- Adjustable configurations to purchase
- High price point
- No water bottle pocket
- No hip belt pocket
- Back panel not very padded
Are Backpacks Better Than Shoulder Bags?
In a nutshell – we think YES.
While shoulder bags make reaching for gear or items easier, they are also a lot more restrictive in terms of comfort and mobility.
Backpacks Are More Secure
Backpacks are more securely placed on your body due to the two shoulder straps. How often have you had your shoulder bag slide around when wearing it?
When using a shoulder bag, you often have the bag moving around.
This can be quite a hassle especially if you’re always on the move and have to continually adjust the bag placement. You won’t get that problem when wearing a backpack.
Backpacks Distribute Weight Better
The two shoulder straps mean backpacks help distribute weight more evenly on your body, especially if the backpack also comes with hip straps.
Shoulder bags place stress on one shoulder only, and can even hurt your hips when walking with a heavier load as you have to adjust your gait to support the moving bag with one side of your body.
This means you get fatigued and sore quicker.
If you’re still undecided, you can always opt for convertible carry bags – these are bags that can be worn as backpacks or shoulder bags, giving you the ability to choose which one works best for you at the moment without having to buy two separate bags.
As a globetrotting nomad, your backpack is your partner, your best friend.
It will be your companion on soaring adventures and carry and protect your essentials and mobile office no matter where life takes you.
The right backpack will let you worry less, travel light, and help you rather than hinder you on your travels.
If you are thinking about jumping into the nomad life, hopefully, we’ve helped you choose the best nomad backpack that will help you travel the world.
Would you like it if we wrote about an essential digital nomad packing list? Let us know in the comments section below!