Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023)

This is our review of the best backpacks for digital nomads in 2023.

Picking the best backpack involves careful consideration of size, versatility, and practicality, especially since this is the gear that will serve as your companion on long travels and it will also protect your gear.

As a serial traveler, I take gear selection seriously. I spent at least 15 hours reading through reviews and visiting shops to research and test out backpacks, and I found that Osprey Farpoint and Fairview are the best backpacks for digital nomads.

Every traveler is different though, with each carrying different types of gear so I dedicated a series of recommendations for each traveler type. I listed recommended products for:

  • large backpacks that are great to use as checked luggage
  • mid-size backpacks that are ideal as carry-on
  • daypacks that are best to be used as personal item

Whether you prioritize maximum cabin compatibility, exceptional functionality, or a blend of style and substance, these backpacks will make travel easier.

Let’s dive into a curated list of recommended backpacks for digital nomads!

Short on time? Here’s the gist

Top pick

Osprey Farpoint (men’s) or Fairview (women’s) 40L – best overall backpack for digital nomads

Best backpacks for adventurous nomads

Osprey Kyte (women’s) or Osprey Kestrel (men’s) – best checked luggage

Gregory Zulu (men’s) or Jade (women’s) – best carry-on backpack

Osprey Quasar (men’s) or Questa (women’s) – best personal item backpack

Best backpacks for digital creatives

Peak Design Travel Duffelback – best checked luggage

Peak Design Travel Backpack – best carry-on backpack

Wandrd Prvke 21L – best personal item backpack

Best backpacks for tech enthusiasts

Tom Binh Techonaut – best checked luggage

Topo Global Travel Bag – best carry-on backpack

Thule Crossover 2 – best personal item backpack

Best Overall Backpack for Digital Nomads

Osprey Farpoint 40L

Osprey Farpoint - Best backpack for digital nomads

Score: 9/10

Why buy:

  • It is lightweight and comfortable
  • Has a detachable daypack that can be used for day hikes
  • Meets most carry-on size requirements, making it suitable for budget and independent travelers who frequently move around.
  • Has multiple compartments, including a laptop compartment, a clamshell-style main compartment with zippered mesh pockets, a convenient “shove-it” pocket, and a quick access pocket for organized packing and easy access to belongings
  • Water-Resistant and Durable
  • Ergonomic adjustable sternum straps and a mesh pocket on the hip belt. It also has lockable zippers for added security.
  • Durable, with the previous version remaining in good condition even after a year of use

What to consider:

  • Does not come with rain cover
  • Lacks advanced organizational features, it can be enhanced with the use of packing cubes and travel organizers
  • Not ideal for hardcore trekking with personal gear, it performs well on hikes and treks with accommodation.
  • Lacks a backpanel so it’s less breathable

Best backpacks for the adventurous nomad

Best Checked Luggage

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -
Osprey Kyte or Kestrel

Best backpack to use as checked luggage for adventurous digital nomads

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Best Carry-on

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -
Gregory Zulu or Jade

Best backpack to use as checked luggage for digital nomads who love adventures

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Best Personal Item

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -
Osprey Quasar or Questa

Best backpack to use as checked luggage for digital nomads who love adventures

Osprey Kyte or Kestrel: Best Checked Luggage (Above 40L)

Osprey Kyte -  best backpack for digital nomads

Score: 8/10

Osprey is best known for their high-quality backpacks, which is why they are the backpack of choice for most backpackers. Kyte 46 is the women’s version while Kestrel is the men’s version of the same model. I would give the Osprey Kyte 46 a score of 8 out of 10. After 2 years of using it, I can confidently say that Osprey Kyte is a great choice for long treks or long commutes between cities when traveling.

Why buy:

  • Comfortable and well-padded construction, with the LightWire frame suspension system and close-fitting back panel
  • Ample storage space for all your gear with functional organizational systems, including hip pockets, water bottle pockets, lid compartment, and zippered mesh pocket under the lid
  • Durable materials that can withstand wear and tear
  • Available in a variety of sizes to fit women of all shapes and sizes
  • Lifetime warranty

What to consider:

  • Can be a bit heavy when fully loaded
  • Not the most stylish backpack on the market
  • Some users have reported that the hip belt can be uncomfortable after long periods of wear because the padding is not adjustable
  • Ventilation may not be as breathable as trampoline-style back panels

Carry-on (Under 40L and above 25L): Gregory Zulu or Gregory Jade

Gregory jade - best backpack for digital nomads

Score: 9/10

Gregory is best known for its high-quality and durable backpacks. They stand out because of their attention to detail in construction, incorporation of useful features, and versatility for different outdoor activities. I personally find the quality of materials used in Gregory bags to be of higher quality compared to Osprey. The men’s version of this bag is called Zulu.

Why buy:

  • High-quality construction, arguably better than Osprey’s
  • Comes with the ergonomic features of hiking backpacks while having the easy access features that comes with travel backpacks
  • Versatile and dual-purpose functionality for both travel and hiking
  • Various features for organization and convenience like their U-zip access that allows you to access your gear as if your backpack is a suitcase
  • Breathable and very comfortable for outdoor activities because of FreeFloat flex panels that airs your back
  • Good-looking backpack
  • Water-resistant, and there is also rain cover available for heavier rains

What to consider:

  • Getting your water bottle from its pocket is difficult
  • The flex panels makes it difficult to fit a laptop flat inside the bag
  • Because of the curved back panel and the slender build of the backpack, space is not maximized
  • When overpacked, it’s difficult to close the top pocket

Osprey Questa: Personal Item (Less than 30L)

Osprey questa - best backpack for digital nomads

Score: 8.5/10

Osprey is still my top pick for an EDC that works well as a personal item for air travel. There’s a handful of times when I had to stuff my Osprey Questa and it held up despite the amount of things I crammed into it. Osprey truly delivers on their promise to provide top-notch gear. Important to note that Quasar is Osprey’s version for men of this same model.

Why buy:

  • Comfortable and well-padded construction
  • Has both a laptop sleeve and a tablet sleeve that are both nicely cushioned at the bottom
  • Very spacious for all your gear
  • Durable materials that can withstand wear and tear. I’ve tested this in my week-long trip where I only brought this bag.
  • Ergonomic features such as a hip belt and a sternum strap, which keep the bag close to your body so it reduces the tension on your shoulders.
  • Available in a variety of colors to fit your style
  • Lifetime warranty

What to consider:

  • Can be a bit heavy when fully loaded
  • Not waterproof, but it still keeps my belongings dry in light rain
  • No locking zippers that can secure your belongings
  • Some have reported that the hip belt can be uncomfortable after long periods of wear

Best backpacks for creative digital nomads

Best Checked Luggage

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -
Peak Design Travel Duffelback 65L

Best backpack to use as checked luggage for creatives

Best Carry-on

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -
Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Best backpack to use as a carry-on for photographers

Best Personal Item

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -
Wandrd Prvke 21L

Best backpack to use as a personal item for photographers

Peak Design Travel Duffelpack: Checked Luggage (Above 40L)

peak design - best backpack for digital nomads

Score: 9/10

Peak Design is known for producing high-quality and innovative bags. They heavily focus on functional design and sustainability. Their bags often feature versatile designs, and thoughtful organization systems, and use recycled materials, showcasing their commitment to both user experience and environmental responsibility. It’s no surprise that their 65L Travel Duffelpack has once again won over travelers for its versatility and functionality.

Why buy:

  • This duffelpack combines the functionality of a duffel bag and a backpack, offering flexible carrying options.
  • Spacious and easy to organize, with multiple compartments
  • Expandable, and it can go from 45L to 65L
  • Durable and weatherproof, with eve the zipper guaranteed to keep your clothes dry
  • Designed for photography with compartments for camera gear
  • Aesthetically beautiful, especially the Sage model
  • Has built-in theft-deterrent zipper on the main compartment to keep valuables safe
  • Big plus on their use of recycled materials like the reinforced 100% recycled 600-denier nylon canvas, because not a lot of bag manufacturers put effort towards sustainability efforts

What to consider:

  • Some have reported that the hip belt won’t tighten as much

Peak Design Travel Backpack: Carry-on (Under 40L and above 25L)

Peak design - best backpacks for digital nomads

Score: 8.3/10

Peak Design is renowned for its functional and innovative bags, camera accessories, and organizers. They also provide a lifetime warranty for their products, which is a huge plus for the frequent traveler. This bag would have been the perfect bag during my trip in Medellin.

Why buy:

  • Peak Design is known for its functional and innovative bags, and the 30L Travel Backpack is no exception.
  • The backpack is made from weatherproof, recycled 400D nylon canvas and features Hypalon reinforcement, ensuring durability and protection against the elements.
  • Adjustable shoulder straps and a sternum strap provide comfortable carrying options for extended use.
  • The backpack has a clamshell opening and well-designed pockets, including laptop and tablet sleeves, for efficient organization. You’ll need to get their camera cubes though if you want your camera and lenses nicely tucked in.

What to consider:

  • Front material attracts hair and dust: the front material of the backpack tends to attract hair and dust, requiring frequent cleaning.
  • The water bottle compartment of the backpack may be tight for some water bottles, which could be a drawback for those who require ample hydration during their travels.
  • Unlike its larger sibling, the 65L travel duffel pack, the 45L version lacks extensive anti-theft features that may be a concern for those carrying extensive gear.

Wandrd Prvke 21L: Personal Item (Below 30L)

Wandrd Prvke -  best backpack for digital nomads

Score: 7.8/10

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -

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Wandrd is known for producing camera bags that combine style, durability, and functionality. Their bags are designed specifically for photographers on the go, offering features like flexible capacity, organizational pockets, and comfortable carrying options. Prvke is Wandrd’s answer to every photographer’s need to have a bag that is both functional and easy on the eye. It’s available in two sizes: 21L or 31L.

Why buy:

  • The roll-top design allows for flexible capacity, accommodating different gear requirements.
  • Smart and durable design: The Wandrd Prvke backpack is designed for travel and offers a smart and durable construction. Aside from having a roll-top design, the bag also has side access to make it easy to access gear
  • The backpack includes laptop and tablet sleeves, a tripod carrier, and multiple pockets for efficient organization.
  • The Photography Bundle of this backpack includes additional accessories like the Wandrd Essential+ Camera Cube, waist strap, and accessory straps, enhancing the backpack’s functionality for photographers.
  • Lifetime warranty. Need I say more?

What factors to consider:

  • The bag itself is heavy at 2.8 lbs for the 21L and 3.4 lbs for the 31L version. Note that you still have to add in your camera gear on top
  • When overfilled, the roll-top gets annoying tall which also makes it awkward to use the top handle
  • Chest and waist straps are sold separately, so it’s definitely not built to be used for hiking
  • Not fully weatherproof, only water-resistant
  • Not as ergonomic for long distance walking

Best backpacks for tech enthusiasts

Best Checked Luggage

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -
Tom Binh Techonaut 45L

Best backpack to use as checked luggage for tech enthusiasts

Best Carry-on

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -
Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 40L

Best backpack to use as a carry-on for tech enthusiasts

Best Personal Item

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -
Thule Crossover 2

Best backpack to use as a personal item for tech enthusiasts

Tom Binh Techonaut: Checked Luggage (Above 40L)

Tom Binh - best backpack for digital nomads

Score: 8/10

Tom Bihn is probably among the most trusted bag manufacturers out there. They are best known for their craftsmanship which shows in the bags they produce. Durable materials, heavy-duty zippers, and flawless stitching best describes their line of bags, so it’s no surprise that Tom Binh Techonaut 45 is a favorite among digital nomads despite the price tag.

Why buy:

  • Versatile and functional design that can either be a duffel bag, a backpack, or a shoulder bag. Both configurations provide easy access to the spacious main compartment.
  • Provides efficient organization of your belongings, with a U-shaped main compartment, lots of pockets, and built-in compression straps.
  • Comfortable carrying options for convenience during travel.
  • Durable zippers and high-quality materials ensure long-lasting performance.
  • Includes a laptop compartment that can fit laptops up to 16” for secure storage.
  • Suitable for both weekend trips and longer adventures

What to consider:

  • Expensive, but the quality justifies it
  • Duffel straps, the frame sheet, and padded hip belts are optional and not included in the price. These are important ergonomic features that you’ll want to support carrying a heavy load

Topo Global Travel Bag: Carry-on (40L and below, but above 25L)

Topo Global 40L - best backpack for digital nomads

Score: 7.8/10

Topo Designs is best known for its stylish design and quality craftsmanship. They are known to create functional and durable backpacks with a minimalist aesthetic. Those that enjoy a pop of color on their gear will like the heritage-style look similar to that of Herschel’s bags.

Why buy:

  • Comfortable and evenly distributes weight, with a well-designed harness system with padded shoulder straps and adjustable sternum strap. It even has load lifters that can help move the weight around.
  • The harness system can be hidden to avoid dangling straps when trying to stow away your bag on the overhead
  • Very versatile and can be turned into a backpack, briefcase, or a duffel bag
  • Excellent organization with many multiple compartments, mesh pockets, and laptop sleeve
  • Lightweight and durable, made with 1000D nylon and heavy-duty YKK zippers
  • Reasonably priced and suitable for organized and compact travelers

What to think about:

  • Accessing the multiple pockets can be overwhelming
  • Lack of compression straps in the main compartment

Thule Crossover 2: Personal Item (Below 30L)

Thule Crossover 2 - best backpack for digital nomads

Score: 8.5/10

Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads (2023) -

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Thule started with roof and bike racks but this Scandinavian brand has extended its reach to backpacks. They’re fairly new to the market but they are already well-known among travelers for producing durable backpacks. In particular, Thule Crossover 2 is a favorite among Redditors who like to travel for both work and leisure.

Why buy:

  • Availability of a crush-resistant SafeZone compartment that can hold delicate items such as gaming devices or cellphone
  • Durable construction using high-quality materials for long-lasting performance.
  • Thoughtful organization features, including multiple compartments and pockets, for efficient packing and easy access to belongings.
  • Separate laptop compartment with padding and locking zipper for protection of electronic devices.
  • Certain pockets can block RFID to safeguard credit cards or other important information

What to consider:

  • There are no sternum straps so it’s not as ergonomic compared to other alternatives
  • Not waterproof, only water resistant
  • Some users reported that the rubber zippers break

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the best backpack for digital nomads is the one that aligns with your individual needs and travel style. Take into account the specific features and benefits offered by each backpack, and choose the one that suits your requirements for organization, comfort, durability, and tech-friendliness. Once you find the perfect backpack, try packing all your gear before you give it a go. Most retailers have a good return policy that you can use. A good backpack is worth the extra dollars if it means you’ll have a reliable and functional companion by your side.

FAQ on the best backpacks for digital nomads

What is the ideal bag setup for digital nomads when traveling?

In my frequent travels, I’ve always followed the rule to carry two backpacks that cater to different needs. A 40L or 60L backpack serves as your go-to carry-on or checked luggage option. With a 40L capacity, you can safely navigate the cabin space on most flights, while a slightly larger 60L backpack provides ample room for longer trips or bulkier items.

However, it’s important to note that exceeding the 40L limit may require occasional checking of your backpack. Additionally, complementing your main backpack, a 25L backpack serves as the ideal personal item, offering easy access to essentials during your journey.

What are additional considerations for people who travel and hike a lot?

1. Comfort and Support. Hiking involves carrying heavier loads and spending long hours on the trails, so prioritize a backpack that offers excellent comfort and support. Look for adjustable padded shoulder straps, a ventilated back panel, and a supportive hip belt because these will help distribute the weight evenly and reduce strain on your shoulders and back during hikes.

2. Durability and Weatherproofing. Hiking often exposes backpacks to rough terrain and variable weather conditions. Look for backpacks made of sturdy materials with reinforced stitching and water-resistant or waterproof coatings to protect your belongings.

3. Weight. Look for lightweight backpack options that minimize the overall load you’ll be carrying on your hikes. However, be mindful not to compromise durability and comfort for the sake of reducing weight.

4. Capacity and Organization. Consider the capacity of the backpack based on the length of your hiking trips and the gear you typically carry. Look for a backpack with enough room to accommodate hiking essentials such as extra clothing layers, food, water, a first aid kit, and navigation tools. Additionally, prioritize backpacks with well-designed organization features like multiple compartments, pockets, and attachment points to keep your gear easily accessible and organized during hikes.

5. Ventilation. Hiking can cause you to sweat, so look for backpacks with adequate ventilation systems. Features, like mesh back panels or suspended back systems, allow air to circulate between your back and the backpack.

6. Hydration Compatibility. Staying hydrated is crucial during hikes. Consider backpacks that have built-in hydration bladder compartments or compatible hydration systems. These allow you to conveniently carry water and ensure easy access to hydration while on the trail.

7. Extra Features. Depending on your specific hiking needs, consider any additional features that would enhance your hiking experience. This might include external attachment points for trekking poles, ice axes, or other hiking gear. Look for backpacks that provide easy access to essential items like maps, snacks, or a camera.

What are additional considerations for people who travel and carry a lot of photography gear?

1. Comfort. The backpack should be comfortable to wear, even when it is fully loaded. Camera gear can be heavy so your shoulders and your back will thank you for getting a backpack with good shoulder straps and a waist belt to help distribute the weight evenly.

2. Durability. The backpack should be made from durable materials that can withstand the rigors of travel. Being weatherproof is almost a necessity, as you may be traveling in wet or humid conditions.
3. Security. The backpack should have secure compartments to keep your gear safe from theft. It may also have features such as a lockable zipper or a security strap.

4. Organization. The backpack should have plenty of compartments and pockets to keep your gear organized and easy to find.

5. Accessibility. Quick and easy access to your camera and lenses is crucial for photographers on the go. Consider backpacks that provide convenient side or back access to your equipment, allowing you to retrieve your gear without unpacking the entire bag

What are additional considerations for people who travel and carry a lot of gadgets and electronics?

1. Availability of Laptop Compartment. Ensure that the backpack has a dedicated and well-padded laptop compartment that can securely hold and protect your laptop or MacBook. Look for a suspended or padded sleeve that can prevent your laptop from hitting the ground if the bag is dropped.

2. TSA-Friendly Design. If you frequently travel by air, a TSA-friendly design can make security checkpoints easier. Look for a backpack with a designated laptop compartment that can lie flat, allowing you to keep your laptop inside the bag during screening

3. Organization and Accessibility. Multiple compartments, pockets, and dividers can help you keep your tech gadgets, documents, and personal items organized. Quick-access pockets for items like passports, tickets, and smartphones are particularly useful for frequent travelers.

4. Design and Style. While functionality is crucial, you may also want to consider the design and style of the backpack. Choose a design that aligns with your personal taste and professional image.

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