Best Travel Backpacks for Europe – Top Picks for 2024

If you plan to travel across Europe, you’ll need the perfect backpack to accompany you on your adventures! It is my belief that choosing the right travel backpack is crucial for protecting your belongings, staying comfortable, and exploring efficiently.

If you choose the wrong bag, it can weigh you down or leave your essentials unsafe. If you do it right, your backpack will make the more enjoyable without causing any stress on your body or even your bank account.

So, leave the stylish but impractical luggage behind. Let me walk you through exactly what to look for in finding the best travel backpack for Europe for your needs.

Let’s look at the key factors when choosing a backpack for Europe: weight, size, comfort, security, durability and features.

When shopping for the best travel backpack for Europe, be sure to consider:

Key Factors for Choosing a Europe Travel Backpack

When evaluating backpacks for a European adventure, keep these key factors in mind:

  • Weight and size

Look for a backpack that’s carry-on compliant for flights and easy to tote around all day. Backpacks around 40L capacity are ideal.

  • Comfort features

Padded shoulder straps and a hip belt prevent muscle fatigue. Seek out backpacks with breathable mesh panels and airflow channels to prevent a sweaty back while trekking.

  • Organization

Multiple compartments and pockets keep your items accessible and separated. Convenient laptop sleeves and hip belt pouches keep essentials close at hand..

  • Security

Lockable zippers and slash-proof fabrics deter thieves. Discreet bags don’t shout “tourist.”

  • Durability

Water-resistant fabrics hold up in rain or spills. Ripstop nylon stands up to snags. Durable zippers won’t break.

  • Style

Backpacks come in various silhouettes from outdoorsy to sleek. Choose your preferred aesthetic.

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Top 5 Travel Backpacks for Europe

Now let’s look at five of the top-rated and recommended travel backpacks for exploring Europe.

1. Osprey Porter 46L

The Osprey Porter 46-liter bag is a favorite among veteran backpackers for its ruggedness, smart storage options, and comfortable fit. Falling within airline carry-on restrictions, the Porter features cushy padded shoulder straps and hip belt to ease the burden of heavier loads.

  • Pros: Durable, adjustable straps, multiple compartments
  • Cons: No water bottle pocket
  • Capacity: 46L
  • Weight: 3.17 lbs

2. Salkan Backpacker

With 5-star reviews, the Salkan Backpacker is a budget-friendly option perfect for hostel-hopping through Europe. The drawstring top and fold-over flap provide security from pickpockets. Interior and exterior pockets keep essentials accessible. The padded shoulder straps, back support, and sternum strap maximize comfort when trekking.

  • Pros: Lots of storage, comfortable straps, affordable
  • Cons: Not waterproof
  • Capacity: 45L
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs

3. Tomtoc Travel Backpack

The tomtoc backpack is designed for adventures, with its durable canvas exterior, TSA-friendly laptop compartment, and water-resistant coating. The ergonomic straps and breathable back panel keep you cool and comfortable. Small pockets are perfect for organizing travel necessities and keeping valuables secure.

  • Pros: Tough canvas fabric, lots of pockets, carry-on size
  • Cons: Hip belt sold separately
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs

4. TETON Sports Explorer 4000

With its 65L capacity, the TETON Explorer is a versatile backpack suitable for extended travel across Europe.

The TETON backpack utilizes an adjustable suspension system and padded waist belt to evenly distribute weight and minimize strain over long hiking distances. It has multiple storage sections and stash pockets which allow customized organization of your must-have travel items. They are constructed from durable ripstop polyester with a removable rain fly for weather protection, this pack is ready for adventure.

  • Pros: Large capacity, comfortable suspension system, good price
  • Cons: Very heavy when fully packed
  • Capacity: 65L
  • Weight: 5 lbs

5. Pacsafe Venturesafe X30

Built with security in focus. Anti-theft features are present in this product, which include lockable zippers, cut-proof fabric, and inner RFID-blocking pockets. Although subdued in outward appearance, the bag’s interior features intelligent organization. Customizable padded shoulder straps and sternum strap provide a tailored, comfortable carrying fit.

  • Pros: Lots of anti-theft features, streamlined look
  • Cons: Expensive, no hip belt
  • Capacity: 30L
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs

Packing Tips for Backpacking Europe

Once you’ve selected the perfect backpack, it’s time to figure out what to put inside.

These tips can help you pack efficiently.

  • Roll clothes to maximize space and minimize wrinkles. Clothing cubes or packing folders keep items separate.
  • When traveling, it’s best to wear bulky shoes like boots to save space. Bring an extra pair of sandals or slip-ons.
  • Travel-size toiletries in a clear, TSA-approved bag. Refill larger bottles as needed.
  • Pack layers like lightweight shirts, cardigans, and a compact jacket.
  • Don’t overpack! Only bring essentials to avoid a heavy load.
  • Utilize all compartments like front stash pockets for items you access regularly.
  • Ensure that electronics like phones, chargers, adapters, and headphones are in accessible places.
  • Hydrate! Bring a leakproof water bottle.

Additional Recommended Backpacking Gear

Beyond your backpack, here are a few key items to bring:

  • Daypack or crossbody bag for daily wandering
  • Packing cubes to organize clothing and gear
  • TSA-approved lock to secure backpack zippers
  • Microfiber towel for hostel showers
  • Sleep sheet for overnight trains and hostels
  • Headlamp for dimly lit areas
  • Universal adapter to charge devices anywhere

With a quality backpack and some strategic packing, you’re ready to set out on your European adventure. Enjoy the journey.


The most important factors when choosing the best travel backpack for Europe are weight, proper sizing and capacity, comfort, security features, durability, and versatility. Keep your specific packing needs in mind and look for a balance of form, function and features tailored to your priorities.

Ideally you want the lightest, most comfortable pack with enough space and security to safely transport all your must-haves. Do your research, read reviews and make an informed decision. Your backpack is a critical travel companion that can make or break your Europe trip. With one of these top-rated options, you’re sure to explore Europe with ease.

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