Top 8 | Best Backpack for Travel In Europe [2021 Reviews]

Are you looking for the best backpack for travel in Europe? Check out this post to read 8 comprehensive reviews of the best travel backpack for Europe!


I hope you find the right pack for you in my buying guide for the best backpack for Europe travel!

As far as travel preparations go, buying a backpack’s good fun. After all, it’s a tangible sign that your adventure’s fast approaching!

But it’s tricky too- especially when you’re travelling around somewhere as big and diverse as Europe.

Firstly, there are lots of different options and it can be hard to know which is best. Secondly, backpacks aren’t cheap, meaning you need them to be durable enough for the trip (without going over-budget).

And lastly, it has to be both comfortable and versatile enough to contend with the wide range of activities you’ll be doing in Europe!

Know the struggle and want some help finding the best backpack for travel in Europe? I’ve got you covered. Check out the upcoming guide to the best backpacks for Europe.

With 8 comprehensive reviews, you should find the best travel backpack for Europe in no time.

Last updated: January 2021

Heads up, this post contains affiliate links.

Best Backpacks for Travel in Europe – Summary Table


Type: Top loading

Capacity: 50L (+10L)

Rating: 5/5



Type: Top Loading

Capacity: 45, 65, 85

Rating: 4.6/5



Type: Top Loading

Capacity: 70L

Rating: 4.8/5



Type: Front load

Capacity: 40L

Rating: 4.8/5



Type: Top Loading

Capacity: 65L

Rating: 4.7/5



Type: Top Loading

Capacity: 45L (+10L)

Rating: 4.7/5



Type: Front load

Capacity: 40L

Rating: 4.7/5



Type: Top Loading

Capacity: 65L (+10L)

Rating: 5/5



Let’s start with the key considerations for choosing the best backpacks for Europe.

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How to Choose the Best Backpacks for Europe

A backpack’s often the first and most essential item for anyone going travelling. Unfortunately, though, it isn’t as simple as choosing the one that looks best!

There are all sorts of considerations to keep in mind to ensure you get the best travel backpack for your needs. Here are 6 of them:

1. Size & Weight

Rule number one of packing: don’t take too much stuff. There’s nothing worse than carrying around excess items (and weight) that never get used. When it comes to travel, less is more.

The best way to ensure you don’t take too much? Buy a smaller backpack- or at least a backpack that is the right size for what you genuinely need.

There are all sorts of backpack sizes available. Measurements are in litres and vary from 40L (and less) to 70L (and more).

For practicality, I would stick between 40-70L (where 70L is actually a lot to carry!). As such, the backpacks I’ve included below are all in this range.

2. Type/Style

There are different types of backpack available and the choice is really up to personal preference.

The two main ones are referred to as ‘top loading’ and ‘front loading’. There are pros and cons to each, but more on this below!

Equally, just like humans, backpacks come in all shapes and sizes. Some are tall and thin, others and wider and ‘fatter’. Thin ones can fall over; fat ones can be cumbersome.

At the end of the day it is what feels right to you!

3. Comfort & Adjustability

I can’t overemphasise how important comfort is when it comes to picking the right backpack.

Our bodies are different, so it is crucial that the one you choose is a good fit for your body. A determining factor in backpack selection should be its adjustability: is it sufficiently adjustable to become the perfect fit?

Make sure the waist and shoulder straps are fully adjustable and padded to ensure maximum comfort and appropriate fit.

4. Materials & Durability

On the road your backpack will take a beating! In an ideal world it will last for a long time and see you through the duration of your travels and beyond.

So, it needs to be as durable as possible, with high quality materials and stitching.

Generally speaking the more expensive the bag, the more durable it should be.

Having said that, sometimes the pricier options over complicate things with masses of straps, pockets and zippers. The more of these there are, the more chance of something breaking!

Also, be sure that the material is waterproof and/or includes a waterproof cover. Remember, if your pack gets wet, so does all your stuff. Ensuring it is waterproof should be a priority.

5. Price

Like I said above, backpacks usually aren’t cheap.

But try to see it as an investment- after all, it should last you a long time and keep your things safe and secure.

People have different budgets and what’s expensive to some won’t be for others, and vice versa. Obviously, finding a price that matches yours is the only sensible option.

However, to prevent any accidents on the road (that can lead to further expense…) it can be worth spending a little extra up front to cover your back (pun fully intended…sorry).

For the purposes of this guide I’ve limited most backpacks to a price range of £80-250 (roughly USD $100-350), with a couple of options either side to cover all bases.

Hopefully this will cater for most backpacking budgets.

6. Pockets, Straps & Gizmos

Finally, I always pay attention to the pockets and straps available.

Not only do I love a good hidden/secret pocket, but there’s always a functionality to having enough differently sized spaces available.

Think of valuables, water bottles, items you need close to hand, headphone ports, camera holders…etc etc. Finding a backpack that’s right for you will depend on what you plan to carry.

Having the pockets and straps available will be important.

That said, sometimes backpacks can go overboard! My general rule of thumb is that if I don’t know what a pocket is for, or what a strap or clip does, the pack isn’t for me.


The best backpack to travel Europe and the rest of the world isn’t always easy to find. Be sure to keep certain things in mind when you’re buying one for your trip.

Top Tip for Finding the Best Backpack for Backpacking Europe:

When you first buy your backpack keep the receipt and check it’s under warranty.

At home, load it up with items to the equivalent weight you’ll be carrying on the road. Adjust the straps, get it sitting right and see how it feels.

Keeping in mind it’ll always take some getting used to, ask yourself if you can bear this for however long you’re to travel for.

If the answer is no, go back to the shop and try a new one.

The Best Backpacks for Europe: How They Differ

In some ways a backpack is a backpack is a backpack.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re road-tripping around the US, hitch-hiking across South East Asia, or inter-railing around Europe.

The pack on your back will, in most cases, be fine for the job.

Having said that, Europe has many unique qualities that could impact your choice of backpack. The best backpacking Europe backpack will differ to those best suited to other destinations.

For instance, there’s a huge amount of diversity in Europe. It’s a big place with lots of different things to do: from mountains, to hills, to oceans and almost everything in between.

Perhaps you need a multipurpose backpack that’ll be as good for hiking in the Alps as it is for exploring Amsterdam’s canals?

Or, keep in mind that there are lots of cities to explore. Rather than lugging everything around, maybe you want a day pack that comes attached to the main one?

Or, as Europe is a big place and there’s a lot to see, you’ll probably be moving around a lot. Perhaps a smaller, lighter pack will make the process more enjoyable?

…And so on. This all has an impact on the backpack you choose, as well as packing for Europe more generally!

The point is that there are particular aspects of travelling around Europe that could affect your backpack choice! It’s worth keeping in mind what you’ll be doing there and how you’ll be doing it when deciding your backpack.


The best backpacks for Europe differ in some ways versus those best for other countries. Here are the different types available:

Travel Backpack Europe: Different Backpack Types to Consider

There are two main types of travel backpack Europe to consider: top loading and front loading (also known as panel-loading).

Let’s go through the pros and cons of each:

a) Top Loading Backpacks

This is the classic backpack we’re all used to, with an opening at the top (usually with a drawstring and strap for security) for loading and unloading the bag. They come in all shapes, sizes and capacities, but there are some pros and cons that run throughout.


  • Lightweight and ideally suited for hiking and adventure travel.
  • Taller and slimmer compared to front loading.
  • Shape means finding space and carrying the pack is easier in crowds etc.
  • Greater comfort, support and weight distribution as designed for hiking and trekking.


  • Drawstring entry makes them an easier target for theft.
  • Harder to organise items effectively.
  • Accessing items is more difficult (especially for things at the bottom of the bag!).

b) Front Loading Backpacks

Front loading packs are becoming increasingly common.

These suitcase style bags pack a host of advantages. But there are some downsides to consider too…


  • Their suitcase type design allows easy access to items and simple organisation.
  • No digging around for things at the bottom of the rucksack!
  • Greater security as zippers allow padlocks to secure the bag.
  • Larger/fatter shape enables them to stand up more easily.


  • Generally slightly heavier than top loading backpacks.
  • Less suited to hikes and adventure travel.
  • Potential for zippers to break versus drawstrings/straps of top loading packs.
  • Potential for items to fall out when front is open.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both.

So, ultimately the choice is totally up to your personal preference and plans for travel!

To help you decide, here’s a great piece from Trip Savvy about whether to choose a front or top-loading backpack.


Ready to find the best backpack for traveling through europe? Here we go…

The Best Backpack for Travelling Through Europe

On to the main event! Here are 8 comprehensive reviews of the best backpack for backpacking Europe.

1) Deuter Futura Vario 50+10 Rucksack


  • 50L capacity (+10L if needed)
  • 3 access points (top, front and bottom)
  • Aircomfort back ventilation system
  • Adjustable back system to fit people of different heights
  • Built in waterproof rain cover


Deuter have been in the backpack business since 1898 and from what I can see, the Futura Vario is one of their highest rated to date. This is arguably the best bag for backpacking Europe.

It is a fine example of a multifunctional pack that’s as suited to camping and multiday treks as it is to day to day travel.

At 50L, the Vario is an ideal size: you aren’t limited to bare bones packing, but you still have to think hard about what to include.

In real terms the Vario is actually a 60L backpack though, where the ‘+10’ refers to an additional 10L capacity that’s created by a ‘collar’ of material at the top. This extends upwards, providing more space you need it.

The pack is absolutely full of useful features.

It is top loading, but has additional openings on the front and at the bottom, making your stuff easily accessible, regardless of where it is in the bag.

There’s a rain cover included, 10 pockets suited to all manner of items, an adjustable back, padded should and waist straps, as well as Deuter’s renowned Aircomfort ventilation system that keeps the pack away from your back to reduce sweating.

One downside is that the Vario one of the more expensive options on this list. However, it seems to justify its price tag with high quality materials and unrivalled functionality.

All in all, this seems a highly recommended backpack that would be the perfect accompaniment on your travels.


  • Aircomfort ventilation system stops you sweating.
  • Fully adjustable and suitable for people of different sizes.
  • High quality, durable materials.
  • Additional 10L capacity if needed.
  • Top, front and bottom openings allow easy access.
  • Waterproof cover included.
  • Highly rated online.


  • The steel frame adds weight (however, it also keeps the pack rigid and allows weight transfer to hips, which you want).
  • Expensive! This pack is one of the priciest on this list of best backpacks.

2) Osprey Farpoint 40 Rucksack (Best Daypack for Travel in Europe)


  • 40L capacity
  • Front loading design
  • Zipaway shoulder and waist straps
  • Internal and external compression system
  • Hand luggage size
  • Laptop compartment


Osprey have been making backpacks since 1974, making this California based company another ‘authority’ in this particular niche.

You’ll also be pleased to hear that every product comes with a lifetime guarantee. Simply, the packs are made to impress…and to last. The Farpoint 40 definitely ticks those boxes. In fact, I reckon it qualifies as the best carry on backpack for Europe.

This is one bag on the list that I do actually own and take on most of my shorter travels- I can personally vouch for it! The Farpoint is of exceptional quality and full of features that make your life on the road far easier.

It is front loading, with a suitcase type design, enabling easy storage- an internal compression system allowing you to fit more that you’d expect. Multiple pockets enable different functionalities, including a laptop sleeve and two bottle pockets at the front.

For long term round the world type travel the capacity won’t be enough.

However, if you’re sensible with what you pack it’ll be perfect for most trips. Its small size has the added benefit of counting as hand luggage, so you save money on plane tickets and time at the airport.

The Farpoint is also designed to be carried in different ways, depending on your need. It has a stowaway backpack strap design, allowing you to zip the straps behind a piece of material that unfolds and seals the straps out of sight.

This can be useful in certain situations (for instance, it stops the straps getting in the way when stowing the bag in the compartments above your plane seat) but I tend to keep the straps out anyway. It’s just a bit of a hassle to fold and unfold the material all the time.

The waist and shoulder straps are lightly padded, and great additions. However, the weight distribution and amount of padding could be better, so consider other options if you’re planning on hiking etc.

All told and keeping in mind its limitations of capacity, for short to medium term travel (around the world or in Europe) the Farpoint 40 would be my personal pick of all these bags.


  • Great all-rounder that’s ideal for shorter term travel.
  • It counts as hand luggage (for more airlines), saving time at the airport and money on ticket costs!
  • Incredibly functional and appropriate in all manner of travel situations.
  • Front loading makes packing and unpacking straightforward.
  • High quality and durable materials.
  • Zippers that can be locked together for added security.
  • Lifetime guarantee.
  • Internal and external compression straps.


  • 40L capacity may not be enough for long term travel.
  • Not the cheapest bag on the market by any stretch of the imagination (especially for its size).
  • Difficult to fit water bottles into the pockets when the bag is full.
  • Unsuited to hiking/adventurous travel or wearing for long stretches of time.

3) Ebags Mother Lode 40L (Cheap Alternative to the Farpoint)


  • 40L capacity
  • Front loading design
  • Hand luggage size
  • Laptop compartment


I wanted to include a backpack that has similar specifications to the Farpoint, but was more accessible to someone on a budget. The Ebags Mother Lode is exactly that.

It’s pretty much the Farpoint, but without the bells and whistles, and slightly fewer features. However, it’s also half the price! But despite the lower price point, the Mother Lode has some great reviews online and seems exceptional value for money.

There’s the same front loading design, with a large central compartment as well as additional pockets on the front, including space for a laptop. The central compartment also has removable dividers, designed to aid organisation of the pack.

The only downside seems to do with the straps. There’s no waist strap and the shoulder straps are unpadded and pretty thin. As a result, the Mother Lode may be less suited for longer term and more adventurous kinds of travel.

That said, it wasn’t designed for that purpose in the first place. For someone looking for a straightforward backpack that’ll get the job done without breaking the bank, which can be used as carryon luggage and hold a laptop, then this bag is as good as any out there.


  • Very reasonably priced, especially compared to other options.
  • Much of the same functionality as the Farpoint 40, but at a lower price point.
  • Detachable organisers for the internal compartment.
  • Front loading makes packing and unpacking straightforward.
  • Also counts as hand luggage size (for most airlines).
  • Many pockets and internal spaces for easy organisation.


  • Unsuited to more adventurous travel or hiking.
  • No Waist strap included.
  • Shoulder straps are unpadded and not fully adjustable
  • No Airflow system on the back, meaning reduced ventilation.
  • Less suited to long term travel through limited capacity.

4) Osprey Aether AG 70L


  • 70L capacity
  • ‘Antigravity’ back support system
  • Detachable top lid section
  • Front panel access
  • Waterproof rain cover included
  • Top loading with front and bottom access
  • Back support airflow system


Back to Osprey for another exceptional backpack, but this time for one better suited to longer term, adventurous travel.

The Osprey Aether 70l is another that I’ve had the opportunity to road test and again, I can vouch for its awesome quality and functionality.

The Aether is a top loading pack but with front panel access. There’s also a space at the bottom for a sleeping bag, which can double as extra storage if you aren’t taking one away.

The harness (shoulder and waist straps) is specifically designed to be fully adjustable, technology that enables you to take a lot of the weight from your back.

The extra comfort from this ergonomic design is a big plus point. There’s also an airflow system that nicely increases ventilation on your back.

Another nice feature is a removable top ‘lid’- the section that typically pulls over the top of the bag, clipping everything together in place. The Aether enables you to take this off to be used in the style of a daypack/small bag.

There are gizmos galore, with straps, pockets, cords and all sorts hanging off it. For particular treks and adventures these all have their uses. However, it can feel a bit much when simply travelling around normally.

Another slight downside is its shape, which is tall and slim. The bag can’t really support itself (while waiting on platforms etc), causing it to topple easily over.

Also, when fully packed, the bag extends up behind your head, creating what feels like a head rest.

This might sound nice, and it can be, but being unable to bend your head backwards gets annoying over time.

Finally, the size is at the very upper end of what I’d recommend for travelling. And, fully packed, it’ll be heavy to carry around. However, it may be worth it for anyone planning on hiking, trekking, camping and generally adventuring while away, where you’ll need all the gizmos and extra space.

All told, the Aether comes highly recommended as a versatile and feature-filled pack that’s ideal for travelling and outdoor pursuits.


  • ‘Antigravity’ back support system that removes weight from the back to the waist.
  • Airflow system for improved ventilation.
  • High quality, durable materials.
  • Waterproof rain cover included.
  • Top and front access through a zipper panel.
  • Detachable top ‘lid’ section for daypack style use.
  • Fully adjustable and padded shoulder and waist straps.


  • Another more expensive option.
  • Tall and slim designed makes the bag appear exceptionally large in size.
  • Slim design makes it more difficult to stand up by itself.
  • 70L may be more space than you need.
  • Lots of straps, pockets, bells and whistles that can feel excessive for standard travelling.


Still looking for the best travel packs for europe? Here are 4 more that may take your fancy…

5) Highlander Discovery 45L, 65L, 85L


  • 45L, 65L or 85L capacity
  • Top loading design
  • Water proof rain cover included
  • One main compartment
  • Adjustable back support system


For sure, the Osprey Aether and Deuter Futura are great, but they aren’t cheap. For a similar option at a fraction of the price, the Highlander Discovery is a great bet.

It’s a pack that’s suited for travel and outdoor pursuits in equal measure, making it functionally similar to the more expensive options at a much lower price point.

The Discovery is a top loading pack that comes with one main compartment, plus additional smaller ones at the bottom and sides.

There are different options in terms of size: 45L, 65L and 85L. Eighty five litres is absolutely ginormous, so personally I’d only recommend either the 45L or 65L! At those sizes you can easily get everything you need inside, while keeping the weight down.

Though it lacks the fancy technology that the others boast, the back is still of a mesh and adjustable design, ensuring good and comfortable back support. Straps are adjustable and padded too.

It is up for debate whether its quality would match that of the more expensive options, but from all accounts this backpack is most definitely fit for purpose and remains of high quality, especially for its price.

So, if you’re willing to sacrifice some of the bells and whistles for a quality backpack that’ll get the job done, this relatively cheap option could be just what you need.


  • Great quality for the price.
  • Adjustable back with mesh for ventilation.
  • Padded shoulder and waist straps.
  • Apparently good for skinnier builds due to having a small waist band that can be tightened a long way.
  • Waterproof rain cover included.


  • Fewer gizmos, bells and whistles compared with other options.
  • Larger frames may struggle with small waist band.

6) Berghaus Trailhead 65L


  • 65L capacity
  • Top loading
  • Biofit adjustable back support system
  • Base compartment with removable divider
  • Waterproof rain cover included


Berghaus is another well-known brand name in the world of backpacks, having been designing and manufacturing them since 1971.

And, like Osprey, they offer a lifetime guarantee on all their products, which means their stuff is built to last!

The Trailhead is another that’ll be as great for travel as it is for trekking. Top loading, the layout is classic of this style, with a top lid, main central compartment and a bottom area for additional storage/a sleeping bag.

However, the divider between the main and bottom compartments can be removed if preferred.

Another major plus point of this backpack is the ‘Biofit’ design, which enables you to adjust the length of the back with one simple pull of a strap. This makes it exceptionally easy to adjust on the move. All straps are padded and fully adjustable too, as you’d expect from a bag of this quality.

At 65L it is a nice capacity, allowing you to pack everything (and possible more than) you need. Don’t be tempted to fill the space just because it is there though!

The Trailhead is a fantastic option for someone wanting a backpack that’ll stand the test of time without breaking the bank. It comes with everything you could want, as well as many of the same fancy gizmos of the higher end packs on this list.

It tows a perfect line between affordability and high quality; the lifetime guarantee reassuring us of the pack’s durability and fitness for purpose.


  • Easy bio-fit adjustable back system extends with a single strap
  • Fully padded and adjustable waist and shoulder straps
  • Great quality for the price
  • Can remove the divider of the bottom compartment, creating one large space.
  • Pre-curved waist strap for comfort
  • Waterproof rain cover included


  • None that I could see or came across!

7) Lowe Alpine Diran 65:75


  • 65L capacity (+10L)
  • 10L Expandable capacity
  • Top loading with front panel access
  • Axiom suspension adjustable harness system
  • Waterproof rain cover included


Lowe Alpine is another well-known and highly reputable brand that offers a wide range of backpacks. One of the best on offer seems to be the Axiom Diran.

It’s another top loading backpack that offers easy front panel access too.

The back is also fully adjustable and straight forward to alter on the go, with a sliding system for the straps, which are all fully adjustable and padded.

Like the Deuter above, the Diran has a base capacity (65L) with the potential for additional storage (plus 10L). That’s 75L in total, which is pretty big! For short term travel where you’ll be moving around a lot (common when moving around Europe) it may be unnecessarily large.

The Diran is billed as an entry level rucksack, but it doesn’t seem to be missing much!

So, I’d say it would definitely be suited for anyone hitting the road, regardless of who you are and what the plan may be.

Also, at a purely superficial, aesthetic level I’d say the Diran is one of the best looking packs on this list. However, that’s more of an added bonus than a reason to actually buy it…right?

That aside, the price isn’t cheap. But it definitely isn’t the most expensive you’ll come across either and I’d suggest that the high quality of the pack makes it good value for money too.


  • Axiom suspension harness technology makes adjusting back support and weight distribution easy.
  • Side pockets have a bellows design for additional storage.
  • Additional 10L capacity if needed.
  • Front panel provides easier access to contents.
  • Waterproof rain cover included.
  • High quality materials and highly rated.


  • Apparently only for men, but reviews suggest unisex is fine too (but try it first!). May be unsuitable for women with a small build.
  • This would be a big, heavy pack if the full 75L capacity was used.
  • There’s mesh, but there’s no fancy ventilation system on the back. It might get sweaty!

8) Lowe Alpine AirZone Pro 35:45 Pack


  • 45L capacity (+10L).
  • Top loading with side entry option.
  • Easily adjustable back system extends into 3 different height positions.
  • Padded and adjustable harness straps.
  • Ventilation technology for reduced sweating
  • Waterproof rain cover included


Lowe Alpine is an awesome brand, so I thought I’d include another option, just with a slightly lower capacity this time.

The AirZone Pro packs in many of the same features and qualities of the Axiom 3 (such as a handy sliding mechanism to adjust the back support on the go), while adding in a ventilation system that cools the back too.

Effectively, the system pushes the load from your back, creating a vent for any heat!

At 45L, it’s a nice middle-ground in terms of capacity: not too heavy to render you immobile on the move, yet not so small that you can’t carry much stuff around! The capacity is expandable by an extra 10L, too, which means you should have more than enough space for your trip.

One of the nicest components of the AirZone is a large side zip that gives instant access to your stuff inside. There’s also a large front pocket as well as additional pockets on the sides.

Overall, if you’re looking for a great all-rounder that’s particularly suitable for outdoor pursuits and adventurous travel, go for the AirZone Pro.


  • High quality, durable materials.
  • Expandable size creates extra space.
  • Side zip allows access to entire contents of bag.
  • Waterproof rain cover included.
  • Versatile and great for outdoor pursuits.


  • Pricey (though arguably justified by its quality!).

Time to Pick the Best Backpack for Travel in Europe

There you have it: my picks for the best backpack for travel in Europe.

I hope it’s been helpful in making a decision for your upcoming trip! Any pack on this list is sure to stand you in great stead.

Now I want to hear from you! Which backpack took your fancy? The Lowe Alpine Airzone? Or maybe the Berghaus Trailhead?

Let me know in the comments!

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