11 BEST Backpacks for Digital Nomads [December 2019]

If you are looking for the best backpacks for Digital Nomads – look no further!

Written by Digital Nomads FOR Digital Nomads, these are the best backpacks for anyone who lives and works out of their backpack.

This article is specifically for travel backpacks – aka backpacks that are over 30 Liters.

If you are looking a day-to-day backpack, check out our article about the MUST HAVE Laptop Backpacks for Digital Nomads!

Note – this review covers backpacks 40L and over – if you are looking for something smaller, check out our insider guide to the best daypacks and laptop bags for Digital Nomads!

Our Top pick for Digital Nomads!

  • Cost - $$$$
  • Size - 40L
  • Key Feature -Organization is definitely the best thing about this bag. There are pockets for all occasions.

Why digital nomads love this backpack – Pockets! There are a TON of pockets on the Nomatic Travel Bag, to keep your laptop, tablet, and other important Digital Nomad gear safe. That means traveling with all your electronics neatly organized is a beautiful reality. Just add pockets!

It’s also comfortable to carry around, with hip straps so your shoulders don’t die when you’re traipsing around a city looking for a cafe with wi-fi. 

The bag is also made of waterproof material, which is DEFINITELY a good thing when your electronics and all your other worldly goods are on your back in the rain.

PS – if you are looking for something slightly smaller, have a read of our Nomatic Travel Pack review.

Pros of the Nomatic Travel Bag

  • Amazingly organized compartmentalization going on here - room for all your stuff
  • The amount of room in this HUGE bag means the mythical one-bag-travel isn’t so far away
  • It’s comfortable - you can really fill it up, but it’s still ok to carry

Cons of the Nomatic Travel Bag

  • It’s flat against your back, and we know what that means - sweaty back!
  • The Nomatic Travel Bag isn’t the most attractive. It’s also covered in logos.
  • Overcomplicated - too MANY pockets. What if you just don’t need that many?

Is the Nomatic Travel Bag for You?

If you really love organizing your stuff and want a pocket for pretty much everything, this is the bag for you. There are shoe pockets, water bottle pockets, and a load of nooks and crannies to tuck away all your goods.

Our top pick for tech fans!

  • Cost - $$$$
  • Size - 35L or 45L
  • Key Feature - Beautifully soft laptop sleeve so your baby won’t get hurt during your travels

Why tech fans love this backpack – Techies are definitely going to love this one thanks to how well engineered it is. From the super rugged sailcloth the bag is made of and the water-resistant zippers to the sleek separate laptop and tablet sleeve; it’s built to last.

There’s even a separate compartment for your chargers, phones, and whatever other snazzy technology you own and fancy carrying around the world with you. And it all comes with a lot of padding and protection so nothing gets damaged on the way.

Check out our full Tortuga Outbreaker Review!

Pros of the Tortuga Outbreaker

  • VERY comfortable - hip and lumbar support as well as a mesh back, so no getting sweaty
  • Additional packing cubes that can be bought separately mean even more organization
  • Make the most of its carry-on capabilities and zip the straps away for tidiness

Cons of the Tortuga Outbreaker

  • A little bulky and heavier than other bags of its size
  • You can only fit about a week’s worth of clothes into it
  • If you’re thinking of going anywhere other than a city, this won’t really be suitable

Is the Tortuga Outbreaker Bag for You?

Want to make sure your tech stuff is protected on the road? This bag is for you. If you also love urban travel more than the sticks, this is definitely more up your street.

Best minimal style backpack!

  • Cost - $$$
  • Size - 31L
  • Key Feature - Cool rolltop bag with sleek design features and functionality to match

Why this is the best minimal style backpack  – This is a cool looking backpack that’s not going to appear out of place in an everyday city situation; however, it’s still pretty functional and full of features. The rolltop actually expands so you can fit a lot inside this stylish looking pack.

The Wandrd Prvke Rolltop Backpack is all about aesthetics. This one definitely looks the part, with a classy two-shade color scheme. It’s available in black, green, and blue – all muted tones for you fashionistas out there. It’s even good as a daypack.

Read our full WANDRD PRVKE Review.

Pros of the Wandrd Prvke Rolltop Backpack

  • The back completely zips open, meaning you don’t have to keep digging through the top
  • It’s got a surprising amount of pockets
  • Very tough - it’s built out of water-resistant tarpaulin and ballistic nylon

Cons of the Wandrd Prvke Rolltop Backpack

  • There is a handy camera cube available - but this comes at an additional cost
  • The whole rolltop thing can get annoying pretty quickly
  • This bag would definitely look weird anywhere other than a city

Is the Wandrd Prvke Rolltop Backpack for You?

If looking good is a priority when you travel, you should really be thinking about getting this bag. Like city trips? Heading to Tokyo or Seoul and don’t want to look like you’re on an urban safari? Yeah, this one is definitely for you.

Best bag for weekend break!

  • Cost - $$
  • Size - 40L
  • Key Feature - It’s all about comfort thanks to weight and straps.

Why this is the best backpack for a weekend break – Everybody knows Osprey; the brand is famous for its long-lasting, reliable goods. The Osprey Farpoint 40 is no different. This is a comfy backpack alright, and one with various straps to balance the weight.

There’s a ton of room inside, meaning you can fit more than enough clothes for the weekend in, as well as your laptop. The simple block-color aesthetics and smooth lines of this bag fit a city break as much as a weekend in the wilderness.

Check out our in depth review of the Osprey Farpoint 40!

Pros of the Osprey Farpoint 40

  • Great ventilation - the straps and back panel are meshed to the max
  • For a decent brand of backpack, this is surprisingly affordable
  • Unfussy organization and a lot of capacity mean packing is easy

Cons of the Osprey Farpoint 40

  • Doesn’t have loads of pockets - if compartments are your thing, you’ll miss them
  • Laptop sleeve is on the front, so the weight distribution isn’t great if your laptop is heavy
  • Could look a bit too outdoorsy in a city situation

Is the Osprey Farpoint 40 for You?

If you’re the sort of person who’s always away on weekend breaks and you want a simple solution to your luggage woes, this is a basic backpack for an easy weekend away.

Best bag for photographers!

  • Cost - $$$
  • Size - 25 to 35L
  • Key Feature - There’s a pretty nifty removable camera pouch featured here

Why photographers love this backpack  – This bag is literally designed with photographers in mind. A crossover travel and photography backpack, this is the sort of thing that’s as perfect for day to day use as it is for weeks and months of travel at a time.

One of the coolest things about this backpack is how it transforms; there are about three or four different ways you can carry this bag. One of these is especially great for photographers, allowing the camera pouch to be attached on the outside for easy access. Pretty neat.

Pros of the Boundary Supply Prima System Backpack

  • It’s got loads of combos - it’s like a Transformer. You can really make it work for you.
  • Access to anything in the bag at any one time feels pretty convenient
  • There is even a laptop compartment for when you need to edit those pics

Cons of the Boundary Supply Prima System Backpack

  • If you’re not 110% into photography, there’ll be too much going on for you here
  • A bit flimsy - won’t stand up by itself when set down
  • Aside from camera stuff, you won’t fit a load of stuff in here

Is the Boundary Supply Prima System Backpack for You?

This is a well done hybrid bag, mixing a camera bag with a backpack, and is perfect for photographers. If you’re a travel photographer, this is even more perfect – especially if you like hiking and taking pictures out in nature.

#6 - Minaal Carry On 2.0

Our top pick for a carry on bag!

  • Cost - $$$$
  • Size - 35L
  • Key Feature - This is the correct carry-on size for practically every airline out there
Minaal 2.0

Why this is a great carry-on backpack – This bag has been designed with traveling light in mind. When it comes to the Minaal 2.0, it’s all about hopping off and on planes with ease. It even opens up like a suitcase with a zip around three sides, meaning it’s easy to pack as well.

Packing compartments inside keep things tidy as well (especially when packing as a Digital Nomad). You’ll also find a shockproof laptop compartment in there, so you can travel with your digital equipment safely. Not only that, but you can tuck away the straps and turn this backpack into a briefcase-type bag. Nice.

Check out our full Minaal Carry On 2.0 Review.

Pros of the Minaal 2.0

  • This bag has lockable zips so you can keep all your stuff safe as you travel around
  • The Minaal 2.0 complies with both American and European carry-on limits
  • Comes with a seam-sealed rain cover to keep your stuff dry

Cons of the Minaal 2.0

  • This doesn’t work very well as a daypack. It’s big and feels like it flaps around a bit.
  • Looks like a soft carry-on suitcase with straps - without the wheels. Not attractive
  • When the bag is fully packed, it feels ungainly

Is the Minaal 2.0 for You?

If you really just want to keep everything in one place and not have the stress of collecting luggage at the airport, this is for you. It doesn’t look obviously traveler-y or tech-y either.

Our top pick for Business Travellers

  • Cost - $$
  • Size - 22 to 37L
  • Key Feature - Looks professional if you’re a professional person. It’s strictly business.

Why business travelers love this backpack –  The Knack Pack is smart and streamlined, making for the perfect, sleek luggage for business travelers. You can take this on the street, you can take this to a meeting, you can take this on a plane – it’s suitable anywhere.

The backpack itself is all about nice and simple design. It zips open like a suitcase, making it easy to pack for trips. Depending on how long your trip is, this can expand to fit a whole lot more than just a weekend’s worth of clothes.

Pros of the The Knack Pack

  • Different compartments for electronics to keep them safe - easy access, too
  • AMAZING expandability means you can keep things super light or more substantial
  • You can even zip the straps away to make this extra neat

Cons of the The Knack Pack

  • Not exactly exciting to look at - comes in black and grey only
  • Some people might find the patterned interior a bit TOO ‘business class’
  • For any outside-of-city travel, this won’t be the best off the beaten track bag

Is The Knack Pack the bag for You?

Professional, minimal travel is the whole concept behind The Knack Pack. This bag is for anybody who wants a simple looking bag without anything fancy attached to it. Black and grey with a laptop sleeve – and it’s expandable. What more could you need?

Best bag for top security!

  • Cost - $$
  • Size - 25L
  • Key Feature - It’s all BACKWARDS - the zips face your back instead of being within easy reach of thieves!

Why this is the best security backpack – First and foremost, the RiutBag X25 has something pretty innovative going on. It’s basically designed in reverse, with all the zips and access points against your back instead of facing outwards.

Doesn’t that make it uncomfortable? Nope. It’s padded and well designed, meaning that all your stuff is going to stay secure as you wander around a city, safe in the knowledge that any would-be thief will be pretty confused about your bag.

Pros of the RiutBag X25

  • Good for tech; there’s a 15” laptop sleeve as well as an external hard drive pocket
  • The main pocket of the bag opens like a suitcase for easy access
  • Secure! No zips or pockets on show while you’re carrying it around

Cons of the RiutBag X25

  • Because of where the pockets are, you have to put it down if you want anything out of it
  • No water bottle pockets, which is bad if you’re somewhere hot
  • A bit small - anything more than a week will be a real stretch

Is the RiutBag X25 for You?

If you’re a real stress-head when it comes to your stuff, and if you’re going to be carrying expensive tech in a place that may be well known for pickpocketing, you’re really going to be into the RiutBag X25.

#9 - Kathmandu Federate Adapt Pack

Best Hybrid Backpack!

  • Cost - $$
  • Size - 28 - 50L
  • Key Feature - Expansion is definitely the key here, from daypack to check-in luggage
Kathmandu Federate Adapt Pack

Why this is the best hybrid backpack  – The Kathmandu Federate Adapt Pack is practically three bags in one. It starts life as a compact, 28-liter daypack, can morph into 38-liter carry-on bag, and goes all the way to a 50-liter check-in extravaganza.

What this means is you can pack for a huge trip with the expanded 50-liter version. Then, when you arrive, you can remove the packing cell inside with all your luggage and whatever else, leave it at your hotel, and head off into the city with a daypack that didn’t take up any extra space!

Pros of the Kathmandu Federate Adapt Pack

  • Amazingly versatile - three bags in one is a super helpful thing to be
  • There’s a breathable harness, which helps with the extra weight when it's heavier
  • Very affordable for a lot of versatility and comfort

Cons of the Kathmandu Federate Adapt Pack

  • Way too much if you just want a bag that’s… one bag
  • Questionable longevity - some of the buckles pop open at 38L
  • Pretty heavy - with all that extra material, it’s going to be

Is the Kathmandu Federate Adapt Hybrid Travel Bag for You?

If you like the idea of a nifty bag that can be your travel companion for different kinds of trips, this one is definitely for you. This is a bag that can do more than just one thing – and that’s what you love, right?

Most Trendy Backpack!

  • Cost - $$$
  • Size - 30 + 40L
  • Key Feature - Cool looking without being available only in black - fun and colorful

Why this is the most trendy backpack  – The Topo Designs Travel Bag looks more like a skater backpack than a travel bag; something closer to what a company like Jansport or Vans might come out with. It’s colorful and spacious and looks retro but very ‘now’ at the same time – the perfect cool credentials.

But it isn’t all about looks. The very functional interior is packed with compartments, and features suitcase-style opening for ease. You can even zip away the straps and carry it like a suitcase. But most of all, it’s a fun backpack that isn’t all about looking like a business bag or overly ‘urban.’

Pros of the Topo Designs Travel Bag

  • The laptop sleeve is very easily accessible - not hampered by how full the bag is
  • It is large enough to fit a load of stuff but small enough for carry-on
  • Looks cool enough to pass for a daypack if you ditch some of your stuff at the hotel

Cons of the Topo Designs Travel Bag

  • Some people may not like how colorful this bag is
  • No ventilation on the back - can get sweaty, especially when packed out
  • Looks MUCH better in a 30-liter version; 40 liter looks too bulky

IIs the Topo Designs Travel Bag for You?

If you’re too worried about standing out with an outdoorsy, hiking style backpack in a city, Topo Designs is here for you. At the same time, it’s ‘natural’ enough to work in a rugged or countryside environment, too. Win-win.

#11 - Greenroom136 Rainmaker Backpack

Best Backpack for Comfort!

  • Cost - $$
  • Size - 22L + 27L
  • Key Feature - It’s cool enough to use for daily use and perfect for short-term travel, created by rising Malaysian backpack entrepreneurs
Greenroom136 Rainmaker Backpack

Why this is the best backpack for comfort – Not only does this backpack look fun, it feels good. The materials feel great, but it’s the straps (obviously) that make this so comfortable.

In fact, it’s surprisingly comfortable. There’s even a squishy, meshed back that makes it extra nice to wear. Inside, there are three separate compartments, each with its own organizational stuff going on, making this a comprehensive bag. Cool logo too.

Pros of the Greenroom136 Rainmaker Backpack

  • Super affordable for how cool, durable, and innovative this bag is. Cheapest on this list!
  • The feels - materials used in the Greenroom136 Rainmaker are top-notch
  • Comes in a load of different colors and looks cool - perfect for urban use

Cons of the Greenroom136 Rainmaker Backpack

  • Small - even the medium size is only 27-liters. You’ll have to travel extra light
  • Good organization but not exactly high end - just a lot of pockets
  • The straps don’t zip away - it’s always a backpack

Is the Greenroom136 Rainmaker Backpack for You?

If comfort is important to you, then seriously, this Greenroom136 backpack is super comfortable. It makes carrying a backpack more of an experience than a chore. If looking fly is something you’re about, this is definitely a great choice – an incredible all-rounder.

Final Thoughts!

There you have it! The absolute best backpacks for Digital Nomads!

While there are TONS of amazing options on this list, we know that you;ll be able to find one that is perfect for you.

And remember, if you are still having a hard time picking – go with our #1 choice – the Nomatic Travel Bag!

Travel on Nomads!

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Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Noodle crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -