How to Choose the Best Carry On Backpack for Travel

While travel is hard, finding the perfect carry on backpack can be even harder. But, with all your things at your side, you are free and secure. This is better than having the airlines or travel personnel handle your luggage. Even more, it reduces the risk of breaking, losing or dirtying your bags when checking them.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to the search for a carry on backpack. You can bring your needs to the table and find the exact bag to complement your travels. You can start with the right size, weight, capacity, and features. This will help you find the perfect carry on backpack for your travel needs. 

After finding your carry on backpack, planning and packing for your trip will be much easier. Proceeding from there, your travels will be much easier.


How Big is a Carry on Bag?

Carry On Backpacks - What Size Should The Carryon Bag Be - Sunny 16 Bags

No matter what type of traveler you are, where or how often you travel, there is a carry on backpack for you. The right size, design, and weight are always available to match your needs.

Most airlines allow carry-on bags up to 45 linear inches, which is a total of the length, width, and depth. This is usually a measurement of 22” long, 14” wide, and 9” deep. To search for the best carry on travel backpack for your trips, this is the safest size to buy. You can travel safely, hands-free throughout the airport.

If you don’t know carry on size requirements for your airline, it is best to look it up before buying your backpack. This is even more important if you fly often.

If you travel on budget airlines it is likely that carry on size limitations are a bit smaller. This is around the range of 25-35 linear inches. So, it is even more important to check the size limitations before buying your carry on backpack.

Capacity of Good Travel Carry on Backpacks

Traveling for business or fun, you can pack easily with a carry on travel backpack. You can also move about freely and comfortably during your trip. The trick to find the perfect one aligns with the capacity to pack for your trip. And, we have tips here to help you through that journey.

The capacity of the best travel backpack carry on is like the size requirements. Additionally, the best carry on backpack meets the capacity needs of your trip length. It could be in any number of measurements in liters. The three key capacity measurements include the following:

  • For weekends or trips up to 3 nights, the best carry on backpack holds between 30 and 50 liters. This is helpful for light packing, but also requires careful travel planning.
  • Next are multi day trips, covering about 3-5 nights. The best carry on backpacks for these hold 50-80 liters. Commonly these are short, warm-weather trips just under a week. These are more medium-sized active trips with a little more packing.
  • Then extended trips for 5+ nights require a carry on backpack size of 70+ liters. These longer trips tend to be winter journeys that need extra clothing and warmer sleeping gear. Even more, these are helpful if you have larger travel groups with children and others.

With all these carry on travel backpack sizes available, the capacities match your trip length and packing needs. It is helpful to plan with your packing needs and your airline when choosing the best bag to buy.

Key Features of the Best Carry on Backpacks

Based on the type of traveler you are and how you pack, there are plenty of tips to help find the best carry on backpack. With the best backpack for your travel needs, many features add to the comfort and security of your trip. These include the way you pack your bag along with the way it fits on your back. There are also many different features of a carry on travel backpack to help with the ease of your journey.

The photo below shows you what the interior of the Voyager carry-on backpack looks like with camera equipment and customizable dividers. You can easily change the position of the dividers and fit your personal items instead of your camera gear.

Carry On Backpacks - Interior Compartments - Sunny 16 Bags

You may first search top-loading versus panel-loading backpacks, based upon how you need to access your materials. A top-loading backpack is useful for sleeping and camping materials. Then external frames and pockets provide accessibility for your clothing and accessories. With an accessible front-loading carry on backpack, internal frames also help organize your goods.

Next, various straps and belts add comfort to walking with a full backpack. Adjustable and padded straps add comfort to your long walks. There are also helpful hip and torso belts and straps that help keep your backpack up while you walk for a long time.

Carry On Backpacks - Waist Straps - Sunny 16 Bags

Even more, a contoured or padded back can help prevent your heavy backpack from pulling against your spine. Looking for these, you can try it on ahead of time for the proper torso length to make sure it matches your height. With all these it will be comfortable for all the walking you have to manage during your trip.

Carry On Backpacks - Back Padding - Sunny 16 Bags

Finally, security or safety with lockable zippers is helpful if your backpack will be out of your hands. Even more, secure hidden pockets help hide your valuables. While it is in the overhead compartment or left in your hotel room, you can keep items locked inside and away from potential theft.

Carry On Backpacks - Hidden Zipper Pocket - Sunny 16 Bags

The Ultimate Carry On Travel Backpack

It is helpful to take the time to find the right specs and features of the best carry on backpack to match your travel needs. You can find the carry on backpack that matches the best size for your most commonly used airline or other transportation company. You can also find the carry on backpack with the best capacity to match your trip length along with other features for your comfort, security, and other needs. 

With all of these carry on backpack features, you have many steps to help find the best carry on backpack for your travel needs. It may still take quite some time to locate the best backpack for your regular travels, but with some regular searching and try-ons, you will be able to find the perfect fit for your packing and travel needs. 

Learn More: The Voyager Carry-On Travel Backpack →