Carry-On Backpacks: A Review of 10 Best-Sellers on Amazon

Are you thinking of buying a carry-on backpack for your next trip? If you’re someone who goes on vacations that are less than a week, doesn’t like carrying too much stuff, or is a savvy light-packer, then a carry-on backpack should be your main travel companion.

It seems like the trend for many commercial airlines nowadays, especially the budget ones, is to push you to spend more. Gone are the days when the airfare always included free check-in luggage. These days, you’ll need to pay more if you have items to check-in. Therefore, traveling with only a carry-on lessens your expenses.

Aside from saving money that you’d rather spend on your holiday in another country, a carry-on backpack also saves you time. No more long waits at the carousel to retrieve your luggage. In addition, you’ll never have to worry whether your stuff made it inside the aircraft you’re in or is going to the other side of the world.

Note:
Before you buy a carry-on backpack, you have to understand that not all airlines share the same baggage size restrictions. Although most follow a standard, some of them have smaller baggage allowance so one backpack can be carry-on compliant on one airline but not on the other. A few are also strict in imposing weight limits. Even if your bag is smaller than the maximum allowable size, you may not be allowed to carry it with you in the plane if it exceeds their weight limit.

What to Expect from This Review

All backpacks included in this list have more than 400 reviews and a rating of at least 4 stars on Amazon.

Their average size is 40L – small enough that it could easily fit under the seat or on the overhead bin but big enough to accommodate all your gears for a weekend trip (or much longer if you prefer to pack light).

Here are 10 of the best-selling carry-on backpacks on Amazon:

ImageNameFeaturesStarsCheck Price
SwissGear ScanSmart 1900 travel backpackSwissGear ScanSmart 1900 Backpack13.5" x 9" x 18'5"
3.25 lbs
TSA scan friendly
Laptop compartment
4.5 Stars
High Sierra Freewheel backpack has the advantage of wheels to make carrying you luggage easierHigh Sierra Freewheel Backpack13.5" x 8" x 20.5"
4.6 lbs
Telescoping handle
Roller wheels
Laptop sleeve
4.0 Stars
OutdoorMaster 50L backpack can be used as your carry-on baggageOutdoorMaster 50L Hiking Backpack15" x 8.6" x 23"
2.4 lbs
Waterproof rain cover
Laptop compartment
Multipurpose
4.4 Stars
eBags TLS Mother Lode backpack is ideal for use as carry on baggageeBags TLS Mother Lode Backpack14" x 9" x 22"
3.7 lbs
Lockable zippers
Laptop compartment
Expansion zipper
4.5 Stars
AmazonBasics carry on backpack for your airline travel needsAmazonBasics Carry-on Backpack15" x 6.5" x 20.1"
3.64 lbs
Laptop sleeve
Expansion zipper
4.2 Stars
Hynes Eagle 38L backapckHynes Eagle 38L Backpack13" x 7.9" x 19.7"
1.76 lbs
Side carry handle
Suitcase opening
4.4 Stars
Osprey Farpoint 40 is an ideal size for use as carry on baggage, it can also be used for some light hikingOsprey Farpoint 40 Backpack14" x 9" x 22"
3.17 lbs
Lockable compartment
Water resistant
4.7 Stars
WITZMAN Men travel backpack stylish and functional for all your travel needsWITZMAN Men Travel Backpack13" x 7.5" x 21"
3.24 lbs
Multipurpose
Quality canvas
1yr warranty
4.5 Stars
Cabin Max Metz carry-on backpackCabin Max Metz Carry-on Bag14" x 9" x 22"
1.54 lbs
Lockable compartments
3yr warranty
44 liters
4.5 Stars
The anit-theft functionality of the backpack make it a worthwhile choice for your carry on  baggage needsPacsafe Anti-Theft Carry-On Backpack13.8" x 8.7" x 21.7"
3.8 lbs
Anti-theft
5yr warranty
Lockable compartments
4.2 Stars

1. SwissGear Travel 1900 ScanSmart Backpack

  • Dimensions:
    • 13.5 x 9 x 18.5 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 3.63 pounds

Our top choice for the best travel carry on backpack available at Amazon

 

With more than 7000 reviews on Amazon, this is the best-selling backpack in this list. A laptop backpack big enough for a weekend trip, it makes going through security check at the airport hassle-free.

Why you should buy this SwissGear 1900 Carry-on Backpack

  • TSA-friendly laptop bag
    Designed as a laptop backpack, it can accommodate all laptop sizes. The ScanSmart lay-flat technology makes this bag TSA-friendly. This means that when you’re going through security check, you won’t have to take your laptop out of the bag for scanning.
  • Suspension and comfort
    You don’t have to worry about fully loading this pack because its built-in suspension, padded back panel, and contoured padded shoulder straps will keep you comfortable.
  • Ventilation
    And if you need to carry this backpack for hours, the AirFlow ventilation technology will keep your back from sweating too much.
  • Quality
    If you want a carry-on pack that can last years, this bag is guaranteed to deliver.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • Smaller size
    At 31L, this bag may not be big enough for those who don’t travel light or those who are going on trips longer than a weekend.
  • Weight
    Even though its fabric is durable, this bag is too heavy for its size.
  • Not water resistant
    The material also doesn’t offer any degree of water-resistance.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

2. High Sierra Freewheel Backpack

  • Dimensions:
    • 13.5 x 8 x 20.5 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 6.12 pounds

Another quality travel backpack from High Sierra

 

 

Those who want the practicality of a backpack that has an option to make traveling with heavy load a breeze should consider buying this wheeled backpack.

Why you should buy this High Sierra Carry-on Backpack

  • Wheeled convenience
    This bag’s zippered padded back panel gives you a quick and convenient way to go from backpack to rollers and vice versa. Even though it doesn’t have wheel covers, the wheels won’t touch your body when you carry it on your back. Provided that it’s not fully loaded, it’s quite comfortable when carried as a backpack.
  • Padded laptop sleeve
    The laptop sleeve, which fits up to 15-inch laptops, is fully padded. You can be sure that your gadget will be safe.
  • Large main compartment
    The main compartment is large enough to hold your gears for a short weekend trip. The zippered accessory pocket has a headphone port for your convenience.
  • Water bottle holder
    One side pocket is open-top so it can hold bottled beverages.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • Handle can break
    When drawing or retracting the telescoping handle, you should be extra careful as it has the tendency to break easily.
  • Weight
    If you think you’re going to use your carry-on more frequently as a backpack than roller, you’re better off with other much lighter, non-wheeled options. At more than 6 pounds, this is twice as heavy as your regular carry-on bag.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

3. OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L

  • Dimensions:
    • 15 x 8.6 x 23 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 2.4 pounds

A larger backpack suitable for use as a carry-on bag is the Outdoor Master 50L backpack

 

Designed for hiking with a carry-on compliant size, this backpack is for those who frequently incorporate adventures on the trail to their travels.

Why you should buy this OutdoorMaster 50L Backpack

  • Suitable for hiking as well as carry on
    If you want an affordable hiking backpack that is lightweight, durable and carry-on compatible, this is the bag that you’re looking for. Although advertised as 50 liters, its capacity is actually less than 40 liters so it adheres to most airline restrictions.
  • Comfortable
    Even when fully loaded, this backpack will keep you comfortable because its padded S-curved shoulder straps efficiently distribute weight.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • Access
    Unlike other carry-on backpacks, this one doesn’t have a main compartment that unzips all the way down. This sacrifices the convenience of packing and unpacking.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

4. eBags TLS Mother Lode Carry-On Travel Backpack

  • Dimensions:
    • 14 x 9 x 22 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 3.7 pounds

eBags TLS Mother Lode is a good choice for a backpack that is small enough to be carry-on baggage

 

This convertible backpack has been around for almost a decade but it’s still continuously receiving praises. Recognized for its value, design, and quality, it has only gotten better ever since it was first introduced in the market.

Why you should buy the eBags TLS Mother Lode Backpack

  • Easy Access
    Its spacious suitcase-like main compartment makes packing and unpacking of your week-long travel gears a breeze, while the internal pockets keep your things organized.
  • Expansion Zipper
    The expansion zipper increases the size of the bag by 10%, allowing room for souvenirs.
  • Laptop Compartment
    With a well-thought-out back zipper for the laptop compartment and top pocket for liquids, it offers easy access, so you’ll be able to pass through security check faster and with less hassle.
  • Converts to a suitcase
    This pack converts from backpack to suitcase. You can easily hide the shoulder straps so they’re not dangling if you carry it as a suitcase.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • Laptop sleeve padding
    If you always carry a laptop on your travels, you may want to look for something else. While it can accommodate even the biggest laptop, the laptop sleeve isn’t sufficiently padded.
  • Lack of support when loaded
    The waist and chest straps don’t provide enough support when it’s fully-loaded.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

5. AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

  • Dimensions:
    • 15 x 6.5 x 20.1 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 3.64 pounds

 

The AmazonBasics Travel backpack represents great value for money for those that are after a basic backpack

This basic piece of luggage gives you everything you’ll need from a functional carry-on backpack without breaking the bank.

Why you should buy the AmazonBasics Carry-on Backpack

  • Value for money
    For its price point, this bag is a steal. It’s made of durable material and will be able to last quite a while.
  • Easy to carry
    The shoulder straps have sufficient padding for carrying comfort. With backpack straps, three exterior handles, and an extra shoulder strap, you have several options of carrying the pack.
  • Roomy
    The size of the pack ensures that you can make the most of the carry-on airline restrictions. The generous main compartment accommodates clothes enough for a one-week trip. It is loaded with pockets which make organization a breeze.
  • Organization
    The two front pockets are designed for easy-access to your liquids and travel documents, separately. The expandable compartment gives you more space for items you’ll pick up during your trip.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • No water bottle holder
    If you like to travel with a handy water bottle, then the lack of a side beverage pocket may disappoint you.
  • Quality
    For a bag that’s supposed to carry a lot of things, the relatively poor seam on straps may not support that much weight.
  • Comfort
    While it has a removable waist belt, it’s not padded so it may not be comfortable to use. At more than 3 pounds, this bag is heavy for its size.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

6. Hynes Eagle 38L Weekender Travel Backpack

  • Dimensions:
    • 12.6 x 7.9 x 19.7 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 1.7 pounds

Another quality backpack by Hynes Eagle that should suit most traveller's carry on backpack needs

A truly lightweight backpack, this is the perfect companion for a traveler who wants a durable luggage without the added weight.

Why you should buy this Hynes Eagle Carry-on Backpack

  • Durable Made from durable lightweight canvas, this bag is not bulky and yet surprisingly has enough room for week-long travel essentials.
  • Stores Easily The flat front and soft sides ensure that you can store it easily under the seat or in the overhead bin.
  • Easy Access A fabric panel at the back hides the shoulder straps if you want to carry it like a duffel. It has outside pockets for some last-minute things or items you may need to access quickly. The side compression straps are sensibly placed so the contents don’t slosh around if your bag is only partially packed.
  • Stylish There are eight attractive colors you can choose from, some of which have bold prints. In contrast to many carry-on backpacks that have more rugged looks, this one is stylish and fashion-forward.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • No water bottle holder It lacks a side pocket for beverage, which can be annoying to some.
  • Lack of internal pockets Like most of the items in this list, its main compartment zipper opens like a suitcase. However, it doesn’t have a lot of internal pockets. Unless you buy the optional packing cubes, there’s not much organization option.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

7. Osprey Fairview/Farpoint 40

  • Dimensions:
    • 14 x 9 x 21 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 3.17 pounds

The Osprey Farpoint 40 is a convenient carry on backpack, good quality at an affordable price Boasting of a lifetime warranty, this 40-liter carry-on compliant backpack is perfect for travelers who like to pack light. The Farpoint is a men-specific backpack while the Fairview is designed to comfortably fit women.

Why you should buy the Osprey Fairview/Farpoint 40 Backpack

  • Easy Access This is a bag that makes packing and unpacking easy like a suitcase does. But, it doesn’t sacrifice carrying comfort. Its main compartment opens all the way and has internal compression straps to squeeze in the clothes you pack. The small top pocket and the interior mesh pocket provide options for organization.
  • Easily Lockable Its zippers can easily integrate a lock so you can keep your valuables secure. If you wish to carry it using the handle, you can conveniently zip the protective cover around the straps to get them out of the way.
  • Comfort The suspension system efficiently transfers weight from your shoulders to your hips. The mesh back lined with foam increases comfort and breathability.
  • Water Resistant Although not waterproof, it is water resistant and can withstand light rain. With those features, this bag is also suitable for light hiking.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • Not ideal for laptops The Fairview/Farpoint is not a laptop travel bag. While the secondary medium-sized compartment has a padded laptop sleeve, it is located in the front. If you’re carrying it fully-loaded, the tendency is for the weight to shift forward.
  • Lack of pockets This bag’s simplistic approach to packing means that there aren’t a lot of internal pockets for organizing your things, especially the smaller items.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

8. WITZMAN Men Travel Backpack

  • Dimensions:
    • 13 x 7.5 x 21 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 3.24 pounds

The WITZMAN Men travel backpack is one of the top selling travel backpacks on Amazon

 

This ruggedly good-looking and heavy duty carry-on compatible bag allows you to carry it in three ways – as a backpack, a tote bag, and a cross body duffel bag.

Why you should buy this WITZMAN Carry-on Backpack

  • Stylish
    The vintage look of this canvas and PU leather backpack will definitely make most men feel fashionable about carrying such a good-looking luggage.
  • Durable
    The material doesn’t only look high-end; it’s also quite durable. It can hold up well if tossed around during your trip.
  • Large main compartment
    Those who know how to pack right will have no issue packing five days’ worth of clothes in its main compartment. It has enough pockets, compartments, and pouches to organize and separate your things for quick-access. Although labeled as a men’s bag, women will also find its fit comfortable.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • Access
    The zipper of the main compartment doesn’t run the whole length of the bag so packing isn’t as convenient as with suitcase-like backpacks.
  • Not ideal if traveling with a laptop
    If you’re going to fly with a laptop in it, going through security may cause you trouble. With the small opening, you might have to empty most of your bag’s content before you could take your laptop out.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

9. Cabin Max Metz Backpack Flight Approved Carry-On Bag

  • Dimensions:
    • 15.7 x 7.9 x 21.5 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 1.75 pounds

Good value for money carry on backpack by Cabin Max

 

This lightweight carry-on compatible backpack is designed to maximize your carry-on luggage allowance.

Why you should buy this Cabin Max Metz Carry-on Backpack

  • Size
    With a capacity of 44 liters, this is one of the biggest flight-approved carry-on backpacks on the market.
  • Storage compartments
    You will definitely have no trouble fitting all your travel gears into its three spacious zipped compartments. Two zipped internal pockets give you more options to organize.
  • Water resistant
    The pack is made of lightweight water-resistant material. This way, you won’t need to worry about your valuables getting wet if you’re outside and it suddenly rains.
  • Heavy duty
    The heavy duty zippers won’t easily give out even if you tend to stuff your pack to the brim. The shoulder straps have sufficient padding. This makes carrying a decent amount of weight comfortable.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • Lacks structure
    The Cabin Max Metz Backpack is designed to be lightweight, so it lacks structure. This could be a deal-breaker for some.
  • No waist belt
    It doesn’t come with a waist belt so if you’re carrying a heavy load, there’s no way to transfer some of the weight from your shoulders.
  • Thin fabric
    The seams are also not the best feature of this pack. The relatively thin fabric is prone to tearing.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

10. Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Anti-Theft Carry-On Backpack

  • Dimensions:
    • 13.8 x 8.7 x 21.7 inches
  •  Weight:
    • 3.8 pounds

The anti-theft qualities of this backpack make it an ideal choice for a carry-on bag

 

If you want a feature-filled carry-on bag that can definitely secure your valuables and is extremely durable, you should check this one out.

Why you should buy this Pacsafe Venturesafe 45L Backpack

  • Anti-theft features
    If you travel with expensive gears such as cameras and lenses, this backpack offers a number of anti-theft features. The eXomesh Slashguard, a stainless steel mesh built into and hidden in the bag’s vulnerable areas makes it slash-proof.
  • Lockable zippers
    The Roobar anchor lock allows you to lock down the zippers and the included stainless steel cable to a fixture. Its zippers are puncture-proof and the zip pullers interlock, making it difficult for pickpockets to open your bag.
  • Easy access
    This pack doesn’t only look elegant; it’s also practical. The main compartment opens like a suitcase, which makes packing more convenient.
  • Plenty of pockets
    It has enough interior and exterior pockets to organize your things.
  • Comfortable
    The padded shoulder straps and hip belt distribute weight efficiently.

Why you shouldn’t buy this backpack

  • Handles not sturdy
    The handles aren’t too sturdy, which makes carrying it as a suitcase uncomfortable.
  • Hip belts not detachable
    Those who don’t like hip belts on their backpack may be disappointed that they’re not removable. The sternum strap, although detachable, is difficult to reattach.

 

Check for the best price for this backpack on Amazon

Conclusion

The market is filled with good carry-on backpacks, especially now that more and more people are discovering the many benefits of using it. Just remember that when making a decision, even the best bag may not be the one that is most suitable for you.

Ultimately, you’ll have to focus on what you specifically want from a carry-on backpack.