*Disclaimer – this is an old post, related to our best backpacks in 2016 – check out our best travel backpacks for 2018 here.*
A new year means new travel backpacks, so we thought we’d run through our top 5 travel backpacks for 2016. We’ve included backpacks to suit all budgets in this post, so whether you’re a budget concious traveller or you’re looking to splurge on your travel pack, you’re bound to find a suitable option! So here goes, our best travel backpacks for 2016, in no particular order!
If you’re after a travel backpack with all the bells and whistles, the Lowe Alpine Travel Trekker is your bag! Not only does it have a good sized, 70 litre main compartment, but the detachable daypack is also generously sized at 30 litres, making it great for using as hand luggage on flights and offering plenty of space for carrying your daily essentials during your trip. The main compartment has a front zipped panel entry, as well as zipped lid entry and all entry points feature lockable zips, which are also tamperproof.
Another thing travellers look for in a backpack are organisation options, and the Lowe Alpine Travel Trekker doesn’t disappoint on this front. The main compartment comes with a large mesh pocket for laundry and a smaller pocket for accessories. The daypack also includes plenty of pockets for organising your gear and even has a hidden pocket in the back panel. Finally, one of the stand out features of this travel pack is its adjustable Axiom back system, which can be easily adjusted while you’re wearing it…A feature unique to Lowe Alpine backpacks and rucksacks. The Travel Trekker is available in Anthracite or Atlantic Blue.
We’ve stocked the Vango Freedom 60+20 backpack for a number of years and it has proven to be consistent favourite with our customers. This is in part due to the mid-range pricing, which appeals to travellers who want a good quality backpack without breaking the bank. However, the Vango Freedom 60+20 offers a good range of features for travelling, with a zipped side opening design, adjustable back system and internal pockets for organising your luggage. Another thing we love about the Vango Freedom range is that it offers two colour options in the 60+20 litre size (available in Purple or Black) and you can also get a larger 80+20 litre version in the black colour way, ideal if you’re looking to buy a bigger travel pack.
As well as offering internal compression straps, the Vango Freedom also comes with a drawcord gaiter inside the main bag, which helps to compress your clothes and other travel gear even further, helping to keep everything in place during flights and when carrying the bag. Although the back system may not be quite as easy to adjust as the Lowe Alpine Axiom system, the ‘ladder lock’ style of the Freedom’s back system is simple enough to adjust using the velcro adjustment tab.
You’ve probably heard of this backpack if you’ve been researching travel packs for your trip. The Osprey Farpoint 55 has side opening zip entry to the main compartment and comes with a detachable 13 litre daypack, both features you’d want from a travel backpack. One of the great things about this backpack is that it is available in two different back lengths, with a S/M length for women and shorter travellers and a M/L length for men and taller travellers. The Farpoint is also available in a larger 70 litre size, as well as a Caribbean Blue colour way.
The Osprey Farpoint includes a large mesh laundry pocket inside the main compartment and zips to both the main bag and detachable daypack are lockable for added security. Although a little smaller compared to daypacks found on other backpacks, the Farpoint’s daypack is packed with features, including a padded tablet sleeve, zip pocket, electronics pocket and two external mesh bottle pockets.
Caribee have introduced new colour ways for their 2016 Jet Pack range, keeping many of the same handy features from their previous model. If you want something a little different from a black backpack but don’t fancy anything too ‘out there’ in colour, the Caribee Jet Pack now comes in Mantis Green, which has an old school safari vibe and a simple Storm Grey option. The price point takes the Jet Pack into our higher end range of travel packs, but the quality of build and range of features make it worth the money.
So what are the key features that earn the Caribee Jet Pack a place on our best backpacks list? First and foremost, the Jet Pack is available in either a 65 or 75 litre size, so is suitable for travellers heading off on both longer and shorter trips. The internal compartment divider is a nice feature, allowing you to separate and organise your luggage, and you also get a zipped pocket for smaller items. Access to the main compartment comes in the form of a side opening zip style and zips on both the main bag and daypack are lockable, you can even lock the daypack to the main bag for added security! Like the Vango Freedom, this backpack comes with a simple ladder lock style adjustable back system, which is padded for optimum carrying comfort.
This backpack made our list back in 2014 when it had just arrived at GY HQ, and we’re pleased to say we were right about this backpack! The 45 + 15 litre capacity makes it perfect for lightweight backpacking and shorter trips such as inter-railing and the price is extremely reasonable for the quality. One of the things we love about the Highlander Explorer 45+15 is the zip expansion, which allows you to pack even more gear into it. It also comes in three different colours (Teal, Raspberry & Black), as well as larger 60+20 & 80+20 litre sizes.
The inside of the main compartment features an optional divider for organisation, as well as laundy pocket and mesh toiletry bag, which is attached to the internal compressor straps. Like the Caribee Jet Pack & Vango Freedom, this backpack comes with a ladder lock style adjustable back system, which makes it easy to adjust. The daypack can also be clipped to the front of the main harness and zips to the main compartment are lockable for extra security.
Rachel has worked for the company for 9 years and as one of our buying team, has a wide knowledge of travel gear. She has travelled in Europe and Southeast Asia, but her dream destination would be South America to experience Carnival in Rio, unleash her inner Attenborough in the Galapagos and sip on Colombian coffee in colonial Cartagena.