When you’re living a nomadic lifestyle and carrying your life around with you on your back, having a comfortable travel backpack with room for all your digital nomad gear is a must.
Broken straps. Sore shoulders. Stolen valuables. Wet clothes. Extra baggage fees. These are just a few of the issues you can run into if you aren’t careful when choosing a backpack for traveling.
Here are seven criteria to help you select the best travel backpack for digital nomads:
1. Light to carry
Backpacks are only functional if you can carry them. While it may be tempting to get a huge backpack, if you can’t carry it you won’t get very far. Look for lightweight packs, and whenever possible try wearing them to see how they feel. Bags with a chest strap or waist strap help to evenly distribute the weight of the pack. Shoulder straps with padding will keep your shoulders from getting too sore under the weight of the bag. These extra features won’t make your bag any lighter, but they will make it easier for you to manage your backpack’s weight.
2. Big enough to bring everything with you
Although you want your bag to be light enough for you to carry, you also want it to be big enough to fit everything that you need. If your pack is too small, you’ll have to decide what items to leave behind, or buy new things once you arrive at your destination. Avoid these issues by looking for a travel backpack that will be big enough for you to bring everything with you. One with multiple sections and pockets can help you keep everything organized so that you don’t need to unpack your whole bag to reach something.
3. Able to store your laptop safely
If you’re like most digital nomads, you probably travel with your laptop. A must-have criteria for your travel backpack is the ability to store your laptop safely. You don’t want it getting cracked or crushed in your bag. Be sure to check the size of your laptop before buying a pack, so you can be sure that you are buying the right size bag.
4. Protected from theft
When you’re traveling, you definitely don’t want your things to be stolen. Look for a travel backpack that has built-in security features to protect it from theft. Things like hidden zippers or concealed pockets can help you keep your valuables safe.
Soaking wet clothes and electronics do not make for a very good trip. Keep your belongings safe and dry with a pack made from waterproof material or one that comes with a waterproof cover.
6. Small enough to be allowed as a carry-on
Save yourself the trouble of baggage fees and waiting at the baggage carousel by using a pack that is regulation carry-on size so that you can take it into the airplane cabin with you.
Although you want to invest in a high-quality travel backpack that meets all of your needs, you don’t want the expense to break the bank. Just because a backpack is a few hundred dollars doesn’t mean it is better than one that is only fifty dollars.
When choosing a travel backpack, you want to be sure that it is light enough to carry, big enough to fit all of your belongings, and small enough to fit on an airplane as a carry-on. Protect your valuables with a waterproof pack that has anti-theft features and a designated laptop section.
Top Digital Nomads Travel Backpacks to Buy in 2020
It’s not easy to find to find a backpack that fulfills all of these “digital nomad friendly” characteristics that is also not that expensive, but here are 5 of our favourites ones that can be great alternatives:
A comfortable to travel backpack that charges your devices using solar power while you’re on the move? Yes please!
The high-tech Hanergy Solar backpack has a built-in waterproof solar panel that can charge your phone just as quickly as plugging it into the wall (you can also plug the battery into the wall to charge it when there’s no sunlight).
With prices from $139, these travel backpacks come in a range of models all made from premium fabrics that keep your gear safe from scratches.
The Nomatic backpack was a huge hit on Kickstarter, especially among digital nomads, and it’s not hard to see why.
Crammed with over 20 useful features that make it easy to move around with all your day-to-day digital nomad gear, this comfortable backpack costs $219.99 and has a built-in expansion feature that increases its capacity from 20 to 24 litres.
It will hold a 15 inch laptop, and it features a clever system that allows you to tuck away the straps. Among other things, you’ll also find a magnetic water bottle pocket, other hidden pockets to keep valuables safe, a retractable key leash and a special holder for your sunglasses.
This reliable travel backpack has long been a favourite with digital nomads thanks to its sturdy build. With a generous 40 litre capacity and $120 price tag, the Osprey Farpoint 40 is an affordable choice that’s small enough to be taken as cabin luggage on most airlines.
It’s the lightest in the Osprey range, and is designed to be packed like a suitcase but carried comfortably like a backpack. Stash pockets for valuables and a padded internal laptop sleeve are among the features that make this such a practical pack for everyday nomad life.
The clever and stylish Kopack anti-theft and shockproof travel backpack is designed to keep pickpockets at bay by concealing the zips behind the pack.
Made using water- and tear-resistant materials, it comes in two sizes that hold 15 and 17 inch laptops respectively and has hidden side pockets for safely stashing valuables such as your passport or keys.
There’s even a port for your headphones so that you can listen to music while keeping your device stowed safely inside. And, at only $40,99, it’s a bargain.
Priced at around $200 and named after its 70 + 10 litre capacity, the Quantum 70 + 10 has stacks of room for all your digital nomad gear in a large rucksack with detachable 17 litre day pack.
For maximum comfort, you can adjust the clever ergonomic back system to suit your back length, and a slim padded hip belt takes some of the load off your shoulders.
It comes with a rain cover, and in the main pack there’s a spacious compartment with a separate section at the bottom for holding dirty shoes and clothes. You’ll find plenty of pockets to stow valuables and smaller items, too.
This backpack is solar powered with anti-theft features. The Lifepack Solar 2.0 is designed for digital nomads and adventurers. With the integrated USB port and Solarbank, you can charge your devices from anywhere, so you never have to worry about them dying again.
The Lifepack also comes with a patented anti-theft lock to keep all your valuables safe. You never know where the journey will take you, and having an anti-theft backpack is essential when traveling.
The backpack is priced at $195 for the Lifepack with the Solarbank. If you want to upgrade to the Solarbank system with a built-in Bluetooth speaker, the price goes up to $225. They offer free shipping to anywhere in the US and a 24-month warranty on the backpack.
This anti-theft backpack holds up to 45 liters, and it comes with a roomy main compartment for all your valuables. The front zippered compartment has a large velcro pocket for internal organization, as well. Inside the pocket, you can fit a tablet, laptop, or travel binder. The compartment also features two zippered mesh pockets for small storage.
For your safety, the Pacsafe backpack features an anti-slash material that will prevent intruders from cutting the fabric and breaking into your backpack. It also has openings on the main compartment zipper for you to put a small padlock on it. One of the most important features for digital nomad backpacks is privacy and safety. This one sells for $189.95.
This carry on backpack allows you to ensure that you always meet flight requirements for carry on bags so you can save money. Tortuga offers a 45 liter and a 35-liter option for your needs. The best digital nomad backpack combines features with functionality, and this one does exactly that.
Inside, you have plenty of space to organize all your belongings. It comes with thick, soft padding for comfort with a height-adjustable suspension system. You also get lockable zippers for safety and weather-resistant material to ensure all your valuables stay safe and sound. The Outbreaker Backpack retails for $299.
We love this backpack for digital nomads because it is loaded to the brim with features. First, it has something called DeviceNest, which is a shock-proof laptop compartment for up to 15-inch laptops.
The Minaal backpack is compatible with both US and European carry on limits. It also turns into a briefcase by allowing you to tuck away the shoulder straps for a more professional digital nomad business meeting.
This backpack holds up to 35 liters and comes in black or grey. It sells for $299, and they offer a lifetime warranty that protects you against all manufacturer defects.
The Cabin Zero Adventure Pro holds 42 or 32 liters depending on what size you pick. This backpack is meant for travelers because it features a large front pocket for your laptop with thermoform EVA material and plenty of airflow to keep you cool.
Something we like about this one is that it comes with a lightweight aluminum frame to keep everything inside in place. You won’t have to worry about your things sliding around and getting damaged.
Finally, you also get lockable zippers and Okoban tracking so you can register your backpack online and track it if it’s ever lost or stolen. This backpack sells for $210 for the 42 liters and $185 for the 32 liters.
Once you’ve got your digital nomad backpack, check out our guides to:
- Essential digital nomad gadgets and gear
- The best laptops for digital nomads to travel and work remotely
- The best noise-cancelling headphones (w/ microphones) for digital nomads
- Best Virtual Mailboxes for Digital Nomads & Remote Professionals in 2019
- How to Have Reliable Internet Connection to Work While Traveling Abroad
- How to Keep Your Data Secure When Working Remotely
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