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The 15 Best Packable Backpacks for Travel [2023]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

815 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury


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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Lightweight, foldable, and perfect for stashing in your travel bag, a packable backpack offers all the space you need for days trips and other excursions.

Made from strong and waterproof material, these little backpacks can hold up to 35 liters of your most essential items and can be folded up into their own zippered pocket or pouch when not in use.

Things To Consider With Packable Backpacks

The best daypack for your everyday adventures will be the one that best suits your individual requirements. Before you buy, consider the following:


Packable Backpack
Most daypacks offer between 15 and 25 liters of useful storage space. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Daypacks aren’t designed to carry all the clothing you need for a week away, but they should offer enough space to carry an extra layer or 2, as well as your water bottle, tablet, and other essentials.

Most daypacks offer between 15 and 25 liters of useful storage space, and although they are basic, they still come with zippered pockets and inner compartments.

Your daypack may be lightweight, but it should still be strong enough to be able to hold your laptop, books, and other heavier items without weighing you down.


In order to fold up nice and compact, your daypack will need to be made of thin and flexible material. On that basis, it will also be much lighter than your regular backpack or carry-on.

When it comes to daypacks, the lighter, the better, so look for bags that weigh less than 8 ounces when empty. Some ultralight models may even weigh as little as 3 ounces, making them an excellent choice for more extreme adventurers.


The very notion of a packable backpack is that you can fold it up nice and small and stash it away when not in use. All of the lightweight backpacks we have chosen can either be folded up and popped into their own separate travel pouch or folded in on themselves to fit into a zippered pocket.


Packable Backpack Pockets
Internal pouches and pockets help you keep your valuables safe. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Basic design doesn’t have to be impractical, and all of our favorite packable backpacks come complete with additional pockets to keep your gear well-organized. With zippered external pockets, you can enjoy quick and easy access to your most used items, while internal pouches and pockets let you keep your valuables safe.

Bottom Line: As these backpacks are most commonly used when you are out exploring, they almost always come with dedicated mesh water bottle pockets on the sides.

Shoulder Straps

Packable Backpack Straps
Some backpacks come with breathable mesh straps, while others are lightly padded. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Despite their feather-light dimensions, a good, packable backpack should be a comfortable carry, even when full. Some come with breathable mesh straps, while others are lightly padded. Some more advanced models may also come with a sternum strap to help evenly distribute the weight of your belongings while you walk.

The 15 Best Packable Backpacks for Travel

1. The Best Big Brand Small Daypack

Check on Osprey

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack

Made from 40D ripstop nylon fabric, this awesome backpack from the big boys at Osprey is a must-have for outdoor adventurers.

The innovative, ultralight construction means that it can be tucked away into its very own stuff pack, no larger than the size of an apple.

The deluxe AirMesh harness offers a comfortable carry, even when full. The zippered stash pocket, stretch mesh pocket, and internal security pocket make this an awesome way to carry your essentials when you don’t want to take up extra room in your luggage.

What We Like

  • Perfect packable daypack for regular adventurers

What We Don’t Like

  • It could be improved with a little extra support

2. Comfortable and Breathable Daypack

The North Face Flyweight Packable Travel Backpack

The 60 g/m² nylon with Cordura ripstop construction makes this a super sturdy, but also incredibly lightweight, packable daypack.

The water-repellent (DWR) finish helps rainwater and moisture to roll right away from your belongings, and the versatile design can be packed up small into its own little pocket to throw in your travel bag on vacation.

A breathable mesh shoulder strap is comfortable to carry, and the zippered main compartment has enough space for all of your most essential items.

It has plenty of useful spaces for storing your most used items with 2 external stretch-mesh water bottle pockets and an additional pocket with top compression. Offering 17 liters of storage space in total, this daypack measures up at a compact yet practical 20 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches.

What We Like

  • Hugs the curve of your spine

What We Don’t Like

  • It feels a little fragile

3. Spacious Packable Daypack With Wet Pocket

Outlander 35L Lightweight Packable Daypack

Available in a selection of bold colors, this backpack has a well-organized design and is made from high-quality, tear- and water-resistant nylon fabric.

With a sizable 35-liter main compartment, it comes with heavy-duty zippers and extra stitching on the stress points, giving it a more durable design than some of its lighter-weight counterparts.

This daypack can be folded up small enough to snap back into its own storage pocket, and with innovative features such as a chest strap with a whistle buckle, an internal divider, and smaller zippered pockets, it offers plenty of practical storage.

What We Like

  • A durable and incredibly practical daypack

What We Don’t Like

  • 35 liters is a bit of a squeeze

4. Lightweight Backpack for Fashion-conscious Adventurers

Herschel Packable Casual Daypack

Coming in a supercool selection of colors and designs, this ultralightweight daypack is full of urban chic and practical storage space.

Measuring 17 x 12 x 5 inches, it has a sizable main zipper compartment and an additional internal self-storage pocket with a useful snap closure.

The 2-way exposed plastic zipper is sturdy and built to last through many adventures, and with a signature striped internal seam detail, this foldable daypack looks and feels like a high-quality piece of gear.

What We Like

  • Super lightweight and packable

What We Don’t Like

  • Not as durable as some of its competitors

5. Premium Look and Feel

TUMI – Voyageur Just In Case Backpack

Sleek and stylish, this lightweight daypack is made from strong, durable, and fully-lined nylon and is designed to fold completely flat for easy packing.

Perfect for shopping, day trips at the beach, or even on outdoor excursions, it has a practical and purposeful design and even comes with its own zipper pouch.

With internal and external pockets, adjustable shoulder straps, and a sleeve to slide over the handle of your spinner suitcase, it is a really useful accessory for everyday use.

What We Like

  • Folds up nice and small

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s not the biggest daypack out there

6. Budget Packable Backpack

OneTrail 30L Packable Hiking Daypack

This little backpack is basic but brilliant, lightweight, and practical, and it’s a must-have for day trips and excursions. The ultralightweight design makes it easy and comfortable to carry, and the 30-liter capacity offers all the space you need for your every essential.

With a roomy main compartment, a front zipper, an internal pocket, and 2 extra mesh side pockets, it is easy to keep your belongings well-organized, and the adjustable mesh straps are easy to adjust to fit your size.

This is a superb little daypack for savvy travelers with the ability to be folded up into its own pocket when not in use.

What We Like

  • Compact to throw in your suitcase

What We Don’t Like

  • The zippers can get stuck on the zipper cover

7. Strong and Lightweight Everyday Daypack

NEEKFOX 35L Ultralight Daypack

Available in a range of super bold colorways, this little backpack comes with a matching pouch that will stand out on your travel bag.

Made from high-quality tear- and water-resistant materials, it is strong and sturdy and has bar-tacks at all the major stress points.

The breathable mesh shoulder straps with padding make it easy to carry, even when full, and the chest strap helps to evenly distribute the weight of your belongings.

The main compartment offers 35 liters of storage space, and it also comes with 2 further front zippered pockets and 2 side pockets.

What We Like

  • Folds up into its own zipper pocket

What We Don’t Like

  • The compression straps on the sides aren’t particularly strong

8. Heavy-duty Packable Backpack for Year-round Use

Check on Walmart

ZOMAKE Small Hiking Backpack

This multi-function backpack is made from water- and tear-resistant nylon material and comes in a choice of colorways.

Heavy-duty SBS metal zippers help ensure that it is built to last, and the innovative design can be folded in and zippered into its own pouch for easy transportation.

With a 25-liter capacity, you can easily carry a full day’s worth of essentials, and the mesh side pockets and exterior zipper pocket offer extra space for easy-to-reach items.

Adjustable shoulder straps make it comfortable to carry, even when full, and the high-quality construction makes this an excellent choice for day trips, shopping outings, and adventures in the great outdoors.

What We Like

  • The heavy-duty feel

What We Don’t Like

  • It does feel quite small

9. Compact Packable Daypack That Folds up Super Small

4Monster Hiking Daypack

Coming in a choice of eye-catching metallic colorways, this supercool little daypack is perfect for the practical and stylish traveler.

Weighing in at just 4 pounds, it is super lightweight, yet the tear- and water-resistant 30D nylon is strong enough to carry all of your essentials. Easy to fold up when not in use, it comes with a main zipper pocket, a front zipper pocket, and 2 mesh side pockets.

Adjustable shoulder straps make it easy to carry, and the backpack can be compressed into its own zipper pocket that is small enough to be slipped into your own coat pocket.

What We Like

  • Gives some of the more expensive models a run for their money

What We Don’t Like

  • Some of the colors are a little see-through

10. The Best Minimalist Packable Backpack

HIKPRO 20L Daypack

Lightweight and foldable, this awesome little daypack has a minimalist design and a lot of useful storage space.

It weighs just 7.5 ounces and feels light as a feather, and the roomy main compartment offers 20 liters of carrying space. There are 3 zippered compartments for your smaller items to help you stay organized, and the side mesh pockets make it easy to reach your items in transit.

Water-resistant, nice, and strong, this is a great choice for day trips, vacations, and hiking excursions.

What We Like

  • The strong and sturdy feel

What We Don’t Like

  • The mesh pockets are prone to developing holes

11. Ultralightweight Daypack With Lots of Color Options

MIYCOO 45L Lightweight Packable Backpack

This backpack offers up to 45 liters of additional storage space, and the ultralightweight design makes it perfect for folding up and stashing in your carry bag or suitcase.

With 3 zippered compartments and a main compartment that is large and strong enough to carry your laptop and some clothes, it’s a great choice for day trips, and the inner zippered pocket is perfect for storing your valuables.

Water- and tear-resistant, this little backpack is suitable for use all year round, and the adjustable shoulder straps help to distribute the weight evenly on the move.

What We Like

  • Comes in a gorgeous selection of colors and designs

What We Don’t Like

  • Falls over easily as has no internal structure

12. Perfect Foldable Backpack for Emergencies

Check on Walmart

Waterfly Lightweight Packable Hiking Backpack

This super lightweight daypack can be folded up and stored in its own built-in pouch — the perfect companion for day trips.

Perfect for when you are out and about, the nylon construction is water- and tear-proof, and the abrasion-resistant SBS zippers and reinforced stitching ensure that while it may be small, it is still incredibly strong and durable.

This model has a large main compartment, an outer smaller pocket, and an inner zippered pocket for valuables, and the adjustable shoulder straps help to evenly distribute the weight of your belongings.

What We Like

  • It’s an excellent emergency daypack at an affordable price

What We Don’t Like

  • Very little padding on the shoulder straps

13. The Best Backpack for Your Laptop

Sinotron 22L Lightweight Packable Backpack

With contrasting zippers and attractive primary colorways, this cute little daypack is made from high-quality, water-resistant nylon fabric and comes with solid metal zippers for increased durability.

Offering 22 liters of storage space, it is large enough to carry your books, clothes, and even a laptop, and with side pockets and an external compartment, you can keep your drinks, and most used items close at hand.

The collapsible design lets you fold the backpack up into its own little pouch for easy transportation, and the breathable and adjustable mesh shoulder straps ensure it stays comfortable to carry, even when full.

What We Like

  • Bright and funky

What We Don’t Like

  • There are bigger options available if you need more space

14. Designer Foldable Backpack for Cool Customers

Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable 20L Daypack

Easy to carry and store, this foldable backpack is an essential and versatile go-anywhere accessory for days away from home.

The durable 200D ripstop polyester is tough enough to withstand the rigors of daily use, and the lightly padded mesh back panel will prevent it from feeling sweaty as you walk.

With mesh side pockets to hold your drink bottle, 3 external zip pockets, and an interior Velcro panel pocket, there is plenty of room to organize your stuff, and the 4 front lashing loops let you add extra accessories when you need to carry more.

What We Like

  • The über-trendy look

What We Don’t Like

  • Tends to bounce about a bit when you walk

15. Safest Backpack for Tech-loving Travelers

Travsessed Anti-Theft Travel Backpack

This supercool little travel backpack comes with an RFID passport holder, wallet, and cell phone pouch that will help to keep your personal data protected on the go.

Offering an impressive 35 liters of storage space, it has a secure spot for laptops up to 16 inches, as well as extra pockets and compartments for your other essentials.

With deep mesh pockets for your water bottles and a key ring thrown in, this awesome travel backpack is perfect for day trips, overnight stays, and sightseeing tours.

The tough and durable ripstop nylon is tear- and waterproof, and when you are done using it, you can fold it up into its very own carry pouch.

What We Like

  • Versatile and durable

What We Don’t Like

  • It is a little pricey

Final Thoughts

A foldable backpack can be called on when what you need is a “less is more” solution. Lightweight, easy to carry, and even easier to store when not in use, these beauties offer all the practicality of a regular backpack without the weight.

Resistant to the elements, comfortable to carry, and designed to look anything but cheap, a packable backpack is a must-have item for sightseeing, shopping, beach trips, and day hikes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are packable backpacks?

As the name suggests, packable backpacks are bags that can be folded or rolled down and packed away in your main luggage. They are perfect for days out as they are lightweight and space-saving.

What is the capacity of a packable backpack?

Packable backpacks are mainly used as daypacks and will usually have a capacity of around 15 to 25 liters.

Are packable backpacks as comfortable as regular backpacks?

What you gain in portability you lose in comfort when it comes to packable backpacks versus regular backpacks. As they need to fold down and pack easily, they lack the padding on the back and straps that regular backpacks have.

What features should I look for in a packable backpack?

In addition to how small the backpack compresses down to, you should also look at organizational features, sternum straps, and breathability.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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