What's the best digital nomad backpack?

I’m 2.5 years into nomading and since I tend to post up for months at a time I like to bring a lot of extra stuff. I’ve had really great experiences with these two bags:

Timbuk2 Navigator 70L

I put all of my electronics in the waterproof bag which I take as a carry on and all of my clothes and extra gear in the Timbuk2 in packing cubes. Works really well.


Running a blog that focused on backpacking and travel, I’ve had far too many backpacks. I’d say my favorite one currently is the Guerrilla Packs Samurai 50L. It’s the perfect size and has treated me well in my travels.

I’m going nomad on january 26th and after some research bought a Khard 30 from Arc’teryx. I wanted something stylish, that would go as carry-on, and something that did not need to be loaded from the top. Quality seems awesome only slight complaint is that the shoulder straps could possibly use a bit more padding. Can make an update when I’ve actually trekked with it for a bit.

Review of Khard 30:

Manufacturer info:

Some other bags I’ve researched and considered:



1 Like

I’m currently using the Tortuga and I love it. Of course, that being said, there is no perfect bag as there are far too many situations/environments and variables involved. The Tortuga does the trick for me. At least, at the moment.

Anyone using a Pelican case or backpack? I wanted something with serious protection for a Macbook Air (13); ideally, something with hard protection that’d keep the laptop alive if I take a spill on a motorcycle, but still work as a carry-on (I hate checking luggage, and I’d never check a laptop). Just got an S100. Initial impressions are that it’s much lighter than it looks, and will likely outlast this laptop by quite a bit.

No real world review yet; currently using it as a day pack around Calcutta, but might head to Thailand in the next couple of months with just this, so I’ll see how that goes. Wish I’d found this thread before buying it; I’ll take a look at some of the others you guys have linked.

We have a daypack solution in progress. It will be a lightweight daypack when you want to carry stuff around for the day but will pack away into your main bag when not in use. More info here. Pictures and video coming in late Feb/early March.


Interesting. Look forward to what you come up with.

Sometimes I think I just need to find a seamstress to build me the “perfect” custom bag built… I used to get my bags modified (adding pockets, padding, etc… just where I wanted it). Maybe launch yet another bag company… lol…

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with, Fred :smile:

For now I’m using this small Hikpro pack that I got on Amazon for less than $20. It does the job, is the perfect size (I can fit my Macbook Air, keyboard/trackpad, Roost stand, chargers and spare batteries, as well as a light down jacket or rain jacket) and takes up almost no space if I pack it away. It also works well as a “personal item” on flights, so I can have easy access to some stuff throughout a flight and I can gate check the Tortuga if I feel like it (I fly quite often on small Dash-8 400Qs).

What I do not like about the Hikpro is that it looks fairly “cheap”. I’m not sure that is something that’s easy to fix while keeping it lightweight, but just removing the awful logo would help. If you guys can make the Tortuga daypack not look out of place in an office setting, I would consider switching!

I’m about to attempt a long trip with only my Lowepro Fastpack 350 [no hold luggage].

I’ve gone for this bag, as in addition to my laptop for work, I’m taking my photography kit (travel photography + a wedding in Thailand). This does mean I’ll have pretty limited space for non digital items up in the top of the bag - which I’m a bit concerned about. But I’m not sure what non-tech items that I’ll need to pack that I can’t buy out there.

This bag also has an ‘all weather’ cover built into it, which for laptops etc gives me confidence.

My other slight concern is that it’s about 8mm deeper than the official allowed carry-on dimensions - has anyone experienced issues with this before?


The ultimate quest of the perfect backpack ! Never ending lol

1 Like

I love my Minaal but for day to day use about town, I use this messenger bag:

It’s small enough that it can be a purse if needed, but fits my 11" Air. I think it’s cute-ish, but not nice enough to attract the attention of a bag snatcher.

I have an Osprey Talon 44 that has been with me for several years and I love it. Perfect size for carrying on even budget European airlines. I also have a daypack for day-to-day laptop migration and a purse that can hold a water bottle, my 7" tablet, my phone, an umbrella, and my mirrorless DSLR for when I’m just out walking.

I use an osprey Meridian (It’s a 22 inch roller bag. It’s lightweight, and has an attachable daypack that my electronics/everydaycarry gear goes in.) Love it. Ginormous wheels, durable, lifetime warantee.

I recently got a Meridian 22, it sure is amazing, top quality materials, the daypack even fits my 17" laptop.
Have you tried using it as carry-on luggage?

A friend of mine has got a Riutbag , looks pretty cool! No outer zips, ideal for the paranoid traveller :slight_smile:


what is this wizardry??

1 Like

Are there any clones/copies/alternatives of great backpacks available in SE Asia that are cheaper? Especially something like the GoRuck GR2 or the Tortuga would be nice, but not at $300

1 Like

Still using my mom’s Kånken from the '70s. Not as much functionality as some other bags posted here, but simple, will never break, and it won’t look worse if it gets dirty.


My 2 cents:

Small: Sea-to-Summit, Ultra-Sil Day Pack, Black
Ultra light day pack, always with me for city trips or groceries. Fits my MacBook Air, Camera, Jacket and Water suppplies.

Medium: Berghaus, Munro
My main pack, very durable, packs small and light if it has to, has a internal frame, grows big when needed (40 liters). Fits as carry on luggage. Love this pack for its simplicity and durability. I use ultra light dry bags to group items together for easy access.

Large: Arc’teryx, Naos 55, Gold
Build like a fortress, extremely comfortable, crossed lots of rivers and lakes swimming with this bomb shell. To bad I can’t bring it as carry on luggage, otherwise I would take this baby everywhere. Use this one mainly when I go of the grid longer than a weekend (mountains, hiking etc).

I’ve been looking at a few options recently and I’ve been told by multiple people that the Tortuga is the best option. While it seems great I’ve noticed that it’s too big for Ryanair’s carry-on allowance (and I assume that’s not the only airline with that carry-on allowance). While I get that it’s a backpack and it’s unlikely I’ll be stopped compared to people with actual suitcases, has anyone had any problems taking it on as carry-on luggage?

Along similar lines… Does anyone have a Tortuga Air? And if so, how do you find traveling with that Vs. a larger backpack like the Tortuga? I like the idea of the Air due to it’s size, but I’m not 100% sure I could travel with something that small!