What's the best digital nomad backpack?

Yeah, very much so.

Now traveled with it for 5 months, new place every other night, hardly a scratch.
Perfect size - can travel with as hand luggage and fits my 15 inch macbook as well. Stylish.

Only negative; when it gets to heavy, around 11kg for me, the straps are not fitted enough. Below 10kg I’ve had no problem, and I’ve walked for hours at a time with that load. And yeah, a tad bit expensive.

Very much recommend one to add some kind of pocket sleeves inside. Like these: http://lbxtactical.lbtinc.com/lbx-3-pocket-side-sleeve-12282.html. Also goes well with a tiny foldable rucksack for when you don’t need all your stuff.

Lol, pretty much like my original conclusion. should have read that one first :slight_smile:

I use this backpack from Cabin Max and I’ve been travelling with just this one for the last year, so far has been great! The good thing is that I can use it as hand baggage with the majority of low cost companies and load few extra kg, as it seems a small backpack they don’t usually check weight :wink:

Just got my Tortuga Day Pack. Thankfully it isn’t nearly as bright green as the photos suggested. Totally subtle and just fine with me.

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Have you seen this Barracuda carry on luggage?

Tracking option if you lose it (or to avoid losing it!), a pull out tray for the laptop, USB charger, collapsible…

It recently made splash across social networks and raised funds on Kickstarter really fast. I guess it’s still a prototype so there’s room for improvement.

Other than that, I really like the design of this Caribee wheeled backpacks, the best of both I guess. It’s pricey though.

And this carry on by Caribee too, it has pockets for gadgets and laptop

I use the small backpack i have bought in Lisbon, it was cheap, but i’m carrying it for 3 years and absolutely satisfied with it.

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Just picked up the AERONAUT 45 from Tom Bihn

Love the quality and craftmaship… It’s beautiful.

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Thule do some great ones! http://www.thule.com/en-us/us/products/bags-and-cases/daypacks-and-messengers/thule-crossover-daypacks/thule-crossover-sling-pack-_-tl_85854231399

Another vote for Tortuga here.

I did alot of research and almost went Minaal but Tortuga beat them out simply because the bag itself is slightly higher quality and there is an internal structure to support your load. Far easier to pack with Tortuga.

That said, I would love to get rid of the pockets on the waist strap. I also prefer the “slickness” of the Minaal, but would not buy it over the Tortuga.


I found that the F-Stop camera gear bags are the best for me. I want something high quality, good for adventure, moving around, can hold my camera/tech gear and be adaptable to whatever situation I need at the time. It also fits as a carry-on. Unfortunately, you keep the ‘backpacker look’ rather than ‘professional’ but as far as functionality, it’s the perfect bag. (This is after trying 6-7 other bags) You can check them out at http://fstopgear.com/

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good and cheap bag: Osprey farpoint 40ML

I’ve been looking at a lot of luggage. My birthday is coming up and I couldn’t think of anything else for the family to buy me + the wheel has broken on my old $30 suitcase.

I’ve decided on the Standard Luggage bag http://www.standardluggage.com/products/carry-on-backpack-travel-bag

The selling points for me are that it’s expandable from 35l to 45l - I know conventional wisdom says to wear your bulky clothes on the plane but I don’t think the makers of conventional wisdom have flown out of a un-airconditioned airport in 40 degrees C weather!

It works as carry on for all airlines according to their website and it doesn’t have that grungy backpacker look. Also, it has a shoulder strap and I often use a duffel so will probably configure it that way unless I’ve got a lot of walking to do.

I checked out the Tortuga and didn’t like the hip belt. Tbh, I was also worried that the hip belt wouldn’t fit my hefty hips. They say on their site you can make an extender but who wants to do that. I was also looking the Minaal but I felt like I was getting just as much with the Standard Luggage for a lot less money + free international shipping.

Like you, I’d had it with big backpacks. I make full use of my allowance for checked luggage and carry-ons, and even though I’m carrying a fair bit, I’ve got what I want, and I make sure that everything moves easily. My suitcase was inexpensive - around £45 for a medium-sized, four-wheeled Antler, a lightweight suitcase that doesn’t eat much into my weight allowance. My only regret is that it’s not hard shell and I don’t expect to use it for more than two or three years (I’ve had it for a bit more than one and it’s taking a beating), at which point I will probably go for a hard shell case. As for the rest, I keep my laptop, passport, travel docs, e-reader, etc, in a small backpack that I stow under the seat in front of me and various items that I may want easier access to (as well as packing overflow) in a bag that I stow overhead. The latter bag is inexpensive, attractive, and feels comfortable slung over my shoulders. So when I’m moving from the airport, train station, whatever, I may look ridiculous - I’m slung with luggage the way Rambo is slung with bullet belts - but I move easily and the weight is well distributed (most of that weight being in the suitcase, which glides along very nicely).

This works very well for me. I’ve got everything I need, some stuff that I don’t., and from one stop to the next I’ll throw some things out and add some new stuff.

Hi @kathrynoh, how are you finding the Standard Luggage bag so far? Tempted to get it myself…

I’ve not received it yet (did only order it this week because I was in Switzerland previously and apparently they have killer import duties) but will let you once I’ve used it a bit.

Thanks for recommending it. I love its design. Will order it soon.

Wow - some fantastic suggestions here. I hadn’t seen that Tortuga bag before - I’ll have to check it out.

I’m personally using the Evernote backpack:

…and absolutely adore it. It’s indestructible, plenty of inside pockets, very versatile (you’d be surprised at what that big section can hold, including a bike helmet) and looks fantastic. As well, the laptop portion is secured in a separate compartment altogether against your back. You can’t get to the zippers while the bag is on.

I highly recommend it.

Anyone had the chance to check the Dakine Departure?
I’ve been looking for months for a sub-100€ carry-on bag (not a trolley) and this seems just perfect. It’s even better than the Patagonia MLC 45 which was my reference (cheapest I found was 135€). Size may be slightly bigger for some airlines, but it’s not rigid and has 4 compression straps. It’s not lightweight at 1,6Kg (MLC is 1,4Kg), but at 55 liters seems even good for storing warm clothes and a my daily backpack.

Sorry for the very late reply but I wanted to do a few trips with the Standard Luggage before commenting.

I’m not 100% sold on it (well I guess technically i am since I bought it). I have about 12-13 kg of luggage and it fits great. It seems to be the type of bag where you can always squeeze a bit more in. The extension zipper is great. I’ve actually packed it with the capacity extended then zipped it to the smaller size to compress everything.

The shoulder strap doesn’t work for me at all. With that weight in it, the strap presses badly into my chest. As a backpack, it works okay although i’ve never felt quite balanced with it. I don’t usually travel with backpacks so I’m not sure what is the norm.

There are a lot of pockets, maybe too many. I’ve found I have to be a bit on the ball about what i pack where so i lose things. There are two internal pockets + one bigger compartment behind them, two external ones at the front then the laptop one at the back.

I don’t like it opens up length-ways - the bag is quite long and thin and the top flaps over on the thin side. Sorry for my poor description, but if you want to lay it out flat for packing, you either need a very big space or have to use the bed or floor. Also, because it’s soft sided, you pretty much have to use packing cubes or stuff spills out until you zip it up.

I’ve not used it as carry on at all because all my flights have been Air Asia with a 7kg total carry on limit.

Overall, I think it’d be a great bag for weekenders or short trips but probably not the best option for carrying your whole life around.

I use my Minaal most of the time (just got it early last year), but I still keep/use my super old North Face which is of smaller size. Couldn’t just let go of it - so many travel memories, LOL! Would perhaps need to ship it back home. Would love to try Tortuga or Osprey in the future.

I am 6’3 (and a hair) and I tried both

  • Tortuga
  • Osprey Farpoint 55 v2 (just launched a month or so ago)
  • REI 85XT (which is totally not in the same realm as the other two)

The Osprey was too small for me physically. It held a decent bit, but I’m a solid L and drifting into XL for bag sizing. The Farpoint only comes in S/M and M/L, so the torso was too small and the hipbelt didn’t fit in the right spot. I even tried making it work because I loved the idea of the daypack clipping to the front of my pack. It was just too uncomfortable for even a few minutes, let alone long treks.

The Tortuga was incredibly comfortable, fit properly, and is very well padded. Unfortunately, once I added my photo gear (of which there’s 4 lenses and a tripod), gadgets, sleep sack, and laptop, I had pretty little room for clothing. This would be a great bag if I wasn’t doing photography, or wasn’t trying to double use this bag for some backpacking (rather than just going town to town). Then because I wanted to add some camping, it was further pushed out of my use case.

So I ended up going with an REI 85XT and blowing away the whole “1 carry-on bag” attempt. It just sucks because it guarantees a checked bag on every flight.

I may very well find myself going back to a Tortuga if I go full digital nomad rather than backpacker who has a tech job.