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12 Very Best Minimalist Backpacks for Travel

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Carrying a minimalist backpack for travel is so liberating. They are modern looking, sleek, and super-efficient and for the most part very lightweight. We exclusively travel with our backpacks and love it. We have compiled the very best minimalist backpacks for travel to fit every occasion from urban to outdoor adventurers, daily commute to camera bags – we got you covered!  

Top Picks: 12 Very Best Minimalist Backpacks for Travel

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

  • Carry-on ✔️
  • 15 " x 10.6 " x 5 "
  • 16 Litres
  • Unisex, Tons of colors
  • Carry-on ✔️
  • 19 " x 12 " x 7 "
  • 20 Litres
  • Unisex
  • Carry-on ✔️
  • 17.3 " x 14.6 " x 4.7 "
  • Mid size backpack
  • Laptop 15 inch, hidden pockets
  • Carry-on ✔️
  • 14 x 10
  • Can fit 14 inch laptop
  • Can fit small water bottle
  • Carry-on ✔️
  • 18 " x 12" x 5.5"
  • 20 Litres
  • Waterbottle ✔️
  • Carry-on ✔️
  • 20 " x 14 " x 4.5 "
  • 20 - 25 Litres (Expandable)
  • Waterbottle & Sunglass Case

Why choose a minimalist backpack for travel?

Would you like a backpack with loads of straps that knot into themselves and tangle, with gazillions pockets that you can’t find your toothbrush or that key to your mailbox? If the answer is no – then you go to get a NEW minimalist travel backpack.

Best minimalist backpacks for travel
Best minimalist backpacks for travel

Minimalist backpacks simplify your travel life – they are fuss-free, has the right amount of compartments and pockets for essentials (so that you don’t overpack).

They are lightweight as they are sleek, you can carry them for hours on a day tour or a hiking trip. They are of that optimal size that fits into an overhead compartment in an aircraft and thus pay no baggage fees!  


If you are carrying a variety of outfits (like me), it is hard to stay organized without a packing cube. With all the backpacks, we recommend using packing cubes to organize the items inside. Use them to separate clothing items (clean or dirty), or different sets of outfits – they are super handy.

Detailed Reviews: Best Minimalist Backpacks

Pacsafe Venture safe 45 – Best minimalist backpack for Europe 

With 50% of the entire European continent explored by us, a minimalist backpack for traveling to Europe is a must. Europe is notorious for pickpockets especially in popular cities like Barcelona, Paris, or Venice.

 It is equally known for train journeys (scenic ones and the not so scenic overnight ones). Carrying an anti-theft backpack is a must for European explorers.

This anti-theft minimalist backpack can be tied to an immovable object like train seats or in a restaurant to keep thieves at bay. The size of the backpack is optimal for carry-ons at 45 liters or less (if you take less clothing).  

Top Features
  • Anti-theft minimalist backpack with slash-proof technology
  • Root-bar deluxe locking system
  • Compression straps for comfortable wear
  • Comes with an adjustable hip belt for support
  • Can be worn as a backpack or briefcase-style
  • Has a laptop compartment inside (up to 15 inches), including a pocket for small items (like a pen, keys, etc)
  • External attachment for a water bottle, travel blanket, light jacket or mat
  • Good size for carry-on




Fjallraven Kanken Pack – Trendy travel daypack small

When I saw this backpack in Munich (our tour guide was wearing it), I fell in love. This Fjallraven Kanken Pack minimalist backpack is a perfect mix of handbag and backpack. It comes with handles!  So that means you can hand carry it (if too tired of using it as a backpack). It is super cute and it comes in a variety of colors as well.

This backpack is a perfect daypack, carry-on companion for long haul flights or for the everyday commute. Its design is super sleek and simple.

For me, the main compartment is all you need – store your Kindle, notebook, umbrella, large wallet, snack or sneak in a scarf! It all fits here. The zippered pouch in the front is handy for keeping loose change or bus/train tickets.

The Fjallraven Kanken Pack is a Swedish brand, and it was created for school kids with durable material to last long! 

The minimalist design will appeal to no-nonsense ‘bare -essentials’ lovers and the ultra creatives can actually re-design it with travel patches, paints, art-work – whatever you fancy! 

Top Features
  • Frameless backpack, with a capacity of 16 litres
  • Perfect for everyday wear and for use as a travel daypack
  • Backpack is made up of Fluorocarbon-free durable water repellent (DWR) finish, which deflects light rain and snow
  • It has adjustable straps, which makes it easy to carry as a backpack or a bag via convertible straps
  • Zippered main compartment has a large opening and is super roomy, you can fit a laptop or tablet, but it doesn’t have a designated sleeve
  • Removable seat pad
  • 2 side pockets for storing smaller items (can’t fit water bottle – good for wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer, map)
  • Front pocket for your wallet or any valuables




The North Face Travel Duffel Pack

After Pacsafe, probably my favorite backpacks brand is the North Face. The North Face makes a lot of hiking and outdoors clothing, gear and equipment, so although I don’t use them a lot in my travel pictures (I prefer wearing my flowy dresses.) 

I do own a backpack, a few softshell jackets and shoes from the North Face. This 37 litre minimalist backpack aka duffel bag is perfection for long trips of 2 weeks.

The main compartment is plain, so I use packing cubes to organise my clothing. The straps are super comfortable and it helps to distribute the weight evenly. 

The front of the backpack is perfect for storing headphones, sunglass case or cosmetic pouch. It is also great for storing documents or hair accessories. We use our backpacks as carry on, we never check them in (so storing documents is fine, as it will be with us throughout the journey).

This travel backpack is roomy for long trips, with a minimalist design – no screaming logos or multiple pockets. It can store your laptop though, as it comes with an assigned sleeve for your tech items. 

Top Features
  • Minimalist backpack, which can be used as a duffel style bag as well
  • Super roomy for long trips
  • Padded and adjustable shoulder straps for a comfortable carrying experience
  • Has a structured main compartment and a padded laptop sleeve
  • Inner compression straps keep your clothes looking fresh for arrival
  • Good size for carry-on
  • Unisex



Osprey Arcana Large Daypack – the Everyday Minimalist Backpack

If you are looking for a hassle free, simple and a minimalist backpack for everyday travel, the Osprey Arcane is your new companion. Osprey Arcane is a large size backpack with a 20 litre capacity. It comes with a laptop compartment and generous interiors to store a cardigan, scarf, cosmetic pouch umbrella and large size wallet. 

The backpack is made up of durable material and is coated with water-resistant material. The zipper opening is smooth and it makes it easy to take items in and out of the backpack. 

Pro tip: The size of this backpack is great for sleepovers or weekends away.

Top Features
  • This minimalist backpack can fit a large size laptop (main compartment has a laptop sleeve), plus a document and a zippered pocket
  • The clean fabric design makes it super versatile for work, outing or casual days
  • Anti-theft – The security hook on the left shoulder can be used to secure around a table leg or pole to prevent theft
  • Back panel has a breathable NeoSpacer mesh for comfort
  •  Low profile side panel for storing water bottle
  • This amazing day pack is made from 10.5 plastic bottles!





Hershey Classic XL Pack – Trendy backpack for everyday commute or travel 

Hershey makes cute and simple day packs that are perfect for sightseeing or everyday commute. It’s simple design, with one main zippered compartment is a hit with those for love space, while keeping things sweet and simple. I love Hershey as they are lightweight and their backpacks come in a variety of colors – you don’t have to stick to a black or a navy blue color.

PS: They are Canadian! 

Top Features
  • Versatile and roomy minimalist backpack for travel, office, school or running errands
  • Super trendy. Has a very small logo and comes in a variety of colors
  • Includes a laptop sleeve, can fit up 15 inch
  • Front pocket has storage options/organization
  • Dual water bottle pockets included




Timbuk2 Laptop Backpack – Best laptop minimalist backpacks

Timbuk2 is a San Francisco-based bag manufacturer and marketer, manufacturing tough and durable travel bags.

Timbuk2 Laptop Backpack is a sleek and trendy minimalist backpack for the office and for travel. Also allowed as a personal item in an aircraft. This backpack can fit upto 17 inch laptop, with neat compartments for organizing your pens, notebook, small pouch/box and more.

The large main compartment has a zippered closure and it can also fit a lightweight travel jacket (along with the tech items mentioned above). 

One of the cool features of this tech bag is that it comes with a smart-power brick pocket that remembers where you stored your cords, isn’t it cool?

Timbuk2 Laptop Backpack also has a designated side pocket for a water bottle and space for a lunch box as well. 

Top Features
  • Perfect for travel and office
  • Can fit a large laptop, upto 17 inch
  • Smart power-brick pocket remembers where your cords are so you don’t have to
  • On-strap bottle opener for quick refreshment




Black Ember Citadel Minimal Backpack

The Black Ember Citadel Minimal Backpack is a sleek, minimal, waterproof backpack designed for travel and the everyday commute.These minimal backpacks are made up of waterproof, 3-layer, 800D Microhex textile, which makes them a super-durable. 

Black Ember Citadel Minimal Backpack is an over-engineered pack with a blacked-out, minimal and stealthy aesthetic. The backpack is easy to unzip to 360 degrees, giving you a good access/glance to all the contents inside.

It comes with a top-loader zipper, which comes in handy to take your laptop and other essentials out from the laptop. 

External fast access for essentials like: Keys, wallet and phone, soft and protective pockets for Laptops and tablets, generous easy access pockets, and hidden zipper pockets for secure items. It also includes a built in tablet sleeve. 

Although not a designated camera bag, you can store a DSLR in it.  It can be used with the Citadel, or used independently as a shoulder bag (sold separately).

One of the handy features of this minimalist travel backpack is this internal Compression Divider, which helps compress clothes inside. 

Top Features
  • A super jam-packed backpack – use it for tech/laptop (upto 15 inch) or as a camera bag
  • Perfect as a carry-on (can store clothing and other smaller items)
  • Waterproof minimalist backpack
  • Zippered main closure/compartment
  • The Citadel is a clamshell style pack, which means it unzips 360 degrees, so you can see all your gear laid out and well organized right in front of you.



Timbuk2 Hero Pack

A casual and trendy minimalist backpack with a straightforward roll-top design, the Timbuk2 Hero pack is a conversation starter. It’s unique design comes with a wide mouth opening to store and carry clothes, shoes and laptops upto 15 inches. Highly recommend using a packing cube to organize the clothes, as the backpack is like a ‘black-hole’ aka tube style. 

There is a designated compartment for laptops.

Other features include a small security pocket for small essentials or valuables. There are 2 pockets on the exterior for a water bottle and umbrella.

Top Features
  • Lightweight and can be used as a carry-on
  • Fabric is water resistant
  • Dual side pockets fit water bottles (32 ounces), an umbrella or mini U-lock
  • Security pocket hides small essentials
  • Unisex design




Incase City Backpack – An urban/ tech minimalist backpack

With an amazing sleek design, the Incase City Minimalist backpack is an urban commuter’s companion. 

The City Backpack features a 360-degree padded, faux-fur lined laptop compartment for optimal protection. Don’t go by the design, as it is super spacious – great for carrying 16 inch laptop, tablet and smartphone – with designated compartments. There are purposeful pockets for organizing extra accessories, documents and other essentials. Two zippered side stash pockets provide quick, on-the-go access to small essential items.

It also features adjustable shoulder straps with air mesh padding for added comfort and a customized fit.

Top Features
  • Features a 360-degree faux-fur laptop compartment, 
  • Padded adjustable shoulder straps
  • Large organizer compartment, plus tablet and phone pocket with fleece lining, 
  • Small pockets for valuables



Kensington Triple Trek Slim Backpack – Budget Minimalist backpack 

The Kensington Triple Trek Ultrabook Backpack is a minimalist backpack perfect for small laptops (like Chromebook and/or upto 14 inch laptop). This backpack features fleece-lined compartments that keep your smartphone and your laptop, tablet, safe from scratches.  The backpack is roomy for other essentials (including power cord and a travel jacket). There’s also a hidden pocket to secure your devices and a stow-away water bottle holder.

The padded back support system is wide, and comes with adjustable padded straps for comfort. 

Top Features
  • Fleece lined compartments for thin laptops, tablet, smartphones, etc to keep devices organized and protected against scratches
  • Minimalist and compact design with enough storage for technology and other daily essentials
  • Padded shoulder straps, adjustable
  • Each product comes with 3 year warranty



HIKPRO 20 L Hiking backpack 

HIKPRO 20 L Hiking backpack is a super compact minimalist backpack. It is made up of high quality water and tear resistant nylon material, coupled with a durable abrasion resistant zipper. 

Being compact, this hiking backpack is lightweight, but also quite roomy for weekend trips, day hikes, school or camping.  

One of the positive things about this HIKPRO 20 L minimalist backpack is that you can fold it into a smaller size. Yes it is foldable and packable size to carry while flying or heading for shopping! 

When opened up into a full size, you will find 3 zippered compartments. The main pocket is super roomy to store clothing, full size notebooks, blankets, jackets, etc. The smaller pockets are perfect to keep your wallet, cosmetic bag, small note-book, etc. 

Also includes side pockets for water bottles or umbrellas. 

The shoulder straps on this backpack is comfortable with wide breathable mesh straps, which are adjustable too. 

Top Features
  • 20 litre minimalist backpack
  • Roomy, but can be folded into a smaller pack to carry
  • Water resistant 
  • Side pockets for water bottle or umbrellas
  • Shoulder straps are adjustable, and is equipped with wide breathable mesh



Nomatic Backpack- Slim Black Water Resistant Anti-Theft 20L Laptop Bag RFID Protected

The NOMATIC Slim Minimalist Backpack is a sleek tech bag, with an anti-theft material. 

Although a sleek backpack, it comes filled with TONS of possibilities (aka room)! The expansion zipper allows you to store more, if you like to, whilst keeping a minimalistic profile! Essentially a 20 litre backpack, but can be expandable to 34 litres (and still perfect for carry-on). 

The exterior Kodra 500D Tarpaulin is water resistance and will keep your items nice and try in rainy weather.

The NOMATIC Backpack includes a removable accessories panel, which features a retractable key leash, hard case sunglass compartment, cord management pockets, RFID pocket, notebook, planner, laptop, tablet storage, charging cord pass through holes and much more.

Top Features
  • Slim backpack – 20 litre expandable to 34 litre
  • Fits most 15.5″ screened laptops and 12″ tablets
  • Removable accessories panel
  • Pockets: Specific pockets designed to carry your phone and laptop charger, planner, notebook, phone, laptop, tablet, water bottle, keys, sunglasses, phone, wallet, etc.
  • There are 2 exterior water bottle pockets, with magnetic snaps to close when not in use
  • Made from water resistant Kodra 500D Tarpaulin fabric, with a lifetime guarantee



So that’s a wrap! These are some of the finest minimalist backpacks out there for travel, work and for everything in between!

Let us know what’s your favorite? 

Additional Buying Guides

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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One Comment

  1. Loved it, really!!! A fantastic way of introducing some of the exquisite backpacks. But surely, to present these backpacks, you needed to photograph them along with retouching.

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