Best Backpacks for Europe

Best Backpacks for Europe

Why Do You Need a Travel Backpack for Europe?

We’ll show you the perfect carryon backpack for travel to Europe if you’re:

  • Traveling through different countries in Europe, and moving from city to city frequently,
  • Using various modes of transportation, like trains or European airlines, or
  • Needing to fit a backpack into small European rental cars.

A backpack is the best choice for Europe if you’re traveling with only carryon luggage. European airlines typically don’t allow large rollaboard suitcases to be taken onboard as cabin baggage. You’re much more likely to get away with a carryon backpack, making a pack the best choice. Also, some cities may have cobbled streets (especially in the historic areas) which makes it difficult wheel a suitcase, and can create wear on your suitcase’s wheels and handle, as well as potentially causing an injury if your wrist gets twisted.

The Best Carry On Backpack for Europe – Best backpack for traveling in Europe for Men.

The 44 number in the backpack name refers to the capacity/size of the backpack in liters. These are medium-sized backpacks, not a giant size. They’re small enough that you’ll usually be able to take them as carry on luggage on European airlines, but large enough you can fit everything you need for staying stylish and happy in Europe. This backpack comes in black and the green below. The black is more understated. The green is more relaxed and fun and will stand out more.

Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack, Ponderosa Pine
List Price: $124.95
Price: $124.95
Price Disclaimer

Best Backpacks for Backpacking Europe for Women.

Our pick for the best Europe travel backpack for women is the Kelty Redwing 40 Women’s Backpack.

Kelty Women's Redwing 40 Backpack, Deep Lake
List Price: $124.95
Price: $124.95
Price Disclaimer

The Kelty Redwing offers both style and comfort. The women’s backpack comes in both black, and a beautiful, vibrant teal green color. I purchased the black version and regret not having bought the green.

No matter how good the backpack reviews are, you can never be sure a backpack is going to work for your body shape and travel needs until you try it. I bought my backpack from Amazon because of the cheap backpack prices, and most importantly, free returns. Amazon still offer free returns on these backpacks at the time of writing but do check at the time you order. The listing should say “free returns” right next to where it says “free shipping,” which is next to the price.

Order your backpack well in advance of your travel date, so you have time to try it out and return it if it doesn’t work for you. Or, a travel tip (especially if you’re short on time) is to order two backpacks and keep the one you like best. We also like Osprey backpacks as an alternative to the Kelty brand. This Osprey 46 Liter backpack is a good second option if you want to see which brand works better for you, and if 40L is your perfect size or if you want a larger backpack. Tip: If you’re smaller (under 5’7), go with the smaller 40L Redwing. If you’re tall, then you may prefer the larger size.

Either choice is a great choice. However, with free returns, you can choose both!

Why We Think the Kelty Redwing is the Best Backpack for Backpacking Europe.

We are very experienced travelers, so believe us when we say we’ve tried a lot of backpacks and walked a lot of miles wearing backpacks. I even take this backpack when traveling with my baby. I can easily wear the backpack and push a stroller, or carry the backpack, the baby, and the folded stroller. The best way to get to know the features on this backpack is to view the product video on Amazon. Here are the features of this backpack that we think make it the best. The Kelty has a small size but lots of features and capacity.

  • You can fit a lot in it, much more than you’d expect.
  • It has a nice laptop/tablet sleeve to keep your device safe, cushioned, and protected. The Kelty Redwing is a great laptop backpack.
  • The backpack itself is light weight, but supportive. The women’s backpack is just over 2.5 lbs. The unisex/men’s backpack is just over 3lbs.
  • It has a “stash pocket” for storing your hoodie or jacket in a way that is super easy to access in the case of unexpected temperature changes e.g., if you board a flight and the plane temperature is freezing. We LOVE this feature.
  • The stretchy pockets on the sides are great for any size water bottle. They’re very stretchy so you can also use them for anything larger that you want to access easily.
  • The women’s version has women specific suspension and an amazing fit to the hip belt and straps. You can remove the hip belt if you want the backpack to be even more lightweight. I definitely use the hip belt. It makes the backpack hug your body so it feels part of your body rather than something awkward you’re carrying.
  • It has amazing ventilation if you’re looking for the best backpack to travel Europe in the summer time.
  • It’s versatile. You’ll be able to also use your Europe backpacking backpack for hiking trips or trips on public transportation around town where you’d feel silly carrying a very large travel backpack.

How to fit more into your backpack for Europe.

When traveling in Europe, even if you’re backpacking, you want to take some nicer outfits and shoes. You’ll want to fit in with the locals when visiting restaurants, cafes, and stores. To fit everything you need into a medium-sized travel backpack , you will need packing cubes. We love and recommend the Eagle Creek brand. You can buy compression packing cubes, but the regular type also naturally provide compression. This 3 piece set of Eagle Creek packing cubes will give you lots of flexibility to organize your items.

If you’d prefer to get the compression kind, this 2 piece set of the large packing cubes is good value. If you want to leave your bulky laptop at home, you can get a keyboard for your ipad or other tablet. My Mom recently took this affordable keyboard case for her ipad 2 on her Europe trip and loved it – Logitech Type+ Bluetooth Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 – Bright Green.


Sure, travel is about the experiences and not about the “stuff” but if you love your travel gear, it makes travel all the more relaxing and comfortable, and you’ll feel more confident embarking on your trip. We’re sure you’ll love our favorite backpacking through Europe backpack, the Kelty Redwing 44 for men or the Kelty Redwing 40L Women’s Backpack for women. With the perfect travel backpack, Europe packing is easy and enjoyable.

Have a great time in Europe!

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Best Backpacks for Europe

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