If you’re a person who likes to travel like me and in the market for a great travel bag that could not only take you on any adventure, but actually be accepted as a carry-on, then this list will help you find what you’re looking for.
I’ve tested out countless bags, and like many people, I do have my personal favorites that has made all my traveling experiences easy and enjoyable.
For my exclusive list, you could check it out below!
What I Look For In My Travel Bags
There’s many things to look for when selecting travel bags, and no, looks aren’t everything!
I’ve tried buying travel bags based off of looks, and let me tell you, that was a big mistake.
Some of them the zippers broke easily, while many others had junk ass material that ripped while I was on vacay.
Having a broken bag while on vacation isn’t fun!
So here’s what I look at to determine which travel bags are best to get:
Durability – You Want to make sure you get a bag that could handle all your gear without giving out on you. A bag that could possibly last you for 10+ years.
Capacity – When looking at your next travel bag, you want to ensure it could fit what you need it too without putting too much stress on the materials.
Organization – This is something I really look at when I’m purchasing my travel bags, I need to know I could organize all my things without problems, and what it really boils down to, is having multiple pockets! Also, you should try to look for bags that have quick access pockets to quickly access your important items like your passport or boarding passes.
Comfort – To me, this is the most important thing to look for in a bag! You want to make sure the bag sits right on your back and will not cause you any type of discomfort.
Look and Feel – Here’s when you choose a bag that’s up to your expectations, something that you think fits your personality.
The Best Minimal Travel Bags
When it comes to minimal travel bags, I’m speaking of bags that will last you for week long trips, or overnight stays as well.
So the list I have prepared for you are bags I consider to be the best minimal travel bags that fit all the expectations I mentioned earlier.
GORUCK GR1 26L
Of course I have to go right ahead and throw out that GORUCK GR1 26L to get things kicked off here!
The GORUCK GR1 26L is the perfect bag for a single bag travel that could take you on trips anywhere from 3-7 days, sometimes even longer if you know how to pack.
My favorite thing about this bag, is it’s built extremely tough and could last you for years upon years.
If you didn’t know, these bags are hand made and it takes about 4 hours just to complete the build on one of them.
They are made and tested by Army Special Forces Soldiers who not only use these bags as everyday carry bags, but also in War Zones to carry all their equipment!
Just knowing that these bags could last in war zones, it should really tell you something!
All you have to know about this bag to simplify things here, is it will give you everything you want and need in a travel bag.
Buying one of these bags will be one of your best investments.
Why you might ask?
Because it will literally last you for many years without giving out.
It’s made out of 1000D CORDURA, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s extremely strong lightweight material that even the US ARMY uses for all their gear.
On top of the great materials the GR1 is made of, it also has YKK zippers all around that will give you that ease of mind knowing that it won’t break on you while you’re enjoying your vacay.
And before I forget to mention, this bag is built with rainproof material to help you withstand whatever weather you go though.
Hands down one of my most favorite bags out there!
WANDRD Prvke 21L
For people looking for a more innovative design, then the WANDRD Prvke 21L or 31L will be a bag to look at.
Both the 21L and 31L match up identically, just the 31L of course is slightly more spacious if you need to fit extra stuff.
I prefer to go for the 21L because it could pack what I need for a 3-7 day trip with no problems.
But of course the way I pack is a lot different from others, so if you feel like you need more room and don’t want to chance it, then the 31L will be your best bet.
Don’t just dive into the 31L yet though, the WANDRD Prvke bags are roll top, so you could actually expand the bag upwards if you need more space.
I managed to fit what I needed for my 7 day trip without the need to roll the bag up, so you could only imagine how much space this bag has.
Some cool features that caught my attention with this bag, is the water-resistant tarpaulin and nylon material, the fact that it has a clam shell opening to get you through TSA checkpoints easily, and before I forget to mention, the side access to easily get into the internal parts of the bag without having to open up the roll top.
Other things to look forward to about this bag, is it does has a separate water bottle holder on the outside of the bag, so you could stay hydrated at all times.
And also before I get side tracked again, the bag does have an easy access pocket at the top of the bag to store your cell phone, wallet, or whatnot.
It’s a very well rounded bag and I really love to take it on small trips as well.
As a matter of fact, I had to get two of these bags because my wife liked it so much and didn’t want to give mine back. LOL!
You will not go wrong with this bag either, well worth the money!
NOMATIC Travel Pack
The NOMATIC Travel Pack is a bag that has really taken the market by storm for its very sleek design, but yet spacious compartments.
With the travel pack, it has a the ability to expand to become whatever you need it to be.
It could start off at a 20L pack and become your everyday carry, but if you want to use it for travel, it could expand out to 30L giving you all the room you need to carry all your belongings.
This is a bag I really love too, just because it has that “Mission Impossible” look that makes it known that it means business.
Also, if you wanted to, you could actually tuck the straps in and turn this bad boy into a briefcase.
There’s just so much shit you could do with this bag it’s truly unbelievable!
If you want a bag that looks like it could make you fly, then this will definitely be the bag for you.
Little backstory on this bag, I actually took this thing on a 10 day trip and it fit everything I needed and more.
Very spacious bag and has a separate laptop compartment that I really liked…
Timbuk2 Blink Pack
If you take a look at the Timbuk2 Blink Pack, you could clearly see why I like it!
It’s honestly really simply, but it could do everything you need it to do.
It has a great easy access pocket at the top of the bag where you could put your phone or wallet in when you need to go through TSA checkpoints, it has a grab handle for easy lifting, not to mention it has a water bottle pocket, it also has the ability to hold up to a 15″ laptop, and it could fit the things you need for a 3-7 day trip.
If you use packing cubes like I do, you could really fit so much in any bags I mentioned so far.
One of my favorite things to use when I pack for a trip to fit the maximum equipment and clothing is the NOMATIC Vacuum Bag.
There’s many different tactics to use when packing, but overall the Timbuk2 is a great bag and one that satisfies me.
Like I said, it’s a very simple looking bag, but it has so much to offer.
Minaal Carry-On 2.0
The Minaal Carry-On 2.0 is another well designed bag that could handle all your travel needs and more.
This bag is super lightweight and could fit tons of things inside if you use their packing cubes.
You could fit up to a 15″ laptop and a 10″ tablet, and the pockets are padded enough to keep your expensive valuables safe.
Everything about this bag is great, from the materials, to the little grab handles that make shifting the bag around easier, to the shoulder straps giving me the comfort I need.
The bag does have a quick access pocket which is needed in a travel bag, and it also has a water bottle pocket as well for those who like to bring that type of stuff on trips like I do.
Overall, it’s a great travel bag that will give you what you need, but it will come with a cost.
The Best Maximal Travel Bags
Ok, now where onto the big boy travel bags that will take you on trips beyond 7 days!
If you’re going on a vacay that will last over 7 days and you don’t want the hassle of using roller bags/luggage’s, then these bags I’m about to list off will give you exactly what you need.
I personally am not a big fan of roller luggages, so the bags I have for you today are in my personal collection and ones that I use majority of the time on long trips and adventures.
Like the little brother the GR1 which I listed earlier in the minimal travel bags, the GR2 is built with all the same 1000D CORDURA fabric that will last you a very long time.
What makes the GR2 different from the GR1, of course is the sizes they come in, which is a 34L and 40L.
This bag will literally take you around the world without having to worry about it breaking on you!
There’s 3 main compartments and 8 total pockets you could find within this bag, so it does have room for some pretty good organization.
And of course all the zippers on this bag is YKK all around!
The thing I love about this bag, is you don’t have to worry about it snagging onto things while you’re walking down plane isles, because as you can see, it’s pretty slick.
There is molle attachments on this bag, so if you want to put on any type of extra molle pouches or whatnot, you could do that.
With the GR2 being as big as it is though, there’s really no need for you to put on any extra pouches, this bag will handle anything on its own.
For the people who carry laptops over 15 inches, the GR2 could fit a anything up to 17″, which is pretty great if you ask me.
Bottom line upfront, this is a bag that will not only give you what you need in a single travel bag, but it will last you for a very long time!
You probably won’t have to buy any other travel bags after this one, unless you’re like me and just have a thing for bags.
NOMATIC Travel Bag
If you can’t handle the GORUCK Gr2 because it’s built too tough for you, then you could always go for my next favorite travel bag, which of course is the NOMATIC Travel Bag.
This bag will literally fit everything you need to go on a month long trip if you wanted to, and there’s even a separate shoe compartment that will allow you to bring that extra pair you need.
As for orginization, this bag has you covered!
It could fit up to a 15″ laptop without any problems, it could transform from backpack to duffle if you get tired of wearing it, there’s grab handles on the bag that makes it easier to handle, and it’s made out of tarpaulin material so it is rain resistant.
This bag also comes with detachable waist straps to help take the pressure off your back and even it out with your hips, really great add on.
The reason why I like this bag a lot, is not only for the space it provides, but the sweet look it gives off.
If you’re looking for a bag with lots of space and tons of organization, then the NOMATIC Travel Bag is for you.
WANDRD Hexad Access Duffle
The WANDRD Hexad Access Duffle is a pretty unique bag and was originally built for photographers.
If you were to get the camera cubes that go with this bag, you’ll be able to have quick access to your camera equipment with the quick access pockets located on the side of the duffel.
What I use this bag for though, is just as a travel bag and not as a camera bag.
There is backpack straps on this bad boy so don’t be fooled.
It gives you the option to carry it as a duffel, or as a carry-on backpack.
There’s 3 large compartments inside the bag that you could also gain access to through its clam shell opening.
The Hexad Access Duffel has tons of space and great organization, it could literally take you on a month long trip.
If you like the look of this duffle, then this is the one for you, there’s so much this bag has to offer, and it’s built with some really great weather resistant materials.
AER Travel Pack
The AER Travel Pack is another great bag to look at if you’re in the market for something that could take you on month long trips.
This bag is made out of 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon on the exterior, and has YKK zippers all around.
It could fit up to a 15″ laptop, has a ventilated shoe compartment that could fit up to a mens size 13 shoe, it could lay flat for easy packing, and is optimized to meet international and domestic carry-on luggage standards.
The AER Travel Pack also has great internal organization for all your electronics and clothing.
It’s one of those bags that you could use as a travel bag, then compress it down and use it as a daypack.
Great pack and one I enjoyed using.
Last but not least, we have the GORUCK GR3!
This bag is the King of all the GORUCK bags, and that’s for a reason.
It’s a 45L bag that will literally fit all your gear, clothes, and everything else you need on your trips.
But of course, I personally think the GORUCK GR2 is more than good enough.
Some of the key feature of this bag like the other ones I mentioned in this post, is it’s made out of 1000D Cordura, has YKK zippers all around, could fit up to a 19.5″ laptop if you have anything that big, and has some pretty great tech organization internal pockets.
The GORUCK GR3 my friends will not let you down in any way, shape, or form!
This bag is battle tested and will withstand anything you throw at it, of course just don’t lite it on fire, it will burn.
Anyways, if you’re looking for a tough bag that will get you through anything, then the GR3 is a beast of a bag!
My Top Picks
Alright my friends, those are some of the top carry-on travel bags that are on the market right now.
But to be completely honest, any of the bags on this list will be great and give you what you need.
It’s really all on you and which one you think matches your style more.
I hope this article has helped you find what you need, and please feel free to leave any comments or feedback below.
Thanks for stopping by!