The 10 Best Packable Backpacks
This wiki has been updated 12 times since it was first published in May of 2020. Trips within trips demand bags within bags. Whether you’re camping outdoors or staying at a hotel in the heart of a city, packable daypacks can help you carry everything needed for the minor excursions that larger suitcases and duffels are ill-suited for. Both light and stowable, these offerings have been carefully researched to help you find the best option for your particular trek. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 02, 2020:
As a reminder, packable backpacks aren’t intended to be your primary bag for daily use. In order to keep them light, storable, and affordable, they are not always built with the same intensity and material grade as regular packs. Just so, if you are looking for a bag that you’ll use for hours upon hours for days at a time when traveling, you might be better off just getting a regular fabric backpack that is light, small, and can be rolled up to store away. A lot of sling bags and fanny packs might be a better choice for you depending on what you’ve got in store.
Just ask yourself this: Will you be folding this bag up and packing it away for use while traveling at least half of the time you use it? If not, a packable backpack might not be the best thing for you. To be sure, all fabric outdoor equipment can tear or fail for a number of reasons, so we suggest always bringing some sort of sewing kit with you when camping or hiking for extended periods.
Moving on, although most of the bags on the list claim to be waterproof or water resistant, I’d be careful about what you trust with electronics and other valuables, and consider getting an actual waterproof backpack or a good dry bag that’s the right size and packable if that’s the feature at the heart of your concerns. Even when a bag is verifiably waterproof, that doesn’t mean it’s airtight, so don’t expect your stuff to stay dry if you go swimming with your backpack on. Waterproof and resistant backpacks are meant to stand up to rain, splashing, and accidental plunges, not extended submersion.
While there are a lot of well-made and popular options out there, those that are offered in a decent range of colors, such as the AmazonBasics Portable and Gonex Handy Travel, have been given preference when their quality is on par with other models that are only offered in one color. Meanwhile, options like the QS Carry On and Gonex Lightweight are included because they are great options despite their limited color selection.
Coala Tree This manufacturer and online purveyor of outdoor goods focuses on using recycled materials, green facilities, and sustainable production practices to bring you high quality, conscientious gear. Not only do they have a decent line of hammocks, blankets, and other accessories, their site also acts as a portal to put people in touch with progressive issues. Although they have only one packable bag to offer, it is as well made as it is fashionable and accessibly priced. coalatree.com
Gear Trade If you want to potentially save some money and you don't necessarily need your purchase today, it might be worth your while to lurk around this website until the right thing pops up. As a platform for individuals to buy and sell new and used outdoor equipment, their stock is in constant flux, so you never know what you might find. Conversely, if you're looking to sell gear, they have an easy to use interface that will help you post your offerings in a seamless process for a 13% cut of the profit. geartrade.com