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5 Best Minimalist Travel Backpacks

| Updated Jun 21, 2023

The best minimalist travel backpack is perfect for hiking, museums, amusement parks, and everything else you may do while RVing.

Even though your RV is a home away from home, it leads to lots of exploring and time outside of that ‘home.' That's when a travel backpack or a day pack clearly comes in handy.

But, since you are never too far from your home on wheels, you don't want some over-excessive backpack that's going to weigh you down. You want something you can easily pack and unpack for each adventure you set off on.

After all, when RVing, you may be hiking one day and perusing a museum the next day… or even on the same day!

Ironically, a list of the best minimalist backpack options can be very long! But since you clearly prefer simplicity, I'm going to try to minimize the list to include only the best of the best.

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What You Want in a Travel Backpack

Before we jump into the recommendations, here is a quick rundown of what to look for in the best minimalist travel backpack.

Some have a simple design, while others come complete with extra features. The great thing is, there is something to fit different needs.

Getting a pack with adjustable straps is an excellent choice. That way you can fix the adjustable shoulder straps to fit your body. While one backpack may fit great for someone, you may need a different size backpack.

Most travel packs have a large main compartment. You can use a spacious main compartment to store equipment or clothing items.

You will also want to look for a front compartment with easy access to travel documents, maps, etc.

A water-resistant backpack is a nice feature, especially if you are camping or traveling to rainy or snowy states.

Backpacks made with ballistic nylon are known to be tough, heavy-duty packs. You won't have to worry about rips or tears.

A sternum strap or chest straps, along with a hip belt and compression straps can help offset heavy loads. This is a must if you plan to use your backpack for extensive day use! Your back and body will be much happier if the load is kept in the right position.

Another great feature is a side pocket or two to fit small items. Most come with a side pocket, and another small pocket to stow small personal items.

An excellent feature is a mesh back panel that allows the sweat from your body to dry without soaking your pack. It can help regulate your body temperature and is more comfortable.

Finally, some backpacks have a separate laptop compartment to keep your device safe. For example, you can keep your 15-inch laptop safe inside a padded laptop sleeve. This may be a must if you plan to work from the road.

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Best Minimalist Travel Backpack (Top 5 Picks)

The following are my top picks for the best minimalist travel backpacks on today's market.

1. Best Minimalist Travel Backpack Men's Osprey Farpoint 40

Osprey Farpoint comes in multiple sizes based on how much you need to pack. When RVing, you usually don't need to pack for more than a day out. But, if you're like Jennifer and me, you pack one backpack for the both of you (or even your whole family).

The Osprey Farpoint 40 has a 40L capacity, hence the '40' in the name. It's a lightweight backpack that also fits all airport guidelines for carry-on bags. So, you know it's comfortably compact but it can still fit a lot.

This sleek, versatile pack is made from highly durable fabric which is great for hiking. It also has a stowaway back panel, chest harness, and hipbelt.

You may be wondering why this backpack is specified as a “Men's” backpack and that comes down to the length of the torso. Men's Osprey backpacks are a little longer than women's since men's torsos are typically longer. They're designed to shift the weight accordingly.

But that doesn't mean women have to choose a different backpack entirely…

2. Best Minimalist Travel Backpack Women's Osprey Fairview 40

The Osprey Fairview 40 is the same as the Osprey Fairpoint 40… it's just a different name to easily separate the man vs. woman design.

Of course, these backpacks aren't strictly limited to one gender or the other. They both have a unisex design and colors. If you're a shorter man or a taller woman, then you should opt for the design that best fits your torso.

3. Best Minimalist Travel Backpack Tortuga Outbreaker

The Tortuga Outbreaker is a good option for travel because it is made from waterproof sailcloth to keep your items dry in any weather.

It also keeps your items safe and dry with its weather-resistant, lockable zippers.

The Ariaprene foam padding will keep you comfortable all day long.

And working from the road is a breeze since you can fit both a 17″ Macbook and a 9.7″ tablet in the pack!

4. Best Minimalist Travel Backpack Cotopaxi Allpa

This backpack is a good choice for a quality backpack made from responsibly sourced materials. Great backpack for you, and good for our planet as well. It is a win, win!

One great feature of this pack is its butterfly opening. It opens suitcase style with a full zipper so that can organize your personal items in a convenient way.

It is carry-on compatible, has an included rain cover, and tuck away straps.

In addition, it features theft-proof zippers and a repurposed nylon body.

5. Best Minimalist Travel Backpack Peak Design 20L Travel Backpack

The Peak Design Travel Backpack comes in 15L, 20L, and 30 L capacities. I've linked to the 20L model because it seems to be a good compromise for RVers, but the smaller or bigger version might be better for you.

It is an excellent choice for those that work when traveling. Not only does it meet international max carry-on standards, but many offer locking features to prevent theft.

It's large enough to stow your computer and other personal items. You can use the quick tablet or laptop access from the main back zip area.

Peak Design even offers impressive packing cube options so that you can use your space even more wisely. They open all the way and then can be compressed to store your items in the most compact way possible.

In fact, they have this great organizer packing cube that is a great option regardless of which brand of backpack you buy.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2021-12-27

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

One Response to “5 Best Minimalist Travel Backpacks”

December 27, 2021at9:31 am, Jeffrey Oja said:

MInimalist backpacks?? How about a little more minimalist cost?


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