Top 5 Best Small Backpacks for Your Travel Needs


Dec 22
best small backpack

Anyone who spends time outdoors for quite a long period of time knows the important of having a bag to put their stuff into. There are important items that we have to bring with us whether it be going to shop for a grocery, visiting a coffee shop, or a weekend getaway.

You might require having a camera backpack or only a simple small daypack for knickknacks. No matter what the case is, the best small backpack will make things easier.


**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

For me, personally, carrying a small backpack is better than a big one. If I have a small bag, it makes me to only want to bring less stuff. Taking this approach gives an advantage for me. It is lower maintenance and less complicated. Organizing it is also easier. It's particularly good whenever I decide to bring food with me.

Benefits of Using Small Backpacks

small backpack

There are two ways to travel as a backpacker. One includes bringing a big bag on your back that seems like you're carrying your whole life on your shoulders, and the other way is having a regular looking bag on your back.

Needless to say, not just will have the small backpack making makes getting around easier, it will also keep you to be a low profile and less tired. That's why I always choose to travel light, but then again, it is always about your personal preference. Below are some of the benefits of having a small bag when traveling:

hiking backpack
  • Easy to pack and keep: Small backpacks are easy to put in overhead cases in a bus, airplane, or train. The soft sides of a backpack allow it adapt to tight storing spaces. A lot of travel backpacks have compression fastenings that allow you snap the packs contents down to consume small space.
  • Comfort: Small backpacks put less strain on the body than the bigger ones as their weight does not pull your body down since you cannot put a lot of stuff in it. Small backpacks are made to consistently offer their load on your hips and shoulders, which make them easy to carry for long period of time.
  • Makes things organized: A lot of small backpacks are designed with different compartments to help you store your items, like water bottles, a mobile phone, passport, and wallet. This makes things easier, as it makes sure that all your basic needs and accessories are easily accessible.
  • Easy to move around: Possibly the main benefit of using a small backpack is the convenience it offers when you are on the road. You don't have to worry about getting overweight baggage or having someone bump into it when you are in crowded places like metros or buses.

Choosing the Best Small Backpack for You

backpack for travel

The main thing to consider if you are planning to buy a small backpack is to know what your level of activity is going to be. For example, you're going using your daypack mainly as a way to bring your clothes to the gym. However, you also use it sometimes as your daypack when traveling.

That's alright, but you have to remember that the things you can put in your small backpack can be limited. You have to get a daypack that fits the activity you're planning to do.

Match Day to Activities


If you're planning to use your daypack for rock climbing, skiing, or cycling, it is best to look at one that's ultra-lightweight, might have a pouch for a water bottle and have straps and clasps to hold your ropes and other gears and tools.

On the other hand, your small backpack has to be lightweight enough for you to carry on the airport, taxis, and bus, yet has storing space for a camera, a laptop, clothes, and other personal needs.

Yet a regular work backpack has to fall on the side of the form and be trendy enough to suit into any work setting. It must have lots of pockets inside and outside for small stuff like coins, mobile phone, keys, and others.

Choosing the Right One

travel backpack


A backpack can be made from everything from ballistic nylons to canvas, hemp, leather or recycled materials. But leather, nylons, and canvas are the most common materials that are used.

  • Leather - For most people who takes fashion seriously, this is the best choice. A backpack made with the real leather material can last for many years if taken cared of properly. They fit most in any environment and are normally waterproof. But it does need more maintenance and preservation than bags that are made of other materials.
  • Nylons - A backpack made with a durable nylon is another type that can last for a long time. It's not as water resistant compared to other materials, but can be easily stored when not in used and normally available in different colors.
  • Canvas - This material is rough and durable. Backpacks that are made with this material normally last long and cut resistant. It's also more water resistant than nylon, particularly when taken cared of properly. Its style is currently regained its spot in the limelight for its hipster look and it definitely does the job.


backpack adventure

Backpacks all come with specific items in common:

Shoulder Straps - Regardless if it's a traditional single or double sling, it's best to get one with well-padded straps, and is not too narrow. It is also best to have one that is adjustable.
When you understand how to choose a daypack to fit both your budget and lifestyle, you're ready to purchase the best small backpack for you.

Top 5 best small backpacks

With the number of backpacks coming out on the market, it's quite difficult to find the best small backpack that will cater to your needs. To help you choose the best one for you, we list down five of the best small backpacks you will find on the market today…



You are able to fit several days' worth of clothes in its 32 liters of storage volume, plus you have compartments where you can organize your mobile phone, chargers, wallet, passport, and other important documents. These sub-compartments are basically spread all over the five main pockets of the backpack, aside from the two water bottle pockets located on the side.
The backpack doesn't have any branding, and so, doesn't look mainly interesting. It's accepted, thinking that this is clearly a functionality-first type of backpack. Wearing this is super comfortable, but its padding to guard the main pocket could be a bit more full-bodied.
Again, for the price you'll pay, your stuff will surely be well-protected behind the otherwise robust material used.

Editor's Rating: 98/100

Price On Amazon: from $17.52


  • Very affordable
  • Has two water bottle compartments
  • High storage volume


  • Plain design
  • Minimal fabric padding
  • Lacking sternum strap or other added support


Another good option if you are looking for a lightweight backpack is the Sunhiker Cycling Hiking Backpack. This bag is made of waterproof fabric materials which are ideal for any outdoor activities.
The manufacturer claims that Sunhiker backpack can serve multiple purposes. It's advertised as a cycling and hiking backpack, which is pretty obvious on the design. The model was equipped with two big padded shoulder straps and a net material on the back side that stops sweating.

Editor's Rating: 97/100

Price On Amazon: from $25.99


  • Materials used are highly tear and water-resistant nylon
  • Breathable mesh shoulder straps
  • Has bottle holder on the both sides


  • No easy, separate pouch for cellphones
  • Small bottom waist strap
  • Front zipper pouch too small for varied use


The Osprey Talon 22 is my personal favorite. It is very light daypack and is perfect when you are doing hiking. This small backpack has AirScape back panel which is made of molded foam, covered with a deferred mesh fabric. So, the back panel offers excellent ventilation. The biggest compartment is roomy and accessing your stuff shouldn't be a problem.

Editor's Rating: 95/100

Price On Amazon: from $15.99


  • Excellent back panel design
  • Very lightweight
  • Has hiking poles attachment system
  • Multiple pockets for easy access
  • External hydration system sleeve


  • External water bottle holder on the side is way too shallow


The main feature of the Jansport SuperBreak backpack is that it's made from 600 Denier polyester. The backpack has a zip that shuts the bag and the zip is made from high-quality materials to make sure that the zip would not strip that easily.
The bag has approximately a 30 ½-inch shoulder drop, is 16 ½ inches in height, and approximately 12 inches wide. I have mine for more than three years now and I am still using it on my travels as my daypack.

Editor's Rating: 93/100

Price On Amazon: from $36.00


  • Zippers are high quality
  • Has a single large compartment with a front pocket for smaller stuff for easy storage
  • Has comfortable straight cut with padding straps for additional comfort
  • Available in different colors and patterns


  • Only has the one main pocket where you can put stuff in
  • Doesn't have water bottle pockets


The Miwok series from Gregory has a simple, modernized design but comes with a lot of features. In spite of being small (it is also available in a 6, 12, and 18 version) the Gregory Miwok 24 is able to accommodate quite some more additional space in its two hip pockets, two side pockets, and a well-made expandable stash pocket that is able to secure a light rain jacket or mountain bike helmet.
Aired foam makes up the bent back panel, hip belt, and shoulder straps; so it is ready for active adventures in the warmest weathers. With a devoted hydration sleeve, considerate tube routing, and combined mouthpiece clip, the Miwok also will keep you well hydrated.

Editor's Rating: 90/100

Price On Amazon: from $248.47


  • Comfortable to wear
  • Easy to load
  • Has good padding
  • Has highly adjustable feature
  • Super lightweight


  • Aside from the belt pockets, it only has one small compartment for storing items
  • Stuff inside can get disorganized

My advice is...

A small backpack is an important piece of equipment, no matter if you're planning on spending just a few hours hiking or even a couple days. A hiking backpack allows you to ensure that you have all the equipment needed for hiking, no matter if you are with your friends or taking advantage of the benefits of traveling alone.

Any of these backpacks listed above are good for hiking or traveling if you need a bag to put your stuff into while on the road.

However, each of them has unique features that may suit each person's specific needs. If you are looking for an extremely high-quality backpack that will last for a long time, and you don't care about the price, then Gregory Miwok 24 is a great choice.


If you are looking for a simple, minimalist design, then Jansport Classic SuperBreak Backpack is for you. If you're like me and comfort for you is everything, go for Osprey Packs Talon 22 Backpack.

If you have an active lifestyle and love to hike and cycle, then the best small backpack you can get is Sunhiker Cycling Hiking Backpack. Lastly, if you have a small budget for a high-quality small backpack, one of the best ones you can get is AmazonBasics Classic Backpack.

So, what are the best small backpacks for you? Share your thoughts below!

Rating: 4.7 (10 votes)


About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

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