Best Small Backpack

When traveling, you do not want to be turned away at the checkpoint to find your rucksack is not a carry-on bag. Neither do you want to hike with a heavy pack. That’s why I chose 8 best small backpacks out there. So without keeping you waiting, let’s get on with this review.

Best Small Backpack

What is the Best Small Backpack?

We have compiled for you the top 8 Best Small Backpack in 2024. In this article we go through the products that we have used ourselves, checked what other users thought about them and we ranked them accordingly.

With years of experience with compact backpacks and having used several small backpacks you can trust our review.

Moreover, you can scroll to the end of this review to see our mini buying guide as well as the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about small backpacks.

1. Thule Lithos Lightweight Backpack

Thule Lithos Lightweight Backpack
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Capacity: 16 liters
Size: 16.5 x 11 x 7.9 inches (41.9 x 27.9 x 20.1 cm)

A lightweight city backpack to wear all day without getting tired. Easy access laptop compartment for business travel with durable and weather-resistant construction. Designed with an attachment point for blinky light (sold separately) to remain visible at night.

Pros

  • Dedicated laptop sleeve with elevated tablet storage,
  • Strap management system,
  • Front organization pocket,
  • Side pouch for a bottle,
  • Perfect for commuting,
  • Keeps items dry and protected

Cons

  • Limited pockets in 16L version

2. Stubble&Co Roll Top Mini Backpack

Stubble&Co Roll Top Mini Backpack
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Capacity: 14 liters
Weight: 1.76 pounds (0.8 kg)
Size: 16.1 x 11 x 4.7 inches (41 x 28 x 12 cm)
Material: Recycled waterproof materials: 600D PET, 200D PET, Tarpaulin
Water Resistant: Yes
Waterproof: Yes

Stubble&Co Roll Top Mini Backpack works very well in a wide variety of environments and weather conditions, all due to its fully waterproof design. While it is so stylish that you could take it to the office and barely anyone would notice it’s a travel bag, the features like reflective trim and vertical outer pocket make it great for the outdoors.

We found it to work best with flat items like laptops and books, which are rarely taken for a hike, but this backpack would still work very well as a daypack for a hike in unpredictable conditions.

What we like the most is the durability thanks to high-quality materials, which are mostly sourced from recycling.

The price may be a challenge if you’re on a budget, but if that’s not the case, it is certainly one of the best products on our list.

Pros

  • Fully waterproof for peace of mind,
  • Works well as a daypack, regardless of the weather conditions,
  • Stylish design that would make you look good even in a serious business setting,
  • Lightweight which makes it great for long hikes,
  • Free worldwide shipping

Cons

  • Rather pricey,
  • Designed for flatter items like laptops/books

3. Osprey Daypack Daylite

Osprey Daypack Daylite
Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Capacity: 13 liters
Size: 18 x 9 x 9 inches (45.7 x 22.9 x 22.9 cm)

I love this tiny backpack for its versatility to wear it anywhere from day hikes; trail runs to city travels. The side pockets fit two full water bottles, and you get a built-in sleeve for your laptop. While small, you can pack more than expected.

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Pros

  • Ventilated with mesh-covered back panel,
  • External hydration bladder pocket,
  • Multi-function interior sleeve,
  • Well insulated to keep beverages cold,
  • Smooth zippers with large pulls,
  • Straps are well padded and breathable

Cons

  • The crosspiece on the neck digs into the spine

4. Pacsafe Venturesafe GII Anti Theft Backpack

Pacsafe Venturesafe GII Anti Theft Backpack
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Capacity: 25 liters
Size: 19.7 x 11.4 x 7.9 inches (50 x 29 x 20.1 cm)

The small rucksack is ideal for international travel with its anti-theft system. Not only do the zippers provide security, but the fabric itself is also cut-proof. You will find the RFID blocking pocket great for placing your wallet inside to prevent identity theft.

Pros

  • Anti-theft design with securable zippers,
  • Adjustable and removable hip belt,
  • Fitted with padded laptop sleeve,
  • The bag is easy to put on or take off,
  • Comfortably fits a 13-inch laptop,
  • Water bottle holder on the side

Cons

  • The straps don’t adjust well for a small framed body hanging too loose

5. Simple Wanderer Modern Backpack

Simple Wanderer Modern Backpack
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Capacity: 25 liters
Size: 19 x 12 x 7 inches (48.3 x 30.5 x 17.8 cm)

With the 25l capacity of this best small travel backpack, it is perfect for traveling abroad or to work. Designed with exterior side pockets for bottles and great to have when hiking. With the water-resistant design, you can take it out in the rain without concern that your gear will get wet.

Pros

  • Separate cushioned zippered laptop and tablet compartment,
  • Travel strap for attaching to a suitcase handle,
  • Exterior sleeves to fit modern bottles up to 22 0z,
  • Holds shape without anything inside,
  • Affordable price,
  • Simple yet stylish

Cons

  • The chest strap can get uncomfortable for women

6. Osprey Daypack Daylite Plus

Osprey Daypack Daylite Plus
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)

The Osprey Daylite Plus backpack does a fantastic job of balancing portability with functionality, truly embodying the best qualities of a small travel carry-on. Purposefully structured with an easy-to-load main compartment, it definitively addresses the all-too-common travelers’ annoyance of struggling to access and organize contents. For excursions beyond city streets into unpredictable terrains, its thoughtful design shines even brighter. The backpack hosts an internal multi-purpose sleeve, easily convertible into a hydration bladder holder for those long trek days. Additionally, it includes handy features like a front “shove-it” pocket to quickly stash small essentials or a light rain shell.

Despite its practicality, the Daylite Plus shines equally in comfort and durability. Designed with a well-cushioned back panel and robust construction, it can withstand long hours of carrying without compromising comfort. Plus, its ideal size and lightweight framework allow for seamless day-travels, enhancing sustained convenience without the added bulk.

Pros

  • Multifunctional interior sleeve
  • Ample main compartment space
  • Light and durable A fit-tight back panel for comfort

Cons

  • Shallow water bottle holder Potential irritation from the grab handle

7. Sinotron Packable Lightweight Backpack

Sinotron Packable Lightweight Backpack
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Size: 16.5 x NaNNaN inches (41.9 x NaNNaN cm)
Material: Nylon
Wheels: No
Water Resistant: Yes
Waterproof: No

Redefining versatility, the Sinotron Lightweight Backpack excels in your daily commute and hiking trips alike. Donning a sleek appeal, its lightweight nature makes it a practical choice for adventurers of all age groups, including teenagers and youngsters. Its compact and foldable design means it crunches down to the size of a booklet, ensuring easy storage when not in use. Unveiling a generous 22L holding capacity, it prioritizes organized storing with a main section, an internal pocket for safekeeping of valuables, and two practical side pockets. Its main compartment roomy enough to accommodate a 14-inch laptop, showcasing its versatility in and out of the wilderness. The backpack embraces an ergonomic design with adjustable mesh shoulder straps offering comfort and enhanced breathability during lengthy ventures. The construction of the Sinotron is a symphony of durability and maintenance with its water-resistant nylon fabric. Even in the face of weather adversities or accidental spills, your essentials stay protected. Topping off its functionality are durable, easy-to-use metal zippers, and the best part? It’s lovers of ease, machine washable!

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Pros

  • Fits into a booklet size upon folding,Lightweight with a capacious 22L,Comes with frontal and side pockets,Mesh shoulder straps for superior comfort,Constructed with water-resistant nylon fabric,Features durable and reliable metal zippers,Machine-friendly backpack.

Cons

  • No zipper ‘security seal’ on the front pocket.

8. TETON Sports Oasis1100

TETON Sports Oasis1100
Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Size: 18.5 x NaNNaN inches (47 x NaNNaN cm)
Wheels: No
Water Resistant: Yes

YouTube video

Meet the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 – a comprehensive hydration solution, featuring an 18L hydration backpack and a 2L bladder, perfect for day hiking trips. Crafted with water-resistant 600D ripstop polyester fabric coated with polyurethane, this backpack guarantees durability while keeping its contents dry. It is available in an assortment of pleasing colors, offering a stylish touch to your adventurous outdoor activities.

This hydration backpack provides a customizable fit with its adjustable shoulder straps and waist belt, ensuring comfort for an array of body types. Though, some male users have found the waist strap a bit restrictive. However, its padded shoulder straps and an air-mesh covered back panel ensure day-long comfort, making those long treks less grueling. The backpack’s distinct feature is its 2L hydration bladder, designed with a 2-inch wide screw cap that conveniently allows for ice cube insertion, providing cool refreshment during your excursions. Though this design may not facilitate easy cleaning like Osprey’s, it holds the benefit of near-brim water filling. The bladder is also fitted with a kink-free drinking tube and a reliable pull/push bite valve. Furthermore, the pack offers compatibility with hydration bladders from other well-known brands like Camelbak, allowing for an upgrade to a 3L bladder, if required.

Pros

  • Combination of daypack and 2L hydration bladderMultitude of pockets and bungee cord system for optimal organizationAdjustable straps and waistbelt offering comfort and a versatile fitConstructed using durable 600D coated nylon fabricIncorporates two side elastic water bottle holders for added convenience

Cons

  • Might not be a snug fit for larger individuals
  • Potential for leakage from the bladder’s screw cap

Verdict

To summarize, we have gone through dozens of small backpacks and decided that 8 are worth your consideration. Out of these, the absolute Best Small Backpack is Thule Lithos Lightweight Backpack which we highly recommend as our overall best.

If money is not an issue, you can consider Pacsafe Venturesafe GII Anti Theft Backpack as this is our Premium Pick.

Otherwise, there’s no shame in spending prudently, Simple Wanderer Modern Backpack is the Budget Option.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying small backpacks

Overview

A good travel daypack can be a handy carry-on when going outdoors. It is important to buy one that suits your requirements for the activity you have in mind. Since there are many travel daypacks in the market, I have researched to find the best ones for you. I have also compiled some features that you should consider before buying one.

Daypack Material

Travel daypacks are made out of different materials depending on their use. If you want a travel daypack that will last long, consider those made of Nylon fabric. This fabric is lightweight and reduces the strain of loading on your back. Most travel daypacks have inner padding that protects your electronics and other items.

Daypack Types

There are different types of daypacks in the market, and they are categorized according to their functionality. General backpacks feature several pockets for organization and are best for short commutes to school or work, while climbing daypacks come with external gear loops for carrying mountain climbing essentials. Hiking daypacks will feature some padding on the back and shoulder straps for comfort and special pockets for water bottles or hydration bladder.

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Waterproof vs Water Resistant

When buying a travel daypack, it is best to get a waterproof or water-resistant one. The materials should be thermoplastics, which will give you top performance. However, the design requirements for a completely waterproof bag can also limit its functionality for travel.

Water-resistant daypacks can either keep a little rain from penetrating your pack or protect your items in a heavy downpour. The performance depends on the fabric finish, which can be DWR coating or a simple water repellent coating on cheaper bags. Premium daypacks use fabrics like sailcloth to trap moisture to prevent the water-resistance coating from wearing out.

Durability

The material used for construction determines how long the daypacks will serve you. If you want a long-lasting bag, consider those made of nylon fabric, which will give you better longevity than polyester. Also make sure that the shoulder straps have some padding that is less likely to wear out and it also reduces the strain on your shoulders. A good daypack is one with an internal frame which is lighter and more durable than one without. However frames and padding also mean that the bag will be less portable.

Capacity

Most travel daypacks have a capacity of between 20L to 30L, depending on what you want to put in. If you are going hiking, a daypack with a 30L capacity will be sufficient to carry clothes, a first aid kit, and survival gear.

Size / Compressibility

What is the best size daypack? The size can determine how much you are able to carry in the bag. The best daypacks are those that you can compress into a carry pouch that is easily accessible when you need to use it. If you are looking for a daypack that can hold laptops, or books consider one with a padded slot. However, these types of travel daypacks do not fold into smaller sizes.

Questions and Answers About small backpacks

What is considered a small backpack?

The majority of packs you find are between 10L and up to 85L, offering you a vast range of sizes. Anything smaller than 25 litres of volume is typically considered a small backpack.

How do I choose the best small backpack?

Choosing a small travel backpack comes down to your individual needs. However, here are some factors to consider when investing in your next rucksack
Your budget,
Weather-resistance (Very Important),
Capacity and dimensions(especially important when flying),
Ease of use and to customize it according to your needs,
Opinions of those who used it before.

What size should be the best small travel backpack?

An ideal backpack for traveling should have a capacity of 15L to 25L and considered a daypack . This size works well to keep your camera, water bottles, some food, wallet, passport, etc.

What volume should my city backpack be?

The volume is anything between 17L to 25L to fit your laptop with other items needed for the day.

What’s the best small backpack for hiking?

When choosing a hiking backpack packed with items, your hips need to support the weight. For this reason, it helps to pick a pack with a hip belt to accommodate your hip size. . Furthermore, it needs to have a pocket for a hydration bladder or water bottles and, most importantly, enough space inside for emergency supplies bug out bag). Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack is the best hiking small backpack out there.

Do you need both a day pack and a backpack?

Lots of people wonder if they should purchase more than one backpack. You may be asking yourself, do I really need two backpacks? In most cases the answer is no or at least not right now. It could be handy having both but when it comes to your first time out, you won’t need a daypack. As a beginner to hiking and backpacking you’ll probably be in an over-crowded place where there are plenty of people that can help you if anything happens. A backpack will have everything on its own that you need for the trip so there’s no real need for a daypack. Also, if you were to buy a daypack and take it with you on your first hike, the items in that bag are likely gonna be used more often than your backpack’s contents.
After you’ve used all of the equipment from your backpack, like your sleeping bag or tent, then getting another light pack could be a good idea. This way you could leave your sleeping bag and tent behind while hiking to the campsite and just take your daypack with some snacks, water, and the bare essentials. So if you’re wondering whether or not you should buy both a daypack and a backpack then consider how many items you will need to bring along. If you need to bring a lot of extras then it’s probably worth getting both. If you’re all about lightening your load and carrying only the essentials, then having two packs isn’t essential but could be helpful in certain situations.

What is the difference between a daypack and a backpack?

A daypack is smaller in size and lighter than a standard backpack. It is frequently used for short trips, hikes and everyday carry.

Can I use daypack for a weekend getaway?

Yes, you can. The travel daypack is big enough to carry clothes, shoes and other accessories for a night stay or weekend getaway.

Can I use daypack as my hand luggage?

Yes, most travel daypacks are lightweight and can be used as carry-ons for flights.

Can I take two backpacks as a carry-on?

Typically, air travel does allow two backpacks: one as hand luggage and the other as a personal item. However, they must adhere to the airline’s size guidelines to fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat. Please, verify with your airline for exact specifications.

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Picture of Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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