Hey, I’m Melanie. Since 10 years I travel the world and with Backpack up and go I want to be exactly the reliable support for you that I used to look for when I started my travel life 💜 Therefore you will find here everything not only about useful travel products, but also about personal travel recommendations & tips!
Are you looking for a hand luggage backpack that also works as a travel backpack? Then you’ve come to the right place! In this article I present you different models, which are suitable as a travel backpack, as well as a hand luggage backpack. With the help of my list you will surely find the best travel backpack for your hand luggage to carry all your things. My personal favourite is the Osprey Fairview 40. I use it myself on my travels and don’t want to give it away anymore!
If you have ended up with this article, then you have certainly already learned something about travelling only with hand luggage. This way of traveling is becoming more and more popular and quite honest: It brings a kind of freedom with it.
Sounds totally relaxed, doesn’t it? But which backpack is best for you and your travel needs (and also for hand luggage)?
Carry on only: Only travel with hand luggage.
More and more people are traveling with hand luggage only. No matter whether it’s just a quick trip to the city for three days or a trip to the other side of the world for three or more months. The latter, i.e. those who also travel longer with hand luggage only, are the so-called minimalist travellers.
The main difference between minimalist travel and “normal” travel is that you can restrict yourself to things you want to take with you. In addition, e.g. liquids, such as shower gel, toothpaste, shampoo etc., must also be packed differently if you are only travelling with hand luggage. Unfortunately, I have never managed to take my backpacking backpack into the cabin as hand luggage. Simply because it is always too heavy and too packed for my travels, so that it does not correspond to the dimensions or the permitted weight. But what is not, can still become!
A travel backpack – and I’m sure you’ll agree with me – is simply the best and most practical piece of luggage, because your hands are always free. Therefore I would like to introduce you to the most popular hand luggage backpacks.
Hand luggage: max. size & weight
When I talk about travel backpacks for hand luggage, I mean backpacks that theoretically are allowed in hand luggage. Because not every airline has the same size and/or weight regulations for hand luggage.
Therefore it is very important that you check before your flight or when you book your flight which size and which weight is allowed for hand luggage so that you do not experience any nasty surprises when you check in at the airport and have to check in the piece of luggage (expensive) without further ado.
Most of the time, long-haul flights have higher baggage limits than short-haul or low-cost flights. But basically it always depends on the airline you are flying with.
Here I would like to briefly list some known airlines and their hand luggage requirements:
- Lufthansa allows a hand luggage size of max. 55 x 40 x 23 cm and 8 kg weight.
- Thai Airways allows max. 56 x 45 x 25 cm at 7 kg.
- Ethiad Airways allowed max. 50 cm x 40 cm x 25 cm at 7 kg weight.
- Aegean Air allowed max. 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm and max. 8 kg weight.
- Ryan Air since November 1st, 2018 only hand luggage with max. dimensions of 40 x 20 x 25 is allowed. Unfortunately I did not find the right weight.
- Wizz Air allows a hand luggage size of 40 x 30 x 20 cm at 10 kilos weight.
- KLM allows max. 55 x 35 x 25 cm at a weight of max. 12 kilos.
Long story in a nutshell:
THE ONE backpack for hand luggage doesn’t exist, because the size and weight regulations of the different airlines are much too different (and will change again and again in the future). It is therefore important for you to always check in advance which hand luggage regulations apply so that you don’t have to check in your backpack suddenly at the airport – because the airlines can pay you a hefty price!
4 great hand luggage backpacks in comparison
In the following I would like to give you an overview of great travel backpacks for hand luggage and introduce you to different models in different price ranges. For you as a beginner, advanced or convinced minimalist!
I have already found my favourite backpack for hand luggage: The Osprey Farpoint 40 or the ladies model, the Fairview 40. If it goes on a city trip and if the hand luggage regulations of the airline allow it, he is always with you! Therefore I would like to introduce this to you right at the beginning!
(I also use it as my “normal” travel backpack for all my trips, by the way, only with the difference that it is checked in then (because it is too heavy), while my day backpack accompanies me on the plane.)
Osprey Farpoint 40 / Fairview 40
A friend of mine who I met on Bali owns the Osprey Farpoint 40 since a long time as a travel backpack. He is a digital nomad with little luggage on the way and with this backpack totally happy.
I am also enthusiastic about the Osprey hand luggage backpack – it is a real space miracle! By the way, you can read my detailed test report about the Farpoint 40 here. And here is my experience with the Fairview 40, the new ladies model from Osprey, which I will certainly not give away anymore!
In the 40 litres you not only get the best clothes underneath, but you can also stow digital things optimally. You can open and fill the rucksack like a suitcase and internal compression straps provide the right hold, which also tighten the contents a little if necessary.
Also top: padded shoulder and hip belts increase your wearing comfort!
In short: Especially for digital nomads the two Ospreys are my clear favorite of the backpacks for hand luggage presented here. Why? They simply offer a great price-performance ratio!
Facts & Figures
- 40 liters volume.
- Dimensions: 54 x 35 x 37cm.
- Price: about 100€.
- back system disappears under zipper cover if required.
- Cushioned carrying handles at top and sides.
- removable shoulder strap.
- Lockable zipper access to main compartment.
- Internal compression straps in main compartment for efficient packing like a travel bag.
- Cushioned laptop compartment.
- Hip and shoulder straps.
- Breast strap buckle with whistle.
- Laptop compartment bulges out quickly if you pack the main compartment too full.
- The two pockets for water bottles on the outside are not usable if the backpack is really well packed.
Cabin Max Metz
The Cabin Max Metz is a very cheap entry model for you, if you want to test first if you only travel with hand luggage what is for you. And of course it is also a great backpack for all those for whom a cheap Carry on Bag twice a year is enough.
Single shortcoming (in my eyes): It doesn’t have an extra laptop compartment, which might be annoying for all those who work online from anywhere in the world. Because the laptop then joins directly to the other content.
For this price you as a beginner can certainly do nothing wrong. And by the way: The Cabin Max Metz is available in many different great colors and patterns!
Facts & Figures
- 44 litres volume.
- Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 20 cm.
- Price: approx. 35€.
- Lightweight, durable, rainproof nylon backpack with padded back.
- 2 internal compartments with zip.
- Adjustable carrying straps, carrying handles and side straps.
- No own laptop or tablet compartment.
- No hip belts, which does not make it ideal for long hikes or backpacking.
If you appreciate a little more packing space, maybe the Tatonka Flightcase backpack is something for you. With a capacity of 40 litres, it has a spacious main compartment that can be opened like a suitcase. I think the stowable carrying system is great, which is not only great in the aircraft cabin, but also during check-in!
The Tatonka Flightcase also comes with an externally accessible laptop compartment located on the back of the backpack. This not only distributes the weight better, but also allows you to pack the main compartment full without having to bother with the laptop compartment. A plus especially for online workers!
Facts & Figures
- approx. 40 liters volume.
- Dimensions: 54 x 33 x 18 cm.
- Price: 120€.
- Coverable carrying system for travel.
- Length adjustable shoulder strap with shoulder pad.
- Hip straps for good carrying comfort.
- Externally accessible laptop compartment located on the back.
- Zip front compartment.
- No lockable zippers.
Pacsafe Venturesafe 45
The Pacsafe Venturesafe is your companion if you attach great importance to security. In addition to a zipper lock, it also has a cut-resistant outer skin. Included in the delivery is also a steel cable with which you can chain the easy backpack to other fixed objects to protect it from theft. What I like here is the completely hinged backpack itself (suitcase backpack), because you can use it to pack all your belongings clearly. Stuffing is a thing of the past here (as with the Osprey and Tatonka backpacks).
Facts & Figures
- 45 liters volume.
- Dimensions: 55 x 35 x 22 cm.
- Price: approx. 150€.
- front zippered compartment with integrated internal divider pockets (large enough for magazines, tablet PC, 15″ laptop, travel planner).
- Two zippered mesh pockets for small items.
- belts can be tucked away during trip for protection.
- Large spacious main compartment that opens like a book.
- Cushioned, adjustable shoulder straps, chest and hip belt.
- Lockable zippers.
- Laptop compartment is located on the front of the backpack. If the main compartment is packed too full, it pushes into the front or laptop compartment and it doesn’t lie flat anymore.
- Lt. Customer reviews make opening the zippers a bit cumbersome.
Hand Luggage Backpack: Overview (Table)
|Osprey Farpoint/Fairview 40||Cabin Max Metz||Tatonka Flightcase 40||Packsafe Venturesafe 45|
|Dimensions||54 x 35 x 37 cm||55 x 40 x 20 cm||54 x 33 x 18 cm||55 x 35 x 21,7 cm|
|Volume||40 Liter||44 Liter||40 Liter||45 Liter|
|Weight||1,44 kg||0,7 kg||1,3 kg||1,8 kg|
|Price||ca. 100€||ca. 35€||ca. 120€||ca. 150€|
|Advantages|| Stowable carrying straps for check-in ||Low Price||Laptop compartment on the back and accessible from the outside||Safety fabric and lockable zippers|
|Disadvantages||Laptop compartment is in front of the main compartment (you have to pack flat!)||No hip belts and no laptop compartment||No lockable zippers||Laptop compartment is in front of the main compartment (you have to pack flat!)|
|Buy now: Farpoint|
Buy now: Fairview
|Buy now||Buy now||Buy now|
Conclusion: Comparison of different hand luggage backpacks
If I had to look around for a new hand luggage backpack, I would probably rather consider the Tatonka Flightcase, since its laptop compartment is on the back and not in front of the main compartment.
And in this sense I wish you a lot of fun with your new Travelbuddy!
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Hey, I'm Melanie. Tuk Tuk enthusiasts 🚛, coffee lover ☕️, pretzel fan 🥨 and the face behind Backpack up and go.
For more than 10 years I have been travelling the world. I love to search for practical and innovative products and to take a closer look at them for you. And in the future I will focus on more sustainable and environmentally friendly products, services and accommodation - for a greener lifestyle 💚
Because with Backpack up and go I want to be exactly the reliable support for you that I used to look for when I started my travel life! 💜
Psst: Here you can read more about me!