Best Canvas Backpacks for Travel & TOP 13 Backpack Reviews 2018

Best Canvas Backpacks for Travel & TOP 13 Backpack Reviews 2018
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Your backpack is probably the most important piece of equipment you’ll bring with you when you travel.

After all, nobody wants their expensive belongings to be packed in a budget backpack that could fall apart at any moment, right?

Canvas backpacks are a great option for travel as they tend to be a lot more sturdy, secure and durable than synthetic backpacks.

This article will provide you with a list of the best canvas backpacks for travel available in 2018, and explain a little about what to look for when choosing your best canvas backpack.

TOP 13 Best Canvas Backpack Reviews 2018

Gootium 21101 Canvas Backpack

Made of 100% cotton canvas with leather trim, this is a tough, durable backpack that will definitely survive the rigours of travel and be suitable for the occasional short day hike.

With a 33L capacity that is ideal for travel and shoulder straps that are padded and adjustable, this will be a comfortable backpack for most people.

Pros

  • The padded laptop compartment fits 17” laptops.
  • There are plenty of pockets including 3 large external pockets with buckle closures, and 1 internal zippered security pocket.
  • The use of buckles as opposed to zips for the main compartment means this bag will likely last a long time as zips tend to be the first thing to go.

Cons

  • There is no padding or reinforcement in the bottom of the bag so you’d need to be careful setting it down.
  • The side pockets have flaps with buckles meaning they’re not designed for drink bottles.

Takeaway

The ideal size for travel, this is the best canvas travel backpack if you’re looking for something affordable and reasonably durable.

Macpac Vintage Condor Daypack

Macpac are a well-respected New Zealand manufacturer of outdoor equipment, so you can be sure that this daypack will be durable and very comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

It is the ideal size for hand luggage if you’re traveling with checked in baggage and want a smaller canvas bag for day trips.

Pros

  • Made of AzTech Canvas, this pack is guaranteed to go the distance, being durable and water resistant.
  • Weighing only 1.3 lbs. this is a very light weight pack.
  • This pack includes a padded laptop sleeve and internal organization.
  • The 24L capacity is perfect for hand luggage and day trips.

Cons

  • It’s a shame it’s not just a little bigger, as 24L is a little small to travel with unless you’re checking in luggage as well.

Takeaway

This is a top of the line backpack from a company that makes top quality gear, so you’ll pay a little more for it, but you’ll have a daypack that will last you a lifetime.

This is the best canvas hiking backpack for day hikes.

Kaka Vintage Canvas Duffel Sack

This is one for the die-hard vintage canvas lovers. In all honesty, there are more practical bags available.

But you may love the simplicity and durability of this bag. After all, the simpler the design, the less to go wrong.

Pros

  • 35L is a good versatile size, with room for all the basics without over-packing.
  • The shoulder straps are adjustable and padded and have a sternum strap for extra support.
  • There is one small exterior pocket with a popper and one small interior flap with a mesh and zippered compartment for small items.

Cons

  • The large main compartment may be awkward to access and organize your things, as it’s more of a stuff sack than a backpack in style.
  • No laptop compartment.

Takeaway

If you like the duffel bag style, this simple but effective bag could be a fantastic option for travel, with the perfect amount of space for everything you might need.

Mission Workshop The Sanction Backpack

This is a truly top of the line canvas backpack, that is so well made it is sure to be a life-long traveling companion.

Mission Workshop are one of the best canvas backpack brands. Their products are built to endure and are made in the USA with a lifetime guarantee.

If you want to size up and make this the only piece of luggage you take with you, Mission Workshop do a 40L bag in the same style called the Fitzroy.

Pros

  • The waxed canvas material is extremely durable and completely waterproof so this is a bag you’ll feel safe putting your belongings in.
  • The 20L capacity makes this ideal carry-on size, and should fit under the seat in front of you provided you don’t over pack it.
  • The laptop sleeve has space for 15” laptops.

Cons

  • Significantly more expensive than some of the other bags on this list.

Takeaway

If you’re looking for something where workmanship and durability will never, ever be an issue and you’re happy to pay for it, this is the bag for you.

Fjallraven Rucksack No.21

This backpack isn’t made from 100% cotton canvas. It’s a blend of 65% recycled polyester and 35% organic cotton.

However it behaves like regular canvas and can be waxed to make it extra-long lasting and waterproof.

With a 30L capacity, this is a great size for traveling if you pack light, and will be convenient for hand luggage.

Pros

  • Fjallraven’s own G-1000 Heavy duty Eco material is very hard wearing.
  • The material can be waxed.
  • It has a padded laptop compartment with space for 17” laptops.
  • It comes with a removable seat pad which serves as padding for the back panel when the pack is in use, or a seat pad when you want to sit down.

Cons

  • Top opening may make diving into the bottom of this deep bag a little awkward.

Takeaway

Fjallraven make some of the best waxed canvas bags on the market. This bag is no exception and is best canvas travel backpack for when you’re traveling light.

It’s probably the best canvas backpack 2018, because, you know, Fjallraven.

Johnny Urban Roll Top Backpack

This 18-22L (depending on how much you roll the top) cotton canvas backpack is the ideal traveling companion to use as hand luggage.

The versatile design means that you can roll down the top to reduce its size when it’s not fully packed and fit it under the seat in front of you, or expand it when you need more room to use for day trips.

Pros

  • This is a well-padded backpack, with the back panel, bottom and shoulder straps all padded with high-quality rubber so that your shoulders, back and belongings are all well cushioned and protected.
  • The canvas is impregnated to be shower-proof so you won’t have to worry about a little light rain.

Cons

  • There aren’t very many pockets for organization, just one small one on the outside and one on the inside.

Takeaway

If you’re a fan of simplicity and are looking for a well-made, small piece of hand luggage or day pack, this is a great choice.

Tumi Sinclair Odell Convertible backpack

This is a backpack for the designer junkies out there who appreciate quality and a sleek look.

The Tumi Sinclair Odell is a small piece of hand luggage for sure, but it is versatile, with the ability to convert into a briefcase style bag by zipping away the shoulder straps.

Pros

Cons

  • This is one of most expensive backpacks on this list.

Takeaway

You’ll want to really love this bag to pay the current asking price.

But, if designer style with a hefty dose of practicality and durability is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this bag.

Wowbox Laptop Canvas Backpack

Made of heavy canvas material with leather details, this is a good looking and versatile backpack that grows on you as you learn more about its many features.

It has plenty of pockets making this a well-organized bag, and a convenient draw string closure with buckled flap closes the main compartment.

Pros

  • Very affordable.
  • Padded laptop sleeve with Velcro closure has space for a 15.6” laptop.
  • An anti-theft zippered pocket in the back panel provides a secure place for valuables such as a passport.
  • Plenty of pockets including a zippered side pocket and mesh drink bottle pocket.

Cons

  • The laptop compartment is a little tight for most laptops.

Takeaway

The Wowbox canvas backpack is a pretty durable, very affordable and versatile option for travel that will fit most things you need for a short trip.

Ibagbar Canvas Travel Backpack

This Ibagbar canvas rucksack is made of high density cotton canvas and PU leather for long lasting durability.

With approximately 30L of capacity, this bag is a good solid option for travel, and can be carried in 3 different ways with the variety of straps and handles available!

Pros

  • 3 extra grab handles make this a versatile duffle bag that can be grabbed easily for putting in the overhead locker.
  • A detachable shoulder strap turns the whole thing into a messenger style bag if that’s your jam.

Cons

  • The zippered opening to the main compartment is on the side of the bag which may be inconvenient when using the bag as a backpack.

Takeaway

This is the best canvas backpack for travel if you don’t mind the side opening to the main compartment.

It’s big enough for everything you’d need for a short trip without needing to check in any bags, but small enough to take as carry-on.

Suvom Canvas Backpack

The 25.5 L capacity of this backpack is a little small if you want it to be your only luggage but is perfect for weekends or hand luggage.

It is a classic, vintage design with beautiful leather details and metal zips.

Pros

  • The thick washed canvas fabric is lightweight, scratch, wear and tear resistant.
  • A total of 7 pockets make it easy to keep your things organized and in their place and there is space for a 15” laptop.
  • The top flap folds over a zippered main compartment which keeps everything secure and well contained.
  • Back panel and shoulder straps are well padded.

Cons

  • It’s hard to find a con for this bag, except that it’s unlikely to be comfortable for long periods of time when fully loaded so not recommended for longer hikes.

Takeaway

This is a very good quality canvas backpack well suited to short trips, and, I have to say, is very attractive.

Kattee Military Style Canvas Camera Backpack

The Kattee Camera Backpack is the best canvas backpack for hiking if you want to bring all your camera equipment with you.

This is a camera bag that has space for a whole lot more than just your camera.

The bottom of the backpack is designed to hold the camera with a removable foam compartment and divider.

The upper compartment of the bag has space for cords, extra equipment, lunch or other personal items.

Pros

  • It includes a rain-cover which tucks away into a zippered compartment at the bottom.
  • It includes a laptop compartment with space for a 15” inch laptop.
  • There are plenty of pockets to keep everything organized.

Cons

  • Could do with a few more zips to add to the security so you don’t worry about things falling out.

Takeaway

This is best canvas camera backpack for day trips or overnight photography missions, with plenty of protective padding and space for extra equipment.

Aidonger Vintage Canvas Day Pack

The Aidonger Vintage backpack is made of high density cotton canvas and has adjustable shoulder and hip straps so you can carry it comfortably.

This 45L canvas pack should be big enough for most travels, and has some added features that just might make it your favorite backpack.

It is extremely versatile and can be converted in to a duffle back with a shoulder strap if you get sick of carrying it on your back.

Pros

  • 2 leather grab handles on the front and one on the side mean this backpack will be easy to chuck into busses or into the overhead locker and can be carried in a number of ways.
  • Access to the main compartment isn’t from the top, but from the side, which is interesting, and means you have to lay the back on its side before opening it, but does mean you don’t have to dig around to reach the bottom.
  • The laptop sleeve has space for 15.6” laptops.

Cons

  • Even though it has a hip strap to help with weight distribution, you’re probably not going to want to carry this for long periods of time, as not specifically designed with comfort in mind.

Takeaway

This is the most versatile backpack on this list, with so many different options for carrying that it will adjust to any situation on the road.

Kaukko Canvas Backpack

This 36L high density cotton canvas backpack fits the bill for lightweight travel. It is very durable and pretty versatile too.

It has padded shoulder straps which look pretty comfortable, and though this wouldn’t be the sort of pack you’d want to take hiking, it is perfect for travel where you don’t need to carry it all day.

Pros

  • The unique circular zip top flap makes accessing the main compartment of this bag pretty easy, with no need to worry about toggles or buckles.
  • It weighs 2.35 lbs. which isn’t too bad for a canvas pack.
  • There are enough pockets for some basic organization, with a front zippered pocket, a zippered pocket in the main compartment and 2 side pockets for drink bottles or umbrellas.
  • Very affordable.

Cons

  • The laptop slot is too small for most laptops, but the main compartment is more than big enough for all laptops.

Takeaway

This a very affordable, durable canvas backpack that is just the right size for light weight travel or short trips.

How Do We Choose the Best Canvas Backpack?

There was a time when pretty much all backpacks were canvas.

My first hiking pack was canvas. When I upgraded to something lighter and considered selling my canvas pack, I realized that the company wasn’t making canvas packs anymore so I decided to keep the canvas one safe at home.

Now that canvas bags are becoming more popular, I’m glad I made that decision!

There’s a reason that old school gear is popular! It is durable and made to last.

So, why canvas?

The main differences between canvas and nylon bags are their weight and durability.

women traveler with canvas backpack

A well-made canvas back is pretty much bomb proof. Canvas is so naturally strong that you won’t ever have to worry about rips and tears no matter what you put your bag through.

Though more expensive nylon bags will be durable, they are, of course, expensive.

But, unfortunately, weight is the one area where canvas bags can’t compete.

Canvas is always going to be significantly heavier than nylon, and that’s why outdoors manufacturers have moved away from canvas hiking packs.

People want light, and canvas isn’t light.

However, canvas can still be a great choice for travel due to its durability.

The main things to look for when choosing the best canvas backpack for travel, are the same as when choosing any backpack.

  • You want it to be comfortable, with a good harness system of well-padded shoulder straps and supportive hip straps.
  • You want the size to be right for your purposes, whether that’s small enough to carry-on and put in the over-head locker (40-45L), or a little bigger if you plan to check it in.
  • You want it to well-made so that you won’t get seams opening up on you when you’re running for the bus.
  • You want it to be water resistant so you won’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain.
  • And finally, it needs to be well-designed with a good number of easy access pockets and a main compartment that is easy to access so you won’t waste too much time rummaging through your stuff.

All of the canvas backpacks included above fit most of these criteria, it’s just a case of deciding which factors to prioritize and how much you want to spend!

hiker with canvas backpack

FAQs

What is a good size backpack for traveling?

This is a personal preference, but unless you’re traveling somewhere where you need lots of warm clothes or extra equipment, 40-45 L is the ideal size for lightweight travel, as you can usually bring it on the plane with you as carry-on, and have space for all the essentials and few of changes of clothes.

What is the difference between canvas and other backpacks?

Canvas is a natural material made of tightly woven cotton which make it much more durable than many synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester.

It is usually a little heavier, but a great choice if you want something that will last a very long time.

Is canvas a good material for backpacks?

Canvas is a great material for backpacks, provided you’re not looking for something super lightweight. It is very durable and water resistant.

Is canvas waterproof?

Canvas is naturally water resistant, and can be made waterproof with a wax treatment. Most canvas backpacks will come already treated but you can also wax them yourself.

How do you wax canvas?

You can either use a pre-made waxing product which you simply apply as per the instructions that come with the product, or go a little more DIY and follow a video like this one where you mix your own wax from scratch.

So that brings us to the end of this article.

I hope you enjoyed it and learned something new, or are now a canvas backpack advocate!

I really love canvas bags and believe they’re a great option for traveling. So, I hope you manage to find one you love and have it as your travel companion for life!

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