Sometimes, all you need to recharge your batteries is getting out of it for a while. Rejuvenating in the country, or taking a city break and exploring somewhere new.
You don’t always have to ditch everything and travel for 6 months to clear your head.
A few days is all it takes.
Just enough to prepare you for the forthcoming week.
And who doesn’t love a good weekend away?!
But for those kinds of trips, a mammoth globetrotting backpack or family-sized suitcase isn’t the most practical option.
Even if it’s business and not pleasure, you’re going to need a handy carry-all to see you through.
And low and behold – that’s just what we’re focussing on here!
Below you’ll find reviews to help you choose the best weekend backpack for your needs. I’ve also included a useful guide on what to look for too – just in case you’re new to the weekend backpack game!
But without further ado, here are the nominees…
- TOP 10 Best Weekend Backpack Reviews 2020
- Venture Pal Large Hiking Backpack
- Matein Anti-Theft Travel Laptop Backpack
- Aidonger Vintage Canvas Backpack
- Ibagbar Canvas Backpack Travel Bag
- Yorepek Travel Laptop Backpack
- Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz Backpack
- The North Face Vault Backpack
- Swiss Gear Travel Gear 1900
- Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack
- Osprey Packs Porter 46 Travel Backpack
- What to Look Out For in the Best Weekend Backpack
- Over to You!
TOP 10 Best Weekend Backpack Reviews 2020
Venture Pal Large Hiking Backpack
Let’s kick things off with this packable daypack from Ventura Pal.
They have a number of similar products in this range, but I opted for this one because of its 50-liter capacity while still being nice and compact.
It’s really handy as you can pack it down into its own carrying case. Perfect if you want to include it in larger luggage and use it as a weekend pack away from home base.
Check out more options in my packable daypack guide.
- This is super versatile. You can use it for anything and it’s probably the best weekend camping backpack for the money.
- It’s a lightweight piece of kit that you can take anywhere.
- Rescue whistle built into the straps – in case you get into difficulty.
- Choice of colors available.
- Great price.
- Might not last as long as more expensive options.
Matein Anti-Theft Travel Laptop Backpack
This is a great option for school and business use, but it works just as well as a weekend backpack.
Anti-theft design includes loads of features to keep your belongings where they belong.
A 15.6-inch laptop sleeve is included, but there are plenty of pockets and compartments to help keep you organized.
- The multiple storage options make this pack a winner.
- Luggage strap to help you carry it with other gear.
- Generally, loads of neat, useful touches including external USB port and security pockets.
- A picky con really, but it could have more padding in the base.
Aidonger Vintage Canvas Backpack
This is a classic looking canvas bag that comes in a variety of tasteful colors. For some reason, I want to buy this bag and then board a steam train.
Can fit up to a 15-inch laptop in the main compartment, but there are six other pockets for you to distribute your stuff.
Leather zipper tabs add to the vintage feel.
- A super smart bag that looks straight off the set of an Indiana Jones movie.
- Great size for carry-on luggage.
- Might be a little on the small side for some – capacity wise.
Ibagbar Canvas Backpack Travel Bag
This multi-purpose travel bag from Ibagbar is like the A-Team of weekend backpacks.
With a choice of ways to carry, loads of room and a tough, durable build, it’s likely to become your go-to travel option – even for extended trips away. It’s a really smart design too.
The khaki version oozes vintage class – but there’s a dodgy travel quote inscribed in the faux leather that some people might not be thrilled with.
- Will fit pretty much everything you’ll need for a weekend away.
- Airport friendly – although it might not look it.
- No laptop padding.
- I personally wouldn’t use it for outdoor pursuits.
Yorepek Travel Laptop Backpack
With 42 liters of space available and packing loads of storage options, this is a great mid-range offering from Yorepek.
It’s smart enough to be used for business and school, but I think it could easily double up for outdoor use too.
The rear laptop compartment can fold down 180 degrees – useful for many things, not least so you can sail through the airport effortlessly.
- Another pack that offers much in the way of pockets and compartments – there’s around 18 of them!
- Solidly built.
- USB charging cable and external headphone port included.
- One of the heavier products out there.
Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz Backpack
Herschel is a travel accessory company famed for their stylish pieces and this offering certainly does not disappoint.
Laptop sleeve built in, and the bag has a really cool interior look and feel. A nice touch is a fleece-lined inner pocket for your sunglasses.
It’s really well built with waterproof zipper detail – although it isn’t fully waterproof, just water-resistant.
- One of the most elegant and stylish bags out there, it’s an instant classic that will turn heads.
- Love the choice of colors – it’s definitely one for the fashionistas.
- Not as practical as some other options.
- No water bottle holder.
The North Face Vault Backpack
This is a shoe-in for the best lightweight weekend backpack in my review. With North Face, you know you’re getting absolute quality.
It’s a really smart pack with a simple but ever so effective design. It even packs a laptop sleeve that will take a 15-Inch machine. This is a no-nonsense, streamlined backpack that has multiple uses.
The straps and back panel are really well made – designed for total comfort and breathability.
- Top quality construction.
- Two mesh water bottle pockets.
- Beautifully designed.
- Reflective strips to help keep you visible.
- Errrr… I honestly can’t fault this bag and it just might have shot at the best weekend backpack 2020.
Swiss Gear Travel Gear 1900
Anyone who has ever shopped for a laptop backpack will have undoubtedly come across Swiss Gear. They make some seriously durable, quality stuff.
This is just one example in their extensive range of top-drawer weekend backpacks. If you can’t fit your stuff in here, you shouldn’t be taking it with you.
Swiss Gear backpacks are easily the best on the market when it comes to organization – there’s a pocket for everything.
- Smart, extremely practical design.
- 180-degree fold down opening.
- Sturdy construction that will last years.
- You’ll probably want to buy two…
Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack
With a 40 liter capacity, the Hynes Eagle backpack has been flight approved so you don’t have to worry about it being your carry-on luggage.
It boasts the clamshell opening design – which is great for finding your stuff without rummaging at the bottom of a pack.
Multiple internal and external pockets and compartments, it packs up to a 15.6-inch laptop in a protective sleeve.
- A super stylish and practical bag – the clamshell opening is a major advantage.
- Can easily store the shoulder straps if need be.
- Loads of colors to choose from.
- Not ideal for the great outdoors.
- A little on the pricey side for what it is.
Osprey Packs Porter 46 Travel Backpack
Once again, I couldn’t do a rundown of top backpacks without including an offering from Osprey.
I mentioned before about choosing the best brands – and it doesn’t get much better than these guys.
This is compact, stylish design with “straightjacket” compression to keep your pack tight and your stuff protected.
The Osprey Porter is just another in their long line of quality travel packs – and this could well be the best hiking backpack on offer here.
- It’s a beautiful design, with stowaway shoulder and waist straps for heavier loads.
- Quite possibly the best all-around pack. Use it for outdoor pursuits, school, business – you name it.
- You’ve guessed it – the price isn’t going to suit everyone’s taste (or budget for that matter).
What to Look Out For in the Best Weekend Backpack
There are a variety of options to muse over when you’re on the hunt for a new, killer weekend backpack.
Below I explore a few things you might want to consider before making your final choice, including key features that might sway your decision.
What’s the Primary Use?
As ever, when purchasing any product for a specific purpose, you need to consider what exactly is it going to be used for?
It might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people actually forget this number one rule – especially if they’re tempted by a nice new shiny thing that ends up having zero practicality.
Business backpacks might not be suitable for hiking and vice versa. Is it waterproof or just water-resistant? Will it stand up to wear and tear if you’re throwing it around?
Just remember what its primary use will be before making your selection.
Perhaps the main concern when it comes to the size of weekend packs is that it is airline friendly.
How many times will we see people needing to check luggage in that they presumed they could bring into the cabin?
So, make sure you take size into consideration when looking for the best weekend travel backpack.
I personally believe that less is more.
I’m a big fan of pockets. I like backpacks, duffel bags, suitcases et al to have a nice selection of dividers so I can organize my gear and keep things in order.
Backpacks that just have one compartment are a real let down – but that’s just my opinion – you might prefer it.
Regardless, the best backpack for weekend trips should come with plenty of space to sort out all your bits and pieces.
And don’t forget that all-important laptop section to protect your hardware. Vital for business trips, a laptop sleeve comes as standard in many backpacks on the market today.
Even if you’re using it to go hiking – it’s nice to have that option.
It can often slip one’s mind that the best backpack for weekend travel is likely to come with a variety of ways to open and close it.
A good number of backpacks today are not just accessed from the top flap, zipper or drawstring – they also offer the clamshell-style opening (like a suitcase) that is awesome for gaining easy access to your stuff.
Honestly, rooting around for something stuck at the bottom of your bag can be a nightmare – so consider how easy it is to navigate around the pack you’re considering.
Brand & Cost
This entirely depends on personal preference and ultimately, how concerned you are with sporting the latest trends.
Is it necessary to ensure you’re always seen with the top-of-the-range gear, or are you more relaxed and are happy to get away with the no-frills option?
Branded backpacks – as with any product – are always going to be much more expensive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an improvement.
You get what you pay for these days, but you’ll find that some of the cheaper options are every bit a good (if not better), last just as long, and they won’t set you back a week’s pay to own one.
Nobody really enjoys carrying bags no matter how comfortable they are, but it’s a necessary evil, so your best bet is to choose something that is going to give you the most pleasurable carrying experience possible.
This is where the condition of the straps is key.
How large are they? What material are they made from? Is the weight evenly distributed? Is there breathability? Are there other carrying options if required?
So many things to consider – so little time!
In my experience though, you can tell how comfortable a backpack will be or not with one glance. Look for those fat, cushy straps and you’re golden.
Anti-theft backpacks have been significantly improving over the past few years, offering some really good features to keep your stuff safe.
You might consider this when opting for a weekend pack – especially if you’re going to be in crowded areas or a location known for light fingers.
They come with hidden compartments, lockable zippers, and anti-slash/stab straps and material. Some even include combination locks.
Check out my full guide to anti-theft backpacks for more info, but it’s certainly another thing to bear in mind here.
Other Bells and (literal) Whistles
As with most products, manufacturers will regularly offer other features that may or may not help coax you into choosing their brand.
Reservoirs for drinking water, headphone jacks for listening to your tunes, the ability to include a power bank for your devices if required, rescue whistles built into the straps…
These options are all nice touches and they might actually help finalize your decision. When they make a backpack that can float alongside you through – sign me up.
Over to You!
Now that you’ve seen my picks for the best weekend backpack and you know the things to look out for, I’m sure you’re all but ready to make your choice.
Do let me know in the comments which one you’re swaying towards – or any other feedback on my selection for that matter – I’m more than happy to have a chinwag when it comes to the best travel gear – anytime!