carry on travel backpack

The Best Carry-on Travel Backpacks in Canada

Travelling can be a headache, even when things go right the whole way through. Most importantly is the travel itself, and of course, getting through security plus ensuring that your carry-on bag fits and meets requirements. If you like travelling light, are looking for a new bag, or are looking for one for the first time for travels, our guide below will help make sense of the large array of bags available in Canada and which are worth the costs that suit your needs. 

Our top picks

What to look for in carry-on travel backpacks

Size – Size and carrying capacity are different things when it comes to carry-on travel backpacks, contrary to what it may seem like. Some larger bags can actually carry less, depending on what you bring and what you’re packing for. That said, the overall size of the bag itself, especially when filled, will determine on whether or not it counts as a carry on backpack or if it’ll have to be checked. 

Size in regards to travelling bags and carryon sizes especially, they come in ‘Liter’ sizing. A 35L bag vs a 50L bag, for example. It’s how much they can carry. A larger number might seem better overall, but if you’re looking to minimize how much space you take up, 35L is most likely to be a good middle ground amount for a carry on experience.  

Carrying capacity – A larger bag can typically hold more, but if it has pockets and such but a smaller size, it may still have more carrying capacity, even being smaller and easier to bring onto planes and other travel locations as a carry on. Be sure to check beforehand if you can, how much your bag can carry when you’re on the way.  

Design/style – With a plethora of designs and styles available, it can be daunting to figure out what works best as a carry on backpack that you need. Choose a style or design that you like best and go from there on which works best for you and what you need to carry with you, whether it’s travelling for work or vacation or backpacking for a few months around a new area.  

Cost – Not all carry on travel bags and backpacks are the same, some of which you pay for the brand more than the durability or space that you could get from other more affordable carry ons. Just know that whatever your budget, brand name doesn’t equal the best, same with cost. There are carry on backpacks that are well made and designed for cheaper than you’d expect. 

Osprey 55L carry-on

Osprey is a well-known brand for travelers for business and backpacking alike. The large panel zip access to the main compartment with dual front compression straps make it easy to compress it down to even smaller proportions if needed to make it even easier to stowaway under a seat or in overhead plane compartments. The main compartment has a size of 55L. 

Detachable 15L daypack with a lockable laptop and tablet sleeve (fits up to most 16” laptops) and altogether it meets most airline restrictions for carryons, being 55h x 35w x 23d cm with the daypack attached. The harness and hipbelt stow away for safekeeping while checked and deploy quickly for whenever you’re hiking or walking on trails.  

A 55L bag may be too large if you are prone to over packing and over stuffing your bags, as the size can increase beyond carry-on limits if you aren’t careful. Be sure to pack light and keep the open space for bringing items back or having an allowance to squish it into any particularly small spaces just in case. 

  • Large panel zip access.
  • Detachable daypack.
  • Meets most carryon requirements for most airlines. 
  • The daypack may be too small for what you need during the day, depending on your itinerary.

Hynes Eagle 38L Travel Backpack Carry on Backpack Flight Approved Backpack Carry on Luggage

This nicely squared design carry-on backpack is great for travel, work, and whatever other activities you can throw at it where you want a sturdy, light bag that can carry everything snug and secure, including laptops, as it does have a built in laptop sleeve for 15” and slimmer 17” laptops. 

A large main compartment with tie down straps helps to keep everything in place and organized, and the quick access front panel allows for easily grabbing every day essentials. Interior slot pockets make it easy to keep your passport, tablet, and more in place and not lost amidst everything else. The four exterior compression straps work to eliminate extra space and reduce stress on the zippers – making it even easier to carry-on without worry, especially if you aren’t an over packer. 

The hideaway backpack straps are well padded with air mesh, making it comfortable to carry as a backpack or as a weekend duffel bag style. There is a sternum strap that is adjustable both lengthwise and can move up and down to adjust the placement, which is great for carrying heights and body types, if your sternum is higher or lower than where the default is. A newly added trolley strap fits over most upright handles if you want to take this with you, with other suitcases, etc. as it will now attach and doesn’t need to be carried separately. 

  • Two different colours available.
  • Durable.
  • Easy to compress.
  • Quick access front pocket. 
  • If you over fill it, it can be much harder to close. 

MATEIN Travel Laptop Backpack 40L

If you’re looking for a smaller bag that can accommodate weekend trips or a bag that is used for commuting often for work, this laptop bag with additional storage might be just the ticket for you. If you need to pack a lot, this might only be good for during the day along with another bag at night, especially for carry on luggage. 

This travel backpack has a separate laptop compartment that will hold 15” laptops securely and can fit 17” ones as well as long as they are on the slimmer side, such as a MacBook or Windows style slim tablet design. Spacious packing compartment with zippered closes for clothes, weekend trips, etc. There is also an organizer compartment with slots that makes it easy to keep passports or similar in without it getting stuck or lost at the bottom of the bag. A USB interface with built-in cable design makes this perfect for charging your electronics such as a tablet, phone, gaming device like a Nintendo Switch or other separate power banks safely. The comfortable airflow back design lets the fabric breathe and not overheat. 

It includes a luggage strap as well that can be attached to other suitcases and rolling luggage handles, and it also has an anti-theft pocket on the back to protect any valuables and cash you might want to put in there while travelling. The built in shoe compartment is a nice feature of this bag, especially if you’re travelling for work as you can put your nice shoes in there or switch them out for your travel shoes and everything else won’t get dirty. There are two venting holes in the shoe compartment to ensure they get some air and won’t smell while you’re moving around. 

  • Has a shoe compartment built in.
  • Built in cable design for charging electronics.
  • Durable materials.
  • May be too small for longer trips.

AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

Amazon Basics has budget friendly options for almost every item you can imagine, and travel bags are no different. The quality and durability of this bag is great, especially for the price tag. It has a laptop compartment, main interior compartment, optional midway shelf, and internal/external compression straps to further reduce the size, which is perfect for travelling with this as a carry on bag. 

A nice feature of this particular bag is that the laptop compartment actually has a zipper, which is nice when you want to keep it even more secure from sliding out while in transit. The main compartment has a zippered mesh space, optional halfway shelf, and internal/external straps that allow you to make this bag even smaller when you need to compress it all down. 

Front pocket and front top pocket for easy access to book, documents, travel liquids, etc. Main upper packing compartment has an organizer and expandable storage space for passports, cards, etc. that you don’t want to lose. A key clip for attachments, and a tuck-away ID pocket. Padded shoulder straps disconnect easily and store away into a zippered back pocket, it has a removeable sternum strap, waist belt, and shoulder straps, including well placed exterior handles for when you want to carry the bag around and now have it solely as a backpack, which works well for airplanes when you need to minimize space as much as possible for under the seat or up in the storage compartments. 

  • Two colours available.
  • Budget friendly.
  • Decent durability and quality, especially for the price.
  • Has an expansion zipper built in. 
  • May break easier if packed too fully, as the zippers can’t handle much strain if it’s jam packed. 

MOMUVO Large Travel Backpack

A smaller backpack for commuting, travelling, and daily use that holds clothing, books, and it has a laptop compartment in the back that works for 17” laptops snugly, without being too small. Main compartment has double zippers and enough storage room for weekend trips and easy commutes during the day as well. Organizer compartment has various small pockets to keep items organized and together without getting lost or stuck together.  

A nice feature is that it includes wet bags that are perfect to keep your clothes separately from wet and dry. If you go to the gym are travelling and plan on swimming, or just end up stuck out in the rain – the ability to utilize high-density waterproof material bags is a wonderful thing to have. Towels, swimsuits, wet clothes all tucked away from your dry books, clothes, etc. 

USB interface with built-in cable design allows for charging electronic devices on the go with your own power bank, you can even charge other power banks. The breathable comfortable back of the bag allows for a nice carrying experience while still having enough support that it doesn’t feel overweighted on your spine/shoulders. A luggage strap is built in, easy to slip over rolling luggage so that you don’t have to carry it all the way if you’re in the airport. Hidden anti-theft pocket as well in this one on the back to protect valuables. 

The capacity of this bag is 30L, which may not be enough for some users depending on their needs, but overall this is the perfect size for a smaller trip or a commute that involves travel consistently. To keep this bag clean all you need to do is lightly wipe off dirty areas with a damp cloth, as the material is a waterproof and durable polyester that has good ventilation. You can hand wash it, as long as it gets dried outside or on a low/gentle dryer cycle but either isn’t recommended in case of any shrinkage or issues. 

  • Beautiful design.
  • Sturdy.
  • Great for small trips/commuting.
  • Different sizes available. 
  • May be too small depending on your purposes. 

Our methodology

For this article, we used top rated user reviews and our own personal usage for these carry-on travel backpacks. We also took into account brands, costs, budgets, and features so that each one should fit what most users are looking for with a travel backpack that works well for carry on sizes for varying airline companies and their dimensions. 

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Updated date

June 20th, 2024

About the author

Nikki Lyka

Nikki Lyka is a reviewer and writer at that’s written about a variety of subjects from the best fantasy novels to travel guides and blogs. When she isn’t researching and typing up a storm, she’s generally found winding down with tea, video games, practicing aerial hoop, photography, and reading good horror novels.
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