Remote Work

Best Digital Nomad Backpacks

What are the best backpacks for digital nomads and long term travel? Take a look at these Tortuga, Minaal, Pacsafe and Patagonia bag reviews.

When you’re a digital nomad, your backpack is your best friend. It will accompany you on all of your greatest adventures and be your portable office no matter where life takes you.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when browsing digital nomad backpacks and trying to find the best one for you. You don’t want to cheap out or impulse buy when shopping for the perfect one.

We broke down some major pros and cons of five popular digital nomad backpacks to help you decide which one is best for you.




Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack

Tortuga is a brand favored by digital nomads–and for good reason! The brand knows what works for location independent folks because the co-founders themselves are location independent, and their mission is “to help you live on your terms.” One of their most loved digital nomad backpacks is the Outbreaker.


Pros

  • Tons of organization inside (even slots for credit cards, IDs, and pens)
  • Front loading/clamshell opening
  • Separate laptop pocket
  • Padded hip belt to take some weight off shoulders
  • Made with waterproof sailcloth
  • Made with soft sweat wicking foam on the back
  • Height-adjustable suspension system
  • 2 easily accessible water bottle pockets


Cons

  • Not ergonomically designed for hiking or long outdoor adventures because it’s really primarily an “urban” backpack
  • At price points of $269-$299, it’s on the pricier side
  • Weighing in at 5.1 pounds (for the 45 liter) and 4.6 pounds (for the 35 liter) it’s the heaviest backpack on the list



Osprey Farpoint 40

Osprey specializes in backpacks and carries a wide array suited for different activities. This particular backpack from Osprey is pretty popular in the digital nomad community at large, despite just being categorized as a men's backpack.


Pros

  • Front loading/clamshell opening
  • Lockable laptop and tablet compartment
  • Hip belt to distribute weight (and the hipbelt can be stowed away)
  • Internal compression straps so contents stay put
  • Has attachment points to hook on extra gear
  • Meets many airlines size requirements for carry on
  • Not just an urban backpack - suitable for outdoor treks as well
  • Mesh back panel for ventilation
  • Lightweight (3.11 pounds for the S/M and 3.17 for M/L)
  • Both sizes fit most airline carry on requirements
  • $160 price point


Cons

  • Laptop compartment is in the front instead of against the back which can feel a little funny
  • Not a lot of internal organization or compartments
  • Can’t always fit water bottles in the front pockets when backpack is full




Minaal Carry-On 2.0

Minaal is another brand that really understands the needs of digital nomad backpacks, as a business with a fully remote team. The brand’s original Carry On backpack (1.0) was already very successful got an upgrade to make it even better in this 2.0 version.

Pros

  • Made with water resistant coating and comes with a separate rain cover
  • Front loading/clamshell opening
  • Convertible! The shoulder straps can be tucked in and made to look like a briefcase
  • Meets US and European carry on requirements
  • Adjustable chest strap for different heights and sizes
  • Shockproof laptop compartment
  • Lightweight (3.1 lbs)
  • Designed to fit both men and women’s bodies
  • Lockable zippers


Cons

  • Doesn’t have a hip belt to distribute weight (you have to buy one separately and attach if you want one)
  • $299 price point
  • Water bottle pocket is not great (and there’s only 1)


Patagonia Black Hole® MLC® 45L

Well known lifestyle brand Patagonia has everything you need for an active, outdoorsy lifestyle. Plus, you can feel good about shopping there since they’re big on sustainability and 1% of their massive sales goes towards preservation and restoration of the natural environment. MLC is actually a product line, so there are some slightly variations style to style, but we’ll be discussing the newer Black Hole MLC.


Pros

  • MLC = maximum legal carry on! This backpack will meet most airline carry on requirements
  • Front loading/clamshell opening
  • Convertible! Wear as a backpack, shoulder duffel bag or briefcase
  • Bluesign® approved fabric, which means “safe for the environment, safe for workers, and safe for the end customers”
  • Designed to maximize space. You really can fit a lot in there
  • Padded separate laptop compartment
  • DWR (durable water repellent) fabric finish
  • “Black Hole” fabric is made with highly weather-resistant thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)
  • Lightweight (3 lbs 5.1 oz)


Cons

  • Not the most comfortable backpack -- convertible straps are thin and not super padded
  • Back panel doesn’t have mesh or any sweat prevention
  • No hip belt
  • No compression straps



Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45

Safety is definitely a concern of digital nomads. While napping in transit or hanging out in hostels, you want to be sure that you and your valuable belongings are safe and sound! Pacsafe has dedicated themselves to creating products that safe gaurd you, and the Venturesafe backpack does just that.


Pros

  • Front loading/clamshell opening
  • Has a sternum strap and waist/hip belt
  • Built in locking cable
  • Puncture resistant zippers
  • Slash proof fabric built into the most “vulnerable” areas of the backpack
  • Padded adjustable shoulder straps can be stowed away
  • External attachment points for gear
  • Made with water resistant fabric
  • Interlocking zippers make it harder for pickpockets to quickly unzip your bag
  • Can be worn 2 ways
  • External and internal compression straps


Cons

  • Front pocket doesn't unzip all the way, can make it hard to get things out
  • Comparatively small laptop pocket
  • A little difficult to stow away the shoulder straps


When it comes down to it, everybody’s different and has different needs while working and travelling. With all of the great digital nomad backpacks out there and our pros and cons list, we hope you find your perfect match.


Words: Ashley Laderer for Outsite

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