Backpacking from Rome to Helsinki is definitely one of the most adventurous ways to see the beautiful continent.
It also requires a lot of careful planning and the proper gear, so before you hop a plane and head off on your exciting adventure; check out our list below to help you find the best backpack for Europe.
Choose Your Style
There are two main types of backpacks to choose from when you’re planning to backpack through Europe:
- Front Load. These are great for short day trips or if you carry your backpack around for short periods. They usually help you keep everything separate and more organized than a top load bag, but they aren’t always weatherproof.
- Top Load. These are easy to pack and best for hikers/campers who need a considerable amount of gear for their trip.
Loose straps can cause problems in airport conveyer belts and they are a bit harder to organize but will hold everything you need when camping or hiking.
Choose Your Size
Think about the size as you search: the overall volume, if it is expandable and then number of pockets or pouches it has.
- Daypack or Carry-On. Backpacks that you won’t wear all day long can be smaller. You may leave them in your room and have a smaller bag that you use during the day.
Some prefer the convenience of a carry-on or just the minimalist approach when it comes to traveling internationally.
- Hiking or Camping. For hiking adventures or if you plan to camp out during your travels, you’ll need a larger backpack suitable for this.
These are usually too large to use as a carry-on and don’t keep the contents of your bag as organized as a smaller daypack.
Top 6 Backpacks for Europe Comparison
For a comfortable trip, here are some of the key features that a backpack should have:
- Proper Size. Since the shoulder straps are easy to adjust, focus more on the fit of the hip straps. You’ll need them to help you evenly distribute the weight of your load, which is crucial if you are hiking/camping.
- Comfortable Straps. It’s all about the padding! If you’re trying out some packs in-store, see if you can simulate the packed bag weight so that you get a real feel for the straps.
- Airflow. When it’s 90° outside and you have a heavy pack on your back, you’ll be grateful for the pack that has a ventilation pocket that keeps it from pressing against your back.
Top 3 Best Backpack for Europe Reviews
The Kelty Redwing is a great in-between bag that functions well as a day bag and could also be used as a hiking/overnight bag in some situations.
It features both top loading and front loading pockets, stash pockets for gear and water bottles, laptop/ hydration sleeve, padded back panel that allows for airflow to keep you dry and even trekking pole loops if you head up into the mountains.
The straps are comfortable and help you evenly distribute the weight of your load. It’s definitely the best backpack for Europe if you’re looking for a medium-sized option!
This bag is ideal if you like to keep things neat and tidy as you travel through Europe.
It has numerous pockets and pouches to help keep your personal items organized and separate, a laptop compartment, and it only weight 3.5 pounds.
This is ideal of you prefer to travel light and don’t need to wear the bag all day. You may look into getting a rainfly, because if you get caught in a rainstorm, the material is only water-resistant and not 100% waterproof.
If you travel with children, it also comes in a junior version!
For those with serious backpacking intentions, the Osprey Atmos 50 is right up your alley.
It has a sleeping bag compartment, built-in raincover, 3D suspended mesh back panel, ice axe loops, adjustable hip belt, AirSpeed suspension and only weighs 3 pounds 4 ounces.
You’ll find it in three different sizes, this being the medium size with a volume of 50 liters.
The only down side to this bag is the price, but even though it’s expensive, you’re investing in a quality piece of gear that will last years to come!