Festival Flashpacking: The 5 Best Travel Backpacks for Your Next Adventure

Living out a backpack for the last four years has been an experience. You learn what you “want” and what you “need” in life, and what you need is probably a better bag for traveling.

What To Look For in a Festival Flashpack

Size: I’ve found that the best size for festival flashpacking around Europe is 35L. It’s small enough to fit into overhead bins in the airport while meeting baggage requirements, but also spacious enough to handle a few weeks worth of festivalling. If you need extra room, there’s a lot more options at 40L, but I wouldn’t go too much bigger.

Durability: I am the road test when it comes to travel bags. From the campground to the mountains and everywhere in between in all types of weather, I’m out there somehow banging, scratching, and hitting my bag on every available surface. What I need is that bag not to tear, zippers not to break, and to keep my gear relatively dry.

Packability: My first year out on 100 Nights of Summer, I used a traditional backpack and found that the biggest issue was that one thing I wanted was always at the bottom of the pack forcing me to empty out my entire bag. Travel bags tend to have a suitcase style opening which has changed my travel life for the better, and I recommend you ditch the old school backpack for one of these newer generation packs.

Hiking: A lot of travel bags skimp hard on the actual backpacking aspect of the bag with weak straps and cosmetic hip belts. That’s fine for short trips from the airplane to your UBER, but some of these festival campgrounds can be a serious trek and you’ll want a more comfortable pack.

Selected Travel Bags

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L
$190

What They Say: “The Allpa 35L is a rugged backpack system designed for longer excursions. This pack is perfectly sized for carry-on convenience and loaded with well-designed features like a suitcase-style opening, theft-proof zippers, and tuck-away straps.”

What We Say: The minimalist in me can’t get enough of the clean lines from this pack. There’s no extraneous straps and the backpack zips up nicely into a hidden compartment. I can tell you from experience that if you show up at an airline desk with a streamlined pack like the Allpa, you are rarely asked to have it weighed. I’m also a big fan of the multiple compartment system which keeps your life that much more organized.

Tech Specs: 
Weight: 3lb 7oz (1.5kg)
Size: 35L
Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 13in (51 x 30 x 33cm)

Purchase at Amazon

Tortuga Setout Divide Backpack 26-34L
$179

What They Say: “For light packers and short trips, a full-sized carry on is too much bag. You need something compact with enough packing space for the essentials.The Setout Divide is just the right size, whether you’re packing light for a weekend or a week.”

What We Say: Tortuga knows travel bags and the expandable Setout caught my eye. The ability to slim to down to 26L when needed is appealing as it this could double as a daypack for hiking excursions. The Setout also comes equipped with a separate pocket for your laptop and important documents, along with a hip belt to keep your small gear within easy access.

Tech Specs: 
Weight: 3.8lbs (1.7kg)
Size: 26–34L (expandable)
Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 6in (expands to 8 in)/ 51 x 33 x 15cm (expands to 2ocm)

Purchase at Tortuga

Burton Traverse 26-35L
$219.99

What They Say: “The Burton Traverse Pack combines the practicality of a backpack and the storage intelligence of a carry-on size travel bag. Worn on your back, stuffed in the trunk, or crammed in an overhead bin, it’s sized just right to see steady use in your daily life or global travels. Unlike your old backpack, the Traverse opens like a notebook to reveal two separate compartments, keeping the clean separated from the dirty, or giving accessories their own spot”

What We Say: What can I say? I’m from Vermont and I’m a ski bum, so I’ve got to rep the local company. The Traverse has been my constant companion for the last three summers and two winters, so I can fully recommend it. Want to see what I like, love, and hated about this bag? Stay tuned for the upcoming review.

Tech Specs: 
Weight: 2.6lbs (1.2kg)
Size: 35L
Dimensions: 20.5 x 12 x 10in (52 x 31 x 26cm)

Purchase on Amazon for $129

Osprey Farpoint 40L
$160

What They Say: “Osprey’s Farpoint 40 is perfect for a weekend getaway in the city or the wilderness. The LightWire frame suspension transfers the load from harness to hipbelt. A mesh backpanel improves ventilation and the mesh on the harness and hipbelt reduces chafing under load. The entire suspension stows away under a zippered panel creating a sleek silhouette for transport.”

What We Say: The Farpoint is a travel bag favorite, and there’s a reason it frequently makes “best-of” lists. The compression straps on the outside allow you to really crank down on the pack to slim up your load and the bag feels smaller than 40L. The biggest selling point for me on the Farpoint has always been Osprey’s dedication to the suspension system and harness, which makes this a solid bag for lugging your stuff around.

Tech Specs: 
Weight: 3.17lbs (1.4kg)
Size: 40L
Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 9in (53 x 76 x 83cm)

Purchase at Amazon

Pacsafe Venturesafe x40
$175

What They Say: “Security and functionality meet in this multi-purpose, lightweight and comfortable carry-on backpack. The Venturesafe X40 PLUS boasts features that both protect from the elements and the threat of pickpockets and bag slashers.”

What We Say: For someone like me who carries an excessive amount of electronics while traveling, the Venturesafe is a solid choice. The X40 comes packed with a slew of anti-theft features like security hooks, zip clips, slashguards, and RFIDsafe blocking pockets. Pacsafe offers a few different sizes of this pack.

Tech Specs: 
Weight: 3.86lbs (1.75kg)
Size: 40L
Dimensions: 21.7 x 11.8 x 8.7in (55 x 30 x 22cm)

Purchase at Amazon

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