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What’s the best pack out there for traveling without checking a bag?

I travel a good deal, mostly to visit friends or on vacations. I've made it my goal to never check a bag, which of course dictates that I pack simply (and wash clothes often). It also demands the right bag for the job. What would you recommend?
Dansville, NY


I imagine you are a backpack kind of guy, David. So I’d suggest something like the Osprey Waypoint 65 ($250), a really nicely designed travel pack from one of the very best packmakers out there. The Waypoint has 4,200 cubic inches of space, which should be adequate for a seasoned traveler such as yourself and will still get you past airline carry-on restrictions. It’s designed to let you organize your gear easily, and hold it securely. And like all Osprey packs, the Waypoint carries well. It has a larger sibling, the Waypoint 85 ($280), but you might find it runs afoul of some airlines’ size restrictions.

The Waypoint 65

I also like packs that can be rolled or carried. Eagle Creek’s Switchback Max 22" ($300) has that bi-carry capability. It has decent backpack features, but also a pop-out handle and wheels so you can pull the thing. It has more than 4,000 cubic inches in the main pack and a detachable dayback, and the main bag alone is sized to get you on board without having to check anything.

For a pure roll-around, take a look at Patagonia’s MLC Wheelie ($229), a well-designed wheeled back that perfectly meets carry-on requirements and has lots of organizational capabilities. A nice bag.

Happy travels!

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Filed To: Overnight packs
Lead Photo: courtesy, Osprey