After putting the finishing touches on the itinerary for my month-long trip around Central Europe, I could almost feel my feet starting to get sore already. With the prospect of hours and hours of walking in the near future, I knew a comfortable, well-built bag would make my life a thousand times easier. Anyone who’s traveled around Europe will tell you how clunky roller bags can be over ancient cobblestone streets. And large duffel bags are no fun when you’re running to catch a last-minute train. That’s why adventure travelers and casual sightseers alike are turning to travel backpacks to make hopping between destinations a breeze.
As an outdoor gear outfitter, I’m picky about the bags that I buy. I don’t often experience love at first wear, but as soon I tried on the REI Co-op Ruckpack 40, I knew this was the bag for me. This bag carried my gear with ease throughout my entire trip, even after literally hundreds of miles of walking. Plus, I even managed to squeeze two entire Turkish lamps in this pack for the flight home!
REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 – Women’s
This pack has tons of clever design choices that made living out of it for a month effortless. The entire front of the bag unzips, making it easy to neatly arrange your gear for maximum storage, especially if you use packing cubes. A zipper compartment on the top and side of the bag are great spots to stash electronics, passports, and other gear you’ll need to grab quickly, and two water bottle pouches ensure that you stay hydrated while on the move.
I don’t like to check baggage when I’m traveling internationally — losing a bag can be disastrous on an extended trip. To avoid the hassle, this 40-liter pack is sized to exactly fit within most carry-on requirements, even on international flights. For an extra hand packing all your necessities into this carry-on, two compression straps allow you to squeeze this sleek bag into an even tinier form factor. If you end up bringing home heavy items like me (those lamps were not light!), the Ruckpack 40’s wide, cushioned hip-belt, load-lifter straps, and steel internal frame distribute bulky loads like a hiking pack.
REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 – Men’s
I’m not the only one who loves this pack — it’s a top-rated backpack at REI, where 96 percent of shoppers recommend that others give the Ruckpack 40 a try. One reviewer wrote, “this bag is so well designed.” After a trip to Japan, this reviewer exclaimed, “I’m surprised by the amount of stuff that fits in this thing — the design of it has a lot to do with it. Lots of strategically placed pockets to help utilize every bit of space in the bag.” On my bag, I used the long internal mesh compartment to stow my dirty laundry, and it was a great way to stay clean and organized on the move.
I love gear that I can take anywhere, and other shoppers agreed that this bag is an amazing all-rounder. One five-star reviewer wrote, “This is by far and away the most versatile pack I’ve ever seen. I will be able to wear it backpacking/fishing one day and use it to carry on an airplane the next. I can’t recommend this pack enough.”
Right now, the women’s version of the Ruckpack 40 comes in red and the men’s comes in tan, but more colors are sometimes available before savvy travelers snatch them up. With the functionality and comfort of this sleek back, it’s no wonder they sell like hotcakes.
On my adventures around Europe, I couldn’t stop telling my partner that the REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 single-handedly changed the way I wanted to travel. Once you get a taste of this sleek, comfortable, and wildly portable bag, you won’t want to go back.
If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of travel backpacks, you should also read on for a look at these other affordable options from Amazon.
Shop More Travel Backpacks at Amazon:
Matein Carry-on Backpack
Bange Travel Overnight Backpack
Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack
Coowoz Large Travel Backpack
SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA 17 Laptop Backpack
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