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Best Travel Backpack for Men

When you work and travel overseas, you need a reliable bag. Moving from place to place, shoddy luggage will A) fall apart, B) make the trips extremely uncomfortable, or C) both. During our time on the road, we decided the best travel backpack for men is, without a doubt, the Osprey Kestrel 48


Why Trust Our Backpack Recommendation?


Chipp’s support for this pack stems from his time in the military. Spending nearly a decade as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps, he got used to having weight on his shoulders, and “government-issued” packs don’t always get the job done… 


Looking to shell out some of our own money, Chipp chose this Osprey bag after a bunch of research. First test: a two-week backpacking trip through southern Utah’s canyon country. Absolute success! Couldn’t have asked for a more comfortable, rugged, and efficient pack, so it just made sense to use the same one for our year traveling and working around the world. 

Why We Love the Osprey Kestrel 48 Men’s Travel Backpack

Man walking through an airport wearing a backpack and carrying a bag

Best Features


  • Sturdy hip belt and rigid backpanel: During our time overseas, we tried to embrace a healthy balance between working and exploring. During the exploring, we spent a lot of time hopping from city to city. With all that moving, you want a pack that can spread load weight efficiently, and the Kestrel’s sturdy hip belt and rigid frame make carrying heavy kit easy and comfortable. 


  • Top-down and bottom-up packing with side access: Chipp’s time in the Marines instilled a “rolled kit” approach to loading packs. Roll your gear as tight as possible and slide it down from the top - good use of space and easy to pull gear out quickly. This pack lets you top load and access the bottom of the pack’s separate compartment through a lower zipper (clean laundry in the top; dirty laundry and sneakers in the bottom!). Plus, the Kestrel even has side access zippers, meaning you can get gear from any part of the pack without dumping everything. 


  • Straps for external loading of a tent: When we weren’t working or exploring cities, we also did a lot of camping. As a pack designed for hikers, the Kestrel has straps that let you externally load a tent - great design for people spending time in the field, city settings, or airport terminals. 


  • Fits in airplane overhead bins: Related to airports… This pack fits into airplane overhead bins. If you want to avoid checked baggage fees, that’s a huge plus. 


  • Osprey lifetime guarantee: As with all its products, this backpack comes with Osprey’s amazing lifetime guarantee. Rip it up on the trail? Send it back for a new one!


Manufacturer’s Specs


Here’s a full list of the pack’s features published by Osprey: 


  • Breathable AirScape ridged foam backpanel with adjustable torso length

  • Fixed top lid with external zippered pocket and under lid zippered mesh pocket

  • Dual tuckaway ice tool attachments

  • External reservoir sleeve

  • Dual upper reverse StraightJacket side compression straps

  • Dual lower side compression straps

  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment with floating divider

  • Removable sleeping pad straps

  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment

  • Front panel hybrid shove-it pocket

  • Dual stretch mesh side pockets

  • Zippered hipbelt pockets

  • Dual front panel daisy chains

  • Integrated removable raincover

  • Side zipper access to main compartment

  • Full-length vertical zippered side pocket

Story from the Road


Namibia is an outdoor paradise. During our six weeks there, we wanted to explore as much of the country as possible. But, we also needed to work for a few days every week - somewhat difficult to do from the middle of the Namib Desert! We compromised - rented an apartment in Windhoek where we’d work during the week, and we set out on outdoor adventures in different parts of the country every weekend. 


The Kestrel was perfect for this sort of travel. Before our camping excursions, we’d load it up with our kit and throw it into the back of a rented pick-up. Once we set up our tent, we then had a great backpack for hiking and exploring the local areas - easy transition from travel/work to backpacking! 


Affiliate Disclosure


We’ve included affiliate links on this page. If you click on a link and end up buying something, we may receive a commission (without adding any costs to you). This helps us pay the bills, and we only promote products and services that we personally use and wholeheartedly endorse. Thanks so much for the support!


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