Hybrid Travel Bags

I've been searching for the perfect hybrid travel bag for years. One bag to do it all. Here's the bags I think you should know about.
North St. Weekender
Minimal travel is changing peoples’ lives all over the world.

My advice: you won’t know until you go. 

Bags that expand, collapse and fit your style. 

My advice: watch the entire video to really understand how that bag travels.

Knack Backpack

Hybrid Bag

  • Breaks during travel — gotta be durable.
  • Too small or too big — capacity fits like goldilocks.
  • Not enough organization — don't make me hunt through the bag to find what I need.
  • Looks lame — bag's gotta look right.
  • Don't make me be back here searching for another bag!
  • Don't be too big to fit as a carry on on the airlines I need to travel on.
  • Don't catch straps on handrails, market baskets and airline seats because there's too many straps dangling.

How to make your

1

Price Expectations

Expect to pay $100-300 for thoughtful makers + legit materials.

2

Look & Feel

Click on the bags you like below to watch the video  and get an informed look.

3

Keep Notes

Keep a list of what bags interest you and what you like/dislike to help you make your final decision.

Our Favorites

These are the best bags Chase has tested right now in professional minimal travel.
Now available in the upgraded

Now available in the upgraded "Synik" version. (Watch the vid.)

Intuitive organization. Intuitive organization.

Intuitive organization.

USA build, materials and details. USA build, materials and details.

USA build, materials and details.

Some love it. Some hate it. All respect it. #dads Some love it. Some hate it. All respect it. #dads

Some love it. Some hate it. All respect it. #dads

the Grower, not a show-er

Tom Bihn Synapse/Synik

One of the internet's most beloved backpacks due to its accessibility, organization, build quality and capacity. Dad-bag looks tho. view bag

As far as minimal travel goes, this one is a legend. So much more space than it seems like there would be, and all the organization on the front of the bag. Plus, Tom Bihn makes all sorts of accessories for this sucker (like a laptop cache, backplate, and more). More often than not, this is the bag I'm traveling with.

Uber well built. Uber well built.

Uber well built.

Converts between: backpack, briefcase, messenger. Converts between: backpack, briefcase, messenger.

Converts between: backpack, briefcase, messenger.

Expandable from 20-30L.  Expandable from 20-30L.

Expandable from 20-30L.

Easy-ish front access pocket. Easy-ish front access pocket.

Easy-ish front access pocket.

Tech organization throughout.  Tech organization throughout.

Tech organization throughout.

Killer details. Killer details.

Killer details.

Epic Expandable.

Black Ember Forge

The Forge from Black Ember is a convertible backpack-briefcase-messenger with expandability from 20-30L. view bag
Solid organization in this bag, from the laptop compartment to the quick access pocket, org admin panel and more. Solid organization in this bag, from the laptop compartment to the quick access pocket, org admin panel and more.

Solid organization in this bag, from the laptop compartment to the quick access pocket, org admin panel and more.

Remarkably comfortable straps + back panel. Remarkably comfortable straps + back panel.

Remarkably comfortable straps + back panel.

Lots of capacity for today's minimal travelers. Lots of capacity for today's minimal travelers.

Lots of capacity for today's minimal travelers.

Simple, clean aesthetic.  Simple, clean aesthetic.

Simple, clean aesthetic.

The Professional

OpposeThis Invisible Carry-On Backpack

A very innovative backpack for either large daily carry or serious travelers who need one bag for both travel and daily carry. A great bag for medium size 1-bag travel category. view bag

A little bigger in daily than you may like, but it's clean style and very capable features speak for themselves.

Available in several colors and sizes. Suit-able. Available in several colors and sizes. Suit-able.

Available in several colors and sizes. Suit-able.

Lots of organization and details. Lots of organization and details.

Lots of organization and details.

Expands for travel. Expands for travel.

Expands for travel.

Comfortable straps and back panel.  Comfortable straps and back panel.

Comfortable straps and back panel.

Top quick access pocket. Top quick access pocket.

Top quick access pocket.

Front dual zip pocket with RFID sleeve. Front dual zip pocket with RFID sleeve.

Front dual zip pocket with RFID sleeve.

Bottom-front pocket.  Bottom-front pocket.

Bottom-front pocket.

Laptop compartment. (Side zippered water bottle pocket not pictured.) Laptop compartment. (Side zippered water bottle pocket not pictured.)

Laptop compartment. (Side zippered water bottle pocket not pictured.)

Organization in the main compartment. Organization in the main compartment.

Organization in the main compartment.

Expandable compartment. Expandable compartment.

Expandable compartment.

The Biz Friend

The Knack Pack

A surprisingly solid backpack for both daily carry and travel. Organization, professional looks and an expand/collapse feature for travel conversion. view bag

Really a very competent bag. Front pocket can seem a little weird, but the organization, build and aesthetics on this expanding bag makes it perfect for lots of us.

28L capacity. Decent external access.  28L capacity. Decent external access.

28L capacity. Decent external access.

Very comfortable harness system. Very comfortable harness system.

Very comfortable harness system.

Solid organization for tech + on the go stuff. Solid organization for tech + on the go stuff.

Solid organization for tech + on the go stuff.

Solid Companion

Kathmandu Transfer 28

The Transfer 28 from Kathmandu is a super comfortable do-it-all adventure travel bag excellent for minimal packers. view bag
Playful aesthetic. Ready for heavy use. Playful aesthetic. Ready for heavy use.

Playful aesthetic. Ready for heavy use.

Stowable backpack straps. Stowable backpack straps.

Stowable backpack straps.

Clothing + tech for short trips. Clothing + tech for short trips.

Clothing + tech for short trips.

Laptop compartment with admin panel. Laptop compartment with admin panel.

Laptop compartment with admin panel.

Two front dimensional pockets. Two front dimensional pockets.

Two front dimensional pockets.

The Mountain Professional

Topo Global Briefcase 3-Day

The Global Briefcase 3-Day from Topo is a very capable minimal traveler's bag, with enough tech organization, clothing capacity and style hybrid 2-3 day travel. view bag
Clean looks.  Clean looks.

Clean looks.

Just about do-able as a daybag. Just about do-able as a daybag.

Just about do-able as a daybag.

30L capacity is roomy. 30L capacity is roomy.

30L capacity is roomy.

Signature Aer organization throughout. Signature Aer organization throughout.

Signature Aer organization throughout.

Boxy. Burly. Solid.

Aer Travel Pack 2 Small

Aer's "Small" Travel Pack is built to last. 30L capacity. Lots of organization. view bag
Excellent harness system for this bag. It might look a little funky, but it's comfy AF. Excellent harness system for this bag. It might look a little funky, but it's comfy AF.

Excellent harness system for this bag. It might look a little funky, but it's comfy AF.

Solid capacity expands on the back of the bag for minimal carry-on travel. Solid capacity expands on the back of the bag for minimal carry-on travel.

Solid capacity expands on the back of the bag for minimal carry-on travel.

Here is the bag fully expanded for travel. Here is the bag fully expanded for travel.

Here is the bag fully expanded for travel.

And here's the bag compressed for daily carry. And here's the bag compressed for daily carry.

And here's the bag compressed for daily carry.

The Laid Back Expert

Tortuga Setout Divide Travel Backpack

The little brother to the Tortuga Setout, the Setout Divide from Tortuga is a full-featured bag for the style-casual modern minimal traveler. view bag

Organization, materials, harness system, it's all solid on this one. Perfect for minimal travel if you like the look.

Simple aesthetic. Killer durability and external access. Simple aesthetic. Killer durability and external access.

Simple aesthetic. Killer durability and external access.

Expandable rolltop gets you some extra space. Expandable rolltop gets you some extra space.

Expandable rolltop gets you some extra space.

3 external access pockets.  3 external access pockets.

3 external access pockets.

1 Laptop pocket with water sealed zip. 1 Laptop pocket with water sealed zip.

1 Laptop pocket with water sealed zip.

Side zip into the main compartment. #lifesaver Side zip into the main compartment. #lifesaver

Side zip into the main compartment. #lifesaver

Understated looks for such a functional bag. Understated looks for such a functional bag.

Understated looks for such a functional bag.

Durable. Understated. Super capable.

Futures Passport Backpack

The Passport backpack from Futures is a delightful and feature rich everyday carry bag (that's totally doable for minimal travel). view bag
It's got a good look.

It's got a good look. "Rugged tech."

(Pretty solid) camera accessories and organization. (Pretty solid) camera accessories and organization.

(Pretty solid) camera accessories and organization.

Available in two sizes: kinda big and really big. Available in two sizes: kinda big and really big.

Available in two sizes: kinda big and really big.

Lots of decent organization. Lots of decent organization.

Lots of decent organization.

Security pocket hides against your back. Security pocket hides against your back.

Security pocket hides against your back.

Rugged. Techy.

Wandrd Prvke Rolltop Backpack

A very functional (and stylish) bag for both urban and outdoor use with solid durability, decent organization and side-access for optional camera cube integration. view bag

The rolltop allows for so much expandability. Built solid. Decent organization. I use the 21L for my travels with ease. The 31L is quite large, still fits under the airplane seat.

Simple, pouchy looks.  Simple, pouchy looks.

Simple, pouchy looks.

Buckle-flap top, zippered side-access as well. Buckle-flap top, zippered side-access as well.

Buckle-flap top, zippered side-access as well.

Luggage passthrough. Strap pockets. Solid comfort.  Luggage passthrough. Strap pockets. Solid comfort.

Luggage passthrough. Strap pockets. Solid comfort.

Bottom zipper expands.  Bottom zipper expands.

Bottom zipper expands.

15

15" Laptop compartment is decently protected.

So. Many. Pockets. Great material choices.  So. Many. Pockets. Great material choices.

So. Many. Pockets. Great material choices.

Sturdy. Pouchy. Expandable.

Huru A Model Backpack

The Model A from Huru boasts solid materials, a 5+ liter expansion feature and TONS of external access. (Though I think the looks kinda suffer with all the pouches.) view bag
35L max capacity. Clean lines.  35L max capacity. Clean lines.

35L max capacity. Clean lines.

10L compact daybag mode. 10L compact daybag mode.

10L compact daybag mode.

All organization is accessed on the back panel.  All organization is accessed on the back panel.

All organization is accessed on the back panel.

Elegant. Protected.

Riutbag X35 Convertible Security Backpack

The X35 from RiutBag converts from a 10L daily carry bag to a 35L travel bag and keeps all your valuables protected from pickpockets. view bag
Bitchin' external access on this thing. Bitchin' external access on this thing.

Bitchin' external access on this thing.

Separate laptop pocket. Separate laptop pocket.

Separate laptop pocket.

Excellent capacity for everyday use + minimal travel. Excellent capacity for everyday use + minimal travel.

Excellent capacity for everyday use + minimal travel.

Affordable. Killer.

Topo Core Pack

The Core Pack from Topo is a classic daily carry bag with solid organization and materials at an extremely affordable price. view bag

Very simple, but really killer for minimal travel trips.

Kind of a solid, standard, utilitarian aesthetic. Built really well with solid, classic materials. Kind of a solid, standard, utilitarian aesthetic. Built really well with solid, classic materials.

Kind of a solid, standard, utilitarian aesthetic. Built really well with solid, classic materials.

In use you find the organization and pocket sizes are great on this bag. In use you find the organization and pocket sizes are great on this bag.

In use you find the organization and pocket sizes are great on this bag.

The insides are simple, but not without decent organization. The insides are simple, but not without decent organization.

The insides are simple, but not without decent organization.

The forever friend

Greenroom136 Rainmaker Backpack

An extremely solid everyday backpack suited for carrying lots of gear or compressing down to a minimal daily carry haul. One of my favorite all-around bags. view bag

Similar to the Synapse 25, but maybe with a little better aesthetics for my daily life. More minimal than some may like. Perfect for others.

Very simple aesthetic. Definitely on the rugged side of stylish and clean. Very simple aesthetic. Definitely on the rugged side of stylish and clean.

Very simple aesthetic. Definitely on the rugged side of stylish and clean.

Extremely simple bag in terms of pockets. A couple inside, one on the outside. Extremely simple bag in terms of pockets. A couple inside, one on the outside.

Extremely simple bag in terms of pockets. A couple inside, one on the outside.

Laptop compartment on the back is tough and protective. Laptop compartment on the back is tough and protective.

Laptop compartment on the back is tough and protective.

Bro’s Best Friend

GoRuck GR1

Expensive, but it's got an amazing warranty. A simple, understated, powerful bag that will gladly see you through anything in life. view bag

More minimal than some may want, but this is a bag you can use religiously, day after day, for travel and daily, and it will stick with you and continue to look good faithfully for a long time.

Arcido Akra Backpack

Smooth + streamlined

Arcido Akra Backpack

The Akra backpack from Arcido is designed to be a minimal travel bag with clean looks and plenty of organization and pockets. view bag

It's a lightweight bag with some interesting hidden and quick access pockets.

Burly materials. Great look.  Burly materials. Great look.

Burly materials. Great look.

Solid external organization. Solid external organization.

Solid external organization.

28L capacity fits more than you think. 28L capacity fits more than you think.

28L capacity fits more than you think.

Stowable contoured straps. Top tote handle. Stowable contoured straps. Top tote handle.

Stowable contoured straps. Top tote handle.

Compression straps for daily carry mode. Compression straps for daily carry mode.

Compression straps for daily carry mode.

Detachable daypack available. Detachable daypack available.

Detachable daypack available.

Rugged. Organized.

North St. Weekender Travel Backpack

The Weekender Backpack from North St. is a handmade bag from Portland, OR purpose built for water resistant minimal travel. Solid external organization + materials, detachable daypack accessory. view bag

It's a little larger than some of us may want for a daily carry bag, but watch the video. This one is very interesting. Lots of organization. Low key aesthetic.

Killer water resistance and protection. Killer water resistance and protection.

Killer water resistance and protection.

Customizable camera cube setups. Customizable camera cube setups.

Customizable camera cube setups.

Ridiculously comfortable harness system. Ridiculously comfortable harness system.

Ridiculously comfortable harness system.

Outdoorsy vibes.  Outdoorsy vibes.

Outdoorsy vibes.

The Adventure Pro

Shimoda X30 Adventure Camera Backpack

The X30 from Shimoda is a full featured mobile studio rig for adventure filmmakers and hobbyists alike. view bag

Designed for serious camera gear in serious outdoor terrain, but it's ridiculously comfortable, well organized and expandable for large-ish travel setups. A bit too big for me for daily carry tho.

A medium size travel bag made with solid materials. A medium size travel bag made with solid materials.

A medium size travel bag made with solid materials.

Excellent internal organization for tech and daily goodies. Excellent internal organization for tech and daily goodies.

Excellent internal organization for tech and daily goodies.

The materials inside make this bag feel really nice to use. The materials inside make this bag feel really nice to use.

The materials inside make this bag feel really nice to use.

The grownup

Heimplanet Transit Travel Pack

A really solid feeling bag with lots of pockets both inside and outside the bag and enough capacity for the minimal traveler. view bag

Bigger than I want for daily carry. Bigger bodies will love it though because the organization and materials are killer.

Like a rocket pack for tech people. Like a rocket pack for tech people.

Like a rocket pack for tech people.

Nice soft back panel. Nice soft back panel.

Nice soft back panel.

The Travel Pack expands capacity. The Travel Pack expands capacity.

The Travel Pack expands capacity.

The Protector

Nomatic Travel Pack & Backpack

These Nomatic bags are chock full of pockets. There are 2 different bags here: the Travel Pack expands up to about 30L, perfect for short trips and minimal travel. The Backpack is 20-24L daily carry. Both are sleek, totally organized, and rocking the "jetpack" look. view bag

A little too boxy aesthetically for me, but lots of people like it and it works great for them because there's so much organization and expandability in the Travel Pack.

Notable Mentions

These bags won't work for everyone, but they've been known to be used successfully as hybrid travel bags. 
Killer aesthetic on this thing. All us hipsters and millenials rejoice! Killer aesthetic on this thing. All us hipsters and millenials rejoice!

Killer aesthetic on this thing. All us hipsters and millenials rejoice!

Solid back panel. Doesn't have mesh on the back, tho, which is a deal breaker for some. Solid back panel. Doesn't have mesh on the back, tho, which is a deal breaker for some.

Solid back panel. Doesn't have mesh on the back, tho, which is a deal breaker for some.

Large capacity for clothing in both these bags (comes in either 30L or 40L versions). Large capacity for clothing in both these bags (comes in either 30L or 40L versions).

Large capacity for clothing in both these bags (comes in either 30L or 40L versions).

Nice segmentation and organization of the bag for quick access on the go. Nice segmentation and organization of the bag for quick access on the go.

Nice segmentation and organization of the bag for quick access on the go.

The modern classic

Topo Travel Bag (30 + 40L)

The Topo Travel bag has a playful style, which I like a lot, but it is very serious about being a great travel bag. This is a classic. view bag

Totally doable as a daily carry when you get there. Definitely a little larger than the perfect daily bag, but it looks fun and playful and is padded and durable and easy to toss around with you as you move through the day.

Smooth looks and padding all around the bag makes for easy travel. Smooth looks and padding all around the bag makes for easy travel.

Smooth looks and padding all around the bag makes for easy travel.

Tons of capacity in this 35-45L bag (that also can compress to a 30L mode) Tons of capacity in this 35-45L bag (that also can compress to a 30L mode)

Tons of capacity in this 35-45L bag (that also can compress to a 30L mode)

Back panel speaks to the attention to the detail throughout this bag. Hideaway hip and shoulder straps. #magnets Back panel speaks to the attention to the detail throughout this bag. Hideaway hip and shoulder straps. #magnets

Back panel speaks to the attention to the detail throughout this bag. Hideaway hip and shoulder straps. #magnets

The Best Big

Peak Design Travel Bag

The Travel Bag from Peak Designs is an extremely well designed, quality bag for modern carry-on adventure and business travel. view bag

It has a gimmick where it collapses slightly to a 35L bag, but it still looks too big to me. EXCELLENT bag tho. I travel with this and bring a packable bag with me.

Pretty straight-forward, sleek looks and really solid materials. Pretty straight-forward, sleek looks and really solid materials.

Pretty straight-forward, sleek looks and really solid materials.

Maximum capacity for carry-on for most airlines... fits as much as any carry-on bag out there. Maximum capacity for carry-on for most airlines... fits as much as any carry-on bag out there.

Maximum capacity for carry-on for most airlines... fits as much as any carry-on bag out there.

Solid internal organization throughout the compartments on this bag. Nice eye for modern needs. Solid internal organization throughout the compartments on this bag. Nice eye for modern needs.

Solid internal organization throughout the compartments on this bag. Nice eye for modern needs.

The Matte Black Lifer

Aer Travel Pack 2.0

A very well designed, stylish travel bag for one-bag travel with enough pockets, organization and access to make travel smooth. view bag

Some larger bodies can get away with this as a daily carry because of its compression straps. Excellent bag in travel.

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I hope you’re close to finding the bag that ends your searching and begins your travels. Remember, if you’re not on the email list, I can’t help you! #cheers
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The Big List

Here’s every hybrid bag we’ve reviewed to date: