40L Rucksack For Men & Women

Best 40L backpack
  • Save

Masasa Beach, Philippines

I have been travelling with carry-on only for the past three years, although recently, I've been checking in a bag because of the season and destination I'm going to. Now that I am back in Southeast Asia, I left my winter clothes at home and went back to a 40L backpack.

If you are still planning your backpacking trip and need help in deciding which backpack to bring; should you bring a 70L or smaller? Should you check in a bag or just a carry on?

In this article, I will list down six best 40L backpacks and help you decide why a carry on luggage is better than checking in one. A 40L backpack translates as a carry-on rucksack as well.

I also have an article about the best-wheeled backpacks in case that's your thing and here are Eco-friendly travel products, I highly recommend packing less plastic-made travel gears to help our world with landfill issue - #beresponsibletraveller.



Before we hop on the juicy parts, let's talk about the basics. Don't just buy what you think is the most affordable or the most good looking. There are a few things you should consider before purchasing that backpack that will accompany you on a long trip and many trips to come. Here are the things you should look for a 40L backpack.

RELATED POST: Long-haul flight essentials and for connection


The material is one of the most important things to consider. Keep in mind, the material should be durable to make it long lasting. If you will be hiking or going on a trip during the rainy season, it is significant to consider that the material will be waterproof or resistant or at least the rucksack comes with a rain cover.

Number of pockets

I love pockets, it's one of my best secrets how I can pack everything I own and need in a carry-on. Pockets expand your bag without going over on the size limit for your flight. For example, side pockets can carry a water bottle, flipflops, bulky travel guidebooks, and so much more.

While inside pockets will help you organise better. My current backpack has a laptop compartment - it keeps my laptop safe and dry.

Best 40L backpacks - Carry on backpacks
  • Save

Photo Credit: Edward Vivel  via

Weight and Dimensions

Weight and dimensions are the two next important things that come after the material. If you are looking to only travel with a carry-on, why get a backpack that is heavy? In this case, you want your backpack to be as lightweight as possible.

In terms of dimensions, most airlines that let you have a cabin bag (the bag that goes to the overhead compartment), allows the maximum size as 55 x 35 x 25 cm (21.7 x 13.8 x 9.9 in) with 7 kgs to 10 kgs (15-22 pounds). This is the dimensions you want to look for a rucksack.


You should also look into a backpack's features. Does it have a hip belt to help your back carry the weight? Does it have a worldwide warranty? Is this backpack have ropes in the front where you can strap your shoes or flipflops or towel?

The best features and most useful ones are padded hip belt and shoulder straps, rain cover, at least two main compartments, in-front ropes, and laundry or toiletries compartment: either the bottom or top.


Don't go looking like a rag when travelling, after all, you are representing the travel community, your country, and especially yourself. Your rucksack doesn't have to always look clean and presentable, but make sure to get one that is decent looking, unique, and easy to say "that's mine" when waiting on the carriage belt in the airports.

There are many colours available, from black to even as light as yellow. Choose the most unique looking one. When you visit a backpacking forum, you will read stories about someone picking up the wrong bag because they look the same.

Also, consider the colours that can hide the dirt marks or else, you will have to wash your backpack often.


One last important thing to do is read reviews, I highly recommend reviews on Amazon since you know that only those who bought the products can actually leave a review. Filter it out with the newest's worst and best review to get balanced feedback.


Here are some questions to ask yourself before committing to a backpack. This should help you narrow down your choices.

Is 40L travel backpack enough

Ask yourself, do you need a bigger backpack or a 40L is enough? Personally, I'd said 40L is enough. A lot of backpackers bring bigger bags and ended up not using half of what they pack unless of course, you are heading in a very cold destination, winter jackets and boots takes a lot of space and they can be expensive to buy in the destination.

If you are heading to Southeast Asia, most budget airline will let you have two bags, one cabin bag and one personal (the one that goes under the seat - 40x35x25 cm). While in Europe airlines have different rules and in South America, an airline like Avianca lets you a have a check-in, cabin bag, and a personal bag and without additional charge.

If 40L backpack is too small, check this comparison review article of the best 50L backpacks on the market.

Is it for hiking or general backpacking

If you will be doing hiking where camping will be part of it, you probably want a backpack that can carry camping gears. And if not, definitely a backpack that is 40L in capacity will be enough. Or you can focus on 40L rucksacks that have straps on the sides, top, front, and bottom - these will help you bring tent, sleeping bag, walking sticks, and other camping and hiking tools.

Some backpackers do a clothes exchange when meeting in a hostel. If you are heading to colder weather, some travellers who were just there can swap their sun hat, guidebooks, sunscreen, etc for a rain jacket, walking sticks, etc.

Best 40L backpacks - Carry on backpacks
  • Save

Photo Credit: Josiah Weiss via

How much is your budget

And of course, your budget should be taken into consideration. However, don't let it go on the way. Sometimes, the cheapest is not the best option. A cheap backpack can lead you to one that will rip off after one trip or the zippers dysfunction while on the road. I believe that it's better to invest some money and don't have to worry about those problems in the middle of a trip.

Is there a brand that you prefer

When choosing the suitable and best 40L travel backpack for you, you probably want to check your preferred brand first. Many people are loyal to a brand and if you are one of them, check if your favourite brand has the type of backpack that you want and if it fits your budget and your needs.


As an experienced 40L backpack user, I can make an endless list of why you should go for it. But here, I'll give the most reasonable reasons why you should go for this size of luggage.

Save your money

If you have a carry-on rucksack, you don't have to worry about paying for check-in luggage fee. You will also have limited space, which means you cannot buy things along the way that you don't need even if they look super adorable.

You can move faster

Having a small bag on your back will assure you that you can pack and move faster. If you get in the situation where your alarm didn't go off or the bus is leaving in half an hour, you can throw all your things in just 10 minutes or less and run for your bus, tour or flight and make it.

Small room, no problem

Ever run into dorm rooms that are just too small? If you have a 40L backpack, you can easily place it at the end of your bed in case there are no floor space or lockers for it. Basically, you can fit anywhere you go. You have fewer things to tow behind you and fewer things to mind in situations like this,


G4FREE Large 40L










12.7 ounces (360 g)


(0.93 kg)

3 lbs (1.3  kg)

2.3 lbs (1 kg)

2.91 lbs

(1.32 kg)

2 lbs (900 g)

3.7 lbs

(1.6 kg)


22.8 x 13.4 x 7.8 in

(58 x 34 x 20 cm)

21.7 x 13.8 x 9.8 in

(55 x 35 x 25 cm)

22 x 14 x 9 in

(56 36 x 23 x cm)

20.1 x 13.4 x 9.8 in

(51 x 34 x 25 cm)

19 x 12.5 x 5.2 in

(48 x 32 x 13 cm)

20.1 x 13.4 x 9.8 in

(51 x 34 x 25 cm)

21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 in (52 X 34 X 19)















In this article, you will see the best 40L backpacks both for men and women. These backpacks are great for those who love to travel for a weekend or even those who are planning to travel long-term while keeping a minimalist lifestyle. The backpacks on this list can get on the overhead cabin while some of them can even fit under the seat most airlines across the globe.

I've included the information that as a backpacker who's been travelling for almost 5 years, care a lot. Such as the weight, dimension, pockets, and useful features.

Why is it one of the best 40L backpacks?

Travelling with Standard Luggage's Carry-On backpack was amazing especially for someone who's crazy about having such organised baggage.

It has a lot of pockets and each one of them serve a purpose to keep your things packed properly and tight and are strategically placed for easy access. It also has a laptop sleeve, water bottle holder, and inside straps. What I love most is I can go hide and zip up the shoulder straps and attached the backpack on the top of a wheelie suitcase.

Read this post that I've written, a detailed and honest review about this 40L backpack.

  • Weight: 3.7 lbs, 59.2 oz, 1.6 kg
  • Dimension: 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 in zipped and 21.5 x 13.5 x 9.5 expanded
  • Material: Nylon
  • Colours available: 1 (comes with 2 colours for straps and handles)
  • Best features: hide-away straps/wheelie suitcase srap, smart-pockets/super organised pockets, safety whistle, they ship worldwide

Why is it one of the best 40L backpacks?

If you are looking for a good sized super lightweight rucksack but can be folded into a small pouch when not in use, G4Free's 40L is the best choice for you. Its pouches are also well-placed, they are accessible and great for packing organisation. Great outdoor activities, weekend trips, and even a long-term journey.

  • Weight: 12.7 oz, .79 lbs,  360 g
  • Dimension: Unfold size - 22.8 x 13.4 x 7.8 inches when bag is full, Folds into: 9.4x 7.8 x 3.9 inches
  • Material: Nylon, spandex
  • Colours available: 10
  • Best features: can be folded and packed in a suitcase as an extra backpack, lots of pockets for a hammock, water bottle, tent, yoga mat,

Why is it one of the best 40L backpacks?

Long-term travellers and hiking enthusiast should take a long look at Mountaintop's 40L backpack. This bag offers 6 adjustable straps for tying up and hanging hammocks, sleeping bags, trekking pole, and tents. Those who want to bring a laptop can also secure their valuables in a laptop compartment. It also has loads of pockets to organise your clothes and travel tools properly.

  • Weight: 2.1 lbs, 0.93 kg, 46.4 oz
  • Dimension: 21.7 x 13.8 x 9.8 inches (55 x 35 x 25 cm)
  • Material: water-resistant polyester
  • Colours available: 11-25 (depending on your location)
  • Best features: comes with a rain cover, straps and pockets maximise the things you can bring, padded shoulder straps and hip belt

Why is it one of the best 40L backpacks?

Osprey is a very popular brand for travel backpacks, of course, it is expected that they also introduced a 40L travel bag for minimalist travellers. The Farpoint 40L totally delivered what every backpacker want from a bag; it has a large padded hip belt, padded shoulder straps, loads of pockets, and extra straps in the front to hold flipflops, towels, shoes or hammock. It also opens up like a suitcase, which means packing will be easier.

  • Weight: 3 lbs, 48 oz, 1.3 kg
  • Dimension: 19 x 12.5 x 5.2 in
  • Material: nylon, mesh
  • Colours available: 4
  • Best features: HDPE frame sheet, Hex Mesh back panel, ventilating back panel, Sternum strap, Load lifter straps

Why is it one of the best 40L backpacks?

Kelty is one of the known brand producing quality outdoor accessories. This specific backpack fits best for minimalist travellers, hikers, campers, and weekend travellers.

You can hook up a trekking pole and zip up a tent. It also has lots of pockets to pack easier and smarter.

The back has great padded support and air ventilation.

Best 40L Backpacks For Travelling: 40L Rucksack For Men and Women 1
  • Save
Best 40L Backpacks For Travelling: 40L Rucksack For Men and Women 2
  • Save
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 1.2 kg, 42 oz 
  • Dimension: 25 x 15 x 12 in (63 x 38 x 30 cm)
  • Material: waterproof tarpaulin
  • Colours available: 1
  • Best features: RFID protected, removable hip belt, laundry bag, shoe compartment

Why is it one of the best 40L backpacks?

For digital nomads or if you are planning to travel with a laptop, Nomatic's 40L backpack which can also be turned into a duffel bag is a great option. It has a pocket for a laptop, credit cards, and other electronic devices, this pocket is RFID protected. Another great feature is a removable hip belt which helps those who will be walking a lot while carrying their bags, while you can remove it for the days it won't be needed. The opening of the main compartment is just like a normal suitcase, which eases the packing.

  • Weight: 4 lbs. 1.8 kg, 64 oz 
  • Dimension: 21 x 14 x 9 in (53 x 36 x 23cm)
  • Material: waterproof tarpaulin
  • Colours available: 1
  • Best features: RFID protected, removable hip belt, laundry bag, shoe compartment

Why is it one of the best 40L backpacks?

A rucksack with heat insulation and a breathable back panel is always a great option for travellers who will be hiking with their backpack on or travelling in hot countries like Southeast Asia. Camel Crown's 40L backpack also has padded hip belt and shoulder straps to complete the all-comfort backpack package. This bag comes with a rain cover and has water bottle pockets, straps and thick strings so you can pack more things for your trip.

  • Weight: 2.91 lbs , 1.32 kg, 46.56 oz
  • Dimension: 19 x 12.5 x 5.2 in
  • Material: Polyester
  • Colours available: 4
  • Best features: rain cover, top pouch, padded shoulder straps and hip, heat insulation and breathable back panel

Why is it one of the best 40L backpacks?

A backpack that fits both on the head over compartment and under the seat, Hynes Eagles' 40L Carry On is a great choice for travellers who know how to pack well and love flying with budget airlines who have strict luggage policy. This bag is also can be a duffel bag if you prefer. It has multiples pockets and even a floating laptop section to keep it safe from dropping or having luggage on top of your bag.

  • Weight: 2 lbs, 900 g, 32 oz
  • Dimension: 20.1 x 13.4 x 9.8 inches (51 x 34 x 25 cm)
  • Material: polyester
  • Colours available: 14
  • Best features: backpack turned into duffel bag, side bottle pocket


If you will ask me which I think is the best 40L backpack on this review list, I am honestly torn between Mountaintop and Osprey Farpoint.

Mountaintop has all these amazing straps that can really expand some space. I like tying up my shoes on the handles of my backpack when I choose to travel or walk on flipflops. I'm also a fan of not placing my laundry bag inside the main compartment especially when the laundry bag is full of dirty clothes. With Mountaintop's 40L, I can strap it either on the top, sides or even at the bottom of the bag.

While Osprey Farpoint 40L does look very pretty and sturdy and durable. I've met many travellers using Osprey and a lot of them have been using their bags for years and it's still in great shape. It also has great padded shoulder straps and thick pads of the hip belt, which I both appreciate since my back is becoming sensitive.

Therefore, I'd say depending on your needs; go for Mountaintop if you imagine yourself bringing things like hammock, tent or if you are like me who prefer to pack my laundry bag outside the main compartment. Choose Osprey if you have back pains and prefer a prettier looking pack instead.


I can go on endless giving tips for travelling with carry-on only. But for now, let's stick to the most important ones, which I've learned this past three years travelling non-stop and having my whole life on a bag on my back.

Outside packing

Pack your shoes, flip-flops, jacket, laundry bag, and sarong outside the main compartments. Flip flops and shoes both take so much space in the main section fo the bag due to its shape. These things cannot be bent or folded like clothes. Make sure to strap them on top, sides, or bottom of your backpack.

While jacket and sarong are two that you more likely will be needed when on a plane to keep you comfortable and warm. Strapping or packing outside the main compartment will give you easy access when you need them.

Laundry bag as I mentioned before is mostly because, personally, I don't want my clean clothes next to my dirty laundry inside my bag. Therefore, I prefer them to be packed or strapped outside the rucksack - make sure they are tied properly.

Choose the destination wisely

If you keep travelling in warm areas, this means you don't need a bulky jacket - it's a perfect season to travel on a carry-on. However, if you find yourself heading to a colder country, hit up the hostel's lost and found or do clothes exchanging with other travellers.

It is also often to buy the winter clothes in the destination than bringing one and then either sell, swap or give them away when you leave - unless you are heading to northern Europe or North America, you should bring the winter clothes from your home country as you can get them cheaper there.

All-in lightweight

Everything you want to bring with you should be lightweight. Lightweight running or walking shoes, lightweight laptop, travel size camera, super lightweight jeans, jumper, packing cubes - you get the idea.

A Mary Road Backpack (2)
  • Save

Masasa Beach, Philippines

Double check the airline's baggage policy

This goes without saying but believe me this is important. Even myself, I sometimes forget to check the airlines' luggage rules. In Europe, budget airlines will only let you bring one bag and it must fit under the seat. Additional bags are all with a fee.

In Southeast Asia, budget airlines let you bring two bags, one overhead compartment and one under the seat. Always double check this to avoid unwanted fees.

Don't bring a towel

Don't pack the tradition bath towels you use at home - yes, the bulky one. Unless you have sensitive skin. If not, I highly suggest you get a quick dry towel, they take up so less space and they dry very fast.

Get packing cubes

I'm sure you've read this and heard this many times, but seriously, packing cubes help to ease packing, organise, and pack smartly - it helps you use the spaces in your carry-on very well.


Once you find the best fit 40L backpack for yourself, you will want it to last as long as possible especially if you spend a good amount of money on it. In this part, I'll share some great tips on how you can take care of your backpack.

Washing and Rinsing

When washing your backpack, I highly recommend you to not put it in the washer (if you really need to use a washer, I will write below how you can do it safely). Instead, get a brush (choose one that is not too hard or else it can damage your bag), mild soap, and water.

Get on the floor and start scrubbing the backpack, pay extra attention to shoulder straps and back panel - these two get most of the sweat, they get very stinky. Scrub the bottom of the rucksack too (the one that touches the ground) - this part gets really dirty, it receives most of the mud and dust.

When rinsing, use the brush to rinse your backpack faster. Make sure that there is no soap left, not rinsing properly can lead to your bag becomes smelly.

Washing the rucksack with a washer, make sure you set the water not hotter than 30 (Celsius), set the washer on the mild system and use a mild detergent. Make sure that you emptied all the pockets (alien objects will break your washer). Do not wash them with other clothes or anything. Let it run for not more than 30 minutes.

A Mary Road Backpack (2)
  • Save



If you are planning to wash your backpack, make sure that it's warm enough outside for it to dry. Drying your bag outside with enough sun and wind will prevent it from being smelly. Therefore, I highly recommend you wash your bag during summer.

However, if you decided or really need to wash it during winter, make sure you keep an open window as often as you can in a dry room. I don't recommend you use a dryer.

TIP: Keep your backpack's manual and read the instruction for washing to know the best way to clean it. Damaging your backpack from cleaning might forfeit its warranty.


When not in use, store your rucksack in a dry room with plenty of air going through. It can also help to place it in a plastic bag to avoid dust, make sure to poke some hole to let the air run through it.

I hope this article about best 40L backpack helped you decide which bag is best for you and your upcoming trip. If you have any questions regarding each pack, I highly suggest you email the brand company, ask the community on Amazon or other forums for faster and fresher answers.

If you think I should add more bags on this comparison review, let me know in the comment section.


Comparison review for best 40L backpacks for men and women. What to consider before buying a 40L rucksack, cheapest, best materials, and tips #bestbackpack #packingtips #traveltips #travelideas #travelguide #traveltheworld via @amaryroad
  • Save


Comparison review for best 40L backpacks for men and women. What to consider before buying a 40L rucksack, cheapest, best materials, and tips #bestbackpack #packingtips #traveltips #travelideas #travelguide #traveltheworld via @amaryroad
  • Save

Mary is the founder of amaryroad and one of the experts when it comes to travelling in Southeast Asia. Mary has been travelling around the world since 2013, she have extensively travelled and lived in Southeast Asian countries. She also has been featured in popular publications in the Philippines such as GMA Network, When in Manila, and Tripzilla. Today, Mary continues her round-the-world trip with no final destination. She travels in her own terms and tries to build her own world whilst pushing herself into every corner of life, breaking limit beyond her capabilities.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

6.4K views 370 Shares
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap