Features to consider in a backpack
Carry-on size: A bag that’s marked as carry-on meets the common size guidelines that airlines enforce. But, rules change and can vary based on airline, so always check with your airline before heading out.
Laptop compartment: If you’re traveling with your laptop, a dedicated compartment that will pad and protect the device during transport is handy.
iPad/tablet compartment: A specific spot for storing an iPad or other tablet is a nice feature if you regularly take your gadget along (and helps protect your tech).
Checkpoint friendly: A “checkpoint friendly” bag is one that has a designated laptop-only compartment that can unfold and lay flat on the X-ray belt when passing through airport security checkpoints. This allows you to leave the laptop in your bag while giving TSA agents a clear view of the computer for proper screening. (That said, many TSA agents will still ask you to remove your laptop regardless.)
Organizer pockets: Built-in organizer pockets make it easy to store frequently used items—like a pen, your passport and keys—in a convenient place.
Removable daypack: Most frequently found on travel packs, a removable daypack can be nice to have for taking excursions once you’ve reached your destination. You can leave your larger pack behind and use the daypack to carry snacks, water and other essentials.
Backpack straps: If you want to be able to carry a duffel bag on your back, look for one that has dedicated backpack straps. This feature makes hauling a heavy load up stairs or down a trail much easier.
Packable: This mostly pertains to duffel bags and means that the bag can stuff into its own pocket. This is nice for compact storage when the duffel is not in use.