Everyone has a different opinion about the best travel backpack for Europe, but few people have compared as many makes and models as me. I have been traveling to Europe regularly for the past fifteen years, and in that time I’ve seen backpack technology flourish, travel trends change and my own travel backpack standards skyrocket. Now that I’m a frequent, experienced traveler, I won’t settle for a subpar bag… which is why I recently invested in the Deuter 60 + 10 travel backpack, and I’m confident saying that it’s the best travel backpack for Europe, whether you’re on an epic Interrail journey or simply escaping on a shorty city break.
And now for a brief interlude.
This article is about the Deuter Traveler 60 + 10, which I believe is the best travel backpack for Europe. Although the Deuter 60 + 10 model is designed for female backpackers, there is a companion travel backpack for men. Check out the Deuter Transit 65 backpack, which is close in size to my favorite backpack, but with a slightly different design that better fits men’s frames.
The Best Travel Backpack for Europe: Deuter Traveler 60 + 10
By my count, I have traveled to thirty countries in Europe, ranging from Albania to the United Kingdom and everywhere in between. I have tried traveling in Europe with three different backpacks (plus some suitcases) and I am confident in saying that the Deuter Traveler 60 + 10 is the best travel backpack for Europe. I have personally used this bag on several two-month trips in Europe (plus multiple trips to Central America, but we’re talking about Europe today!).
What makes this the best backpack for Europe travel?
First, the Deuter Traveler 60 + 10 backpack is a front-loading travel backpack. This means that it has a large, U-shaped zipper that wraps around the entire front panel (see below). This allows the backpack to open like a suitcase and you can easily see everything inside. In my opinion, front-loading packs are far superior to their top-loading counterparts, which force you to blindly dig deep into the depths of your bag to find little objects that have sunk to the bottom. As well, I’ve noticed that most front-loading packs are more secure than the top-loading backs that fasten with a drawstring (especially when you use a tiny luggage lock or mini carabiners to secure your zippers!).
Second, the Deuter Traveler 60 + 10 is ergonomically designed for women’s bodies. Unisex backpacks, and backpacks designed for men, often don’t fit women properly through the waist, hips and shoulders. For most women who are 5’8″ and below, a travel backpack designed for women will usually be the best fit. As you can see below, the hip belt is slightly curved to fit someone with a narrower waist and wider hips, and the shoulder straps are a little bit less wide than you’d see on a typical unisex backpack. Of course, all of the straps are fully adjustable to fit your specific body shape (just remember to fill your pack before your start making adjustments).
Third, the Deuter Traveler 60 + 10 appeals to my love of staying über-organized while traveling. By my count (and I might have missed something), this travel backpack has six different compartments: the main, front-loading compartment, a separate bottom section (ideal for shoes and toiletries), three interior mesh compartments (I reserve one just for pads and tampons!) and one hidden zippered section on the front of the bag (this flat compartment is where I shove receipts after I check out from my hotel). Similarly, the entire back of the bag can be hidden inside a zippered compartment, so you can safely hide the straps away when you check your bag on an airplane or bus (see below).
Finally, I haven’t exactly explained what “60 + 10” means. You see, the Deuter 60 + 10 travel backpack is actually two bags in one. The first bag, or the main backpack, holds sixty liters of stuff. To see what that looks like, keep reading as I walk you through the actual process of packing this 60-litre travel backpack. The +10 refers to the detachable daypack, a ten-liter backpack that you can zip to the front of the bag when you’re not using it (below right). A huge bonus with this model is that the daypack can also be clipped on to the straps of the main bag, so that you can wear the daypack on your front when the backpack is on your bag (below left). Keeping your valuables on the front side of your body is one of the best ways to outsmart pickpockets and other petty thieves.
Ready to check it out? The Deuter 60 + 10 is available on Amazon.
Packing Your Travel Backpack for Europe
I am a bit of an over-packer (did I ever tell you about the time I brought twenty bottles of perfume on my eight-day expedition across Mongolia’s Gobi Desert?) and I also love updating my wardrobe with local designs as I travel. So, I need a fairly large backpack and I’m a terrible person to ask for packing tips, because I’ll always say, “Bring it all! Better safe than sorry!”
To write this part of the review, I decided to defer to an expert in packing for Europe travel: Rick Steves. I have previously reviewed his Barcelona guidebook and his Berlin guidebook (and I also recommend his overarching Europe guidebook for travelers heading to multiple countries). Rick has published a Europe packing list, and I decided to see what that list would look like if it was placed inside the Deuter Traveler 60 + 10 travel backpack.
Following Rick’s packing guidelines for Europe travel, I packed the following articles of clothing into the main compartment of my Deuter Traveller 60 + 10 travel backpack:
- Five shirts (three t-shirts, one hoodie and one lightweight, long-sleeved top)
- Two pairs of pants (my favorite leggings from Uniqlo and a pair of loose cotton pants)
- Five pairs of underwear, two bras and two pairs of socks
- One pair of running shoes (those are my “wear to do housework” inside shoes) and one pair of sandals
- A North Face windbreaker
- One pink scarf
- One bathing suit
- One nightgown
After packing all of those items into my bag, I would estimate that the backpack was only half full. I didn’t need to use any of the internal or external compression straps, nor did I unzip the expansion zippers that add two extra inches of space, yet I certainly had lots more room to add more clothing (for example, I really like to travel with at least two dresses and a little cross-body purse for going out at night) and to do some shopping in Europe.
However, you need more than just clothes in your backpack when you go to Europe! I then added the following necessities to the separate bottom compartment:
- Large toiletry case
- First-aid kit
- Turkish cotton towel (my absolute favorites for Europe travel – I prefer these over microfiber towels as they are made from natural cotton, feel lovely on your skin and dry quickly).
- Dual-voltage travel hairdryer
Again, there was still room to add more into the bag. This lower section is where I would also slip my jewelry case and perhaps an extra pair of flip-flops for the hostel shower.
Next, I decided to pack the detachable daypack with the essentials that I always carry with me on the plane:
- A laptop computer (I recently picked up a 14″ Asus Zenbook and I’m already loving it as my travel laptop – it’s impossibly lightweight and the battery lasts forever – I live in Canada and shopping via Amazon.com saved me a few hundred dollars over buying it through a Canadian site)
- My iPhone
- My favorite travel wallet (choose from thirty-three colors!)
- A clear bag with travel-sized toiletries
- A guidebook so I can read about my destination en route
The only thing that I didn’t pack into the daypack was my camera, because I was using it to take the photos! Still, I had room for both a point-and-shoot and a DSLR in the daypack.
How to Buy a Travel Backpack for Europe
I would never suggest that you commit to a backpack without trying it on, as it can take some time to find a bag that feels good on your body. If, like me, you don’t live in a big city with lots of outdoor shops, it’s usually easier to shop for travel backpacks online from sites with great return policies.
The Deuter Traveller 60 + 10 is available on Amazon, and is covered by Amazon’s standard thirty-day return policy. If the bag isn’t a good match for your body or travel style, you can receive a full refund.
If you have any questions about this bag, or about traveling in Europe as a solo female traveler, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments!
The Best Travel Backpacks for Europe – Some Alternatives
I will be the first to admit that the Deuter Traveller 60 + 10 travel backpack is definitely pricey. However – you are paying for quality with this backpack. Designed in Germany and solidly constructed with water-resistant materials, this bag could easily last for an entire decade of regular travel.
There are a number of other travel backpacks that are also suitable for travel in Europe. I’ve highlighted four of the bags that I see most often when I’m traveling, studied their features and provided a link to their product pages on Amazon. I won’t pretend I’ve tried all of these bags, but each is backed by a reputable brand name and each is popular on the European travel scene.
How It Compares to the Deuter Traveler 60 + 10
|The Farpoint 55 is significantly smaller, with a 40-litre main pack and 15-litre daypack. If you’re carrying a lot of stuff or plan to do some shopping while you’re away, this bag might be too small. However, it does have a front-loading design and high-quality suspension system.|
|The Proxy 65 is a good choice for digital nomads who are traveling with technology, as it features an internal laptop compartment and external padding to keep your valuables from being jostled around. However, there is no detachable daypack.|
|Highly-regarded as a versatile backpack, you can use this comfortable, flexible, front-loading bag for city travel or when you’re in the backcountry. On the other hand, this bag is slightly more delicate than the others in this article, so be careful if you’re throwing it around or scraping it along the ground.|
|Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack||Available in four colors, this backpack has lots of small exterior pockets for travelers who love to stay organized. Although its design is highly adjustable, it is a unisex model that may not fit petite travelers.|
|If you’re just taking a short trip to one city in Europe, you may not need a full-sized travel backpack. For city breaks, I like to carry a classic soft-sided suitcase in a muted color, like navy blue or grey, that stands out from the other suitcases at the baggage claim.|