The Waypoint 65
The Waypoint 65

What’s the best pack out there for traveling without checking a bag?

I travel a good deal, mostly to visit friends or on vacations. I've made it my goal to never check a bag, which of course dictates that I pack simply (and wash clothes often). It also demands the right bag for the job. What would you recommend?—DavidDansville, NY

The Waypoint 65

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

I imagine you are a backpack kind of guy, David. So I’d suggest something like the Osprey Waypoint 65 ($250), a really nicely designed travel pack from one of the very best packmakers out there. The Waypoint has 4,200 cubic inches of space, which should be adequate for a seasoned traveler such as yourself and will still get you past airline carry-on restrictions. It’s designed to let you organize your gear easily, and hold it securely. And like all Osprey packs, the Waypoint carries well. It has a larger sibling, the Waypoint 85 ($280), but you might find it runs afoul of some airlines’ size restrictions.

The Waypoint 65 The Waypoint 65

I also like packs that can be rolled or carried. Eagle Creek’s Switchback Max 22″ ($300) has that bi-carry capability. It has decent backpack features, but also a pop-out handle and wheels so you can pull the thing. It has more than 4,000 cubic inches in the main pack and a detachable dayback, and the main bag alone is sized to get you on board without having to check anything.

For a pure roll-around, take a look at Patagonia’s MLC Wheelie ($229), a well-designed wheeled back that perfectly meets carry-on requirements and has lots of organizational capabilities. A nice bag.

Happy travels!