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Large Backpacks (30L+) – Five Plus One

Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.


Sometimes you are going on a trip and just don’t have pack a standard suitcase, or maybe you just prefer the versatility of a backpack. Either way, there comes a time in everyone’s life when they are going away for an extended and don’t want to fumble with more than what you can strap to your back. We can help with that. Today, we are looking at large backpacks that hold 4o-plus liters of whatever you need them to.

1) Mission Workshop: R6 Arkiv Modular Backpack in Brown Waxed Canvas

large-backpacks-40l-five-plus-one 1) Mission Workshop: R6 Arkiv Modular Backpack in Brown Waxed Canvas

We’ve discussed Mission Workshop before but it’s hard to not mention them again. Their R6 Arkiv Modular Backpack comes in two sizes, 20L and 40L, but that’s just the beginning. The R6’s six rails (those vertical strips of nylon webbing) allow for the addition of several slide on components, such as a padded laptop case, various folios and electronics pockets, water bottle holders, etc. The result is a much more unique pack that you can customize to your liking. It comes in several different fabrics but we feel it’s hard to beat the classic Brown Waxed Canvas look when it comes to packs.

Available for $280 from Mission Workshop.

2) And Wander: 40L Backpack in White

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Two of the most common reasons that a backpack falls short of being a good travel companion are that it is either too small or too heavy. Japanese label And Wander circumvented both of these problems when they designed their top of the line backpack: a 40L bag that is constructed entirely from nylon and polyester for durability and to keep the weight down. Designed for those who will be toting it on long journeys, the pack is made so that several of the pockets and waterbottle holders can be accessed without even taking it off.

Available for $290 from Jinen.

3) Pacsafe: Vibe Anti-Theft Backpack

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Pacsafe’s Vibe Anti-Theft Backpack might not be the most aesthetically pleasing backpack, but it commendably places functionality before everything else for those itinerant travelers. This pack opens more like a traditional suitcase than a standard backpack, which makes it easy to fill to the brim with all your travel necessities. The main compartment’s zipper can be secured shut with the built in locking system and attached through the strap so you can lock it up like a bicycle. There is also a ton of support throughout to ensure the weight of everything you have packed is well distributed.

Available for $140 from Pacsafe.

4) Timbuk2: Wander Pack

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It’s pretty difficult to avoid Timbuk2 when it comes to bags, especially when they keep releasing great packs like the Wander Pack. This back is constructed from 420D Ripstop fabric, features 40L of fillable space, and like the aforementioned Anti-Theft pack, is designed much more like a suitcase than a backpack. It has all the internal straps you’d expect from a normal suitcase to help compress your clothing, and even features an external shoe pocket for when you need to travel with a secondary (perhaps not pristine) pair of shoes.

Available for $179 from Timbuk2.

5) Filson: Rolltop Backpack

As Filson says, “might as well get the best”. Their Rolltop Backpack might not be the biggest or most feature rich on this list, but it certainly has the most enduring design. Clocking in at 30 liters, the Rolltop is made of Filson’s legendary materials: rugged twill, water-repellant tin cloth, and bridle leather. Despite it’s old world components, it has some twenty-first century comforts like a padded laptop compartment and wool lining on the straps.

Available for $475 at Filson.

Plus One – Velomacchi: Speedway Backpack

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Velomacchi‘s Speedway Backpack is one of the most unique backpacks available, and sadly we don’t have enough space to cover everything this bag has to offer but we’ll sure try. This 40L bag has just about everything you could possibly hope for: water-resistant compartment with a magnetic roll-top closure, hydration pack compartment, fast access pockets for often accessed supplies, an adjustable torso lock system, magnetic chest closure, and even a camera mount of the front straps to capture all of your adventures. Do you need all of this? I highly doubt it. But is it awesome and would you use it if you had it? I know I sure would.

Available for $299 from Velomacchi.