When you travel you have some special requirements for your carry on. The biggest issue is security. The best bags for travel will be built in such a way that is always close to you and won’t be sitting out there on your back for everyone to get into. They should be small enough to not be obtrusive and cumbersome, but big enough to hold all of your larger travel needs such as cameras and lenses, water bottles, sun screen.

You also want to look for bags that are TSA compliant and won’t require you to remove your laptop at the airport.

The best bags for travel I have found are:

Pacsafe Venturesafe 200 Gii Ultra secure travel$$Slash proof straps and bodyReview
Travelon Urban Tour Bag Secure travel, less expensive$Locking zipper and RFID blockingReview
Timbuk2 Command Get through security quickly$$$TSA CompliantReview
Patagonia MLC Not checking luggage$$$$Maximum Legal Carry onReview


Pacsafe Venturesafe 200 GII

If you’re looking to protect your belongings while traveling, the Pacsafe Venturesafe 200 GII has a ton of good features. It is compact and will hold tight to you body and has slash-proof straps with locking clips so you won’t be separated from the bag, while the bag itself is slash-proof. The zipper hooks into a little clip at the end preventing it from easily being opened. One of the neatest features is the RFID blocking pocket to prevent hi-tech thefts.

Travelon Urban Tour

When you want security while traveling, the Travelon Urban Tour has the features you need, while still looking stylish. You won’t look like a typical tourist with this bag, and you will feel safe with all of the features. It has slash-proof straps and a locking zipper as well as an RFID blocking slot. It doesn’t have as many of the features as the Pacsafe but is less expensive.

Timbuk2 Command

If you travel a lot, and are less concerned with security than you are with convenience, the Timbuk2 Command will serve your needs. It doesn’t have the security features of the other bags, but if you are going to be going in and out of the airport, this will save you some hassle. It is large enough for your laptop and is TSA compliant so you don’t have to take it out while going through security. It is a Timbuk2, so it has all the compartments and neat features you come to expect.

Patagonia MLC

The Patagonia MLC is a must for the constant traveller. The MLC stands for Maximum Legal Carry-On, and it was designed for just that. It will fit everything you need to take with you on your trips without having to check luggage. It is meant for the traveler and has multiple pockets with external pockets for your passports and tickets. It doesn’t have the security features as the Pacsafe or Travelon, nor does it have a TSA compliant laptop space like the Timbuk2. But what it lacks in features it makes up in space. This is the biggest messenger you can take on carry on with you.