A foldable backpack is an extremely useful accessory to pack on vacations and backpacking trips. It allows you the option of leaving your primary backpack at the hostel or campsite and taking a smaller, lighter backpack out with you on day trips.
The wonderful thing about foldable backpacks is that they are exceptionally lightweight and fold up small enough to fit in your hand luggage. This means if you are packing light or have to deal with airline baggage restrictions, you won’t be penalized for carrying an additional backpack with you on your journey.
Here are the foldable backpacks that offer lightweight convenience in addition to durability, comfort, and suitable space.
Best Foldable Backpack of 2020
ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack
This ultralightweight foldable backpack from ZOMAKE ticks all the boxes and actually retails at under $20. When in use, the backpack can hold up to 20L. It is made from water-resistant nylon material with strengthened stitching to ensure maximum durability.
The backpack contains a front pocket and two side pockets in addition to the main compartment. It folds up to sandwich size so you can pack it in your hand luggage or even in your coat pocket. It’s the perfect solution to your daypack travel needs.
In fact, ZOMAKE is so confident that you’ll love your product that they are offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
4Monster Hiking Daypack
This foldable daypack from 4Monster can hold up to 24 liters and weighs just 6 oz. It folds up to pocket-size and takes up little space in your luggage. The product is made from Cordura fabric which is highly durable and water-resistant too.
A particularly great feature on this pack is that even though it folds up to pocket-size, it still features breathable mesh adjustable shoulder straps to increase comfort and reduce strain on your shoulders.
Outlander Ultra Lightweight Packable Hiking Backpack
Outlander offers foldable backpacks in a range of colors and sizes, all the way up to 33L. Each backpack is made from durable nylon fabric with reinforced bar tacking at stress points.
The bag folds down into a zippered inner pocket that can fit just about anywhere. Outlander products are typically very comfortable and the packable hiking backpack is no exception.
The bag comes with a free multifunctional carabiner so when folded down, it can clip onto another backpack or even your water bottle.
Naturehike Rainproof Ultralight Foldable Backpack
Next, we have the Naturhike water-resistant foldable backpack. It is ultra-lightweight and folds up to pocket-size. Like many of the backpacks on this list, the Naturehike pack is made from water and tear-resistant nylon material.
The shoulder straps are adjustable and made from breathable material for your comfort. In addition to the main pocket, there are a couple of side mesh pockets and an inner pocket for your valuables.
Roam Lightweight Packable Backpack
Roam offer an attractive selection of brightly-colored foldable backpacks. These packs don’t fold up quite as small but barely take up as much room as a sweater in a suitcase.
This product trades size for durability and boasts a reinforced back and double-walled bottom for extra stability. The adjustable mesh straps offer comfort with less strain on the neck and shoulders.
If you like to keep your daypack organized, you’ll be pleased to see that this product contains an inner laptop sleeve along with multiple zipped pockets.
If you are OK with a foldable backpack that doesn’t quite fit in your pocket, the added features of the Roam backpacks are quite attractive.
HIKPRO 20L – The Most Durable Lightweight Packable Backpack
The Hikpro foldable backpack is made from high-quality nylon and is reinforced in more than fourteen places with bartack. In fact, Hikpro is so confident that their product will last that they offer a five-year warranty.
The pack does fold up to pocket size and weighs just 7.5 oz. It also offers a few extra compartments for organization. We approve of Hikpro’s contoured mesh shoulder straps which provide maximum comfort – particularly for a foldable backpack.
The product is water-resistant but not waterproof. This means it will not really last more than an hour in the rain.
QS Lightweight Packable Backpack for Travel
At a glance, the Gonex ultralight backpack does not appear to be foldable but it does, in fact, shrink down to the size of a sandwich. It will comfortably fit in your coat pocket.
The bag holds up to 22L and is made from durable nylon material. This backpack is fully waterproof and so you can confidently stick in the wash or wear it in rainy conditions. Although the pack is strong enough to hold a laptop, it does not offer any padding or protection.
It is better suited to carrying sturdy camping equipment or groceries.
Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack
The Osprey foldable backpack is one of the few products on this list that is 100% waterproof. IT is made from tear-resistant nylon material and comes in a stylish choice of colors.
The mesh shoulder straps are easily adjustable and are comfortable to wear. The pack can fold down and fits neatly into its own carrying case. The bag comes with three external pockets but does not offer any internal organization.
Tuban Ultra Lightweight Packable Water Resistant Backpack
This foldable backpack from Tubon is exceptional value for money. It retails at under $10 and does everything a foldable backpack should do. It is made from oxford fabric rather than nylon so it is not quite as durable or water-resistant.
Still, it is ultra-lightweight and folds up to pocket-size. The shoulder straps are ergonomically designed to distribute weight evenly across your back and the mesh design will keep your back cool in hot weather.
For a bargain item, this is a great daypack for casual trips or shopping.
Best Foldable Backpack Buyers Guide
If you are purchasing a foldable backpack, you are likely looking for a product that is ultra-lightweight and takes up as little space as possible. Foldable backpacks make great daypacks and can fit neatly in your suitcase.
If saving space is your priority, check out backpacks that shrink down to pocket-size. These can fit neatly in your jacket pocket and weigh less than 10 oz. Of course, even if saving space is your priority, you still need to be wary of the product’s durability. There is no point packing a miniature foldable backpack if it can just about manage to carry your pack lunch in dry weather.
Nylon is a lightweight material that is water-resistant and sturdy. Nylon backpacks can withstand a lot of weight and will keep your belongings dry in mild weather. For increased durability, keep an eye open for packs that utilize bartack stitching. This type of stitching reinforces stress points to decrease wear and tear over time.
Another factor to consider is what kind of straps the backpack features. Even foldable backpacks should at minimum offer mesh adjustable straps. These will keep your back cool and help to redistribute the weight of your load from your shoulders to your hips. Backpacks that offer contoured S-shaped straps are even more preferable.
Finally, another variable to consider is pockets. Some of the backpacks on this list offer just one or two pockets while others offer several inside pockets for your valuables. If organization is important to you, it may be worth compromising slightly on folding size if it means you have more compartments for storing your belongings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What differentiates a foldable backpack from regular backpacks?
Foldable backpacks are ultra-lightweight and usually fold down into a small pouch. They are designed to be carried in your primary luggage so that you have a lighter daypack option when you go on trips.
They are often referred to as collapsible or packable backpacks. Often, they shrink down small enough to fit in your pocket.
What is the difference between waterproof and water-resistant?
A backpack that is waterproof can withstand heavy rain. It will keep your belongings dry no matter what and can usually be washed in a washing machine.
If a backpack is water-resistant, it will keep your belongings dry in light rain – but only up to a point. If you get caught in a surprise rainstorm, you will still need to find shelter as soon as you can. Until then, you can be fairly confident that your backpack will keep your things dry.
What does it mean if a backpack is reinforced with bartack?
Bartack is a sewing technique used to reinforce areas that may be subject to stress or additional wear and tear. These zigzag stitches increase the durability of a backpack by strengthening these stress points.
How much stuff can 20L hold?
A 20L backpack offers plenty of space for a day trip. It can hold a water bottle, your lunch, spare clothing, and your valuables and electronic devices. You can usually fit your laptop in bags of this size although foldable backpacks do not typically offer much in the way of padded protection.
Are foldable backpacks comfortable?
If you are concerned about comfort, choose a backpack that offers adjustable contoured straps as these sit more comfortably on your back and decrease pressure on your shoulders.
If you are vacationing somewhere hot, choose mesh or breathable material to increase airflow and prevent your bag from sticking to your back.