Traveling is by far the number one thing all musicians have in common. No matter what style, genre, or skill level, we all must travel from gig to gig. Keeping your gear safe should be a number one priority. Not all backpacks or gig bags are created equal. Some are designed for things like cameras and laptops, whereas others offer much more space and storage. We have tested every bag on this list extensively and are positive we have found the best musician backpack. No matter what your needs are, you’ll find the right one here.
Best Musician Backpack – At A Quick Glance
Things to Consider When Buying a Touring Musician Backpack
Durability is extremely important
You’re going to be lugging this backpack everywhere you go. It needs to last. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a tour or road trip with a broken strap on a heavy bag. Especially if you’re hauling heavy gear. All of the musician backpacks on this list are of extremely high quality and have great warranties, if something unexpected should occur.
Even with a large backpack, you’re not going to be able to fit a lot of clothing
Save the big and bulky clothing for a duffel bag. I promise that once you get all your electronics and gadgets in that you’re not going to have a lot of room for wearables. The backpacks on this list are intended for your gear. Keep that in mind.
All musician backpacks are not created equal
Certain musician backpacks are literally designed to hold MIDI controllers. This might be something that you do not need. It sure is nice for the traveling keyboard player, but you might only need a place for your laptop. That space could be adapted for something else, otherwise it may go to waste.
The weight of the backpack is extremely important
Something that I didn’t consider when I bought my first musician bag was weight. I went for the biggest and most baller backpack from Pelican. It has a bombproof laptop storage area, similar to their actual cases. What I didn’t realize was the amount of sheer weight I’d be lugging around at all times. If you’re going to be doing a lot of walking or hiking, be sure to think about that.
That being said, let’s get into the reviews.
Thule Crossover 25L Backpack – Lightweight Musician Backpack
- Padded, integrated laptop compartment holds up to a 15 inch MacBook Pro
- 25 liter backpack
- Great backpack to hold all of your electronics and accessories
I absolutely love the Thule Crossover backpack. This is one of the lighter bags on our list. As I just mentioned, traveling with a very heavy backpack can be very annoying. The outside is a water-resistant material that doesn’t look off-putting. There’s no bells or whistles on this bag, but it gets the job done, at a more affordable price point.
How is the Storage on the Thule Crossover 25L Backpack?
The top of the bag features a nice protective pouch for holding sunglasses, a phone, and anything else small you can think of. There is a plastic protective insert that does move around quite frequently and can be annoying.
The front zipper offers a small storage area capable of holding a phone, wallet, charger, and any other small items.
Above that, we have the first “main” compartment of the musician backpack. This space has pre-made nylon dividers for holding pens, passports, checkbooks, and other small items. There’s also two zip up storage areas that are surprisingly big.
In the laptop compartment in the back, there are two nylon material dividers. The top one can hold a laptop up to 17″ and below that is tablet storage. Below this section is what I consider to be largest compartment for storage. I have my camera in this spot currently. Expect to fit one large sweatshirt in this section.
How Comfortable is the Thule 25L?
The Thule Crossover 25L is one of the most comfortable backpacks I have ever worn. 10/10, I definitely would recommend.
Conclusion: a great introductory backpack that’s easier on the wallet! It’s a light backpack with a relatively small amount of storage space.
SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 – Best Budget Backpack
- 18.5 x 13.5 x 9.0 inches (Height x Width x Depth)
- Durable 1200D polyester
- Lay-flat design helps speed through airport security
- Laptop-only compartment designed to fit most portable computers up to 17 inches. Inner laptop sleeve recommended for extra protection.
- Since the backpack is oversized, it fits adults and large children best.
SwissGear is one of the most common backpack makers. I’m sure you’ve seen someone who has this backpack or a similar one. The Travel Gear 1900 is a popular choice because of the low price point and the plethora of features. This is my least favorite on the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice!
How is the Storage on the SwissGear Travel Gear 1900?
Despite the great name-brand recognition, the Travel Gear 1900 comes up a little short on the storage side. There are two main compartments on the musician backpack.
The front of the backpack offers a small pouch near the bottom, perfect for storing keys, pens, business cards, and small chargers. The top of the bag also features a small storage area for sunglasses, phone, or your wallet.
Inside the main pouch of the backpack are two nylon dividers offering storage for notebooks or small novels. There’s a zipped mesh area on the opposite side.
I must say, the laptop storage area is one of my favorite features of this bag. There is both tablet storage and can fit a laptop up to 17 inches. Both parts of this area are padded very nicely to help support and protect your devices.
How Comfortable is the Travel Gear 1900?
Here’s another backpack that is very comfortable to wear. You’ll have no issues when wearing this bag.
Conclusion: this bag comes up a little short on our best list. This is the best option if you’re on a small budget!
Magma Riot DJ Backpack XL – The Ultimate Musician Backpack
- Holds Kontrol S4/S2, VCI-400/380, MPK-25, MPC Renaissance, Rane Sixty-Two, Kontrol Z2, DJM-T1 etc. + laptop and accessories
- External (H/W/D): 22" x 14.5" x 3.5" / Internal: 20" x 12.5 x 3" (controller compartment)
- Heavy duty and 100% waterproof Tarpaulin material and Lockable and PVC-coated (waterproof) zippers
- Zip-Around-Expansion-System" increases packing capacity of main compartment also Versatile interior layout with removable foams, divider and protection panel
- Separate, fully padded laptop compartment up to 17" and Two accessory pockets with numerous mesh pouches and organizers
Now this is one heavy-duty bag. Magma has designed a backpack that is perfect for musicians and DJs alike. The coolest part about this back is that it is fully customizable to your liking.
I really like the overall look and colors of this backpack. The black and red is a very nice touch.
Pelican S115 Musician Backpack – Most Durable Backpack Available
- Built-In Watertight, Crushproof Case
- Top-Loading, Fast Access - TSA Ready & Under Seat Convenient
- Slim case for use with Ultrabook laptops up to 15", also 17" Apple laptops. Weight-8.65 lbs (3.9 kg)
- Pressure Equalization Valve - Prevents Vacuum Lock. Watertight to 1 meter for 30 min - O-Ring Gasket Sealed (Case portion only. Backpack is not watertight)
- Large sized padded divider compartment - Holds multiple bodies, lenses, flash, etc.
The S115 is a Sport / Elite backpack designed to hold camera lenses, gear, laptop, and mode. Although this particular backpack is aimed at photography and cameras, you can still use it for whatever you like.
The Pelican S115 has a built-in waterproof and crush resistant case for your laptop. It is watertight to 1 meter for 30 minutes. It’s a bit more on the heavy side, but it’s worth it if you need total protection for your expensive gear.
The front of the case is very tough. It’s a strong material that can really take a beating. There are side pockets on both sides of the backpack. While there’s no water bottle pouches on the sides, the zipper pockets are very nice. Above these pockets is a clasp that can hold your tripod, if you have one.
Gruv Gear Smart Tech Backpack – Most Useful Backpack
- Exclusive ScanFly tethered laptop system compatible with optional Sliiv Tech sleeves in 11", 13", or 15".
- Spacious "glove box" fold-down compartment fits smaller gadgets like iPad, headphones, sunglasses and Hard drives.
- Overhead clip for eyewear or headphones.
- Side cargo pockets perfect for power cables and chargers.
- Insert for trolley or pull out luggage handles, works on our solo Series as well as amg Series carts.
The final musician backpack on our list is the Gruv Gear Smart Tech backpack. It’s a pretty standard bag for the most part. You get a similar kind of storage on the level of the SwissGear bag. The one unique thing about this musician backpack is the “pass-through” storage on the sides. These areas act as your main storage areas and aren’t accessed from the usual top-down traditional design.
Which backpack do you use? Did we miss one of your favorites on the list? Be sure to leave a comment down below if you have any questions or concerns. Thanks for reading.