I just booked a trip to Amsterdam and London and I travel back and forth from Florida to New Jersey almost monthly. I am looking for a great travel backpack with lots of pockets, a laptop sleeve that is easy and can be a carry on.
also- what are your thoughts on waist straps- yay or nay?
Let me know your suggestions.
I personally like the Swiss Gear backpacks best, but also own (and like) backpacks by Jansport and High Sierra.
Do go somewhere to try them on. It may seem odd, but different brands/styles will feel and fit differently depending on your body style and no matter how nice it might look, if it isn't comfortable, you'll be miserable. Bring something with weight to it with you, even if it's just your purse, and then try on the packs that meet your size needs and adjust them to fit. That should narrow down your choices considerably.
My wife and I purchased the Osprey Farpoint Travel Pack. It has a very comfortable strap and belt system that can be hidden away behind a zippered panel for luggage style carry. There is also a removable Day Pack. We purchased ours at REI.
+1 for Osprey Farpoint. I have the 60. Used to travel across Asia for 7 months and this bag seems to have everything you need. Hiding the backpack straps and using the handle like luggage and removable daypack lets carry-on instead of checking a bag (huge benefit). Get yourself some compression bags for your clothes and it will fit everything you need and nothing you don't.
Always pack less than you think you need. Chances are they have it where you are going anyways.
My wife and I are in out late 60s and we travel extensively (2 months in Europe), (3 months in Bali, Au and NZ) and we both use a High Sierra Freewheel Rolling Backpack and then a smaller day pack...more like a book bag. The wheeled backpacks have held up well, all zippers still work fine and no seams coming apart even though we stuff them pretty tight. As far as actual backpacks go, look on the internet about how to measure torso length. Then go try some on that are matched to your torso. For out next trip, we're planing two years and I've bought an osprey porter 30 to carry along with my trusted High Sierra roller. It your tall, you might be able to handle the osprey porter 46.
I work for a technology company and have to travel a lot. I love my Swiss Gear laptop bag and a small Eagle Creek roll-on.
Patagonia maximum legal carry on MLC. Have had mine for years.
I have used Osprey which providing good quality. They have women sizes that fit my body and never got back pain and other.
However, from your requirements, I recommend Minaal.
It is the success product from Kick Starter cloud funding.
Carry-all, fit low cost airlines size, a lot of smart compartments and so on.