Last year I decided to invest in a travel backpack that could hold my computer, camera, and other in-flight essentials. Until then, I was killing my shoulder carrying everything in a large weekender tote, and I finally had enough. I settled on the Calpak Luka backpack, and it’s become a must-have for everything airplane trip I take. If you’re looking for a functional, spacious, and sleek travel backpack you can use as a carry-on bag, here’s my full review on the Luka backpack from Calpak.
When it came to researching travel backpacks, Calpak was top of mind for me because I’ve owned the brand’s hard luggage pieces for several years. Other than some natural wear and tear, my suitcases have held up through many destinations near and far including New York City, London, Costa Rica, and Bali.
Calpak has been around since 1989 and has garnered a dedicated following due to its commitment to delivering top-notch luggage and bags that effortlessly blend functionality with aesthetically pleasing design. The brand is renowned for travel accessories that cater to the needs the modern traveler looking to travel in style.
Calpak Luka Backpack Review
As someone who values both style and functionality in luggage, this is also what I was looking for in a travel backpack.
For functionality, I needed something that would sit comfortably on my shoulders and act as a laptop backpack while simultaneously provide additional room for other items like my camera, a book, headphones, and even a small purse.
Style wise, I wanted something with a minimal, sleek aesthetic. I didn’t want to resort to a traditional school backpack. But I also didn’t want a designer backpack that I’d be too precious with and never want to use or be worried about, especially during international trips.
If you’re looking for a fancier backpack, you may want to consider the brand’s Kaya leather backpack.
I immediately gravitated toward the Luka backpack because it fit my function and style needs. I like that it’s made from soft material. And that, if you like, you can squish it down to fit in a suitcase or another bag. This backpack is extremely lightweight, with scratch-resistant nylon material that you can easily wipe should you get something on it.
Even upon first impressions, it was obvious to me that the people at Calpak really thought about the features and functionality of this backpack. It’s a great carry-on backpack with tons of space. With plenty of interior pockets so that you can stay organized instead of just dumping everything into one black hole.
Here are some of my favorite things about the Calpak Luka backpack.
Calpak Luka Laptop Backpack Features
As I mentioned above, I was sick of carrying my laptop in a bag on my shoulder. So I wanted something a lot more comfortable to travel with my computer. This backpack has a back a padded pocket that fits a laptop up to 15 inches, with a Velcro tab to keep it secure.
My laptop is 13 inches, and I’m easily able to fit into this pocket even with its leather travel case.
Luggage Trolley Sleeve
The luggage trolley sleeve on this backpack is a delightfully underrated feature. It prevents your backpack from falling off your suitcase, making carrying multiple bags easy.
Slide the open sleeve on the back of the backpack over your luggage handle, and you’re good to go!
Lots of Pockets
The Calpak Luka backpack has a ton of pockets. So you can really customize how you use it based on what you pack.
This backpack has two main sections:
A back section for a laptop and some extra space and then a larger front section. There’s also a zippered pocket right in the front that provides easy access for things like hand sanitizer or your ticket.
Inside these pockets, there are even more pockets with and without zippers. So you can really stay organized while packing this thing!
Depending on where you’re going or how you like to travel, this backpack also has a separate zippered pocket to store shoes. I don’t utilize this feature since I usually bring a carry-on roller bag or pack my shoes in my checked luggage. But it’s a nice-to-have if you’re going on an overnight trip and you’re a minimal packer.
There’s even a side pocket for a water bottle.
Hidden Zippered Pocket in Luggage Sleeve
Even though this is another pocket, it’s special one that should have its own call out.
Hidden within the trolley luggage sleeve is a concealed zippered pocket. This is a great safety feature to store a passport, phone, wallet, or anything of importance. Particularly if you’re traveling internationally where there are a lot of pickpockets.
If you’re heading out of the country on a trip, check out my international travel packing list.
A Ton of Space
Despite a relatively small footprint, this backpack is quite spacious. I’m always pleasantly surprised at how many things I can fit in it every time I pack it.
The smaller, back section of this bag fits my laptop, a book, and a small journal that I use for work. The front section is large enough to fit my camera, eyeglasses case, Beats headphones, computer and phone chargers, and a small crossbody purse. Yes. A purse. I like to put my purse in here so that the backpack acts as my personal item. And I can bring along a slightly larger carry-on bag.
Is the Calpak Luka Backpack Worth It?
In my opinion, yes. The Calpak Luka laptop backpack checks all the boxes for me as a travel bag.
This is a highly functional backpack with surprisingly a ton of space – enough to fit my computer, camera, glasses, headphones, and even two books and a small purse.
I love that there are a ton of pockets and sections to keep things separate. And that the brand included important details like the trolley sleeve and hidden pocket for important items.
This backpack is also stylish. I wanted something sleek and minimal that could match different luggage; didn’t come from REI or look like a high school backpack; and maintained some professionalism should I need it for a work trip.
Plus, let’s not forget the fact that my body no longer feels lopsided and jacked up from slinging a computer on my shoulder through the terminal.