Travel Hack Backpack Review | The Perfect Underseat Cabin Bag!

Last Updated on June 12, 2023

I am a huge fan of travelling with a backpack. I like that they are hands-free and perfect for exploring cities and carrying around all day. One of my favourites is the Travel Hack Backpack! It was designed by Monica from The Travel Hack, a travel blogger I have been following for years! Being a traveller herself, she designed it to be functional and stylish for women. What’s more, is it within the dimensions of Ryanair’s underseat cabin baggage allowance, so it flies for free!

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Travel Hack Backpack

🎒Dimensions: 40x25x20

⚖️Weight: 0.6kg | Capacity: 20l

💻Laptop compartment: Up to 13″

⭐️Perfect for: Day trips, mini breaks or weekend getaways, on its own. Or paired with additional luggage for longer trips.

Travel Hack Stowaway Ladies Cabin Backpack


The Travel Hack backpack is made to a very high quality. I like the way it’s black and smart looking, making it practical for a wide range of uses. It comes with a leather look luggage tag and a tassel. For my personal preferences I removed the tassel. However, I kept the tag on so it looks more luggage like, rather than just another backpack!

It also has rose gold zips as well as a small ‘The Travel Hack’ engraved rose gold metallic plate on the front. The zips on the main compartment are large enough to get a padlock through if you felt like locking the main compartment. Sometimes I will do this when walking around busy cities on my own.

On the back is a strap, so the backpack can be slid over a suitcase handle. (I’ve been extremely tempted by the matching Travel Hack Suitcase too. But I don’t tend to use suitcases very often!). The straps and back are padded, making it very comfortable to wear for long amounts of time. The bottom is reinforced a little too!

The shape of the Travel Hack backpack maximises every last centimetre of the Ryanair underseat luggage allowance. Therefore, at time of writing, it flies free! As Ryanair is one of the stingiest airlines for cabin luggage dimensions, if it fits for them, it’s likely to fit for the majority of other airlines too.

WATCH: Travel Hack Backpack *Pack With Me* YouTube Short

External Pockets

Not including the main compartment, there are 5 external pockets. Pockets are a MUST for me when looking for a backpack. On the front is a zipped pocket, it’s quite deep but narrow. I find that when the backpack is full, it’s better to have smaller, flatter items in this pocket.

One side has, what is called, a ‘passport pocket‘. It’s passport sized but like to keep my important documents in zipped pockets. As someone that loves water sports or going to the beach, I tend to keep a folded plastic bag in this pocket. That way if I end up with wet clothes or towels, I have a way of separating the wet stuff from the dry things!

I love the stretchy, expandable water bottle pocket. It holds my small water bottle without it being expanded. To fit larger bottles it has a zip on one side, creating a more ‘triangular’ shaped pocket. I can often reach round and get the bottle in and out of the pocket, without needing to remove the backpack!

Backpacks with 13" laptop compartment

On the back is a laptop compartment. The zip runs from the top of the backpack to the bottom, on one side. I have the 13″ 2020 MacBook Air and it fits perfectly into the pocket. I think it would be a bit of a squeeze if I had a case on it. However, as the backpack has a boxy design, I feel that’s it’s well protected though. My iPad in its keyboard case also fits perfectly.

My favourite pocket is the floating top pocket. It’s quite spacious and this is where I tend to keep stuff that I may want to have quick access to. I find that it’s a good spot to keep my sunglasses!

Main Compartment

The main compartment fully opens, similar to a suitcase. The internal fabric is a pale pink colour. Depending on the type of trip I’m taking I will position the zips differently. If I’m using the backpack more for luggage, I keep the zips together in a corner. However, if I’m using it for a day trip, where I’m likely to be in and out of it multiple times, I keep them together near the top. More like a typical backpack. Otherwise I’m worried smaller items may fall out as it does open from the bottom corner!

You can also buy a matching Travel Hack packing cube, designed to fit perfectly with the Stowaway backpack. I don’t tend to use packing cubes in smaller backpacks. I find I can fit more in without them. But as the Travel Hack backpack has a large rectangular internal area and opens like a suitcase, packing cubes do work well!

Inside the Travel Hack Backpack

Internal Pockets

Inside the main compartment are 2 mesh pockets. These are located on the front panel. One at the top, one at the bottom. They are surprisingly large! I find that you need to keep in mind about over filling. Sometimes I end up filling the main area up so much that when I go to zip the front up, the 3D pockets are too full for it to be able to shut properly.

I tend to keep leads or things that I use a lot in the top pocket. When using it as a day bag, it’s helpful having that inside pocket near the top. It’s easy to access things without having to dig around to find things! I find it similar to the floating compartment but slightly more secure as it is ‘hidden’ by another zip.

Travel Hack Backpack internal pockets

Using The Travel Hack Backpack

When I fly with Ryanair the Travel Hack backpack is the first bag that I reach for as my cabin bag. It is great for a weekend city break but when I travel for a week or more with only hand luggage, I find that I need something a tiny bit bigger!

As well as international travel, The Travel Hack Backpack is great for UK weekend getaways. I’ve taken it camping, to hotels and when I went to stay with my friend for the weekend. It’s the perfect size for a couple of changes of clothes, pyjamas, camera, my Kindle, some overnight essentials and a few other bits.

Alternatively, it’s great for day trips when you may need some additional bits. Such as I went to the beach on the train I packed a towel and a blanket to sit on etc. When I went away for a week I used it in addition to another bag. The other bag had all my clothes and then I had all my other gadgets and extra bits in my Travel Hack backpack.

The Cabin Max Travel Hack Luggage Range

As well as the Travel Hack Backpack (which now comes in 4 colours: black, olive, navy and leopard), there’s also:

I really like the look of the Travel Hack 30l hybrid trolley backpack. It’s looks similar to the travel hack backpack but has a capacity that’s 10l bigger and has wheels and a handle!

travel hack packing cube

The Travel Hack packing cube is designed to be paired with the 20l backpack. It comes in the same pale pink colour with rose gold zips. It says it compresses 17l of clothes down to 12l, saving 33% of space!

black cabin max travel hack backpack and the pink travel hack packing cube
The Travel Hack Packing Cube

I used The Travel Hack Compression Packing Cube along with the Cabin Max Metz 30L for a 2 week trip to Zanzibar. You can see how I used the two items together in my Youtube video: Pack With Me | How To Pack For A 2 Week Trip With 1 Under-seat Carry-on Bag. I was able to fit ALL my clothes for a 2 week trip inside the packing cube alone!

Although they are almost the same dimensions, I do find that the packing cube is a bit too big to use with the 20l Travel Hack backpack. It fills up every last bit of space which leaves no room to fill the internal mesh pockets or the floating pockets.

The Cabin Max Travel Hack range can be found on!

Looking for a larger underseat backpack? Check out: Cabin Max Metz 30 Litre Backpack Review | An Awesome Underseat Bag For A Longer Trip!

So if you are looking for the perfect underseat backpack for female travellers, the Cabin Max Travel Hack backpack should definitely be on your radar!

Kylie Signature
Travel Hack Stowaway Cabin Backpack - Flies free on Ryanair - Cabin Max

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