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I own a ton of bags and this $37 Amazon backpack might just be the 'perfect' carry-on accessory

Shoppers love how "lightweight" and "compact" it is.

writer sarah dimuro with amazon backpack, blonde woman wearing baseball cap with grey backpack from amazon, G4Free 16L Small Hiking Backpack, Compact Travel Backpack Lightweight Daypack Waterproof for Men Women School Outdoor
I'm obsessed with this affordable Amazon backpack — it's the perfect carry-on bag. (Photos via Sarah DiMuro)

In my family, I’ve gained a reputation for being a bit of a backpack buff. There's the Lululemon one I keep in my car for the gym, an Ogio super pack I use for work, and then a couple of others I like to have on hand for travelling and road trips. I mean, I wouldn’t dare head to Disney World with my two little boys without a backpack full of sundries and snacks.

Most of my packs are full-sized, but in an effort to diversify my collection, I recently bought a G4Free 16L Small Hiking Backpack from Amazon Canada and took it with me on a flight to Florida. The compact carryall, which features sponge padded shoulder straps, was so comfortable I had no problems running through the airport to make my connection.

The best part, though? Thanks to the multiple pockets and compartments, all of my essentials and travel documents stayed organized and were a breeze to retrieve. While I'm not betraying my beloved big backpacks anytime soon, I’m excited to bring this smaller satchel on upcoming bike rides and boating adventures. Scroll below to find out why this compact pack has become my go-to carry-on.

Amazon

This lightweight 16L backpack, with its multiple compartments and zippered storage, is an ideal flight carry-on bag

Pros
  • Multiple compartments
  • Hidden RFID protection pocket
  • Super lightweight
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Fabric can be noisy
$37 at Amazon

The lightweight 16-litre pack comes in four colours and measures 11" x 6" x 16". It's made of tear- and water-resistant nylon fabric and features two-way abrasion-resistant zippers.

The backpack has three main zippered compartments, plus two side pockets and a zippered pocket on its padded back to safely store your passport. This hidden pocket also provides RFID protection to prevent your identification or credit cards from being accessed.

small hiking backpack from amazon canada on a table, G4Free 16L Small Hiking Backpack, Compact Travel Backpack Lightweight Daypack Waterproof for Men Women School Outdoor
The G4Free 16L Small Hiking Backpack is under $40 on Amazon (Photo via Sarah DiMuro).

The sponge-padded shoulder straps ensure hours of comfort regardless of how full your pack is, and the hanging key clip inside the bag is perfect if you're always rooting around for your keychain. The backpack also features reflective strips, and the adjustable front buckle has a whistle in case you ever feel unsafe when you're out and about.


Super lightweight: The bag itself only weighs 380g, making it easy to throw into your suitcase for any long trips.

Padded shoulders: My bony shoulders can really take a beating under the weight of a backpack, but the sponge-padded straps of this pouch keep me comfortable no matter how long I wear it, or how full it is.

It's cute: I feel sassy and sporty when I don this pack. The oval shape of the bag also provides a touch more style than my bigger backpacks.

Easy to stay organized: There are so many pouches and pockets in this pack that I can find items quickly and the little hanging clip means no more forgetting which pocket I put my keys in.

Unique RFID protection: I've had my credit card information stolen a few times, so I especially love the hidden RFID zippered back pouch. I've never owned a backpack that had that capability, and it makes me feel so much better knowing my identity is being protected.

me in backpack
The padded shoulders on this backpack make it super comfy. (Photo via Sarah DiMuro)

Perfect for Disney: This bag is a great size to carry during long days at Disney. Also, it fits easily inside the seat storage compartments on roller coasters.

I love the buckle whistle: While I've never had to use it, it's nice knowing that if I felt unsafe walking to my car one night, I had a whistle on hand to try and call for help.


I wish it was waterproof: Getting caught in the rain while biking is no joke, but having a wet pack makes it feel so much worse. It's OK in a light drizzle, but anything more than that can run can give your possessions a pretty good soaking.

It's a little noisy: Forget about sneaking into a room wearing this pack. The fabric can be a little noisy, although the more I carry in it, the quieter it seems to be.


With an average 4.5-star rating, most customers are quite pleased with this "great little backpack."

"This 16L backpack is perfect," remarked one shopper, who loved all the pockets of this "very light" pack.

blonde woman in baseball cap wearing G4Free 16L Small Hiking Backpack, Compact Travel Backpack Lightweight Daypack Waterproof for Men Women School Outdoor
The G4Free backpack has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon (Photo via Sarah DiMuro).

Another person said it was the "perfect size for carry-on." While certainly smaller than a regular backpack, they were "surprised" how much could fit inside this "durable and roomy" bag.

Another customer commented that the "size is perfect, "not too big, but [with] plenty of space" for their 13" MacBook Air and other essentials.

The chest strap was what another customer "loved most," stating that it's often not included on small daypack designs. The strap "stabilized" the pack, making it "super comfortable" to wear.

A few customers did mention how noisy the bag could be, with one stating it "sounds very loud when it folds or bends."

One shopper also ended up returning the "good quality" bag for one that could better "resist a bit of rain" as all their belongings ended up getting wet after just a few minutes in a "normal rain."

front of bag with orange whistle
The buckle whistle is a neat little feature for added peace of mind (Photo via Sarah DiMuro).

I'm currently packing for a quick trip to the States, and you can bet I'm taking this petite pack along. I'm packing very light and want something that can easily double as a pack and a purse. The weather looks great, but as I'm travelling to New England, where rain is always a possibility, I'm going to bring along a few disposable rain ponchos to keep my pouch from getting wet, but I don't mind. IMO, the cuteness and comfortability of the pack more than make up for its lack of waterproofing.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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