The Best Carry-On Backpacks of 2024

By: JEREMY SCOTT FOSTER | Pulished on 2024-01-29

15. eBags Mother Lode Travel Backpack: Best Budget Carry-On Backpack

The Best Carry-On Backpacks of 2024-Trip Advise

While I certainly believe that making the investment for a premium backpack is well worth the initial heartache in the beginning, this is not always practical. Enter the Mother Lode from eBags—a budget option that packs in the same features as most high-end carry-on backpacks.


The main compartment of this bag lives up to the “motherlode” name with a massive clamshell opening for all your bulky gear. A nifty fold-down divider can aid in organization, while the opposite side of the bag also offers mesh pockets for storage. This helps with staying organized without the extra cost of packing cubes.


Compression straps are also present in this portion of the bag to keep the bulk of your gear nice and secure.

A separate organization compartment features a massive 19″ laptop pocket that is suspended to keep your computer from impacting the ground in case you drop it. The additional pockets here are also a nice complement to the exterior zippered pockets.

The best part? You can convert this backpack to a duffle or to a briefcase, too. Simply stow the shoulder straps into a dedicated pocket, or attach the removable shoulder harness for duffle mode.


While we’re on the exterior of this bag, it’s worth mentioning that the 900D polyester does feel a little thin and flimsy to the touch ,which may compromise its overall durability. (Notice that most of our bags are well over 1000D in material thickness.)

All and all, however, this is an excellent wallet friendly option with ample storage space, well-thought-out organization, and all the adjustability we need for reliable one bag travel. The TLS Motherlode Weekender therefore easily earns its title of best budget travel backpack.


  • Budget friendly
  • Fold down shelf in main compartment for additional compartmentalization
  • Very large, suspended, laptop sleeve accommodating up to 19″ computers
  • Convertible between backpack, duffel bag, and briefcase


  • Material is a little thin and frail feeling

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