From secret shoe storage to moisture-wicking shoulder straps; women’s travel backpacks have come a really long way. It’s not much to ask these days for your backpack to be comfortable enough to tote around all day, lightweight enough to not give you backache and stylish enough for you to feel attractive and confident on your travels. But the list of features now available with just your standard travel backpack is as impressive as it is exhausting. Exhausting that is, if you’re trying to choose the perfect backpack for your next trip but you’re getting lost amongst all the backpack bonus bling and travel bag jargon getting slung around, like a fake LV carry-on, albeit online.
When trying to figure out how to choose the perfect backpack for your next travel adventure and many future trips to come, simply take into consideration these 8 important factors;
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1. Your Travel Style
How long are most of the trips you take? Do you travel slowly over 2-3 months or are you buying a one-way ticket? Maybe you only have time for long weekenders in cities that are just a short flight away. Your style of travel is probably the most important thing you need to take into consideration when trying to choose the perfect backpack for you.
You may be interested in reading my previous blog post which includes my top picks for the best backpacks for women travelers for short trips (40-50L) and also for long trips (50-60L). So think about your travel style so you know the size of the backpack you’re going to need, which brings us to…
2. Backpack Capacity
The size and capacity of your travel backpack really depends on how much you
want to need to take with you and also a bit on what size and build you are. Being a petite 5’3 myself I really need to go small with my backpacks but if you’re an athletic 5’8 and above, carrying a 70L backpack should be a breeze. If you’re going on a shorter trip then a 40-50L travel bag will be all you need. If you’re not a serial packing-light enthusiast like myself and you’re embarking on a round-the-world trip, 50-60L will be about right for most women travelers.
3. Backpack Pockets and Compartments
Most women’s travel backpacks come with a laptop sleeve and water bottle pocket as standard but do take into consideration pockets and compartment to help you choose the perfect backpack for you. This actually depends a lot on your personality type, is it important to you to stay organized and be able to find what you’re looking for in less than 60 seconds? Do you need to know that your dirty laundry is stashed away so not to contaminate the clean stuff? Does the thought of your things not being in the right place freak you out? If you answered yes, and I’m so with you sister, then you’ll need a backpack with many secret sections, delightfully deep pockets and classy compartments to help with your
4. Backpack Durability
Women’s Travel Backpacks aren’t cheap but they’re a great investment, and you want to be sure that the one you choose will last you for many adventures to come and hold up well over the years. Your backpack needs to be high-quality, waterproof and rip-proof. The best way to be sure you’re buying a durable woman’s backpack is to go with a reputable brand: Osprey, The North Face and Eagle Creek immediately come to mind as travel bag brands that you can really trust. My first ever backpack was by The North Face, I took it all over India and Thailand and we just really bonded so damn well. I’ll always have a special place in my usually stone cold heart for this brand.
Choose The Perfect Backpack Tip: Whatever travel backpack you end up choosing, make sure that the pocket zippers are strong enough to hold any unforeseen extra loads. As essential as a quality travel backpack is, souvenirs are equally as essential and no traveler is immune to a good market (Marrakesh, teapots, rugs… say no more).
5. Backpack Strap Style
I refuse to use a backpack that doesn’t have a padded hip belt. Even for a small carry on backpack that’s 35L, having a tight buckle around my waist to take what really feels like half of the weight off my shoulders and distribute it around my hips makes a huge difference. If you’re backpacking around Asia or Central America you also want to make sure that your backpack shoulder straps are adjustable, moisture-wicking and breathable.
6. Backpack Color
Rein yourself in girlfriend! If you love bright colors as much as I do and buying everything in hot pink or leopard print is so natural to you that’s it’s a reflex action, stop! If you’re trying to choose the perfect backpack it’s because you’re going backpacking and that means your precious backpack will get filthy. Your backpack really needs to be a very dark color, think dark green, dark blue or ideally black. There are however some exceptions to this, I mean, if you don’t think you’ll be getting on too many buses and trains, and you’ll be staying in mid-range accommodation, then maybe, possibly, (I just can’t help myself) you could get away with this hot pink beauty…
7. Backpack Opening Style
I’ve always opted for backpacks that open at the front because this allows me to see and get to everything quicker but it really depends on your personal packing preference and the kind of trip you’re taking. Consider side compartment zips, drawstring tops, top loader backpacks and front opening options. Most hikers prefer top-loader backpacks so always consider the type of trip you are planning over your personal preference.
8. Any Extra Features You May Need
The extra features available for women trying to choose the perfect backpack can feel overwhelming but it’s worth thinking about what you really would benefit from and what is really just unnecessary fluff. Some women’s backpacks have an air-scape mesh pack panel to help keep you cool. Other useful features include an external hydration sleeve, tuck-away ice tool loops, stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachments. A separate shoe compartment at the bottom, a laptop sleeve and a zip lock loop for extra security.
Will you need a water-resistant backpack? If you’re traveling anywhere in the world during monsoon season or to the UK at any time of year (except maybe August), then the answer is yes! So make sure the backpack you choose comes with a retractable rain cover and the material has a PU coating. If you’re traveling around a lot by bus, train and tuk tuk then it be may be useful for you to be able to streamline the bag by tucking in the straps so things don’t get caught (and there’s less for thieves to grab hold of).
So this gives you an idea of what to consider when it comes to extra features, bells, whistles and bling. We love it all but don’t let all of the above distract you from the most important things to consider: Size, fit and quality.
Choose the perfect backpack parting tips:
- If you opt for a backpack with lots of pockets and compartments then make sure you bring enough travel bag locks to keep your valuables safe.
- Don’t forget to bring Packing Cubes so you can utilize every inch of space in whichever size backpack you eventually choose.
- Always read reviews from female travelers who have actually traveled with the backpack you’re considering buying (ideally for a few months somewhere like Asia or Central America) to be on the safe side.
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