A woman’s travel backpack is her best friend abroad. I put together this list of the best backpacks for women travelers to help you, adventurous one, find your perfect traveling companion. One that will be with you through thick and thin, on planes, trains, tuk tuks and even self-made rafts. This travel companion won’t rub you up the wrong way (no to blisters) and although it will feel like a weight on your shoulders at times (things just get bought ok), it won’t fall apart on you when sh*t gets heavy and end up ditched on the roadside, like a sad sack of shame, in the middle of the night. Your ultimate travel buddy isn’t that crazy hippie with awesome bartering skills or that hot French dude (with other skills), it’s your backpack, so choose it wisely ladies.
In a hurry? Hop to:
If you’re planning on disappearing off the face of the planet (yes a two week vacation somewhere in Spain does count, even if you live in Spain) or you happen to have an epic travel adventure coming up, you’re going to have to get serious about what to pack and what not to pack. A lot of what you take on your travels depends on your backpack of choice and basically, how much stuff it will allow you to cram in, but that’s a whole other blog post.
Why should you bring a travel backpack and not typical luggage or a rolling suitcase?
Well, unless you’re flying to an all-inclusive resort where you’ll be met at the airport, chauffeured to your hotel and then to and from tailor-made tourist attractions for the duration of your trip, you’re going to want to have the use of both hands. For any travel plans that don’t involve going to a relaxing 5 star somewhere fancy, I always take my trusted travel backpack. Period. Hands are handy you know, it’s nice to be able to hold a matcha latte with both of them and be able to do a karate chop at any given moment (first put latte down).
How to choose the perfect backpack
When trying to figure out what the best backpacks for women travelers are you will need to take into consideration the following;
Durability: Your travel backpack is an investment and needs to be waterproof, tear-proof, theft-proof and built to last for many adventures and years to come.
Strap Style: This is a huge deal for me! I refuse to use a backpack that doesn’t have a padded hip belt. Even for a small carry on backpack, having a tight buckle around my waist to take (what feels like) half of the weight off my shoulders and distribute it around my hips makes a massive difference.
Capacity: Depends on how much you
want to need to take with you. 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.
Opening Style: I’ve always opted for backpacks that open at the front, 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.
The above are the 4 main points to consider when you’re thinking about buying a backpack. But wait! Nothings ever that easy or simple is it…
I go into more detail for female travelers shopping for a backpack here: How to choose the perfect woman’s travel backpack
We saved you time and a headache or two by scouring the market for the best backpacks for women travelers available right now. Here’s the top selection of best women’s backpacks for traveling, whether you’re looking to take a quick day trip, a weekend city break, indulgent one week getaway, or a short hike up your closest mountain (or to your nearest shopping mall – we don’t judge).
In no particular order, these are all awesome backpacks that will not disappoint!
Best Women’s Backpacks For Short Trips (40-50L)
Best Women’s Backpack: Eagle Creek 40L
Designed to fit a woman’s body, this front loading Eagle Creek Women’s Global Travel Companion 40L offers supreme comfort, ergonomic support and a well-thought-out pocket for every possible travel essential you could possibly care to pack. Made from water-repelling, lightweight material, we love the moisture-wicking shoulder straps and of course the hip belt to take the weight off your shoulders. Bonus features include a separate shoe compartment at the bottom, a laptop sleeve and a zip lock loop for extra security.
Reviewed by Hannah on Amazon: “This pack is AWESOME! Took it to Fiji for two weeks. It was great on: Boats, buses, truck rides, hikes and planes! Comfortable to wear, great harness system. Great organizational pockets on front of bag. Opens like a suite case and easy to organize. Good lap top sleeve. Hip belt is thick but so comfortable. Great zippers for locking or making hard to get in bag if you need extra security. The rain fly was a life saver and really did the job well. Everything stayed dry when it was crazy tropical raining. Fits great in the overhead compartment on a plane!”
Best Women’s Backpack: Osprey Kyte 46L
Although the Osprey Kyte 46L is not a completely front loading backpack, it’s still one of our top women’s travel backpack choices for a few important reasons. It has a separate zippered sleeping bag compartment and external sleeping pad straps, making it a great overnight pack. It’s perfect for hiking trips because it comes with bungee cords, loops, all sorts of pockets and a reservoir sleeve. It’s also available as a 44 liter capacity and is perfect for women travelers with an adjustable harness making it super comfortable to carry especially in warmer climates where the airscape mesh pack panel will help to keep you cool. Other useful features include an external hydration sleeve, tuck-away ice tool loops, and Osprey’s stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachments.
Reviewed by Ashley Laterza on Amazon: “This is my first backpack purchase and I’m so happy with it! Love the pockets for organization. Used it for a 2 week trip through Europe flying budget airlines and no one blinked an eye that I was using it as a carry on (Aer Lingus, Vueling, Ryan Air). I packed 3 packing cubes full of clothes, a straightener, 2 pairs of sandals, toiletries and then used the compression straps to compress the bag. Worked great and had no issues fitting in the overhead bins!”
Best Women’s Backpack: Deuter Transit 40
For those of you who love to travel carry-on only like myself, the Deuter Transit 40L backpack is the perfect carry-on bag because it was designed to fit in the overhead compartment. This one’s for women travelers of all shapes and sizes, the flexible X-Frame is fully adjustable and the ergonomically shaped hip fins are for even weight distribution. The breathable air mesh padded shoulder harness and luggage stabilizing straps add even more comfort and if you like the unfussy minimalist look you can zip these away. The bottom compartment is where you can store sleeping bags or shoes and inside the backpack there’s a laptop compartment, organizer, side pockets and small front stash pocket for your passport and other documents. Did we mention, this travel bag is really strong! It’s made from 600d Polytex making it lightweight, durable and even water resistant thanks to a PU coating.
Reviewed by J. on Amazon: “This is a high quality pack. Very nicely designed, attention to detail, high quality stitching and materials throughout, zippers, solid buckles and straps. The colors (anthracite and moss) are great, not too loud but distinctive and interesting. You can tuck the hip straps into hidden pockets as well as conceal the whole suspension system. Max carry on size will fit Ryanair.”
Best Backpacks For Women Travelers on Long Trips (50-60L)
Best Women’s Backpack: Kelty Redwing 50L
The Kelty Redwing 50L is built for travel and hiking, adding convenience and organization to any adventure. The nearly five hundred 4-5 star glowing Amazon reviews by happy travelers tells you that this backpack, loved by women and men alike, is a brilliant choice. Trust us, as far as features, it has it all and more besides! The Kelty Redwing is also featured on our Ultimate Women’s Travel Bags page too.
Reviewed by ‘Candid Reviewer’ on Amazon: “The Kelty Redwing 50-Liter Backpack fully deserves its status as one of the most popular packs ever made. With its durable 420D Polyester Ball Shadow body fabric and 450D Polyester Oxford reinforcements, its brilliantly convenient design, its acceptably light 53 oz. weight, and its ability to carry medium-weight loads (around 35 pounds) comfortably, this is an outstanding value that compares favorably against packs that cost two or three times as much… I can’t think of another pack I’ve come across that is this intelligently designed. No gimmicks, just very smart organization options and a very convenient strap layout that makes it very easy to grab, hang, wear, and compress the pack. If you’re looking for a great bushcraft/hiking pack, a great travel duffle, or both, this is a truly superb choice. Easily my favorite pack of all time, despite having owned my fair share of great high-end packs.”
Best Women’s Backpack: Osprey Fairview 55L
This women’s lightweight and streamlined Osprey Fairview has a generous 55L capacity and is one of the best backpacks for globe-gallivanting-trotter-types. A large panel zip provides quick access to the main compartment, it has lockable sliders to keep your gear safe. Most importantly (for me anyway and one of the reasons I love this travel bag so much) is the women-friendly backpack straps, harness and padded waist belt that makes this backpack feel much lighter than it really is (no matter how much you stuff into it). These can be tucked away behind a panel at the back of the pack to streamline the bag which is handy when storing it in lockers or overhead compartments during your travels. Extra bonus: You have a padded laptop/tablet sleeve inside.
Reviewed by Kristin Schwam on Amazon: “Love the bag so far. Used it on a week trip to Colombia as a practice run for a bigger trip in a few months. It definitely fit way more than I needed for 7 days. Love that it opens all the way up. Detachable day pack was great and I used it quite a bit during the day. I found that there was more than enough space in the day pack for flip flops, a water bottle, change of clothes, sunscreen, etc. Technically the bag is a little bigger than what most US airlines allow for a carry on but I haven’t had a problem getting it on Delta or United.”
Best Women’s Backpack: Mountaintop 50-60L
This hot pink beauty (available in other colors) has an ergonomic design which will distribute the weight of all those souvenirs and elephant print pants evenly across your hips and legs. You also have an additional shoulder strap to adjust the weight while you hike and breathable sponge padding in the shoulder, waist and back area. This highly rated Mountaintop women’s backpack also has a retractable rain cover for those monsoon seasons and trips to Blighty (oh come on… the UK) and trekking pole attachment, hydration system, top lid pocket and bottom compartment. And it’s available in hot pink. Sorry. Not sorry.
Reviewed by Daniel Lee on Amazon: “Bought this bag for a 2 day trip to summit Mt Shasta. This included carrying standard camping gear with crampons, ice axe and helmet. Amazing bag for the price. My bag was 45 lbs and I had no issues. The waist strap doesn’t have a seam along the edge so it did not rub like other inexpensive bags. Does not distribute weight as comfortably as my friends ($200+) Osprey but that is to be expected. For the price you get 80% of the performance of a much much more expensive bag. Storage is plentiful in terms of volume.”
If you enjoyed reading this post (maybe apart from the bits where I try to be funny) or if you have a girlfriend who’s looking for a good quality backpack, please tweet, pin and share away!