If anyone should recommend the best travel backpack for women, it’s women.

Now I’m sure the fact that I’m not a woman hasn’t escaped you (at least I hope it hasn’t! haha), so to bring you all the best advice and top choices, I enlisted the help of 12 of my female travel blogger buddies.

They’re certainly no strangers to travel; with thousands of miles around the world between them, these ladies really know their stuff.

To help you choose the perfect bag, I asked each of them to name their favourite travel backpack, and what makes it so special.

As well as this, Charlotte from A Broad on a Board, has included a handy section on what to look out for when choosing your new backpack, so you’ve got everything covered.

So if you’re having a hard time deciding between all the backpacks for women, look no further – they’ve got something for every pack size and style.

All that’s left to do is get out there, explore, and have some epic adventures!

And guys (if you’re still reading!) I highly recommend the Osprey Farpoint for dudes.

 

The Best Travel Backpack For Women – 12 Bags Tried & Tested By Travel Bloggers!

How To Choose The Best Women’s Travel Backpack

Deciding on a travel backpack can feel like a huge commitment. You might be together for years, and you want to be sure your choice has what it takes to make you happy over the long haul.  

So keep the following things in mind when you’re shopping, and you’ll be guaranteed a beautiful relationship with your new travel buddy!

 

1. Women’s specific backpack or unisex?

It might sound counterintuitive, but the best travel backpack for women isn’t necessarily the one designed specifically for a woman.

Some women’s travel backpacks have extra padding on the hip belt to make them more comfortable, some have shaped shoulder straps, and some are smaller in size to cater for women’s typically shorter torso length. But it doesn’t make them your only option.

The only thing that really matters, is how the backpack fits you and your body.

There’s nothing at all stopping you going for a unisex backpack, in the same way that some men might find a backpack for females more comfortable. The key is simply that it fits you well and is comfortable…which brings us to the next couple of points…

 

2. Try Tt On!

One of THE most important things you can do when buying a new travel backpack, is try it on. It’s amazing the difference you’ll find in the way different brands and styles fit, and even between sizes within the same style.

If you can, try the pack on fully weighted. Walk around with it on to get a sense of how the straps support and distribute the weight, and check whether it’s comfortable.

A good shop will be able weight the backpack for you, or if you’ve ordered online and you’re at home, improvise with some dumbbells and cushions, or whatever you can find that will simulate having at least 7kg on your back. Obviously if you’re going for a bigger size (50L+) I’d recommend upping that to around 12kg.

 

3. Fit

Most travel backpacks either have an adjustable back system, or come in different sizes, so that you can get a perfect fit. The length of your torso, as opposed to your height is what matters most here.

It’s super important to get the fit right so that the pack is able to distribute the weight across your back, shoulders, and hips. Most of the weight should sit on your hips, saving your shoulders and back from strain.

Osprey have developed PackSizer, a really clever app which allows you to use the camera on your phone to measure your torso length.

 

4. Opening Style

Whatever length of time you’ll be travelling for, don’t be tempted to go for a top-loading, trekking style backpack. Every time you need something that’s beyond the top layer of stuff, you’ll have to pull everything out or go rummaging to find it, something that quickly gets old!

For more convenience, and better organisation, get a front-loading style backpack. This means that it zips almost right the way round and opens like a suitcase, giving you access to everything whenever you need it.

 

5. Capacity and Litres

One of the lessons you learn very quickly when you start using a backpack, is that bigger does not mean better!

The bigger the pack, the more you’ll be tempted to take. The more you take, the more weight you’ll have to carry. And the more weight you have to carry, the more you’ll hate yourself and wish you’d left half of it at home!

With some clever packing, and being strict with yourself in terms of what you actually need, versus what you think you might need, it’s possible to travel for a year with just a 40 litre carry-on size backpack.

Even so, the consensus is that the best travel backpack for women, is around 40 – 55 litres as the ideal size.

Keep in mind that it’s also much easier to manage a smaller backpack on public transport, and getting around in crowded places.

 

6. Durability

There’s no getting away from the fact that travel backpacks aren’t cheap, but they’re an investment that will last you for years if you choose wisely.

Ideally, you want something that you can pack full to bursting and not worry about the zips breaking, or your bag ripping at the seams just as you’re about to leave for a flight.

Look for something constructed from ripstop nylon or a similarly tough material, and check the reviews for any negative comments about quality.

 

7. Colour

While colour might not make or break your decision, it’s nice to have something you’ll feel good about carrying around. Just keep in mind that darker colours tend to be longer wearing as they don’t show dirty marks as easily – with shades like dark blue or the ever trusty black topping the list for this.

 

8. Extra features

Most backpacks now come with a whole range of added features that can make your life easier. Keep an eye out for things like:

  • Padded laptop pocket (especially for carry on only bags)
  • Lockable zips (highly recommended, just get a TSA approved lock)
  • Various pockets
  • Rain cover (not an essential but always handy)
  • Zip-away shoulder straps (this will help your bag last a lot longer especially if you fly a lot)
  • Waterproofing
  • Compression straps (combine these with packing cubes for maximum efficiency)

While these are nice to have, don’t let them distract you from the main priorities of style and fit!

 

Best Travel Backpack For Women – Carry-On

1. Osprey Farpoint (40L)

As recommended by Charlotte from A Broad On A Board

For the last two and a half years, I’ve been travelling around the world with my Osprey Farpoint 40, and I love it. While it’s not technically a female specific backpack, it comes in two different sizes, so getting a good fit should be possible for most girls.

best travel backpack for women osprey farpoint review backpacker ladiesI’m 5’ 7.5” and I have the M/L which fits well. I was on the cusp between sizes so trying it on really helped, as I found the S/M actually dug into my shoulders.

The most important thing for me, is that I can travel carry-on only if I need to, but at 40 litres, the bag is still big enough to take everything I need. I’ve travelled with this pack for up to nine months continuously, using packing cubes to reduce the space that my clothes take up.

It also has a padded laptop pocket, lockable zips, and you can zip the straps away if you do want to take it as checked baggage on a flight, which is a great feature.

It’s a front loading style backpack with a large main compartment, and a second, smaller compartment containing the laptop sleeve, and a mesh pocket which I use to keep my cables together.

There is also a large mesh pocket in the main section, but the only downside to this, is that it’s almost too big. I keep small things in zip-lock bags to keep them organised, and to stop everything falling to the bottom.

The shoulder harness and hip belt are also really nicely padded which makes the pack comfortable for walking in.

Key features;

  • 40 litres
  • Carry on size
  • Suitcase style opening
  • Lockable zips
  • Female specific size available

 

2. North Face Borealis (28L)

As recommended by Lisa from Ontario Away

When it comes to the perfect day pack, I can’t imagine where I would be without my North Face Borealis. 

best travel backpack for women north face BorealisIn short, it’s water resistant, comfortable, adjustable, and has space/organization for anything you’d want in a smaller backpack. 

I’ve travelled with my North Face Borealis for just about three years now. It’s been with me on many weekend adventures while living in Spain and has been a great day pack when carrying my laptop around. 

This 28 litre pack is super versatile – working as both a simple day pack or a work bag with loads of storage. It’s nice because it holds a lot without sacrificing its slimmer profile. Basically it’s not too bulky when stuffed to the brim. 

Overall, it’s a well-made pack. The straps are quite padded and it even comes with a small waist strap which can actually be useful when carrying around heavier items. 

Inside, the internal laptop sleeve is extra padded so I don’t really have to worry about scratching up my laptop. A plus is that the front compartment has inner zippered pockets for everything – from keys to external chargers and other miscellaneous items. 

My favourite feature is probably the fact that the external water bottle pockets on the sides are very deep. I used to worry about losing my overly tall and slender water bottle – but that’s not an issue with this bag.

Key features;

  • 28 litres
  • Carry on size
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Lockable zips
  • External padded pocket for sunnies

 

3. Nomatic (40L)

As recommended by Lora from Explore with Lora

After spending a year backpacking the world with a 75L backpack and the constant dread of picking up my bag, I realized I was going to need to downsize. After a lot of research, I decided to try out the Nomatic 40L travel bag.

best travel backpack for women nomaticI love this bag. It’s systematic and well designed, offering many desirable features. To start, the bag is carry-on size. This gives you the peace of mind of knowing where your valuables are at all times, as well as easing the stress on your back. Having a carry-on sized backpack can also help save you money, as checked baggage fees add up quickly.

As a travel blogger, this bag is great for storing my laptop and other electronics. It features a laptop sleeve inside the front compartment that’s easy to access. The side compartment is for all your tech gear and does a great job of keeping your cords organized. It even has RFID safe pockets which keep your electronics gear safe from hackers. The exterior of the bag is 100% waterproof, which means you don’t have to stress if you get caught in the rain.

Another feature I love about the Nomatic bag, is that it converts from a backpack to a duffel bag with ease. There are waist straps if you want to take the weight off your back, but they are removable.

Last but not least, I love the separate shoe compartment in the bottom of the bag. As a frequent hiker, my shoes get dirty and I don’t want to put them back with the rest of my stuff. The shoe compartment solves this problem.

Even though the bag is smaller then what I used before, I have no problems packing what I need into it. With a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee and lifetime warranty, there’s no reason not to try the Nomatic Bag. It’s been a game changer for me this year, solving many of my travel pains!

Key features;

  • 40 litres
  • Carry on size
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Waterproof material
  • RFID safe
  • Dedicated shoe compartment
  • Innovative strap style (backpack or duffel style)

 

4. MEC Campus (30L)

As recommended by Joanne from Sunsets and Rollercoasters

MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop) is a Canadian based company that provides worldwide shipping. It’s a cooperative business that sells only to members but membership costs only $5 and the quality of their products is well worth the membership price.

best travel backpack for women mec backpackMEC has thousands of well-known brand name products but it also has products under its own name. It’s the MEC Book Bags that we absolutely love. Now, Book bags may sound like a simple school bag you used as a kid but the MEC book bags are so much more.

These bags come in three sizes: the book bag, the deluxe book bag and the campus book bag. It’s the MEC Campus Book Bag that is our favourite but if you have young children, the smaller version would be great for them too. I’ve used this bag since I was in law school carrying tons of books around from class to class. In the last 10 years we’ve started travelling with the kids and each of us has our own MEC Campus book bag as its absolutely the perfect carry on backpack.

The MEC Campus book bag holds 30L. It’s 49cm x30cm x14cm so it’s a perfect carry on bag that fits well under the seat or in the overhead compartment. The bag has a padded back so it’s comfortable when wearing and the pocket directly next to the padding fits a 17in laptop or any size ipad. The bag also has three other sections, two large and one small, which allows for total organization of your carryon items when travelling. Inside there are also four smaller zipped pockets of varying sizes. I keep all our carry-on liquids in the outer small pocket of  mine for easy access at security.

These bags also transfer over into being a wonderful hiking pack when you arrive at your destination. It has a wide padded waist belt, padded shoulder straps and a mesh pocket which holds a full-size water bottle. The bag also has reflective strips, so if being used at night you remain easily visible and a built-in whistle for safety. The bag itself is 842g (less than 2lbs) so incredibly easy to carry around for people of all ages. 

Key features;

  • 30 litres
  • Padded laptop compartment
  • Outside mesh pockets

 

Best Travel Backpack For Females – 40-60 litres

1. Black Diamond Onyx (55L)

As recommended by Naomi from Eat Love Explore

I love my Black Diamond Onyx 55 backpack. I’ve used it on several backpacking trips and most recently on a year-long RTW trip from South America to Australia. It’s stylish, functional and packed with practical features that make it the best backpack ever.

best travel backpack for women Black Diamond OnyxOne of my favorite features is the top loading adjustable flap which can expand a lot for more room or be compressed down easily. This feature was so helpful after I accumulated too many things and had to adjust it to the max for more room.

It’s not top loading only, you can also open it from the front zipper, so you don’t have to pull everything out to get something on the bottom. This makes it extremely easy to pack your bag and find what you want quickly and easily.

The Onyx 55 also has an active suspension system – this means that the shoulder straps and hipbelt move with you so there’s no friction. The pivoting hipbelt is specifically designed for the shape of women’s hips and is so comfortable. The suspension system allows the pack to stay balanced and it moves with your body. This helps a lot when you’re running to catch a train or flight!

There are so many pockets and dividers in this pack to help you stay organized. The top flap features a pocket on the outside and on the inside which is perfect for things you need quick access to. There are also two side pockets, two pockets on the hip belt, a big front pocket and a divided compartment on the inside flap.

Not only is it a great backpack for traveling around the world, but it’s also perfect for camping trips. It has a retractable trekking pole loop, sleeping pad straps, and is compatible with hydration packs.

Lastly, I love that it’s purple! I can always easily find it in a sea of other basic black backpacks. I highly recommend this backpack to anyone looking for a new backpack!

Key features;

  • 55 litres
  • Female specific model
  • Lots of organisational pockets inside and out
  • Top loader style

 

 

2. Osprey Sojourn (60L)

As recommended by Hayley Lewis from A Lovely Planet

I’ve travelled with quite a few backpacks now and the Osprey Sojourn 60L is by far my favourite.

best travel backpack for women ned backpack one Osprey SojournIts main selling point is that it has wheels as well as straps, so you can pull the backpack when the ground is flat or wear it when it’s muddy or uneven, or to climb stairs.

I took this backpack on a 9 month trip to Europe, the South Pacific, Mexico, Cuba and parts of Asia and I’m so glad I chose this over a traditional backpack. I used the wheels around 80% of the time – saving a lot of back ache!  

The pack also comes in an 80L version, but the 60L was enough for everything on my long term travel checklist, and I wanted to avoid taking more stuff than I needed with me. It also was light enough to feel comfortable when wearing it on my back.

To switch between wheels and straps, you simply unstrap the back section of the pack and pull the straps out. It takes about 2 minutes, and the same to put them back in. The short amount of time switching between the two was totally worth it for the fact that I didn’t have to wear my bag the whole time.

The backpack itself opens out like a suitcase, so it’s great for accessing your stuff easily. It also has a pocket at the top for things you want to keep separately, and two internal pockets.

After 9 months the bag looks practically brand new – it’s very durable – and I plan to take it on plenty more trips in the future!

Key features;

  • 60 or 80 litre options
  • Dual backpack and suitcase option
  • Suitcase opening style
  • Lockable zips
  • Internal compression strap system

 

3. Deuter Traveller (60L)

As recommended by Ashlea from Dashing Around The World

The Deuter Traveller is an incredibly well made and well thought-out travel backpack.

best travel backpack for women deuter travellerThere is a female targeted 60L pack, and a larger unisex 70L pack. Both include the same features and have an additional 20L zip off daypack (not included in the main backpack size).

The Traveller features all the essential travel backpack inclusions, like a full bag zip (so it packs like a suitcase), and a cover for the backpack straps during air travel (to prevent catching/broken straps). 

There are also multiple internal mesh pockets and a large bottom compartment that are really useful to help organise your gear. The straps on outside are useful to strap on extra stuff (if you buy too many souvenirs), or to store a jacket while on the move.

The backpack and hip straps on the Deuter Traveller are the most structured and padded of any travel specific backpack I’ve tried, which is really important in larger bags where you might be carrying 15+ kgs. 

A great asset of this travel backpack is the integration of the main backpack and smaller daypack. The daypack can be zipped on the front of the main bag, or carried turtle style (see photo) clipped onto the straps of the main backpack. This is very comfortable and distributes the weight well, and also leaves your hands totally free to handle money, passports, or maps while travelling. 

The most unique feature of the Deuter Traveller is the 10L expansion of the main pack. If you’ve overpacked, or bought too many souvenirs, you can open a zip all the way around the bag and increase the capacity by 10L (just like an expandable suitcase). This means you don’t have to strap everything to the outside of your pack, or worry about how to fly it home.

I have been using this bag full time for over 3 months and still marvel at all the useful features it offers travellers.

Key features;

  • 60 or 70 litre options
  • Female specific model
  • Included 20 litre day bag
  • Suitcase style opening
  • Separate bottom compartment

 

 

4. Osprey Kyte (46L)

As recommended by Elizabeth from Anchored Adventure

I backpacked through Europe in 2016 for 90 days. And months of researching top women’s backpacks for the trip turned out to be worth it – the Osprey Kyte 46 exceeded all my expectations for functionality, durability and comfort.

best travel backpack for women osprey kyteUnlike backpacks that are top-heavy, bulky or simply uncomfortable, the Osprey Kyte 46 aligns well on your back and shoulders while distributing the weight evenly on your hips.

It was specifically designed for women and easily adjusts depending on your torso and chest length. Its comfortability and light weight ensure a smooth walk or hike. You feel like you’re in control wearing it – not the pack.

It also has ample storage compartments, and I especially love the side and hip pockets for storing small items. They are easily reachable, so you won’t need to take the pack off to grab your water, keys, phone, etc.! When packing, you won’t feel like you’re playing a game of Tetris – all of your belongings fit snugly and appropriately. Although this pack is spacious, most airlines consider it a carry-on – a big win for the budget traveler.

Another important feature is the airscape mesh panel, which helps your back breathe in warmer climates. During wet weather, it is protected with a removable rain cover, which only takes up a little room in the base of the pack.

Lastly, its versatility means you only need one backpack for traveling. Whether you are backpacking across Europe for the summer, camping in Patagonia or honeymooning on a luxurious Caribbean resort, the Osprey Kyte 46 is perfect for any style of travel. Check it out for your next trip!

 Key features;

  • 46 lires
  • Female specific model
  • Top loader style
  • Internal hydration sleeve
  • Adjustable torso length

 

 

Best Backpack For Females – 60 litres +

1. Osprey Aura (65L)

As recommended by Heather from Raulerson Girls Travel

When I was looking for a backpack for my new adventure of becoming a professional travel photographer and digital nomad, I tried on several packs.

best travel backpack for women khmer explorerI even walked around the store with it weighted and strapped on!

With all the choices of women’s backpacks out there, I chose the Osprey Aura 65 in the Challenger Blue color. It was the one pack that I didn’t notice I was wearing while I was walking around thanks to the AntiGravity suspension.

I started my travels this year in January and in my first month I traveled to 18 cities, 11 countries, rode 2,077 miles on a bus and flew 10,135 miles all while wearing my trusty Osprey Aura 65.

I had the daunting task of packing for the colder climate in Europe and the warmer one in Asia all in the same bag. The Osprey Aura was up to the challenge and then some.

I was able to pack the warmer clothes for Asia in the bottom portion of the pack (where a sleeping bag would fit) and the colder clothes which were bulkier fit perfectly in the top portion of the pack. Note: I used packing cubes to keep my clothes organized in the bag.

I love all the separate storage pockets for organization, like the adjustable stretch mesh front panel pocket (great for a rain jacket), dual zippered front panel pockets, stretch mesh side pockets, a Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment, and a FlapJacket for lidless use.

With so many storage opportunities, the Osprey Aura 65 is an excellent backpack for your long travels. It will weather well hauling all of your gear, traveling in bus luggage compartments, and making it as checked luggage through multiple airports.

Key features;

  • 65 litres
  • Top loader style
  • Female specific model
  • Internal hydration sleeve
  • Sleeping bag base compartment
  • External pockets

 

2. Ned Backpack by One Planet (70L)

As recommended by Bailey from Destinationless Travel

I have been traveling with my Ned backpack by One Planet for over three years pretty much consistently and the bag still shows no sign of wear.

best travel backpack for women ned backpack oneThis backpack is different than most backpacks on the market mainly because of how it is made. One Planet makes all of their backpacks in Australia and only uses the highest quality material. The backpack is made from a type of canvas that is waterproof and the zippers are super heavy duty. 

The Ned backpack comes in three different sizes and the harness is adjustable. If you enter your measurements on the One Planet website they will find the right size for you. The harness is very comfortable and I have actually taken this backpack on several multi-day hikes with me around the world including hiking in Huaraz, Peru and New Zealand!

I also really love the simplicity of the backpack. It has one large compartment that opens up like a suitcase. This makes it super easy to get to all of my stuff without having to remove everything. There are only four compression straps on the outside of the bag which keeps it streamline and simple looking. 

I honestly don’t think I could ever go back to any other type of backpack again (and I likely won’t have to as this pack seems like it could last forever!)

Key features;

  • 70 litres
  • Suitcase open style
  • 8 female specific fit sizes
  • Compression straps
  • Waterloc canvas material

Click here for more info and to buy

 

3. Khmer Explorer (60L)

As recommended by Katie from Two Wandering Soles

best travel backpack for women khmer explorerBanana Backpacks is a small company, founded by a brother-sister duo, Michael and Anika. As travelers themselves, they’ve designed a unisex pack that has tons of super handy pockets.

This backpack unzips all the way around, so you can easily see everything inside when you open it up. Plus, the backpack comes with 3 custom-fit packing cubes that were made to fit inside the bag exactly. There is so much space, and it’s so well laid out that I’m able to fit so much inside without completely filling it up. 

I also really love that the bottom of the backpack is made from a super durable, rubbery material, so it doesn’t tear or get scuffed up when you set your bag on the ground. Plus, the main fabric it’s made from is waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about getting caught in a rainstorm.

Each backpack purchase supports the education of a child in a developing country. And the really cool thing is the name of the child you’re supporting is embroidered on the strap of your unique backpack. 

My husband and I have each been traveling with a Banana Backpack for about a year now, and I really love the thoughtful design, and the mission behind the company. If you’re looking for a high-quality, carryon size bag and love supporting small businesses (as well as a good cause!), you’ll love Banana Backpacks!

Key features;

  • 60 litres
  • Suitcase open style
  • Integrated packing system
  • Lockable zips
  • Easy access hip belt pocket
  • Weatherproof materials

Click here for more info and to buy

 

4. Osprey Viva (65L)

As recommended by Thea from Zen Travellers

I have travelled with my trusty Osprey Viva 65L backpack for well over 5 years now.

best travel backpack for women osprey viva backpackerInitially, I purchased it so I could go backcountry camping close to my home in the Canadian Rockies and it has carried my tent to many secluded mountain campsites.

Not wanting to purchase two backpacks, I also use it for travelling abroad and took it on my 5 week trip through East Africa and most recently I am carrying it on my 14 month trip around the world.

I love that it can be used for both backpacking in the travel sense, as well as for backcountry hiking. Some of its useful features include being able to adjust the straps across your shoulders, chest, and hips for a comfortable fit and evenly distributed load, hip pockets to stash things like hand sanitizer and lip chap, and a zipper on the bottom for quick access to a few items, such as your raincoat.

The straps and back are padded nicely too which makes wearing it for long hours not as much of a drag as it could be!

Lastly, one of its most unique attributes is that you can adjust the back panel up to 5 inches according to your torso length which makes it a good fit for women of all heights. Now I’m off on my next adventure with it: trekking the Annapurna Circuit!

Key features;

  • 65 litres
  • Top loader style
  • Internal hydration sleeve
  • Lockable zips
  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment

 

Any contenders you’d add to the list of best travel backpacks for women?

So there you have it. Fifteen girls who travel the world for a living, fifteen solid recommendations for the best travel backpack for women. If you already have a favourite though, let us know what it is in and why you love it in the comments.

And if you liked this post, or know anyone else who might be looking for the perfect women specific backpack, please give it a share using the social buttons below. 

 

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