TRAVELING

Best Backpacks For Women: Choosing The Right Pack For Your Next Adventure

Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

Backpacking can be one of the most incredible experiences for everyone, a trip of a lifetime. However it’s never easy to know what to take with you. Especially if you are a woman, you might want to pack your clothes in a certain way, or carry more shoes or things. That’s why knowing which backpack to buy can make your trip even better, especially if you know which can be the best backpack for women.

Features such as volume, carrying comfort, dimensions, pocket amount, extra attachments, price and other unique specifications, can make the difference between choosing one model over another. Your backpack is an investment and should be treated as such.

Now, we know it might be confusing to buy a backpack without understanding the difference between them, or knowing what features to look out for. But worry no more! We are here to help!

We wrote this article as a guide to help you out. First we will look at the important features, then we will provide you a list with the best backpacks available. Hopefully, by the end of the read you will know what is the best backpack for you.

Product Name Weight SizeSpecific Features Price
Osprey
Ariel 55
4.6 lb26 x 17 x 4 in
Easily refill with the external hydration sleeve, carry your load comfortably with the IsoForm technology hipbelt.
Check price on Amazon
Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 583 lb27 x 16 x 7 in
Outdry technology makes this backpack waterproof. Undergone 24 hours of rain room testing.
Check price on Amazon
The North Face Terra 55 4 lbAvailable in sizes x-small to large
The Proprietary Optifit technology ensures a comfortable fit. The ventilation is improved due to the vertical channel.Check price on Amazon
Granite Gear Torso Blaze AC 60 KI 2.9 lb24 x 16 x 6 inThe suspension is AirCurrent technology. The compression is Line Loc, which enables you to cinch your load tight. The backpack’s sides feature stretch mesh pockets.Check price on Amazon
Black Diamond Elixir 604.8 lb25 x 15 x 7 inThis backpack features ReActiv suspension technology with swing arm shoulder straps. The back panel is Open Air tech.Check price on Amazon
Kelty Coyote 755 lb32 x 13 x 12 inThis backpack fits torsos that are 14.5” – 18.5”. The suspension is adjustable Cloudlock technologyCheck price on Amazon
Deuter ACT Lite 60+10 SL6 lb15 x 24 x 10 inThis backpack features a Deuter Aircontact System. It includes a top lid pocket, inner pocket for valuable items.Check price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Backpacks come in a diverse range of styles. One way to narrow down your search for the best women’s backpack is to figure out which style meets your needs. Are you going on a weekend adventure, a weeklong expedition, or something in between?

The backpack you ultimately choose will be unique to your needs and journey. Therefore, it’s important that you pay close attention to the following features, that way you will know what to choose.

Capacity

Trip duration plays a big part in making the right choice of bag. The capacity of your backpack depends pretty much in the length if your trip. Shorter trips, such as ones limited to the weekend only, require a backpack in the 45-55 liter range.

pink women backpack

Longer trips or those involving kids would require a 60-75 liter backpack. If you like to travel heavier, backpacks even larger than 70 liters are available. Keep in mind that the larger the capacity, the likelier you are to travel a bit heavy and that can be uncomfortable.

Waterproof or Water Resistant

The weather can turn at any moment, so make sure you choose a backpack that is at least semi water resistant. Some backpacks come with some sort of covering or tarp, which works too. The goal is to have a backpack that will not allow all your clothes to get wet or ruined if there is rain.

If your back does happen to get wet, make sure you dry it as soon as possible to keep it from getting an odor, which can ruin it. Ideally, you want a material that’s thick enough, but still lightweight. Also, a material that is at least water resistant and that will dry quickly.

Multiple Pockets and Compartments

Make sure you choose a backpack with several compartments for better organization. You want something with a space for your sleeping bag, tent, hydration, valuables, poles, damp laundry and of course a spacious main compartment. Backpacking will require a lot of different types of gears, the more compartments there are, the easier it’ll be to take everything with you.

women backpack on tree

A good way to organize everything is to place your clothes in the main compartment, sleeping bag and tent in a compartment towards the bottom of the bag. Then, extra shoes in a separate outer pocket, and water bottles in a hydration area. Organizing your things better will also enable to distribute the weight of your load better. 

Build of the Backpack or Frame

Most backpacks today have an internal frame, meaning the frame is enclosed in the fabric of the backpack. That is the type you should always go with. There are still some external framed backpacks around, but that style is dated and not as efficient as inner frame backpacks.

Internal framed backpacks tend to be lighter than external framed ones, making them easier and more comfortable to carry. External frames, on the other hand, are more rugged and offer more protection against the elements and hard surfaces, so your bag won’t rip apart when it’s snagged on a tree or rock. However, this means that the space inside your big is much more confined and rigid, so you have to be careful with what you pack.

Hip Belt

The best backpacks are those that include a hip belt, a special part of the backpack that is designed for you to tie it around your hip or around the iliac crest in order to distribute evenly the weight of the backpack. This way you are going to carry less weight on your back and shoulders, and distribute it evenly towards your hip.

women with backpack

You need to know your torso and hip belt size. To measure your torso length, you have to use a measuring tape and go from your C7 vertebrae (the bone that sticks out on the back of your neck when you lean your head forward) to your iliac crest. The iliac crest is the area right above your hips where the bottom of your backpack would rest.

Top Products on Today’s Market 

While you are checking out backpacks that might be a potential fit for your needs, remember to read through all the features. Making a list of exactly what features you want and don’t want will help narrow down your search. Remember to keep specifications such as capacity, weight and durability in mind. Here are some great options that might be what you’re looking for. 

Osprey Ariel 55 Backpack  Osprey Ariel 55 Backpack 

Price: Approx. $290 

Weight: 4.6 lb

Dimensions: 26 x 17 x 4 in

Specific features: Easy to refill with the external hydration sleeve, comfortable IsoForm technology hip belt, quick access thanks to the j-zip compartment.

Best use: Great for overnight trips or shorter multiple day trips.

Description: Osprey is known as one of the top selling backpacking backpack brands around. This Osprey Ariel 55 Backpack is the fourth version of the Aether Aerial series.

Appreciated for its design, great fit and amazing carry ability, this backpack is great for extended cross-country treks as well as shorter trips. With technology, such as the IsoForm hipbelt and other unique features, this backpack is a great choice for women.

A great feature is specifically the bottom entry to the main compartment, the generous number of pockets for better organization and the daypack that is removable. Also, its size is comfortable enough for those women with a smaller frame, without sacrificing the amount of storage.

The fact that it has 55 liters of capacity makes it a great size. It is neither too big nor too small, meaning that it can be suitable pretty much for any trip. Both long and short adventures are suitable with this backpack. It might only be needed to a little sacrifice when it comes to certain gear if you want to use this one for long trips.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Great durability
  • Great size

CONS:

  • Might be a bit small for those embarking on longer trips 

Related: The Osprey Ultralight Raincover is a great add-on to this backpack. It will make sure that there will be no way the backpack can get wet.

Check the price on Amazon

Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 58 Backpack Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 58 Backpack 

Price: Approx. $130 

Weight: 3 lb

Dimensions: 27 x 16 x 7 in

Specific features: Waterproof, made with HardWave suspension technology for a comfortable fit and easy carrying.

Best use: Great for multiple day trips.

Description: This Mountain Hardwear Ozonic Backpack is great for multiple day trips and is even waterproof. Furthermore, it is lightweight with fitted straps and HardWave technology suspension. This is one of the most comfortable backpacks out there, ideal for long hikes and heavy gear, as it’s lightweight and comfy.

This type of suspension enables the backpack to naturally conform to your back, resulting in better-distributed load weight. This backpack was even rain room tested to ensure it is waterproof.

The torso area can be adjusted up to 3 inches, making for a more customized fit. The backpack’s top pocket is removable and has an inner pocket with a key clip as well.

This backpack also features a reversible top pocket, side pockets for gear that needs to be easily reached, a front pocket for drainage or damp items, and a sternum that is adjustable for more stability while you’re moving around. It has a 58 liter capacity, which is good for both short and long trips.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Very comfortable
  • Good capacity 

CONS:

  • Durability can be a concern

Related: The Gonex Backpack Raincover is a good fit for this and any other backpack, making sure to keep them completely dry even when raining hard.

Check the price on Amazon

The North Face Terra 55 Exploration Pack The North Face Terra 55 Exploration Pack

Price: $140 – $170 

Weight: 4 lb

Dimensions: XS/S: 26 x 12.2 x 12.2 in; M/L: 27.2 x 12.2 x 12.2 in 

Specific features: The Proprietary Optifit technology, vertical channel for ventilation, padded and sleek anatomical shoulder harness, the hip belt features load spreading technology and is lined with air mesh, main compartment is accessible from the side.

Best use: This backpack works well for multiple day trips.

Description:  The North Face Terra 55 Exploration Pack is perfect for multiple day hikes and excursions. Its user-friendly design is light and slim for long lasting carrying comfort. You’ll have great load control due to the Optifit technology.

The thoughtful pocket placement makes getting to your gear quick and easy. This backpack also features a compartment for your sleeping bag, vertical channels for ventilation and more than seven pockets. This backpack’s design is very weight conscious and women love it for its comfortable fit, capacity and the way the waist belt seems to reduce the weight of the backpack overall.

A backpack this size is best for multi day trips, however, it does well for overnight or weekend getaways as well. The 55 liter capacity is one of the best capacities out there. It is neither small nor too big for short trips. If you are a smart packer, you can buy this bag and still use it for very long hikes or trips.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Great capacity
  • Incredible durability 

CONS:

  • Not as many additional pockets as it might be desired 

Related: The Osprey Hydraulic’s Reservoir can be a good item to buy alongside this or any other backpack. It will allow you to drink whenever you want, even when walking, without much effort.

Check the price on Amazon

Granite Gear Torso Blaze AC 60 KI Pack Granite Gear Torso Blaze AC 60 KI Pack

Price: Approx. $240 

Weight: 2.9 lb 

Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 6 in

Specific features: Made from Cordura 100D and 210D nylon, suspension is AirCurrent technology, Line Loc compression, side stretch mesh pockets, swappable hip belt for comfortable and customizable fit.

Best use: This backpack is great for multiple day trips.

Description: The Granite Gear Torso Blaze AC 60 KI Pack is the successor to a high quality series of backpacks known for simplicity and highly engineered features. The materials used to make this backpack are of excellent quality, the 210D nylon will make sure this backpack will last for very long.

The suspension is AirCurrent technology with a multi-dimensional molded frame. It also features a simple and quick torso adjusting, interchangeable hip belt and shoulder straps that are padded for a comfortable fit.

You won’t have to worry about heat or moisture on your back due to the molded air channels on the frame working with the molded foam pad. This makes for natural cooling. The backpack is top loading, with a versatile closure.

It can be rolled down securely or extended when you need a little more room. It even has a front pocket to store your damp items or tent. This backpack is a favorite for weekend and multiple day trips.

PROS:

  • Great durability
  • Excellent and comfortable suspension system
  • Many pockets and additional places to put gear 

CONS:

  • A bit pricey 

Related: The Granite Gear Drysack is the ideal item to buy alongside this pack as it will keep it completely dry and protected from rain.

Check the price on Amazon

Black Diamond Elixir 60 Backpack Black Diamond Elixir 60 Backpack

Price: $190 – $220 

Weight: 4.8 lb 

Dimensions:  25 x 15 x 7 in

Specific features: ReActiv suspension technology with swing arm shoulder straps, Open Air Tech back panel, zippered sleeping bag compartment, front pocket with zip closure, inner pockets for organization, side pockets that quickly cinch shut and pockets on the hip belt.

Best use: Hiking, backpacking 

Description: The Black Diamond Elixir 60 Outdoor Backpack is perfect for the multiple day hiker that requires lighter weight. Featuring ReActiv suspension technology exclusive to black Diamond, this backpack provides lasting comfort for all day treks.

You can access your gear in multiple ways through the top loading opening or the bottom of the backpack. The bottom also features a sleeping bag compartment, ideal for you to easily store the sleeping bag there without having to go through the typical hassle of changing the whole assembly of the packing jut to take the sleeping bag out. It also includes features loops for trekking poles and ice axe and is hydration compatible.

The back panel is made with Open Air technology, which makes for great ventilation, meaning you won’t be sweating as much as with other backpacks. The top lid can also be used as a lumbar pack in case you need to take a short day trip, or just move a little bit away from camp.

PROS:

  • Top becomes a handy lumbar pack
  • Good ventilation
  • Ideal sleeping bag compartment 

CONS:

  • A bit pricey
  • Comfort can be a bit of an issue if your body frame isn’t as wide 

Related: The CamelBack Hydroback is commonly bought alongside this and other backpacks. You simply put it inside the backpack, and drink even whilst walking.

Check the price on Amazon

Kelty Coyote 75 Internal Frame Backpack Kelty Coyote 75 Internal Frame Backpack

Price: Approx. $180 

Weight: 5 lb

Dimensions: 32 x 13 x 12 in 

Specific features: Fits torsos that are 14.5  – 18.5 in, adjustable Cloudlock technology suspension.

Best use: Perfect for partial week or week long hikes.

Description: The Kelty Coyote 75 Internal Frame Backpack is a top loader with a convertible lid. It can turn into a lumbar pack. This backpack features side pockets that zip, a large front pocket, pocket on the waist belt and compression straps on the side.

The adjustable suspension makes for a customizable and comfortable fit. The back panel allows for ventilation and support. It also features aluminum stays which are dual light beam, HDPE frame sheet, and sternum straps.

Women love the convertible features of this backpack and how durable it has. Some have commented on it lasting them well over 3 years, in a number of different climates and terrain.

The size of this backpack is larger than most of the other models. It is a 75 liter capacity backpack, meaning it can fit a lot of things and that it is designed for longer trips, hikes or even travels. That can be great, as it can be a downside if you buy it only for short travels. It might end up being too big and too heavy.

PROS:

  • Good price
  • Good ventilation
  • Good weight distribution 

CONS:

  • A bit too heavy
  • The 75 liters can be a bit too much for some 

Related: The Kelty Rain Cover is specifically made for this bag, and it is a good idea to buy it alongside the bag in order to keep it completely dry.

Check the price on Amazon

Deuter ACT Lite Backpack Deuter ACT Lite Backpack

Price: Approx. $210 

Weight: 6 lb

Dimensions: 15 x 24 x 10 in

Specific features: Deuter Aircontact system, includes a top lid pocket, inner pocket for valuable items, and a hip belt pocket that zips, hydration system compatible.

Best use: This backpack is great for multiple day trips.

Description: The Deuter ACT Lite Backpack is spacious, sleek in design and athletic. You’ll have a comfortable fit, perfect for all day carrying. Designed with minimal weight and high functionality, this backpack is great for extended trips and mountaineering.

The bilaminate constructions make for easy fastening of the hip belt. The backpack has a bottom compartment, which can be used for storing your sleeping bag, or anything else you prefer. It even has hiking pole and ice axe loops.

With a compartment for damp items, height adjustable lid and shoulder straps that are anatomically shaped, it’s obvious a lot of careful thought went into the design of this backpack. Other special features include a Vari Quick system that can adjust to any back length and a Vari Flex System.

A great feature of this bag is the fact that it is in theory only 60 liters, which is probably the ideal capacity for most backpacks. However, it also includes the possibility of adjusting it to make it bigger, turning it into a 70 liter backpack allowing you to pack more things for longer journeys.

PROS:

  • Adjustable size to pack more things and have a larger capacity
  • Many pockets
  • Hydration system compatibility 

CONS:

  • Can be a bit expensive for some 

Related: The Deuter Rain Cover 3 is the specific rain cover for this backpack. It will keep it dry, as well as keeping your stuff inside the bag safe from the rain or other liquids.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

We hope that after reading this article you have not only learnt the most important aspects of finding the best backpack, but also saw some great options. We know that buying a backpack can be complicated, especially if it’s something nichier, such as women’s backpack. That was the purpose of this article, to help you.

women with backpack resting

Before you settle on a backpack, remember that there a few really important features, if the bag is waterproof, if it’s made of a resistant fabric, if it’s got enough capacity for your needs. Many make the mistake of buying the biggest or nicest backpack, just to realize they didn’t need such a big one. Always keep in mind what your plans are, and adapt the features to those plans.

Please leave a comment down below if you’ve enjoyed any of these products, or have a backpack you’d like to share with us. We’d love to hear from you, and we may include your suggestions in a future article.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jerry Mueller

Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.