The 15 Best Travel Backpacks for Women • Backpacking + Hiking (2019)

best travel backpacks for women

To select the best travel backpacks for women is a daunting task. There is a wide range of travel styles, backpacks, and women’s body types. The good news, as the demand for travel backpacks increases brands are building backpacks developed specifically for women’s frames. No longer is there a one size fits all pack.

I fondly remember the first female-specific backpack I bought from REI. I loved that bag because it was comfortable, rugged, and fit my frame well. Ever since that first backpack years ago I’ve tried and tested out a wide range of new backpacks.

After all that, I’ve found some of the best travel backpacks for women. No matter what backpack style you’re looking for you can find something for travel, hiking, or weekend getaways.


Best Travel Backpacks For Women


1.) Women’s Osprey Fairview ($160)


Osprey Fairview Best Women's Travel Backpacks

Weight: 3 lbs. 2 oz.

Fabric: 210-denier ripstop nylon/600-denier

Capacities: 40L, 55L, 70L

Pros: Lightweight, Manageable, Removable Daypack

Cons: Few Pockets For Organization, Laptop Sleeve in Front

The Osprey Fairview is more or the less the new addition of the travel backpack classic Farpoint. Its difference between the predecessor is the Fairview is built with a woman’s frame in mind. I’ve previously had the Farpoint for years and loved the backpack. So when they released the Fairview I was quick to pick up the new travel backpack. It’s quickly become a favorite and one of the best Osprey backpacks for women

The Fairview is a great women’s travel backpack. It’s a front-loading backpack so it opens similar to a suitcase for easy access. It’s pretty lightweight, features a removable daypack, zip-away suspension, and a side handle to top it off.

The side handle of the bag is an added bonus, making it easy to grab out of an overhead bin and carry it off of a plane. Most backpacks are built for hiking, but with the Osprey you get a travel-specific bag packed with hiking features.

There are some dumb design elements in the backpack though, most notably a laptop sleeve in the front. This means your laptop is susceptible to damage and theft along with throwing the balance of the backpack off to the front. For that reason, if you’re a digital nomad or you travel with a laptop I’d look for another option.

The portability makes it an awesome choice for the best women’s backpack or men’s backpack. The front load and the ability to keep your clothes folded is awesome. The 40L is great for carry on luggage while the 55L and 70L are good for long-term trips.

Osprey Fairview on Amazon

Osprey Fairview on REI


2.) Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L ($179)


Best Anit Theft Backpacks Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L

Weight: 3 lbs. 15 oz.

Size: 45L

Material: Nylon

Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Cut Resistant Cables, Internal Frame

Pros: Feature-Packed, Carry-On Size, Comfortable, Versatile, High-Quality

Cons: Difficult To Access Your Items (theft-deterrent)

Pacsafe is the leading name in anti-theft backpacks and has been for almost 20 years. The Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L is just one example of their phenomenal products. It comes with all the essentials, such as the eXomesh Slashgaurd technology that houses a hidden stainless steel mesh, making it completely slash-proof. The bag is also made with ECONYL fiber which is produced from recycled fishnets, which is an awesome eco-friendly product.

The Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L also comes with an RFID pocket, and smart zippers and is the perfect carry on size for most airlines. Then if you do need to check the bag it has stowaway straps for safe transport. It opens and closes similar to a clamshell suitcase for easy access to your belongings and organization.

The style and functionality of this anti-theft backpack is superb and will give you peace of mind – whether on a weekend getaway or traveling the world! It’s a great backpack for solo female travelers or women who to secure their personal belongings.

Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L on Amazon

Pacsafe Venturesafe Travel Pack 45L on REI


3.) Women’s REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 Pack ($140)


REI Ruckpack Best Travel Backpacks For Women

Weight: 4 lbs. 3 oz.

Fabric: Nylon 210D

Capacities: 40, 65L

Pros: Best Suspension System, Hiking Pack Features, REI Guarantee, U Shape Open, Frame, Compression Straps, Carry On Compliant, Zip Away Straps, Color Choices,

Cons: Heavy, Doesn’t Sit Upright

Osprey had a monopoly on the travel backpack market for far too long. However, many backpack manufacturers have caught on and begun developing backpacks suited for the growing trend of travelers. We have transitioned from hiking packs to purpose-built travel backpacks within a few years. We’re longtime fans of REI and love the products they produce.

This pack is loaded with features the Fairview lacks. Highlights include a more robust suspension system that allows for an impromptu hike in the mountains or up to the top of the local hill. I love the addition of a laptop sleeve, hydration reservoir, rain cover, and straps for trekking poles. Altogether it’s a nice backpack that blurs the line as to which category it belongs.

It should be noted that this pack measures 24 inches long and most carry on restrictions cap at 22 inches. While this is not deal-breaker for a soft-sided backpack, it can squish.

To top it all off the pack has a lie flat feature with a large zip opening for easy access to all of your belongings. This is the travel bag for those who want to blend city hopping and adventure travel all in one bag.

REI Co-op Rucksack


4.) Peak Designs Travel Backpack ($299)


Peak Designs Travel Backpack Women's Travel Backpack

Weight: 4.5 lbs

Fabric: Weatherproof 400D Nylon and poly melange

Capacities: 45L

Pros: Phenomenal Organization, Laptop sleeve, Carry On Friendly, Style, High Quality, Two Exterior Waterbottle Pockets, Hidden Pockets, Stowaway Straps, Carry Handles,

Cons: High Price, A Little More Masculine, Heavy

We just got this new backpack from Peak Designs and we far are in love! Peak Designs makes some incredible products, but they have outdone themselves with this backpack.

The first thing I love is that the backpack is made from recycled plastic. It has plenty of interior and exterior organizational compartments, which is definitely useful when traveling around Europe. There is an interior heavy-duty laptop compartment and plenty of space for rolled-up clothes. Unlike many other travel backpacks, Peak Designs thankfully put a water bottle holder on the outside of this pack.

There are a few complaints I have with this travel backpack. The first problem is the high price tag at $299. Then there is the weight, the backpack is loaded with features and heavy materials so it’s heavy. Its heavyweight and non-vented back panel makes for a pack that is not appropriate in hauling long distances or your average backpacker.

It’s also a little more gender-neutral so if you like “girly” colors you’ll have to opt for another women’s backpack on this list. With that being said the backpack does fit my frame well and I’m only 5′ 1″, not all unisex backpacks do that well.

This bag has a weatherproof canvas shell, so none of your belongings should get wet if you get caught in a rainstorm. On top of that, it meets all international carry on size requirements, but expands to 45L and collapses to 35L. This beautiful, heavy-duty bag and we like to use it as a carry on backpack and travel backpack.

Peak Designs Travel Backpack

Peak Designs Travel Backpack on Amazon


5.) Osprey Aura AG ($270)


Osprey Aura Best Women's Osprey Backpack

Weight: 4 lbs. 4 oz.

Fabric: Denier Nylon

Capacities: 65L

Pros: Lightweight Mesh Ventilation, Light Wire Frame, Many Pockets for Organization, Leading Class Hiking Backpack, Leading Comfort,

Cons: Only Toploading, Made For Hiking

Have I mentioned I love Osprey packs? With the antigravity system, the Osprey Aura feels absolutely great on your back for extreme comfort and fit all day.

This is a top-loading backpack that is specifically made for women making it one of the best travel backpacks for women on this list and best all-around hiking backpack. Designed for the traditional backpacker or those on a hiking adventure you can’t really go wrong with the Aura.

Almost the whole back panel is made out of lightweight mesh for ventilation. I love how the harness can be fine-tuned for any sized woman. This pack has so many compartments for organization, included space at the bottom for a sleeping bag. The top compartment can be completely removed if you don’t need it.

Osprey Aura AG on Amazon

Osprey Aura AG on REI

Osprey Aura AG on Backcountry


6.) Topo Designs Travel Bag ($229)


Topo Designs - Travel Backpack

Weight: 3 lbs. 1o oz.

Fabric: 1000D nylon, 400D nylon packcloth, 210D nylon pack cloth liner

Capacities: 30L & 40L

Pros: Organization Pockets, Multiple Compartments Laptop Sleeve, Multiple Carry Points, Carry On Friendly, Style, Heavy Zippers, Theft Deterrent Zipper Loop

Cons: Smaller Size, Style, No Water Bottle Holder, Price, Mixed Support

Topo Designs launched their latest pack the Travel Bag and it’s a slam dunk for European travel. The interior features double zipper U-entry, one large compartment, a medium-sized compartment, two small pockets, and two mesh pockets. The exterior features a rear laptop sleeve, a front compartment with organization and U-entry, a vertical pocket with organization, and exterior loops.

The exterior is heavy-duty nylon and the bag uses robust zippers that are the best we’ve seen on a travel backpack, albeit a bit clunky. When it comes to support the bag has side handles on both sides of the backpack, a detachable shoulder strap, and backpack straps with a hip belt and chest strap. The support and straps are detachable and can be stored inside a zippered compartment for travel.

It’s a decent size at 40L and should be enough for minimalistic travelers in one season for multiple weeks. If you’re an adventure seeker and like to hike, the support system is lacking when compared to top-loading packs.

The colors and style are also better suited for younger travelers, but it all depends on your style they offer a black if you prefer a more neutral bag we have the olive color pictured above. It’s loaded with features, space, and has a lifetime guarantee.

Topo Designs Travel Bag


7.) Eagle Creek Global Companion 40L Backpack ($229)


Eagle Creek Global Companion 40L Backpack  Women's Travel Backpack

Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.

Fabric: Poly 450 & 600D

Capacities: 40L

Pros: Laptop Sleeve, Multiple Compartments, Rain Cover, Clam Shell Open,

Cons: Ugly, Useless Front Pockets (Too Small), Lacks Side Handle, Permanent Straps,

This is a great backpack from Eagle Creek. They’ve specialized in travel products for a while now. The bag has a plethora of pockets and even a special one for shoes at the bottom of the bag.

It’s another great version of a clamshell-style backpack which provides easy access to your luggage. Other features include lockable zippers and a rain cover for bad weather.

Eagle Creek Global Companion on Amazon

Eagle Creek Global Companion on REI


8.) Deuter Air Contact ($200)

Deuter Ari Contact Lite Women's Travel Backpack

Weight: 4 lbs. 3 oz.

Fabric: Nylon

Capacities: 35L, 45L, 60L, 70L

Pros: Expandable Collar, Front Mesh Pockets, Hydration Compatible, Hiking Comfort, Suspension, Built Forr Woman’s Frame, Made For Hiking

Cons: Toploading,

A great top-loading pack option for the more adventurous woman. The Deuter ACT Lite pack has a comfortable fit, solid construction, internal frame, and a multilayer hip belt.

The harness is adjustable and completely padded so it sits well on women with wide hips. This pack is great for multi-day hikes and even has a compartment for storing sleeping bags without disturbing the rest of the items in the pack.

The Deuter Air Contact also has an expandable collar in case you need the extra 10L of storage. I really love the front mesh pockets on these packs and always end up storing my flip-flops there.

Deuter Air Contact on Amazon

Deuter Air Contact on REI


9.) REI Co-op Trail ($110)

REI Trail Best Women's Travel Backpack

Weight: 4 lbs. 12 oz.

Fabric: Denier ripstop nylon

Capacities: 25L, 40L,  65L

Pros: Many Organization tools, Different ways to Access Pack, Heavy, Style, Price

Cons: Small hydration sleeve on the outside

The REI Trail bag is a great travel backpack because it can be used for both hiking, and as a carry on backpack option. Its women-specific fit provides comfort for all sizes with harness systems designed for women torsos. The pack is focused well on organization with a number of compartments and pockets. On the 40L pack, there is a mesh compartment on the outside to store wet gear. Both the 25L and 40L are compliant with TSA regulations and can be carried on flights, a key element for those who like to fly carry on.

There’s a hydration pouch directly that helps with those like to use bladders when hiking. What I love the most is that there are a few different ways to access the pack, so your bag doesn’t have to become a complete mess when you find you need something.

REI Co-op Trail


10.) Flight Approved Backpack by Standard Luggage Co.

Flight Approved Women's Travel Backpack

Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz.

Fabric: Nylon (1680)

Capacities: 45L

Pros: Robust Design, Laptop Sleeve, Suspension, Side Handles, Water Bottle Holder, Heavy Duty Material, Compression Straps,

Cons: Heavy,

This minimalist 35L travel backpack is the perfect carry on for those looking to pack everything needed for their trip. It’s not flashy or complicated, but the simple design is the perfect bag for travel needs. With a clever design, the bag can expand to 45 liters from 35 thanks to an expandable zipper.

My favorite aspect of this bag is that is designed to open like a clamshell suitcase making for easy access. For digital nomads or business travelers, the removable laptop sleeve serves as a great asset. Other great features include a top and side handle, compression straps and two exterior pockets.

Standard has really thought out this bags design and it’s obvious in the finished product. It feels high-quality thanks to nice handles, zips, seams, and a heavy-duty nylon exterior material. They also include some nice features like a rollaboard strap and rain cover that you don’t see in many other carry on backpacks.

Standard Luggage Flight Approved Backpack


11.) Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack


Tortuga Setout Carry On Travel Backpack

Weight: 4 lbs.

Fabric: Nylon 900D

Capacities: 40L

Pros: Laptop Sleeve. Multiple Compartments. Superb Suspension. Stow Away Straps. Side Handle. Water Bottle Holder. Quality. Lockable Zippers.

Cons: Difficult to Access Front and Rear Sleeves. Heavy. Style.

Companies have caught on to the demands of travelers these days. The idea of a hiking backpack to travel around is going out of style now we have proper carry-on backpacks — we’re stoked and own five travel bags including the Setout! Tortuga was one of the first bag companies to catch on to the trend and start producing travel-specific bags.

It’s been one of my favorite bags I’ve ever carried and it’s been wonderful with our snowboard season as dealing with a snowboard bag is already a pain in the butt. The bag is about 40 liters in size with a front-loading compartment, a front sleeve with organization, and rear laptop sleeve.

The compartments are well thought out with room for my socks, toiletries, electronics, and essentials. The bags highlights for me include a padded laptop sleeve, detachable straps if you decide to check the bag, and the convenient side handle. The straps on the Setout are also the robust and comfortable straps of all the travel backpacks we tested.

It is a great backpack it doesn’t deserve to be number six on this list, but for only $30 Topo Designs Travel Bag delivers a more robust bag loaded with features and a better design. That being said it does have a water bottle holder that the Topo Designs Travel Bag lacks, a crucial element in the way you use a pack.

Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack


12.) eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible ($139)


Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Women's Travel Backpack

Weight: 3 lbs. 15 oz.

Fabric: Polyester

Pros: Carry On Compliant, Expandable, Affordable

Cons: Not Good For Long Trips, No Hip Belt, Cheap, Thin Straps,

eBags has been making reliable bags for years. While they may not be geared towards outdoor hiking adventures the Mother Lode Weekender is certainly great for just every day travels around the globe. It effortlessly meets the needs for work trips, road trips, or for weekend getaways (hence the “weekender” name).

Once you open the inside of the bag you’ll see how nicely you can organize your belongings, while the outside of the bag has many zippered compartments for stashing your phone, camera, passports, or anything else. The only problem with this bag is it doesn’t have a hip belt, and rather thin shoulder straps so it’s not ideal for walking long distances.

eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender on Amazon


13.) Kelty Women’s Redwing Backpack ($125)

Kelty Women’s Redwing Backpack

Weight: 2 lbs. 10 oz.

Fabric: Denier Polyester

Capacities: 40L

Pros: Removable Waist Belt, Easy Access Side, Carry On Compliant, Lightweight, Hiking Comfort, Front Pocket Load

Cons: Mix Between Hiking and Travel

The Kelty Redwing 40 is a women’s pack specifically designed with a women’s frame in mind. It can be accessed from the side or top of the pack providing easy access to your belongings wherever they are located. This Kelty bag uses the LightBeam™ single aluminum stay and Dynamic AirFlow panel which stabilizes your load and helps keep you comfortable and balanced.

The back sleeve can either be used for a travel laptop (or for a  bladder), which is great if you work while traveling. A great feature is the removable waist belt, which we use when we are flying and don’t want to risk our bags getting ruined in transit.

Kelty Women’s Redwing on Amazon

Kelty Women’s Redwing on REI

Kelty Women’s Redwing on Backcountry


14.) REI Co-op Flash Pack

REI Co-op Flash 45 Pack

Weight: 2 lbs. 12 oz.

Fabric: Nylon (420D)

Capacities: 45L

Pros: Lightweight, Manageable, Nice Features

Cons: Too Small For Long Trips

We love to shop at REI and love their gear. It’s often great value and we’ve used their backpacks for years. The Co-Op Flash Pack is one of the best lightweight hiking backpacks on the market. It’s made out of ripstop nylon and is a great 45 L trekking backpack for both men and women. With 45L it’s manageable for a gear-heavy day hike, an overnight, or a minimalist multi-day trek. The REI compression technology helps keep your belongings up and in to help your balance, stability, and posture while hiking. Its super lightweight frame is great and where the bag saves a few ounces.

There are attachment loops on the front to allow ice axes, poles, and other tools to be stored as well as snappable water bottle pockets on the hip belt. The mesh back panel allows for airflow keeping you cooler when walking in the sun and the removable top lid offers customizable pack volume. We think this pack is perfect for those on a long weekend hiking trip in the mountains or on cross-country trails and has even been named the “Best Women’s Fit” backpack by Backpacker Magazine.

Check prices online


15.) REI Co-op Traverse


REI Co-op Traverse

Weight: 4 lbs. 11 oz.

Fabric: Ripstop Nylon

Capacities: 35L, 65L

Pros: All-Around Backpack Hiking and travel, Sturdy Hip Belt, Removable Top

Cons: Narrow Shoulder Straps

If I were looking for the best overall women’s backpack the Traverse would be my pick. This is one of the latest packs from REI and is great for camping, hiking, and general travel. The Traverse comes in two different colors and is one of the first backpacks I’ve seen come in light pink, or what they call “Peppercorn.”

The REI UpLift™ Compression technology pulls the Traverse pack load upwards and inwards. This makes the load closer to your center of gravity, improving balance and making it easier to hike with a heavier load. The functionality is great with an adjustable torso section, padded straps and a pivoting hip belt that moves independently from the pack.

All users note how comfortable this pack is to wear and that the Traverse has great lumbar support. As with many REI packs the Traverse has a lot of compartments to store items in and stay organized, but without zippers and straps hanging all over the place.

This doesn’t deserve to be last on our list of travel backpacks, but since it’s better suited for hiking and the trail it makes up the last place on our list of best women’s travel backpack.

REI Co-op Traverse


Elements Women’s Travel Backpack

Men's Jackets For Travel

Main Compartment

You’ll want to make sure that the main compartment of your backpack is large enough to carry all of your belongings while still having easy access. Store the heavier things at the bottom of your bag so that the weight is closer to your back. Additional compartments are good for storage of small items or valuables like your passport.


Hip Belt

A good hip belt is essential for any women’s travel backpack. In case you haven’t heard women have hips and putting your pack weight on your hips helps take the pressure off your back, so you will want a good, well-cushioned hip belt that is sturdy to help do that.


Shoulder Straps

Along with the hip belt, your shoulder straps carry a lot of the weight of your pack. Thick and comfortable padding will keep your shoulders from hurting after a long days hike or walk through a city.


Water Bottle Holders and Hydration ports:

Hydration ports are great for those long hot days.If you aren’t using the hydration ports or a bladder you will want at least one water bottle holder to hold your liquid.


Waterproof

We look for bags that are waterproof or have a rain fly in case your stuck in a rainstorm. Nothing is worse than wet gear.


Vented Back And Cushion

A well cushioned back panel can make the difference between having a backache or not. Then a back panel that is vented prevents you from sweating through your favorite travel clothes.


Trekking Pole/Ice Axe Loops:

If you’ll be doing any hiking during your travels these are great little additions to any bag that can really optimize your comfort and free your hands if you use poles or ice picks on hikes.


How to Choose the Best Women’s Travel Backpack?

Travel Taiwan

Price

The first thing to think about when it comes to picking a great women’s travel backpack is your budget. Good quality backpacks are expensive, but you also don’t want to blow your entire budget on a backpack. That being said, if you invest in one of the best backpacks on the market chances are it will stand the test of time. Many companies like REI and Osprey will offer to repair your products.


Comfort

Like with anything, make sure that the backpack you choose is comfortable on your back. You should be able to hike comfortably for at least two hours. When buying online it’s a good idea to check the return policy in case the backpack does not fit you the way you would like. Most Amazon and REI purchases come with free returns.


Design

A backpacks design is crucial. A good backpack doesn’t necessarily mean a bunch of bells and whistles. Make sure you narrow down if you want a top loading backpack or front loading, and check for any extra straps, harnesses, zippers, and clips you may or may not need. There’s often no perfect backpack, but what’s perfect for you.


Material

Pick a women’s backpack that is with solid materials. Most backpacks on the market are constructed with Ripstop Nylon or Polyester. There is also the latest material of Dyneema, but it comes at a premium price point.


Volume/Frame/Weight

Determine everything you will want to carry in your backpack and that will determine the volume of your ideal backpack. A good starting point for a travel backpack is 40-50L. My first backpack was a 70L and I stuffed it, which made my travel days unbearable. I was pretty terrible at packing in those early days.


Trip Length

It’s important to consider your trip length when picking a backpack. There are great small travel backpacks on this list that are great for shorter trips. While the larger capacities can circumnavigate the world or tackle a multi-day hiking expedition.


The Best Travel Backpacks For Europe
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