Looking for a new travel backpack? I’ve rated and reviewed the best travel backpacks for women – read before you buy.
A well-designed and useful travel backpack is an essential piece of travel gear. But, with so many on the market, how do you know which ones are worth your hard-earned cash?
Don’t worry, friends. I’ve rated and reviewed the best in the biz’ right now. Whether you’re hiking, city-sightseeing or just trying to cram as much as possible into your carry on, these are the best backpacks for women.
The Best Travel Backpacks for Women: At a Glance
|Best Travel Backpack For…||Top Pick|
|Overall Best Travel Backpack for Women||Osprey Farpoint 40L|
|Best Large Backpack for Women||Deuter Women’s 60 + 10|
|Best Stylish Backpack for Women||The North Face Jester|
|Best Versatile Carry On for Women||Standard Luggage Co Carry On|
The Best Travel Backpacks for Women
Osprey Fairpoint 40L – Overall Best Travel Backpack for Women
I will never stop recommending the Osprey Fairpoint 40L. It truly is the best backpack out there right now.
Let me discuss the Farpoint 40’s LightWire Frame Suspension, which helps transfer weight from your harness to your hip belt, taking a significant load off your shoulders. Don’t underestimate this – it’s super handy on long trips.
One of the major reasons I rate the Farpoint 40 so highly is because of the storage compartment designed to stow away loose straps and buckles. This helps to prevent them from getting tangled up, which can be frustrating AF.
The backpack also boasts a spacious main compartment that opens like a suitcase, making packing and unpacking much easier. The lockable sliders on the zippers also help to keep your belongings safe and secure while you’re on the move.
Osprey Fairpoint 40L: Pros
- Comfortable and lightweight design
- Great durability for outdoor activities
Osprey Fairpoint 40L: Cons
- Some have said that the back sits too high for them (I don’t struggle with this, though)
- No extra padding on the straps – can hurt the shoulders after a while
Deuter Women’s Aircontact 60 + 10 Backpack – Best Comfortable Backpack for Women
The Aircontact 60 + 10 is my choice of overall best comfy travel backpack for women due to its outstanding comfort and ability to adjust to all back lengths.
Offering up to 70 litres of storage capacity this is a big bag capable of carrying a lot of weight, so comfort and fit are paramount.
The key to this backpack’s comfort is Deuter’s unique, and very clever Active Contact Fit system. This allows the pack and its weight to sit as close as possible to your body.
This pack never feels too hot and sweaty either. That’s thanks to the Aircontact foam, which has a hollow core to pump cooling air through the padding as you move. Finally, the Vari Quick system allows the Aircontact 60 + 10 to adjust to suit any back length.
So, it’s one of the most comfortable backpacks, but what other features does the Aircontact offer?
First up, those all-important openings – the Aircontact features a large front opening, as well as a separate, bottom opening, allowing you to split your load with easy access.
I was also a big fan of the internal stretch pocket specifically designed for carrying wet or sweaty clothes. Because no matter how pristine you try and stay while you are on the road, you will always end up a hot and sweaty mess at some point along the way.
Some of the other features I loved included the Streamer hydration pack compatibility, the internal valuables pocket and the integrated rain cover.
The Aircontact also comes with hiking pole attachments, great for long distance trails such as the W-Trail in the Torres Del Paine.
So there you have it, in a nutshell the Deuter Aircontact 60 +10 is my best women’s travel backpack for comfort. Large enough, packed with great features and easily accessible with outstanding comfort and fit.
Deuter Women’s Aircontact 60 + 10 Backpack: Pros
- Large size
- Large front opening
- Great fit
Deuter Women’s Aircontact 60 + 10 Backpack: Cons
- Quite heavy
- External pockets could be better
Osprey Aura AG 65 – Best Large Backpack for Women
If you are going to take a large backpack hiking, then comfort is the main priority. With its outstanding back system and the world’s first fully ventilated hip belt, the Osprey Aura AG 65 is my pick as best women’s hiking backpack.
So, let’s take a look at the Aura AG’s harness in more detail.
First up is Osprey’s unique suspended AG AntiGravity™ backsystem which features a seamless mesh construction with a hollow 3-D back panel allowing unrivalled air-flow.
Next on the list are the superbly padded and ventilated shoulder straps with six contact points to spread the loading and stabilise the pack.
Finally there’s that unique, fully ventilated hip belt.
In addition to its extraordinary levels of comfort, the Aura AG is also packed with features to make your hiking trip easier to manage. The twin zipped front pockets, base zip and top-lid entry points mean that access to gear is quick and easy.
Osprey’s Stow-on-the-Go™ trekking pole attachment allows access to your poles without removing your pack. A large sleeping bag base compartment with internal divider allows you to separate clothes from camping gear.
The pack also features a built-in rain cover and is hydration pack compatible – both essentials for extended treks in changeable conditions. Finally I love the detachable top cover, meaning you can keep valuables close even when your pack is out of sight.
The combination of outstanding comfort, trail-friendly features and the women-specific design and sizing make the Osprey Aura AG 65 the best women’s hiking backpack.
I also want to point out that although it’s a great hiking backpack, the Osprey Aura is generally an awesome women’s backpack for travelling and another winner in the most comfortable backpack stakes. A real all-rounder.
Osprey Aura AG 65: Pros
- Unrivalled comfort and fit
- Trekking-friendly features
- Built in rain cover
Osprey Aura AG 65: Cons
- Very much hiking focused
Standard Luggage Co. Carry On Backpack – Best Versatile Carry On Bag for Women
Although not strictly only a carry on backpack, the Standard Luggage Co. Carry On Bag is my choice for the best carry on backpack for women for its sheer versatility.
Able to be used as a holdall, cross-body or a backpack, this is a great option as a women’s backpack for travelling – particularly who don’t want to lose the easy portability of a backpack, but want something smarter than a typical pack.
The guys at Standard Luggage Co. have gone to great lengths to design a bag which is super-practical, packed with features and great to look at.
The bag is split into two main compartments, the front being large enough for a week’s worth of clothes with handy compression straps. The rear compartment is really useful with a detachable laptop bag, which makes trips through airport security a breeze.
Size-wise, the Standard Luggage Co. carry on measures 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches (55 x 35 x 19 cm), so will comply with most airlines’ cabin baggage policies.
The bag features two large front pockets and the large, main compartment features a number of smaller, handy zipped compartments. The rucksack straps are easily and neatly stowable, completing the transformation from backpack to smart carry-on.
Each bag comes with a second set of handle pads and zipper-pulls in a different colour, allowing you to customise as you wish. A separate, detachable shoulder strap is also supplied if you prefer a cross-body bag too.
The clever design and versatility of the Standard Luggage Co. Carry On makes it my pick as best carry on backpack – read my full review here.
Standard Luggage Co. Carry On Backpack: Pros
- Smart looks
- Great features
Standard Luggage Co. Carry On Backpack: Cons
- Small size
- Not suitable for hiking or all-day wear
The North Face Jester – Best Stylish Backpack for Women
The North Face Jester is a little bit of an icon.
It’s a classic bag that has been updated multiple times to meet the needs of modern-day users. In recent years, the addition of a padded laptop sleeve has been much welcomed to provide secure and safe storage for your laptop while you’re on the go.
The front compartment has secure-zip pockets that allow you to keep your belongings organised, a tablet sleeve to keep your device safe and a key fob so you can easily find your keys. This makes it easy to keep your belongings accessible, no matter where you are.
One of the reasons that I always recommend the Jester backpack is for the FlexVent suspension system. This provides comfortable and ventilated support through custom injection-molded and flexible shoulder straps, a yoke that fits the contours of your body, a padded mesh back panel and a breathable lumbar panel.
This reduces strain on your back and helps to improve airflow and reduce heat build-up during hot weather or physical activity.
In terms of storage, the Jester backpack has two water bottle pockets on the outside, which make it easy to stay hydrated while you’re on the go. It also has a front bungee system that provides additional storage options, making it easy to carry extra gear or clothing with you.
The North Face Jester: Pros
- Stylish and has plenty of colourways
- Padded laptop sleeve
- FlexVent Suspension System
- Bungee system useful for clipping on extra items
The North Face Jester: Cons
- Not the most sophisticated option on the market
- Pricy for its features
Teton 3400 Hiking Backpack – Best Hiking Backpack for Women
A horribly uncomfy bag can completely ruin a long trek, I know. So trust me when I say that hikers will not want to pass up on the TETON Sports Scout 3400. It’s a high-quality and durable hiking backpack for women.
The pack is equipped with sturdy zippers that can withstand rough use and ensure that your belongings stay safe and secure. Add to this a mesh lumbar support and padded waist and shoulder straps, and you’ll have complete comfort during long hikes.
One of the standout features of the TETON Sports Scout 3400 is the bendable aluminum stays, which allow you to customize the fit of the pack to your body. This means you can ensure weight is distributed evenly and that you won’t experience any discomfort or strain during extended use.
Nothing is worse than getting stuck in the rain mid-hike, but you’ll be happy to hear that the TETON Sports Scout 3400 has a yellow rainfly that comes with the pack. This rainfly is designed to stay hidden until you need it, and then it can be pulled out to protect your pack and gear from rain and other elements.
Teton 3400 Hiking Backpack: Pros
- Super lightweight
- Multi-position torso adjustment
Teton 3400 Hiking Backpack: Cons
- Not suitable for heavy loads
Things You Should Consider When Buying a Woman’s Travel Backpack?
Start with the obvious question. What will you use it for?
The length and type of trip should of course influence your choice. If your preference is for trekking and adventure, then a hiking-specific pack would be best and conversely, if you generally spend more time in airports and hotels then go for a more luggage-like option.
It is easy to get carried away with size, there are some huge packs out there, but how big should you go?
Check out my Backpacking Essentials Guide to help plan what you take efficiently and cut down on the size of your load. If you are not sure, then consider an extendible or 2 in 1 pack.
Again, strongly linked to the end-use you have in mind, but think about what is really useful for you.
Large front or rear openings make it much easier to access your belongings. Think about storage, access and security of your valuables too – there’s nothing worse than having to repeatedly take off and put on a heavy pack every time you need your wallet or passport.
If hiking and trekking are your focus, you may choose to forego some of the access benefits for more loops, straps and attachment points for items like trekking poles and sleeping mats.
Above all though, fit and comfort are paramount – I’ve chosen mostly women-specific designs in this feature for good reason.
The prettiest, easy to access, most versatile backpack will become a horrible, uncomfortable burden if it is not the correct size and fit for you.