If you’ve never been backpacking before, you might be worried about how to carry your tent, clothes, sleeping bag, food, and so on. Women need backpacks that are as capable as men. This is why we have researched the best women’s backpacking backpacks and created a guide for you.
Whether you are starting your first backcountry adventure or are an experienced veteran in need of an upgrade, this review will be useful to you. We noted the simplicity of packing and adjustment for optimum support and comfort, how each pack adjusts to the weight of your load, and how accessible our water bottles, snacks, and layers are.
In a Hurry? The test winners after 14 hrs of research
The majority of hikers need a superior backpack in the 40-60L range which can manage quick overnights to several day trips. We looked at 16 different backpacking backpacks for women, in small, medium and large sizes and found 10 of the best ones which we’ve outlined below.
The Osprey Packs Aura AG 65 Women’s Backpacking Backpack is the winner of our backpack test. The Aura AG 65 is the best-fitting and most comfortable women’s pack ever made for traditional backpacking trips. The innovative anti-gravity suspension gives the feeling that you carry less weight as it seamlessly wraps around your body. With easy to use stretch side pockets, stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment, and an integrated FlapJacket flap to protect your gear.
The hip belt design is another distinctive element of the Aura. Unlike most packs where the hip belt moves independently of the remainder of the bag, the hip belt of the Aura fits in one fluid structure into the back panel, which restricts the hip belt from having a complete variety of outward movement. Pull down the side compression straps once everything is inside this bag to decrease the volume and stabilize the load distribution to maximize convenience. To further spread the load, the exterior frame connects the upper load lifters and the core of the pack to the hip belt. Make sure you also check our selection of the best backpacking backpacks.
Sternum strap whistle
Ventilated mesh back panel
Zippered Sleeping Bag Compartment
Internal hydration reservoir sleeve
Dimensions: 33″ H x 16″ W x 15″ D
Weight: 4.42 lbs
Super comfortable, carries the weight well
Completely adjustable to properly fit your torso size and hips
The Osprey Packs Renn 65 Women’s Backpacking Backpack is the best pack we’ve tested at the lowest price. A lightweight yet durable ventilated pack with plenty of the quality features you associate with Osprey. Thoughtfully designed to fit a woman’s anatomy with specially shaped and contoured shoulder straps and hip belt.
Tensioned back panel can be easily adjusted to fit a wide range of torso lengths while providing ventilation to reduce sweating. The LightWire frame transfers loads to the hip belt, taking the pressure off the user’s shoulders and delivers a stable, comfortable carry. Dual upper and lower side compression straps stabilize loads and maintain a streamlined profile. Love Osprey? Check out our review of the best Osprey backpacks for our top picks.
Integrated removable rain cover
Zippered sleeping bag with floating divider
Internal Hydration Sleeve up to 3L
Dual upper and lower side compression straps
Dimensions: 26″ H x 15″ W x 14″ D
Weight: 3.44 lbs
Super comfortable, carries the weight well
Completely adjustable to properly fit your torso size and hips
The Versant 50L Women’s Backpacking Pack Mazerine Blue is a perfectly sized backpack for 3-5 day adventures with a customizable hipbelt, easy-access pockets, and a lid that converts into a sling. waterproof rolltop pocket keeps gear safe from elements.
One useful feature of this backpack is the StormGuard system that combines a partial rain cover with a waterproof bottom liner to create a fully weatherproof bag and side pockets that are easily accessible even with the rain cover on. Our guide to the best thru-hiking backpacks offers more great products like this.
Top lid converts to a sling pack for summit hikes
Large u-zip panel allows for easy access
Weatherproof StormGuard system
Dimensions: 25.6″ H x 16.9″ W x 12.62″ D
Weight: 3.44 lbs
Comes with a waterproof shell
Comes with a medium-sized pouch for your smartphone and is also waterproof
An angled water bottle pocket is located on the back right side of the pack
The Granite Gear Blaze 60L Backpack – Women’s is a lightweight workhorse, perfect for long-distance trekkers or expedition haulers. The spacious primary compartment will be appreciated by beginners with bulkier equipment, ideally suited for holding everything you need.
This backpack combines weight-saving effectiveness with assistance in the correct locations to generate a lightweight pack capable of handling the burdens of expeditions. You can customize the wide range of compression straps to suit anything you might need. You can also criss-cross the straps for extra support.
The Deuter Aircontact Lite 35+10 SL features a shorter adjustable back length, narrower shoulder harness, and conical shaped hip belt tailored to the female form. The Aircontact Lite back system is proven to reduce perspiration by 15% and it is composed of a breathable padding made of open-cell, hollow-chamber foam and an ergonomic internal X-frame that let cool air in and hot air out. It has an extendable 10L pack collar for optional volume expansion.
One feature that makes this pack stand out is the height-adjustable harness is suitable for a broad range of bodies; from slender to wide and straight to curvy. The ACT Lite is likely to feel comfy no matter your shape. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best hiking backpacks for women.
Dual stretch mesh zippered pockets on hip belt
Extendable 10L pack
Height adjustable, removable lid
Side compression straps for regulating pack volume
Dimensions: 28.4″ H x 10.2″ W x 7.9″ D
Weight: 3.48 lbs
Lightweight, made for women
Back panel that uses a two mesh-wrapped foam panels
The suspension incorporates a two crossed metal stays (rather than a metal wire around the pack’s perimeter)
The Kelty Women’s Reva 60 Backpack is a modern and streamlined design backpack. Specifically shaped shoulder straps and hipbelt are contoured to fit a women’s body plus the new parallel pivoting Kinesis hipbelt that moves and adjusts with every step, providing more effective weight carry, greater stability, and increased comfort.
To further enhance the fit and comfort, Kelty is using their perfect fit suspension system which is tried and true with some other packs on their line. The pack offers lumbar adjustment. There are two pull loops on the back to find the best position for your body shape. This can be done with the pack on your back.
Kinesis hip belt
7 total pockets: 2 zippered pockets are on the hip belt, 2 stretch pockets are on the sides, 1 zippered pocket is in the lid, 1 zippered pocket with the organization is on the front, and behind it, there is yet another shove-it pocket
The suspension system of the pack is based on a lightweight peripheral aluminum frame and an HDPE frame sheet
The TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is a high-quality backpack that is loaded with features like a sleeping bag compartment, compression straps, and multiple compartments and pockets for strategic packing. Comfort features include a padded back panel that is channeled for optimal airflow, padded lumbar and waist and shoulder straps that help carry the load.
It is perfect for those new to backpacking but also works very well for the traveler who often finds himself walking while exploring new regions. Even those not new to backpacking can appreciate this bag’s design. This pack is super adjustable but really works particularly well for those with a small frame. Our guide to the best lightweight hiking backpacks offers more great products like this.
Side pockets, gear loops, and compression straps make organizing your gear easier.
Bungee storage for your jacket or other items you need to access quickly.
Rainfly is sewn-in and can be tucked away when it is not needed
Brand: TETON Sports
Dimensions: 29.9″ H x 16.9″ W x 3.9″ D
Weight: 4.40 lbs
Loaded with compression straps on sides, top, bottom and front for additional gear storage
Hip belt padded with open-cell foam and lumbar pad for extra support
Harness has molded channels for directing air flow from the body to maintain sweat at bay
Built-in rainfly is bright yellow for safety in dim lighting
The High Sierra Classic 2 Summit 40 Internal Frame Pack is a feature-rich, versatile adventure lifestyle gear for adventurers everywhere. A versatile overnight pack, it features an internal frame with a single, contoured adjustable aluminum frame bar. The backpack’s shoulder straps, constructed with HEX-VENT mesh padding and adjustable load-lifters, are designed for comfort and ease of carrying. You can adjust the backpack straps to fit your height. The non-slip shoulder pads distribute weight more evenly on your shoulders.
Other features include a molded foam back panel with airflow channels to keep your back cool and dry. It includes an adjustable waist belt made with Hex-Vent mesh padding for added comfort. The adjustable sternum straps stabilize the internal frame pack and keep shoulder straps centered on your shoulders. Side compression straps help secure gear and stabilize the load.
Single contoured aluminum frame bars can be adjusted to fit the shape of your back
Molded foam back panel with airflow channels to keep your back cool and dry
Top load main compartment with gusseted drawstring closure and adjustable top lid
Front-load sleeping bag compartment with divider
Brand: High Sierra
Dimensions: 21″ H x 14″ W x 5″ D
Weight: 3 lbs
Adjustable sternum strap stabilizes pack
Padded backpack straps, with adjustable load-lifters, is constructed with Hex-Vent mesh
Bottom compression straps can be extended to allow for additional storage
The Osprey Lumina 45 Backpack – Women’s is the most comfortable and ventilated women’s-specific pack ever made for the lightest loads imaginable. It’s perfect for streamlined weekends or committing thru-hikes. The beauty of the Osprey Lumina 45 is the fact that while offering assistance and convenience, the bag is extremely lightweight. The straps of the shoulder and the hip belt are broad and made of smooth mesh, while not excessively padded.
The concept behind this pack is that, while enabling airflow and ventilation through mesh paneling, the suspension will still provide assistance through the aluminum frame. All this makes it easy to carry, with very little extra weight.
Fixed top lid with zippered pocket for organizing smaller items
Bellowed front fabric pocket stores rain gear for easy access
The High Sierra Women’s Summit 45L Internal Frame Pack features a female-specific fit perfect for the active woman going on a hike or any outdoor travel adventure. It includes a versatile overnight pack and an internal frame with a single, contoured aluminum frame bar. Great for that hiking, camping, or backpacking adventure.
Made from durable 1680D ballistic nylon material and Duralite mini-hexagon ripstop with water-resistant coating, the High Sierra Women’s Summit 45 internal frame pack is designed to fit the petite frame. The High Sierra Women’s Summit 45 Internal Frame Pack also includes a front-load sleeping bag compartment with divider, bottom compression straps which can be extended for added storage, internal hydration reservoir sleeve with dual exit ports and a tuck-away rain cover to protect the pack.
Made with strong and durable ballistic nylon material
Designed for a woman’s petite frame
Large storage capacity
Molded foam back panel with AIRFLOW channels keep your back cool and dry
Adjustable mesh padded shoulder straps with load-lifters
Brand: High Sierra
Dimensions: 17.7″ H x 15″ W x 4.7″ D
Weight: 3.10 lbs
Well built with sturdy materials and it carries a lighter load very well
Pockets for organization are great
Perfect for 1-3 day hiking trips
Compartments: top, main (includes hydration pocket), outside (vertical zip), bottom (sleep system), and a dedicated velcro pocket for an attached rain cover
Issue occurs when the bag is filled to capacity, the bag becomes rounded when pressing into your back due to only have a center single aluminum stay
Lighter is generally better but not always, depending on your trip. Sometimes the extra ounces you spend on a capable suspension design and cushy hip and shoulder straps pay huge dividends in trail comfort. In other words, a pack of 4 lbs that makes a load tolerable of 35 lbs is preferable to a pack of 3 lbs that transforms the same load into a device of torture. While packs with around 50-60L capacity, we recommend to look for packs weighing 3-5 lbs.
Regardless of whether you’re out on an overnight trip to a 7 day trip, you’ll carry the same set of overnight gear, the only thing that’s different is the amount of food. So even short trips require at least 40L of pack capacity. Most weekends need between 50 and 60. Some backpackers in a 60L pack can fit a week’s worth of supplies, but most will need more volume, especially if they carry cold-weather gear.
A backpack’s suspension plays a critical role in maintaining the comfort on your shoulders and hips from grinding down. Padded straps also help, as well as built-in ventilation: look for air channels between the padding and mesh on the straps and back panel (all helps to relieve sweat buildup).
Internal vs External Frame
You may notice that there are two primary kinds of backpacking packs while doing your research: internal and external frame. While an external frame pack may be cool old-school, we have stuck to internal frame packs as they are the most prevalent and are slimmer and more stable for rough terrain.
Nearly all backpacking designs are top-loaders, meaning you’re putting things from the top. But there are also some large-capacity packs with a zipper running along the length to assist you to reach stashed items anywhere within. Hipbelt pockets allow you to access snacks or sunscreen without removing your pack. And some backpacks have detachable lids that turn into daypacks that are useful for brief base camp hikes. Packing cubes for backpacking is also another great option for the organization.
Building a backpack that is both light and comfortable can be very costly. Determine if you want to carry a heavier pack (materials that are strong but light tend to cost more) or sacrifice some comfort (with cheaper fabrics or a simpler suspension system) to save cash.
Frequently Ask Questions
Do I need a women’s specific backpacking backpack?
Yes and no. When it comes to purchasing products of some sort, basically the choice will come down to what would fit better for you. For instance, some women think that men’s backpacks actually suit their bodies better, so consideration of both choices is crucial. Ultimately, there is never one straightforward right option for anyone because you know your body better than everyone else.
What backpacking backpack size do I need?
Backpacking packs are often represented in cubic inches and liters. Not sure if those measurements would make sense? Here is a simple cheat sheet to help you pick the best pack depending on the length of your backpacking trip:
Daypacks – 10-30 liters
Overnight pack (1-3 nights) – 30-50 liters
Multi day pack (3-5 nights) – 50-70 liters
Extended trip (5 nights or more) – 70+ liters
How do I measure my torso for a backpacking pack?
A well fitted backpack ensures better weight distribution, greater convenience and more flexibility. Measuring your torso will help you find the right suit when you purchase it.
Place your hands on the hips and mark the tops of the pelvis or hip bones
Draw an imaginary line between your thumbs across your lower back and target the spot
Tilt your chin to your chest and weigh your abdomen from the the base of your neck to the point that it crosses the gap between your thighs.
You’ll want to select a pack that fits the length of your torso. All backpacking packs usually have a number of torso-lengths in inches. Although you’ll want to start with the right model, several backpacking packs have flexible torsos that allow you to make adjustments to the length of your torso.
Having the right pack on your back can make a difference between having an enjoyable outdoor time and a lot of annoyance. However, choosing the correct pack can be quite hard. Depending on the environment and climate in which you spend your time, as well as your packing habits and type of body, your personal needs will vary. And while we generally agree we need a pack that will perform well on our outdoor trips, we tend to prefer products that will not drain our bank accounts as well.
We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best backpacking backpacks for women as well as our guide on features to look for in a backpacking backpack for women. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.