If you’re about to hit the road and travel the world, one of the key pre-departure steps is to choose your luggage. Traveling with a backpack vs rolling luggage is ideal if you want to stay mobile and flexible on your travels. I’ve compiled a list of the best travel backpacks for women to help you pick the right pack.
There are a couple of great travel backpacks for women specifically and some that are unisex which also work well for women. This guide to the best travel backpack for women covers both.
My comparison table of the best backpacks for women will help you choose the right women’s travel rucksack for both your body type, the style of travel you’re doing and for the items you’re packing. So if you’re looking for the best women’s backpack for travel, hiking or backpacking trips, read on and find out what I recommend for you!
Best Travel Backpacks for Women 2018
Here are the best travel backpacks for women in a handy comparison chart so you can quickly sort the features that you need and find the best women’s backpack for the style of travel you’re doing.
Osprey Fairview 40L
|Carry on travel backpack||40L||3.1 lbs||Internal sleeve in front compartment||Yes||Check Prices|
Kelty Women's Redwing 40L
|Carry on travel and hiking backpack||40L||2.6 lbs||Internal sleeve at back of main compartment||No||Check Prices|
Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack
|Packable daypack||18L||0.3 lbs||No||No||Check Prices|
The North Face Women's Terra 55 Backpack
|Full size hiking backpack||55L||4.5 lbs||No||No||Check Prices|
Osprey Women's Fairview 55 Travel
|Full size travel backpack||55L||4.4 lbs||Internal sleeve in front compartment||Yes||Check Prices|
How to Pick the Right Backpack
What kind of backpack do you need? Do you need a specific ladies travel backpack?
- Carry on sized travel backpack – Traveling with only a carry on sized travel backpack is my preferred method of travel. I find I’m more confident when I can easily carry my own backpack, a can walk further with it without getting sore shoulders and I have less stuff to worry about packing & repacking. A backpack around 40 liters will work for carry on only travel. My carry on sized backpack weighs about 25 lbs (or 12 kgs) when fully stuffed and including a 15″ Macbook Pro.
- Full size travel backpack – If you’re traveling to multiple climates on a longer trip and need more space than a carry on backpack provides then go for a full size women’s travel backpack. Backpacks like this are available from 50 liters upwards to 80 liters. 80 liters is quite a big backpack though so you’d have to be confident in your ability to carry it. Fully packed it would weight over 45 lbs (or 20 kgs).
- Women’s hiking backpack – If you’re up for a more active adventure and plan on hiking with your backpack you’ll need to chose a specific type of “backpacking backpack” that is best suited for hiking.
- Travel daypack – If you’re traveling with a full sized backpack or even a carry on backpack, having a smaller daypack that you can use separately is very useful. You can use it for toting around a guidebook, water bottle, jacket and snacks for a long day out exploring a new city or a short day hike. Or use your daypack for packing what you need quick access to on travel days. You know, so you don’t need to dig through your main backpack and have your knickers accidentally pop out at airport security!
- Women’s travel pack vs mens/unisex – Do you need a specific travel backpack for ladies or will a mens/unisex backpack do?
- Laptop compartment – For me, one of the biggest considerations when choosing a pack is the laptop compartment. If you travel with a laptop then this will be important to you when sorting through the options for women’s backpacks for travel. If you travel a lot by plane then it’s useful to have a laptop compartment that is separate/external from the main compartment of your backpack so you can easily whip it out at airport security. If you’re not flying a lot and don’t want your laptop to be easily accessible by sticky fingers on a crowded train then the best women’s backpack for you is one with an internal laptop compartment.
Top Rated Women’s Backpacks Reviews
These are my reviews of the top rated women’s backpacks which will help you dive a little deeper if you’re having trouble choosing one backpack over another.
My pick for the best carry on backpack for women!
- Size: 40L for S/M and 38L for XS/S
- Type: Carry On Travel Backpack
- Laptop Compartment: Internal sleeve in front pocket of backpack
- Stowaway Straps: Yes
Osprey Fairveiw 40L Review:
The Osprey Farpoint is an extremely popular unisex backpack that has been a favorite of travelers for year. Opsrey has now created the Fairview, a female-specific version of the Farpoint. It’s about time, Osprey!
This Osprey women’s backpack has narrower shoulder straps, set a little closer together than that of it’s male/unisex equivalent. The hip belt is also slightly more tapered. It comes in S/M size which is the standard 40L and also a slightly smaller XS/X size which is 38L and ideal for petite women.
Osprey Fairview or Farpoint or Porter: Which is the best carry on backpack for women?
As great as the Fairview is, the Osprey Farpoint or Osprey Porter both still work well for women too. If you’re taller or broader across the trunk then I would suggest going for the Farpoint instead of the Fairview
My runner up pick for the best backpack for women!
- Size: 40L
- Type: Carry On Travel or Hiking Backpack
- Laptop Compartment: Internal sleeve in back of main compartment
- Stowaway straps: No
Kelty Women’s Redwing 40L Review:
The Kelty Women’s Redwing 40L backpack is my second pick for the best womens carry on backpack. If you’re looking for a backpack that can cover you for both travel and hiking then this is a great choice.
I think the Kelty best lightweight backpack for women because it is slightly lighter than the Osprey Farpoint or Fairview.
I do find this to be the most comfortable women’s backpack because of the padding on the back. The placement of the laptop sleeve is both a plus and minus in my opinion (see more on that below). It’s at the back of the pack so great for weight distribution but it’s also internal which can be a pain when packing/unpacking. If you’re hiking the laptop sleeve also doubles as a hydration bladder pocket.
I have this bag myself and do really love it. It’s definitely one of the best carry on backpack women can buy.
Kelty Redwing vs Osprey Farpoint, Fairvew & Porter Backpacks
The only reason I don’t rank the Kelty as the #1 best women’s rucksack for travelling is because the laptop compartment is harder to access as it’s internal and at the back of the backpack. While it does make sense for weight distribution to have your laptop closest to your back at the back of the pack, if you have a lot of stuff crammed in the main compartment of this backpack it can be difficult to wiggle your laptop in & out in a hurry. The Osprey Farpoint and Fairview have internal laptop compartments too but it’s on the inside of the front panel so you don’t need to battle through your luggage to get your laptop in or out. The Osprey Porter has an external laptop compartment making it even easier to access in a hurry.
- Size: 18L
- Type: Packable Daypack
- Laptop Compartment: No
- Stowaway straps: No but whole bag folds into it’s own pocket
If you’re looking for the best women’s daypack for travel to compliment one of the backpacks above or your existing luggage then this little backpack is perfect.
It stuffs into a small pocket so you can tuck it into your main backpack and just whip it out when you need to tote a few things around the city, go on a day hike or keep stuff accessible under the seat in front when you’re flying.
It has two water bottle side pockets and air mesh straps to keep you cool.
My pick for the best women’s hiking backpack!
- Size: 55L
- Type: Hiking backpack
- Laptop Compartment: No
- Stowaway straps: No
This is a great women’s hiking backpack. If you’re planning multi day hikes or looking for backpacking backpacks women will find this is the best option for them.
We think it’s the best women’s backpacking pack because it’s large enough to fit several days worth of clothes, food and supplies for multi day hikes or backpacking trials.
It has excellent suspension and comfort so you can carry weight with ease. The back panel and straps are well ventilated to keep you cool.
You’ve got zippered side entry to the main compartment as well as access from the top like a traditional pack.
It comes in two sizes S/M and M/L so if you’re a smaller woman then the S/M is the best women’s backpacking backpack for your small frame. This is one of the best women’s backpacks for backpacking.
My pick for the best backpack for travel women’s (full size)!
- Size: 55L
- Type: Travel backpack (full size)
- Laptop Compartment: Internal sleeve in front compartment
- Stowaway straps: Yes
If you’re happy to check a bag when you travel and want a bit more space for clothing for multiple climates, a longer trip or long term travel then I would suggest getting at the most a 60L pack. Anything more and you’ll struggle to carry it easily unless you’re quite big & strong (which I am not!)
Bearing size in mind, I think the best travel packs for women are the larger versions of the Osprey ones above. If I had to pick one specifically I would go for the Osprey Women’s Fairview 55 Travel.
Osprey Women’s Fairview 55 Review:
Like the 40L version of the Fairview above the Fairview 55 is specifically designed for women so narrower shoulder strap, set closer together and a more tapered waist belt. It also has a comfortable, breathable mesh to prevent a sweaty back,
The Fairvew 55 has a zipoff daypack which makes it one of the best travel backpacks for women headed to Europe, Asia or anywhere you might need a daypack for day trips or short hikes.
For safety it has lockable zippers and a laptop sleeve in the daypack compartment at the front.
On the front of the pack there are two mesh pockets for water bottles, umbrellas or stashing stuff you need in a hurry. There are also two compression straps on the front to reduce the profile of the pack.
The backpack panel zips up so you can stowaway the straps for a smarter look in hotels or airport lounges or for when you want to check the bag.
This is a great women’s lightweight backpack for travel. I wouldn’t go higher than the 55L backpack but there is a 70L version which could work if you’re a larger women but I personally don’t think you need to travel with that much gear anyways.
Questions on Finding the Best Women’s Backpack for Travel?
There are some really good travel backpacks for women out there so whether you’re on a short trip to one or a career break, you will be able to find a backpack that suits you.
I hope my list has helped show you some good backpacks for women that will work for whatever type of travel you’re undertaking this year! A lightweight travel backpack for women is a great investment if you’re planning to travel to Europe, Asia or beyond. As a woman I feel like you need to make sure your comfortable and mobile when you travel and having the right backpack can really help that.
If you’ve read through my list of the top women’s backpacks and still have a question, let me know in the comments.
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