When choosing your backpack take into account trip length, capacity and weight of the pack and your body type. If you’re going to be doing mostly day or overnight hikes, a 40 or 50 liter pack is more than enough. 60 liter ones are good for 3-4 days worth of gear, while larger than 65 liters will be needed for an extended trip. You should try to stay clear of the over 75L packs because they tend to be too heavy for women when fully packed. Now is the right time to test your savvy packing skills!
To make sure that you’ll be comfortable carrying your gear for extended periods of time, make sure that the pack is appropriate for your torso length and not your overall height. Also choose a pack that will give you a snug hip strap fit to help take the weight of your shoulders. There are also some good backpacks especially good for carrying camera equipment on hikes.
Otherwise, the following women’s hiking backpack reviews should help make your decision easier. They are all designed for at least a few hours of hiking, so are very sturdy and suitable for frequent use. However, if you only do very light hiking and more city or town walking and would prefer a very light backpack, consider the 40 litre Zomake foldable backpack.
Best Day Hiking Backpack
Kelty Redwing 40 for Women
This 40 liter pack is one of the best backpacks for hiking for a day, with the women’s pack being a top seller for quite a while. This updated version has some cool new features to boot.
Unlike most other packs for hiking, the Redwing features front panel loading in addition to the standard top loading via a large U-shaped zipper opening that can be fully opened by undoing the external compression straps. Since a day long hike will require you to access items at any time, it is a useful convenience feature.
In addition, there are lots of pockets throughout to keep your things organized. These include a large front organizer pocket and side zippered and stash pockets for every essential, like a camera, headlamp, map, energy bars, water bottles, etc. For snowy mountain hiking there is an ice-axe loop and a front daisy chain lets you attach a sleeping pad or anything else.
For a maximum comfort fit to the woman’s frame, there is a lightweight Lightbeam fixed suspension system. An aluminium stay that runs right down the back and connects to the dual-density hip belt transfers the load from the shoulders to the hips. The support at the hips keeps you comfortable for long periods and a pulley-like cinch system helps you tighten the hip belt to ensure the maximum load rests on your hips and not on the shoulders. For heavier loads, and HDPE frame sheet boosts support. A sternum strap and stabilizer straps also play a part in lifting the load and maximizing the fit.
To keep you you cool throughout there is an Airflow back panel and Airmesh padded shoulder straps and hip belt. The material used is a blend of polyester fabric, one of which is a reinforcement fabric to ensure durability and many years of use.
The one negative about this bag is that the straps will not accommodate a very large built woman. In which case, she would have to choose the men’s version or go for another brand. This pack also doesn’t have a dedicated hydration reservoir compartment but it does feature water bottle pockets.
This pack is sized as a carry on bag, so if you need to quickly grab and go, there’s a top grab handle.
Colors: Blackberry, Black, Blue, Purple
Weight: 2 lb 14 oz
Measurements: 22 x 15 x 12 in
Torso Fit Range: 14.5 – 18.5 in
Hipbelt Fit Range: 27 – 42 in
Osprey Packs Women’s Tempest 20 Backpack
If you’ve heard about the iconic Osprey Talon Pack but found that it is not the best fit for women, you’d be right. You no longer have to forego the design because the Osprey Tempest 20 Backpack is the women’s version of the Talon. Its stretchable hip belt and adjustable shoulder harness system with sternum straps is specific to the woman’s frame, so you can be assured of a comfortable day hike for miles and miles. Both, hip belts and shoulder straps feature mesh pockets for secure storage of small valuables. In addition, the ridged foam back panel with air chimney channels keep you cool and ventilated in the hot summer.
Unlike the Redwing above, this pack does have a dedicated 3 litre hydration reservoir compartment located between the back panel and main compartment and the hose can be routed through the elastic loops. You also have stretched mesh side pockets with compression for water bottles. A blinker light patch and a safety whistle are nice features to keep you safe while hiking.
For packing in your stuff, the main compartment is panel loading with double zippers and holds a zipped mesh pocket inside and at the back. A front stretch pocket lies in front and a stash pocket on the top. A lid locking mechanism lets you attach your helmet snugly to the front, while you also get an ice pick harness and a trekking pole harness that you can use while on the go without having to the remove the pack.
This nylon pack comes in three colors – Storm grey, Tourmaline green and Mystic magenta. You can choose between two sizes. The small is an 18 litre pack measuring 18 x 10 x 9 inches and weighing 7 ounces, while the medium’s capacity is 20 litres, measures 20 x 10 x 9 inches and weighs 9 ounces.
Best Overnight Backpack
Osprey Aura 50 Backpack
If you want to buy just one pack that will serve you well for day hikes, overnighters, as well as thru-hikes this would be it. This is one of those deceptively small hiking backpacks that can hold a lot as long as you don’t overload it. Its versatility, simple design and light weight is what is so attractive to female hikers.
The Osprey Aura 50 has a traditional removable top pocket and top loading design with vertical water resistant zippers. There is an internal hydration sleeve with an exit port, removable sleeping pad straps and a tool attachment. Everything is easy to use and access with the number of zippers, access points and straps kept to a minimum. The material used is a blend of twill and ripstop nylon.
The main compartment and sleeping pad compartment can be tightened when not fully loaded or used as a more compact daypack, and loosened to use during longer or overnight trips. In addition to the main compartment, it also has two medium and two small pockets. The two in front are enclosed, while the two open ones are good for water bottles and are accessible while on the move. The hip belt also carries two zippered mesh pockets large enough for a compact camera and energy bars.
The women’s-specific suspension system is one of the best available and can handle a good load while providing maximum comfort. The light alloy back frame has a very good Airspeed mesh panel running all over with EVA foam for breathability while hiking. The torso harness, sternum strap and hip belt straps are all adjustable for varying torso lengths and girths and can be easily done without having to remove the pack. This makes it ideal for women of all builds to get a snug fit to the body. The padded shoulder straps are streamlined, narrow and also adjustable for length.
The removable top pocket can’t really be used separately as a daypack or even a fannie pack, so it’s not the most useful feature.
The medium pack’s capacity is 50L but you can also get it in a small and large.
Colors: Pinon Green, Eggplant Purple
Capacity: 47L/ 50L/ 53L
Weight: 3 lb 1 oz/ 3 lb 2 oz/ 3 lb 4 oz
Dimensions:29 x 17 x 14 in for the largest
Best Short Trip Backpack for Light Loads
Gregory Deva 60 Technical Pack
This pack is not light but it is designed in such a way that it’s not even noticeable and most customers rave about its carrying comfort. However, since all three sizes come in at over 5 lbs, you’ll need to keep your load light even if you do pack it to the brim. The shoulder straps are wider than most, so women with petite shoulders may not find this pack comfortable.
The interior of the Gregory Deva 60 is cavernous and is designed to carry even camping gear. It is built to withstand all kinds of weather as it is a completely waterproof hiking backpack.
It is top loading but you also have access from the front and bottom so you don’t have to unload half your stuff just to get to something else. The top lid pocket is removable and can be used as a fannie pack or sling bag separately. There are 6 pockets in addition to the main compartment – a hide away water bottle pocket, a stash pocket, two side stretch pockets and two waist belt pockets. A sleeping pad compartment is also present.
Even if you don’t pack it to its full capacity, the cross over compression straps and stiffening panels compress it evenly to keep the weight distribution even. The external reservoir sleeve is removable and features an exit port for the hydration tube. The bottom of the bag is protected by a rubber-like thermoplastic cover. The materials used are durable twill nylon and ripstop nylon.
Although the back frame does not have an air mesh panel, its arched shape opposes the natural arch of your back, automatically creating an air vent to allow you to keep cool. There is a single aluminium stay that supports heavy loads and the pack remains stable while you’re on the move because of the hip stabilizing system that responds to movement and distributes the weight evenly and off your shoulders. The torso harness and waist belt system is auto-adjustable to fit your body.
In addition to the weight, the other negatives about this bag is the excessive number of straps and the heavy price tag at over $300.
Colors: Bodega Blue, Egyptian Blue
Capacity: 58L, 60L, 63L
Weight: 5 lb 5 oz, 5 lb 8 oz, 5 lb 11 oz
Torso Fit Range: 14 – 16 In, 16 – 18 In, 18 – 20 In
Deuter Women’s ACT Lite 60+10 SL
For a pack that’s just as simple to use as the Osprey packs and with a comfort level similar to the Gregory Deva, the Deuter Women’s ACT Lite 60+10 is a low priced option at around $200.
The shoulder straps are contoured and narrow, with the torso fit range specifically designed for women and the harness system allowing you to adjust the fit to your body. Stabilizer straps also help ideally position the pack. Compression straps that cinch down also help with the stability of the pack. A soft inner foam on the hip belt makes it comfortable, while outer foam is added for lateral movement control and weight transfer. A hollow aluminium X-frame offers additional weight transfer, torso rigidity and flexibility for movement. To help you keep cool a special hollow foam creates an effect that pumps out warm air and lets in cool air.
The main compartment is top loading, plus there are two side mesh pockets for water bottles. A larger front stretch pocket is good for stuffing a rain jacket while the top lid compartment has two pockets for storing small items. This lid is also extendable, giving you an additional 10L over the main 60L capacity. There is a reservoir sleeve with a drink tube exit port for easy hydration on the go. A bottom compartment that shares a zippered divider with the main compartment is ideal for storing your bulky items like a sleeping bag. You can attach hiking gear to the front of the bag via the dual ice axe loops and elastic cord.
The negatives with this backpack is the lack of straps for a sleeping pad and it is not as spacious as some other options.
Colors: Blackberry/Silver, Emerald/Silver, Midnight/Cool Blue
Capacity: 60L + 10L
Weight: 3 lbs 11 oz
Measurements: 31 x 14 x 12 in
Best Multi Day Backpacks
Osprey Women’s Ariel 65 Backpack
If you’re looking for a pack for a heavy load to use over a number of days, the Osprey Women’s Ariel 65 is one of the top rated multi day hiking backpacks. It is quite compact for its large capacity and has a tough construction on the fabric, zippers and straps to withstand heavy use and loads. The straps are well padded to withstand heavy loads. The padding on the back frame is formed into an arch to allow for good ventilation.
The hip belt is heat moldable so as to be customized to fit you well. There is a lightweight LightWire peripheral frame with center stay for excellent even weight distribution. All straps can be adjusted for the best fit. While it may seem complicated in the beginning, it is easy to do while on the move and they can be utilized to tie down hiking gear.
The main compartment is the easiest to access among all the other packs. Apart from the large top opening, the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom has its own opening that can also be used for the main one. The front opening is similar to that of a suitcase but does not allow things to fall out as it zips only part of the way.
The main and sleeping bag compartments are the only two enclosed ones. The top lid pocket is removable and can turn into a convenient day pack and three mesh stretch pockets are just enough for efficient organization. There are ice axe and trekking pole loops as well.
The external hydration sleeve in the back panel makes refilling easy.
The negatives about this pack is that the front and sides are a bit fiddly to adjust for its first use and the back panel doesn’t wick away sweat on extra hot days.
Colors: Deep Sea Blue, Summer Wheat Brown, Vermillion Red
Capacity: 59L, 62L, 65L, 68L
Weight: 7 lb 7 oz, 7 lb 12 oz, 7 lb 15 oz, 8 lb 2 oz
Measurements: 33 x 13 x 14 in, 34 x 13 x 14 in, 35 x 13 x 14 in, 36 x 13 x 14 in
Want to see more of the best hiking backpacks for women? Check out the latest Amazon offerings on women’s hiking backpacks.