Choosing the Best Hiking Backpack for Women

Woman wearing a backpack.

Finding a good backpack can be an overwhelming task requiring a lot of effort and time. But, with this tailor-made guide to the best hiking backpacks for women, you are only a step away from starting a love story with your fave adventure partner…your backpack! I’ll be covering a range of packs of different capacities ideal for overnight hikes, weekend adventures, and even extended backpacking trips.

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Intro to Finding the Best Hiking Backpack for Women

Believe me when I say your backpack -just like some of your hiking clothesmarks the threshold of love and hate for outdoor escapades. Pick the right backpack and you will be hopping off to new places, eager for more thrilling experiences. Get stuck with the wrong one, and you’ll be wishing you never signed up for the hiking trip in the first place.


It’s where you stash all your essential hiking gear. It has to be reliable in terms of build quality and support, spacious in terms of size and capacity, and weightless to carry with ease and comfort. What it shouldn’t be is a burden that drains your energy. I mean, you don’t want a backpack that rips open halfway through your journey or pushes you to the ground panting right?

This is why you need to look for the best hiking backpack that hits all the right notes. It should embrace your size, have the essential features, and be very well worth for the price you put for it.

If you want to know the joy of having a backpack that says yes to all your adventures, hear me out! I used to own a Quechua backpack that I loved so much. Since it fit me so well and was super comfortable, I used it for many of my trips in Europe and Asia.

It made traveling so much easier and endured diverse weather conditions. Eventually, it depreciated to an extent where the frame collapsed and hurt my back. This was when I had to switch to another with no regrets!

So, ladies! How do you find the best hiking backpack for women that says yes to all your adventures? It’s not very easy, but knowing the right tricks and tips will help you get there.

TOP CHOICES of the Best Hiking Backpacks for Women

Best for top quality mountaineering backpack designed for women: – Osprey Women’s Backpack Ariel AG 65

Best cheap hiking backpack for women: Loowoko Hiking Backpack 50L

Best for: Good for hiking as packs like a regular tent and it’s fairly light Osprey Packs Renn 65 Women’s Backpacking Backpack

The Difference Between a Women’s and a Men’s Backpack

You might be thinking if you really need a women-specific backpack, especially with all the stereotypical marketing fluff. But, there’s an actual reason for this differentiation.

Women and men are often different in the physique. With a shorter torso length and smaller frame, it’s a good idea to aim for backpacks designed specifically for our shape. If you compare further, you will find women’s backpacks to have a shorter back length, narrower straps, and differently angled hip belts for better fit and comfort.

That being said, you don’t have to limit your choice to a line of women’s backpacks. You can still find really comfortable backpacks in the unisex category that are designed for both. But I think this categorization helps us narrow down our choices to select the best women’s backpack.

The Difference Between Travel and Hiking Backpack

A travel backpack is generally designed to hold all or most of your items inside. They are usually bigger to suit extended trips or vacations. Hiking backpacks will have many external straps, hooks, and pockets to hold your hiking gear outside. They vary in sizes depending on the duration of the hike. However, if you hike in bad weather conditions, you would want a backpack that would fit most of your stuff inside.

What Are the Main Types of Backpacks?

Backpacks can be categorized based on features and functionality as I have highlighted below.

By frame 

When it comes to frame, you will find external frame, internal frame, and frameless backpacks. 

An external frame backpack is designed to hold extremely heavy loads of weight without putting a lot of strain on your shoulders. But, keep in mind that it won’t be a very lightweight hiking backpack.

The internal frame is the ideal choice for moderate hiking conditions capable of holding light to heavier loads. They have a sturdy aluminum or plastic structure at the back to support you by transferring weight to the hips. It’s better if you can go for one that lets you adjust the frame and weight by removing the rods according to your preference.

Frameless backpacks have no supporting structure and can only hold a light load. It’s great for short trips with less gear as they weigh less and are flexible in shape. However, if you overload it, you will feel the strain on your shoulders very much. 

By capacity 

Backpacks are also categorized depending on the capacity they are designed to hold. If you are going on a very short hike, like for half a day, a 10-20 liter one would be sufficient. A full day hike would require a backpack of 30 liters.

If you are planning for a weekend or overnight hiking trip, select one between 30-50 liter backpack. It should accommodate pretty much all you need for a couple of days including a lightweight tent.

For multi-day hikes, you would have to upgrade to a 50 to 70-liter backpack depending on the number of days and nature of your hike. But, one thing really important to keep in mind when selecting by capacity is your stature and strength. Although there are backpacks with capacities of more than 70 liters, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are above average in build. 

By material

Cotton canvas used to be the go-to material for top-rated backpacks in the past until nylon and polyester came into the scene. They are very popular today as they are cheap, light in weight, and durable. 

Nylon materials are treated with waterproof coating and weaved in different ways to ensure durability. You will find most of the hiking backpacks to be made in tear-resistant ripstop nylon. Cordura nylon is one of the premium quality materials used for backpacks and is ideal for tough hiking expeditions. Polyester is the second-best choice as they are not extremely durable like nylon materials but still does a good job. 

By loading method

You also have the option to select a backpack based on the method of storing your items. Front-loading backpacks, also known as panel-loading are similar to a suitcase. You get to see the arrangement of your entire bag and quickly spot what you are looking for without messing up other items -my beloved Quechua backpack was like this! It’s much easier to pack, unpack, and organize items. However, they are heavy.

In top-loading backpacks, you pack and unpack your gear from the top of the bag. They are light in weight, come in smaller sizes, and are more flexible in structure. The main issue with top-loaders is that it’s difficult to retrieve items especially if you are in a hurry. 

By purpose 

You can also go for a hiking backpack based on the nature of the hike or backpacking trip. Daypacks are smaller sized bags designed for one day tours or shorter hikes that don’t require a lot of gear. Weekend backpacks are for overnight stays or trips that last for 2-3 days. They have more compartments to hold your stuff and can carry a significant amount of load. 

Multi-day backpacks are for those who plan for a 3 to 5 days stay. If your hiking trip is longer, you would need more gear and food to survive. Planning on hiking to tougher regions of the Earth? Then go for an expedition backpack specially designed for harsh climatic conditions with a capacity to hold essentials for a week! But, they are usually pricey.

How Should a Backpack Fit? Sizes and Recommended Weight

Selecting the best hiking backpack for women requires you to consider your height and weight. Your height, more specifically the torso length will mainly determine what backpack you should go for. 

But, torso length alone wouldn’t help you get closer to your dream backpack with a fit like a comforting snuggle. You also have to pay a lot of attention to your weight, and physical strength. 

When you select a backpack that’s too big for your body frame, your spine and back will be vulnerable for injuries. Your journey will be super uncomfortable as a heavy backpack will try to weigh you down. Plus, it’s easier to get knocked off by the wind!

How Much Should Your Pack Weigh?

Ideally, your carry-on weight shouldn’t be more than 20% of your body weight. For example, I have a very small frame, I’m 1.65 m tall -5.4 ft-, and weight around 55kgs. I shouldn’t carry more than 10-12 kgs. 

It’s also important to prepare your body by following a fitness routine so that you can handle the weight during hikes. I focus a lot on staying in good shape -Yoga baby!- so that my backpack fits well and my body can withstand the weight.

Top Tips for Choosing a Backpack

  • Decide what kind of excursions you will be heading to with the backpack. If you are a beginner and just want to test the waters, spending on an expensive backpack is not a great idea. On the other hand, if you are an all-time adventurer who goes on hiking trips very often, size, durability, and extra features might be matters of concern.
  • Straps play an important role in providing adequate support. A sternum strap is vital to provide stability if you are trekking in alpine regions. It also keeps shoulder straps in place without slipping off your shoulders. Load lifter straps are necessary to distribute weight evenly. Shoulder straps should be padded well for comfort. The number of straps to hold your gear is also important to consider.
  • Decide on how you intend to stay hydrated during the trip. If you are carrying along a water bladder, you need a backpack with an internal pouch ideally with loops to hold it in place. If you are carrying a water bottle, look for deep side pockets.
  • You also need to think about your level of organization skills. One of the reasons why I held on to my Quechua pack so dearly is because it’s front-loader. I’m so darn messy! Top-loading backpacks don’t really work for me. I find it difficult to locate an item unless I take everything out! If you are a perfectionist or somewhat close, then this might not be a worry. 
  • Finally, pay attention to other features like hydration bladder capacity, waterproof cover, exterior pockets, number of hooks, and loops based on your requirements.

The 11 Best Hiking Backpack for Women

Now that you have a thorough understanding of the essentials, here’s a curated list of my recommendations for the best backpacking backpacks for women.

Whether you need the best budget hiking backpack or best light hiking backpack, this covers it all!

1. TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

Best for: A backpack for light overnight or multi-day hikes!

Size: 30 x 17 x 12 inches 

Capacity: 55 L


Compression straps, waist strap, sternum strap

Adjustable torso length 15– 19.5 inches

Frame: Internal frame

Loading type: Top loading 

Amazon rating: 4.6 (3400 reviews)

Weight: 4.5 lbs.


  • Reasonably priced. It’s one of the most popular hiking backpacks for under $100
  • High-quality 
  • Durable 
  • A waterproof cover to protect it against rain
  • The padded shoulder and waist strap make it comfortable


  • Heavy when compared with bags with similar capacity 
  • If you insert a water bladder, it can be uncomfortable for your back

Other Considerations on the TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

It’s ideal for both men and women and is a great choice for short hiking trips that last a few days. It can accommodate different hydration systems, which is good. It’s available in black, coyote tan, hunter green, and mecca orange for you to select from. The fact that it has a separate slot to hold your sleeping bag, or in some case, a small tent is a plus!

2. Osprey Women’s Backpack Ariel AG 65

Best for: For ladies looking for a mountaineering travel backpack with a detachable daypack!


  • Extra small: 29.5 H x 15.3 W x 12.6 D inches
  • Small: 31.5 H x 15.3 W x 12.6 D inches
  • Medium: 33.5 H x 15.3 W x 12.6 D inches
  • Large: 35.4 H x 15.3 W x 12.6 D inches


  • Extra small: 59 L 
  • Small: 62 L
  • Medium: 65 L
  • Large: 68 L


Torso length adjustment,

  • Extra small: 14- 17 inches
  • Small: 16- 19 inches
  • Medium: 18-21 inches
  • Large: 20-22 inches

Waist/hips strap length adjustment,

  • Extra small: 24-28 inches
  • Small: 27-31 inches
  • Medium: 30-34 inches
  • Large: 33-37 inches

Frame: Internal frame

Loading type: both top and front-loading 

Amazon rating: 4.4 (19 reviews)


  • Extra small: 4 lbs. 13.6 oz.
  • Small: 4 lbs. 14.4 oz.
  • Medium: 4 lbs. 15.2 oz.
  • Large: 5 lbs.


  • Specifically designed for women to give a prime fit
  • Anti-gravity technology provides supreme comfort
  • Extreme durability. Best 65-liter backpack for tough expeditions 
  • The detachable day pack is a total win!
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Very expensive
  • The stretchable mesh at the front isn’t completely meshed fabric so it limits what you can load there.
  • The rain cover has to be purchased separately

Other Considerations on the Osprey Women’s Backpack Ariel AG 65 

Some notable features are a 3L hydration compartment and 7 exterior pockets to hold your gear. The backpack comes in Boothbay Grey, Picante Red, and Tidal Blue colors. As a brand hugely loved and known for producing the best quality backpacks, Osprey doesn’t compromise its premium-grade durability and comfort in any of its bags. If price isn’t one of your concerns, you should totally go for this and you get what you paid for! 

This is one of the best choices for your long, rugged adventures as it has plenty of space to gear you up for a week!

3. Loowoko Hiking Backpack 50L Travel Camping Backpack with Rain Cover

Best for: One of the cheap backpacking backpacks with a good build quality

Size: 25.6 x 13.8 x 9.8 inches

Capacity: 50 L


  • 8 adjustable straps to hold gear

Frame: No frame

Loading type: Top loading 

Amazon rating: 4.5 (640 reviews)

Weight: 2.6 lbs.


  • Super cheap!
  • Light in weight
  • Padded back panel and shoulder straps to provide comfort
  • Versatile as it can be used for short and long hiking trips
  • Rain cover included


  • No frame for optimum support
  • Not very durable
  • Straps may loosen requiring constant adjustment. 

Other Considerations on the Loowoko Hiking Backpack 50L 

The backpack comes in black and orange colors. It makes a great daypack or multi-day backpack but may not be ideal for tough journeys. Some of the users have complained about the fabric ripping, so make sure you don’t overstuff it. But, for a price this low, I think it’s a great choice. 

4. Osprey Packs Kyte 46 Women’s Backpacking Backpack

Best for: The “chameleon” backpack that accommodates perfectly to any occasion


  • Extra small/ Small: 25.6 x 13.4 x 12.6 inches
  • Small/ Medium: 27.6 x 13.4 x 12.6 inches


  • Extra small/ Small: 44 L
  • Small/ Medium: 46 L


Torso fit,        

  • Extra small/ Small: 13-17 inches        
  • Small/ Medium: 16-20 inches 

Waist/hips fit,

  • Extra small/ Small: 24-25 inches        
  • Small/ Medium: 26-45 inches 

Frame: Internal frame

Loading type: Top loading 

Amazon rating: 4.7 (57 reviews)


  • Extra small/ Small: 3 lbs. 3.8 oz.
  • Small/ Medium: 3 lbs. 6.1 oz.


  • It’s a versatile bag ideal for air travel, backpacking, hiking, and all other trips
  • There are plenty of gear loops and mesh pockets in the exterior 
  • The pocket to hold the hydration bladder is on the outside which is very convenient as you don’t have to unpack everything when refilling it.
  • Very comfortable to carry 
  • Rain cover included
  • Zippered top


  • Small capacity
  • Expensive

Other Considerations on the Osprey Kyte 46 Women’s Backpack

You have 3 options when it comes to colors such as Ice Lake Green, Mulberry Purple, and Siren Grey. A lot of users have boasted about the number of pockets in this backpack. If you are someone who likes things very organized, this is the one! This backpack doesn’t offer the typical ventilation system. However, it has a layer of die-cut foam to prevent sweat and keep you dry!

5. High Sierra Women’s Summit 40L Top Load Backpack

Best for: An adjustable internal frame backpack for small-framed women

Size: 26 x 14 x 7.5 inches

Capacity: 40 L 


  • Torso length adjustment: 14-18 inches
  • Waist belt adjustment: 26 inches and up

Frame: Internal frame

Loading type: Top loading 

Amazon rating: 4.5 (173 reviews)

Weight: 4.5 lbs.


  • Low-priced 
  • Reasonable build quality
  • Rain cover included
  • The capacity of the main compartment is adjustable. This makes it a great women’s camping backpack for day trips as well as multi-day trips.


  • The adjustable straps tend to loosen
  • Fewer pockets

Other Considerations on the High Sierra Women’s Summit 40L Top Load Backpack 

There’s an internal sleeve to hold a hydration bladder. This backpack comes in two color combinations such as Boysenberry/Ash and True Navy/Tropic Teal. If you are a beginner who doesn’t want to put a lot of money into buying a hiking camping backpack, this is a great choice. It’s one of the cheap hiking backpacks that are also durable for long-term use.

6. Kelty Backpack Coyote 60 for Women

Best for: One of the best large capacity backpacks for women

Size: 32 x 16 x 13 inches

Capacity: 60 L


  • Torso length fit: 14.5 – 18 inches
  • Adjustable sternum and waist straps

Frame: Internal frame

Loading type: both front and top loading 

Amazon rating: 4.5 (37 reviews)

Weight: 4 lbs


  • The detachable top makes a great day pack
  • There’s access to the main compartment in 3 ways; front, top, and bottom!
  • Can hold a hydration bladder


  • Shoulder straps aren’t comfortable
  • Rain cover not included
  • Relatively expensive

Other Considerations on the Kelty Backpack Coyote 60 for Women 

There are an internal sleeve and loops to accommodate a hydration bladder. Kelty is another reputed brand to produce the best hiking backpacks for women -that’s a plus!

7. Granite Gear Blaze 60L Backpack 2019 for Women

Best for: Anyone looking for the best lightweight backpack for women

Size: Regular: 28 x 15 x 7 inches

  • Short: 8 x 12 x 15 inches
  • Capacity: 60 L


  • Adjustable shoulder strap
  • Detachable sternum strap
  • Adjustable waist belt (24-60 inches)

Torso fit,

  • Regular: 18-21 inches 
  • Short: 15- 18 inches

Frame: Internal frame

Loading type: Top loading 

Amazon rating: 4.3 (5 reviews)


Regular – 3lbs.

Short – 2.9 lbs.


  • Supreme fit and comfort. A well-padded backpack with no pressure points
  • Very light in weight but holds a big capacity
  • Extremely durable 
  • The main compartment can be accessed via a side zipper as well which is a helpful feature.


  • The priciest option on our quest to finding the best hiking backpack for women! 
  • Back ventilation is limited

Other Considerations on the Granite Gear Blaze 60L Backpack for Women

There are a hydration port and an internal sleeve. It’s a great women’s backpacking backpack that can withstand long tough hikes. Although it’s not waterproof it does provide some resistance against moisture. The lightweight factor is the winner here as you will find alternatives with similar capacity to be bulkier. However, I wouldn’t recommend it if you are not a frequent camper as it’s on the pricier side of life.

8. Kelty Trekker 65 External Frame Hiking Backpack

Best for:  A backpack with a perfect suspension system that makes you feel like a butterfly and cheers for more load!

Size: 29 x 22.5 x 13 inches

Capacity: 65 L


  • Load bearing straps on shoulder straps
  • Sternum strap
  • Adjustable torso length: 16-22 inches
  • Adjustable hip belt range: 30-50 inches

Frame: External frame 

Loading type: Top loading

Amazon rating: 4.7 (54 reviews)

Weight: 5 lbs. and 5 oz.


  • Very comfortable to wear. You don’t feel the weight at all if you pack right!
  • Top-notch quality as Kelty backpacks always promise
  • Large enough to accommodate a lot of gear. You can also store camping tools in such a way that their top sticks out for easy access!
  • Adequate ventilation as the external frame leaves a space between your body and the backpack.


  • Slightly expensive
  • Lack of straps to attach gear at the bottom
  • No rain cover 
  • Cannot position a hydration reservoir vertically

Other Considerations on the Kelty Trekker 65 External Frame Hiking Backpack

It’s one of the best backpacks for women of all sizes as the external frame can easily be adjusted for a perfect fit. This may not be a good choice for light hiking trips as it’s specially designed for heavy-duty adventures! As this is larger than internal frame backpacks of the same capacity, you have to watch out when walking through bushes or winding paths.

9. Seenlast 50L Women’s Backpacking Backpack

Best for:  A lightweight backpack that’s also inexpensive

Size: 25.6 x 9.8 x 13.8 inches 

Capacity: 50 L


  • Adjustable shoulder and sternum straps
  • Adjustable waist belt 

Frame: No frame

Loading type: Top loading 

Amazon rating: 4.4 (288 reviews)

Weight: 2.6 lbs


  • Cheap! 
  • Best ultra-light backpack in the 50 L capacity range
  • It’s a waterproof hiking bag as the material is moisture resistant. An external rain cover is also included
  • Comfortable to wear and easy to adjust as well
  • Provides enough ventilation space for your back


  • Straps are a bit difficult to adjust
  • The main pocket is not compartmentalized. So, you can find it quite difficult to organize 
  • There’s no adequate back support due to lack of a frame

Other Considerations on the Seenlast 50L Women’s Backpacking Backpack 

The backpack comes in four colors such as dark blue, green, red, and orange. It may not be ideal for people below 5’2 as the torso length cannot be properly adjusted. It would make a good overnight hiking backpack but I wouldn’t recommend it for longer treks. It’s best not to overload it as the lack of frame can strain your body. 

10. Osprey Packs Renn 65 Women’s Backpacking Backpack

Best for: A lightweight women’s backpacking backpack 

Size: 26.4 x 14.6 x 14.2 inches

Capacity: 65 L


  • Adjustable sternum strap and waist belt.
  • Detachable sleeping bad straps
  • Adjustable shoulder strap 
  • Torso fit: 14-19 inches

Frame: Internal frame

Loading type: Top loading 

Amazon rating: 4.6 (63 reviews)

Weight: 3.31 lbs.


  • This is the best lightweight hiking backpack for a large capacity -65 L
  • Rain cover included. Not all Osprey bags offer this luxury, so I think it adds more value to the money paid
  • Durable and high-quality construction 
  • Very comfortable and supportive as the harness can be adjusted easily to distribute weight
  • Designed to provide enough ventilation. 


  • Expensive 
  • Minimalistic design. There are fewer storage pockets and loops to hang your gear
  • No large mesh pocket at the back

Other considerations on the Osprey Packs Renn 65 Women’s Backpacking Backpack

The backpack is available in 2 colors such as Aurora Purple and Cinder Grey. There is a compartment for your sleeping bag at the bottom and a hydration sleeve inside the pack to fit a bladder. If you are looking for a backpack that is both large and light in weight, this is the one you should go for. It’s one of the best backpacks for hiking and camping. 

11. Quechua Hiking Camping Water Repellent Backpack Rucksack Forclaz 50L

Best for:  A front-loading backpack at an affordable price

Size: 24.4 x 12.6 x 9.4 inches

Capacity: 50 L


  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Chest strap
  • Hip belt
  • Load adjuster strap

Frame: Internal frame 

Loading type: Both front and top loading

Amazon rating: 4.4 (34 reviews)

Weight: 3.74 lbs.


  • The padded straps make it very comfortable to wear
  • Reasonable priced
  • A waterproof hiking backpack
  • Organizing your gear is super easy as it’s a front-loading backpack! 
  • 10-year warranty


  • No rain cover included
  • Not an extremely durable choice as the polyester material is quite thin and can get cut if you insert sharp objects

Other Considerations on the Quechua Hiking Camping Forclaz 50L

So, if you are looking for the most comfortable backpack that is smaller in capacity for your short treks, this is it. It’s ideal for small-framed people with the facility of adjusting the back height. The main compartment is partitioned to help you organize stuff even better and can be accessed both from the top and bottom.

Choosing the Best Hiking Backpack for Women – Final Thoughts!

I hope this guide to selecting the best hiking backpack for women will help you fall in love with your next piece of gear! It can be quite an investment I know, but going for backpacks from top brands has many perks -life warranty, reliability, customer support, and industry-grade standards. Just remember that there are no one-size-fits-all. Go through your requirements before you make your final decision!

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