Having a hiking backpack that fits your body correctly is essential for making any backpacking experience comfortable and fun. When it comes to carrying 30 to 50 pounds on your back, where you carry that weight matters—especially for women. The best hiking backpacks for women are uniquely contoured to the curves of the female figure and designed to help women utilize one of their strongest physical assets: their hips.

A good backpack for women keeps the weight off the shoulders and upper back while providing enough padding to minimize discomfort around the waistline. Beyond fit and comfort, there are several other things to consider when selecting the backpack that is right for you.

 

 

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST HIKING BACKPACKS FOR WOMEN

PICTURE
WOMENS'S HIKING BACKPACK
BEST USE
WEIGHT
COMPARTMENTS
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
WOMENS'S HIKING BACKPACK
BEST USE
WEIGHT
COMPARTMENTS
PRICE
RATING
Arc'teryx Bora AR 49
Overall
4.7 lbs
6
$$$$
5.0
The North Face Terra 55
Overall
4.4 lbs
6
$
5.0
Ospery Aura 65 AG
Overall
4.0 lbs
9
$$$
4.7
The North Face Banchee 65
Lightweight
3.6 lbs
8
$$
4.8
Gregory Jade 53
Lightweight
3.4 lbs
7
$$
4.7
Granite Gear Crown VC 60
Lightweight
2.1 lbs
3
$$
4.6
Deuter ACT Lite 60
Comfort
4.2 lbs
6
$$
4.9
Gregory Deva 70
Comfort
4.8 lbs
10
$$$
4.6
Kelty Coyote 70
Budget
5.0 lbs
7
$$
5.0
Osprey Ariel 65 AG
Budget
4.4 lbs
6
$
4.9

 

 

HIKING BACKPACKS FOR WOMEN 101

 

10 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST HIKING BACKPACKS FOR WOMEN

 

1. ADJUSTABILITY

Many women’s backpacks come in different sizes, but not all. Backpacks that allow you to select your size, adjust the torso length and interchange the hip belt are your best bets for finding the perfect fit.

Before you buy, take your measurements to know which size is right for you. If you want to learn more about fitting a backpack, check out this video by REI, Backpacking Tips: Fitting A Backpack.

 

2. PADDING

The amount of cushion on a backpack’s lumbar pad and hip belt is key for comfort. Wearing a heavy backpack for long distances with minimal padding can cause chaffing and soreness on the lower back and hips. The thicker the padding, the happier of a hiker you’ll be.

 

3. CAPACITY

How much stuff do you really need to bring on the trail? For three- to five-day backpacking trips, women tend to carry 50- to 65-liter capacity backpacks. Remember, the more space you have, the more likely you are to fill it—making your load extra heavy on the trail.

Avoid the temptation of overloading your backpack by sticking with a smaller volume. Fully loaded, your backpack should not be heavier than 25-30 percent your body weight. Not sure how much capacity you need? Check out this article by Backcountry Edge, titled Backpack Size Capacity Explained.

 

4. PACK WEIGHT

Backpacks can weigh anywhere from 1.5 to 8 lbs. and when you’re hiking, you feel every ounce. If you are having trouble deciding between two or three backpacks, taking pack weight into consideration can be a helpful tie-breaker.

 

5. PACK ACCESS

You never know when you are going to need something buried deep in your backpack. Having multiple access points makes it easier to find your gear in a hurry. Backpacks can offer up to three access points: top, panel and bottom. In this case, more is better.

 

6. COMPARTMENTS & POCKETS

Multiple compartments and pockets are helpful for packing a backpack the right way. Pockets on the hipbelt or exterior of the backpack are great for stashing your chapstick, phone/camera, snacks and other small essentials that you use on the trail. Internal compartments help keep your gear organized and separated by weight.

 

7. HYDRATION COMPATIBILITY

Clean water is your lifeline in the backcountry. Make sure your backpack can carry at least two liters of water. Most modern backpacks are built with a sleeve to hold a hydration reservoir, and one or two drinking tube ports. If you prefer carrying water bottles, check to see if the external pockets can hold one liter canteens.

 

8. GEAR LOOPS & STRAPS

Having extra attachment points can be super handy. Attachment points are places where you can clip, hang, tie, or strap gear to the outside of your backpack.

Some backpacks have attachment points specifically designed for carrying ice axes, climbing ropes, or winter sporting equipment like skis, snowshoes or snowboards. For regular hiking purposes, loops and straps are great for carrying trekking poles and jackets when you’re not using them.

 

9. RAIN PROTECTION

While most backpack fabrics are treated with a waterproof finish, this coating doesn’t last forever—nor does it prevent rain from soaking in through zippers and seams. Most backpacks do not come with their own rain covers, but some do. Be sure to check, as you never when you could get caught in a storm.

 

10. COST VS. VALUE

When thinking about what a backpack is worth, ask yourself these questions: How often will I use it? How long do I need it to last? Maybe you are new to backpacking and just need something simple for the weekend.

Maybe you’re a pro and need a backpack that can withstand the harshest conditions for months on end. While manufacturers charge anywhere from $160 to over $500 for a backpack, its value will largely depend on you.

 

ideal women's hiking backpack to have

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/andriano_cz

 

WOMEN’S HIKING BACKPACKS REVIEWS

 

1. BEST WOMEN’S HIKING BACKPACKS FOR ALL ROUND

ARC’TERYX ALTRA 49

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Experienced backpackers with an athletic build looking for maximum durability and performance

AVAILABLE SIZES: Regular, Tall

PACK WEIGHT: 4.7 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top and front

COMPARTMENTS: 6 plus main compartments

PROS: Sleek design, spacious, ice axe loops, multiple hydration options

CONS: Heavy, complicated straps, expensive

 

 

 

THE NORTH FACE TERRA 55

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Beginner backpackers looking for an easy-to-use pack

AVAILABLE SIZES: S, M

PACK WEIGHT: 4.4 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top, front, and bottom

COMPARTMENTS: 6 plus main compartments

PROS: Sleek design, lots of access, easy to use

CONS: Few loops for attachments, few adjustment options, not hydration compatible

 

 

 

OSPREY AURA 65 AG

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Smaller women looking for a tighter fit

AVAILABLE SIZES: XS, S, M

PACK WEIGHT: 4 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top and bottom

COMPARTMENTS: 9 plus main compartments

PROS: Lightweight, great back ventilation, comfortable straps, removable top lid for day use

CONS: Hipbelt is not interchangeable, small hip belt pockets

 

 

 

 

2. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT WOMEN’S HIKING BACKPACKS

THE NORTH FACE BANCHEE 65

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Backpackers wanting a light weight backpack with lots of pockets

AVAILABLE SIZES: S, M

PACK WEIGHT: 3.6 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top and bottom

COMPARTMENTS: 8 plus main compartments

PROS: Lightweight, durable, spacious

CONS: Minimal padding on shoulder straps, no rain cover

 

 

 

GREGORY JADE 53

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Backpackers wanting a light weight backpack with good adjustability

AVAILABLE SIZES: XS, S, M

PACK WEIGHT: 3.4 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top, front, and bottom

COMPARTMENTS: 7 plus main compartments

PROS: Lightweight, great hipbelt padding, rain cover included

CONS: External pockets too small for liter-sized water bottles

 

 

 

GRANITE GEAR CROWN VC 60

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Backpackers looking for a super lightweight backpack

AVAILABLE SIZES: Regular, Short

PACK WEIGHT: 2.1 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top

COMPARTMENTS: 3 plus main compartments

PROS: Lightweight, easy to use, few straps

CONS: Less comfortable, minimal padding, difficult to organize gear without compartments, limited access points

 

 

 

 

3. BEST WOMEN’S HIKING BACKPACKS FOR MAXIMUM COMFORT

DEUTER ACT LITE 60

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Beginner backpackers looking for extra padding

AVAILABLE SIZES: One size

PACK WEIGHT: 4.2 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top and bottom

COMPARTMENTS: 6 plus main compartments

PROS: Nice padding on hipbelt and shoulder straps, easy to use

CONS: No sleeping pad straps, few adjustment options, no sleeve for hydration reservoir

 

 

 

GREGORY DEVA 70

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Backpackers looking for maximum comfort and compartments

AVAILABLE SIZES: S, M, L

PACK WEIGHT: 4.8 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top and front

COMPARTMENTS: 10 plus main compartments

PROS: Great padding, interchangeable hipbelt, durable, and lots of compartments for gear and hydration

CONS: Heavy, more expensive than others, top lid is not removable

 

 

 

 

4. BEST BUDGET WOMEN’S HIKING BACKPACKS

KELTY COYOTE 70

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Backpackers after a good bang for their buck

AVAILABLE SIZES: One size

PACK WEIGHT: 5.0 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top, front, and bottom

COMPARTMENTS: 7 plus main compartments

PROS: Comfortable, durable, inexpensive

CONS: Heavy, bulky, no sleeping pad straps, few adjustment options

 

 

 

OSPREY ARIEL 65 AG

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Beginner backpackers looking for a reliable first pack

AVAILABLE SIZES: XS, S, M

PACK WEIGHT: 4.4 lbs

PACK ACCESS: Top and front

COMPARTMENTS: 6 plus main compartments

PROS: Inexpensive, sturdy, external hydration pockets, removable top lid for day use

CONS: Excess straps on sides and front

Best Hiking Backpacks for Women - Best Hiking Backpacks – Packing Tips For Backpacking – What To Pack For Hiking – Hiking Gear For Women, Men and Kids
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