Updated on March 4, 2021

If you’ve never been backpacking before, you might worry about how on earth you’re going to carry your tent, stove, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, food, etcetera for a week in the backcountry. That’s why we at The Adventure Junkies researched the best hiking backpacks for women, the results of which we’ll lay out for you below. Here, you can find all the information you need to choose a women’s-specific pack that will keep you comfortable and get all your gear where it needs to go.

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out the Best Hiking Backpacks for men. 

 

Quick Answer - The Best Women's Hiking Backpacks

  1. Osprey Aura AG 65
  2. Arc’teryx Bora AR 49
  3. REI Co-op Flash 55
  4. Osprey Lumina 60
  5. Granite Gear Blaze 60
  6. Gregory Octal 45
  7. Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 SL
  8. Gregory Deva 80
  9. REI Co-op Traverse 65
  10. Osprey Ariel AG 65

 

Comparison Table - Best Hiking Backpacks for Women

PictureNameVolumeWeightRaincoverPriceRating
Osprey Aura AG 65Osprey Aura AG 65Comes in 50L or 65L4 lbs 7 oz (Medium)No$$$4.7
Arc’teryx Bora AR 49Arc’teryx Bora AR 4949 or 52 L4 lbs 11.1 oz - 4 lbs 15 ozNo$$$4.7
REI Co-op Flash 55REI Co-op Flash 5553 to 57 L2 lb 9 oz - 2 lb 11 ozNo$4.6
Osprey Lumina 60Osprey Lumina 6054 to 60 L1 lb 12.8 oz - 1 lb 15.2 ozNo$$$4.6
Granite Gear Blaze 60Granite Gear Blaze 6060L3 lbsNo$$$4.5
Gregory Octal 45Comes in 45L or 55L2.5 lbs (Medium)Yes$4.7
Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 SL55L4 lbs 7 ozYes$4.7
Gregory Deva 80Comes in 60L, 70L, or 80L5.18 lbs (Medium)Yes$$$4.6
REI Co-op Traverse 65Comes in 35L or 65L4 lbs 13 oz (Medium)Yes$$4.6
Osprey Ariel AG 65Osprey Ariel AG 65Comes in 55L, 65L, or 75L4 lbs. 15.2 oz (Medium)Yes$$$4.5
PictureNameVolumeWeightRaincoverPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - Best Women's Hiking Backpacks

Osprey Aura AG 65

Specs
  • Weight: 4 lbs 7 oz (Medium)
  • Volume: Comes in 50L or 65L
  • Raincover: No
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: Yes
  • Removable Top Lid : Yes
Features
  • Sternum Strap Whistle
  • Ventilated Mesh Back Panel
  • Zippered Sleeping Bag Compartment
  • Hydration Sleeve
Osprey Aura AG 65

BEST FOR: MULTI-DAY COMFORT

For a fine-tuned, personalized fit, the Aura AG is a great bet. Everything on this pack is designed to conform to your body, from the adjustable harness and hip belt to the padded, ventilated back panel. Easily access your sleeping bag with the dedicated lower compartment, or remove the divider if you’re planning on living the hammock life.

Once everything is inside this pack, pull down the side compression straps to reduce bulk and stabilize the load distribution to maximize comfort. The outer frame connects the upper load lifters and the pack’s core to the hip belt to further spread out the load. Feel free to remove the top lid for a lighter hiking day in the backcountry, and the flap underneath the lid will continue to protect the main compartment from nasty weather.

Arc’teryx Bora AR 49

Specs
  • Weight: 4 lbs 11.1 oz - 4 lbs 15 oz
  • Volume: 49 or 52 L
  • Raincover: No
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: No
  • Removable Top Lid : Yes
Features
  • Weatherproof
  • Floating Hip Belt
  • Customizable Features
Arc’teryx Bora AR 49

BEST FOR: COMBINATION OF COMFORT AND ADJUSTABILITY

This thoughtfully designed pack is constructed from a blend of durable, high-denier nylon fabrics and a Thermo-molded frame sheet with aluminum stays that functions to evenly distribute the load between your shoulders and hips. In addition, the pack is weatherproof — so you don’t need to worry about fussing over having a rain cover on hand.

This pack has extremely customizable features — namely, shoulder straps that adjust up and down and can also be made narrower or wider as needed. The floating hip belt is our other favorite feature — it slides side to side while also boasting the ability to move up and down in reflection of your natural stride.

REI Co-op Flash 55

Specs
  • Weight: 2 lb 9 oz - 2 lb 11 oz
  • Volume: 53 to 57 L
  • Raincover: No
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: No
  • Removable Top Lid : Yes
Features
  • Removable Pockets
  • Strong Integrated Suspension System
  • Lightweight
REI Co-op Flash 55

BEST FOR: BUDGET BACKPACKING

This pack is an ideal choice for hikers seeking a solid pack for quick trips that costs under $200. REI crafted the women’s version of the Flash 55 with versatility and convenience in mind. It’s a lightweight pack — weighing in under 3 pounds — but still includes an ample number of organizational pockets and straps for securing your gear. Some of the pockets are even removable, which is a neat bonus feature.

This pack has a strong, stable integrated suspension system. Even when the pack is fully loaded, the weight stays distributed on your hips and won’t weigh down your shoulders.

Osprey Lumina 60

Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb 12.8 oz - 1 lb 15.2 oz
  • Volume: 54 to 60 L
  • Raincover: No
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: Yes
  • Removable Top Lid : No
Features
  • Ultralight
  • Big exterior pockets
  • Integrated full-frame and suspension system
Osprey Lumina 60

BEST FOR: ULTRALIGHT BACKPACKING

A high-end ultralight pack, the Lumina outshines its competitors in terms of weight and also in its ability to maintain comfort for long distances — even when fully loaded. The Lumina’s big exterior pockets are a nice compliment to an ultralight pack, as well.

Osprey designed the Lumina 60 specifically to function as the best ultralight pack for women you can buy. It’s 1.81lb weight is impressive, even by serious ultralight standards, and while you would think it would lack support, Osprey’s integrated full-frame and suspension system prove otherwise. This pack can be comfortable to wear even when loaded down heavier than recommended.

Granite Gear Blaze 60

Specs
  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Volume: 60L
  • Raincover: No
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: No
  • Removable Top Lid : Yes, converts to day pack
Features
  • Sternum Strap Whistle
  • Hidden Vertical Zipper (for secure access to main compartment)
  • Large Hip Belt Pockets
  • Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Treated Zippers (for extra rain resistance)
Granite Gear Blaze 60

BEST FOR: LIGHTWEIGHT DURABILITY

Winner of a 2019 Editors’ Choice Gold Award from Backpacker magazine, the Granite Gear Blaze 60 has an adjustable frame and internal suspension that make this pack a comfortable and cool piece of gear. The hip belt is fully adjustable, and the molded foam back panel conforms to your body for even more comfort. Even though the pack is so lightweight, its tough nylon material makes it durable enough for years of wear and tear, including extra reinforcement in high-impact and high-abrasion areas.

The Blaze 60’s top lid is removable for lighter trips or to convert into a chest pack or lumbar pack – not as versatile as a full-on day pack, but convenient for a quick hike to that waterfall a mile from your camp. Get to the items in the bottom of your bag quickly thanks to the long vertical zipper on the front. Three tiers of side and front compression straps offer plenty of cinching to help balance your load, and the top opening and side pockets cinch, as well. Cinch everything down, and you’re set for a steady and secure hike.

Gregory Octal 45

Specs
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs (Medium)
  • Volume: Comes in 45L or 55L
  • Raincover: Yes
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: Yes
  • Removable Top Lid : Yes
Features
  • Ventilated, Moisture-Wicking Back Panel
  • Sunglasses Shoulder Attachment
  • Horizontal Water Bottle Storage (for easy access)

BEST FOR: LIGHT AND FAST BACKPACKING

Looking to move fast on your backpacking trip? This lightweight pack will keep you speeding along on the trail. Don’t worry about a rain shower popping up, either, as the included rain cover stows within reach in the removable top pocket. Stash snacks and other small items in the hip belt pockets for easy access on the go.

Comfort is key when putting in long miles, which this pack provides via a springy lumbar pad  to support your lower back and transfer the pack load, saving you energy. With plenty of outer mesh pockets and attachment points, you’ll have no problem finding a spot for everything from your sandals to your rain jacket. Go for ultralight speed without compromising on durability with this pack for the fast backpacker.

Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 SL

Specs
  • Weight: 4 lbs 7 oz
  • Volume: 55L
  • Raincover: Yes
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: Yes
  • Removable Top Lid : No
Features
  • Front Zippered Pocket (for easy main compartment access)
  • Flexible Hip Fins (to fit your hips)
  • Ventilated Back Mesh Panel (to keep you cool)
  • Adjustable Lid Height (to expand or contract pack volume)

BEST FOR: FEMALE-FOCUSED COMFORT

The Futura Vario SL shows that Deuter is serious about making backpacking packs designed to suit women specifically. The back length is shorter than a standard pack and adjustable to fit your torso, while a narrower shoulder harness conforms better to female bodies. The large, padded hip belt adds further comfort.

Another highlight of this pack is its flexible spring steel frame, which is durable and provides stabilizing tension for optimal load bearing. The back mesh panel is ventilated, creating space between your back and the pack to keep you cool no matter how hot the day. With a dedicated sleeping bag compartment, zipped front opening, and large mesh outer pockets, packing your gear will be a breeze.

Gregory Deva 80

Specs
  • Weight: 5.18 lbs (Medium)
  • Volume: Comes in 60L, 70L, or 80L
  • Raincover: Yes
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: No
  • Removable Top Lid : No

BEST FOR: EXTRA CAPACITY AND BACKCOUNTRY DAY HIKES

The entire Deva lineup is worth checking out – it also comes in 60L and 70L sizes – but we’re focusing on the 80L in our list because this kind of capacity is hard to find in a women-specific backpacking pack. If you’re planning an extended backpacking trip, capacity is key for fitting all of your gear in your pack, and the Deva 80 provides volume without compromising on comfort. The responsive hip belt and shoulder harness rotate with your body for a customized fit, while the foam construction cuts down on hot spots and relieves pressure for added comfort.

Not interested in lugging around an 80L pack when you’re day hiking in the backcountry? Worry not – the hydration sleeve converts into a lightweight day pack, complete with a shoulder harness and external pocket.

REI Co-op Traverse 65

Specs
  • Weight: 4 lbs 13 oz (Medium)
  • Volume: Comes in 35L or 65L
  • Raincover: Yes
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: Yes
  • Removable Top Lid : Yes, converts to day pack
Features
  • Adjustable Torso
  • J-Shaped Front Zipper (for main compartment access)
  • Shoulder Strap Tube Holder (for hydration reservoir tube)

BEST FOR: WEEKEND BACKPACKING

Whether you’re out for an overnight backpacking trip or all weekend, the Traverse 65 keeps you centered on the trail. Compression technology pulls the load of your pack inwards, closer to your center of gravity, which improves your balance while hiking. The ventilated mesh back panel keeps you cool while conforming to your body, ensuring a comfortable fit without the back sweat.

Further comfort comes in the form of the padded hip belt that contours to your body and pivots independently from the pack, keeping your load centered and giving you more stability. In terms of organization, stuff wet gear in the outer stuff pouch, and keep gear you need to access easily in the two long zippered pockets on the front. The side water bottle pockets have been updated to make your bottles easier to grab while hiking.

Osprey Ariel AG 65

Specs
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 15.2 oz (Medium)
  • Volume: Comes in 55L, 65L, or 75L
  • Raincover: Yes
  • Trekking Pole Attachment: Yes
  • Removable Top Lid : Yes, converts to day pack
Features
  • Heat-Moldable Hip Belt (to customize to your hips)
  • J-Shaped Front Zipper (for access to the main compartment)
  • Adjustable Torso
Osprey Ariel AG 65

BEST FOR: CUSTOMIZED FIT

The Osprey Ariel AG has everything you could ask for in a backpacking pack, offering comfort and plenty of features for every trip you throw at it. The padded hip belt and shoulder straps are interchangeable, allowing you to tailor this pack to your own body; not to mention that you can bring the hip belt to a store like REI for heat molding, making it conform exactly to your own hips.

The Ariel has sleek organization systems, as well: strap your sleeping pad to the outside of the pack using the lower external straps, or remove the straps when they’re not in use. The bottom sleeping bag compartment provides easy access to your sleeping bag at bedtime, but the divider also comes out when you need to free up space in the main compartment. Strap your trekking poles into the attachment loops, and you’ll be ready to go.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HIKING BACKPACK

FRAME: INTERNAL VS EXTERNAL

While doing your research, you might notice that there are two main types of backpacking packs: internal frame and external frame. While an external frame pack can be old-school cool, we’ve stuck to internal frame packs, since they’re the most common and are slimmer and more stable for rugged terrain.

 

GEAR CAPACITY

How much volume your pack should have depends on how long your backpacking trips tend to be. Overnight trips in the backcountry involve bringing plenty of food, layers, extra water, a water purification system, cookware, and more, and the longer you stay out, the more items you’ll need. Add in camera gear, maps, a guide book, and anything else you want to have with you, and you’re looking at a pack in the 65L and up range.

 

VERSATILITY

If you need a pack that can become lighter for shorter trips, but is still large enough for longer ones, look for versatile features like a removable top lid and/or integrated day pack.

 

TORSO SIZE

Some women’s backpacking packs come in different sizes, while others simply have an adjustable torso. It’s important that your backpack rests on your hips in the right spot and doesn’t ride up your shoulders to be comfortable and avoid injury while hiking, so check with the brand’s size specifications to see which one will fit your torso best.

 

VENTILATION

A pack’s ventilation capabilities are key for optimal comfort in the backcountry, especially in hotter climates. Look for materials like mesh paneling in the back panel, as well as a suspended frame to keep the pack from smothering your back.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

EXTERNAL SLEEPING PAD STRAPS

Some packs come with vertical external straps at the bottom of the pack, usually on the outside of the sleeping bag compartment. These can be used to attach lightweight items to your pack, like your sleeping pad, or to dry out a wet tent.

SLEEPING BAG COMPARTMENT

Many backpacking packs come with a dedicated sleeping bag compartment, usually located on the bottom of the pack with its own zippered access. Stuffing your sleeping bag here helps with organization and optimally balancing the pack.

BRAIN/TOP LID

The top lid of your pack is informally known as the “brain.” This is where you can store everything from your socks to your headlamp – smaller items that you want to keep accessible, but don’t need so often that you’re constantly taking off your pack to get them.

LOAD LIFTERS

Load lifter straps connect the top of the shoulder harness to the top of the back panel. They can be adjusted to optimize load transfer, and they should angle toward the pack’s body at about 45 degrees when properly tensioned. Avoid over-tightening them so as not to pinch your shoulders.

DURABLE WATER REPELLENT (DWR)

Durable water repellent material repels water and dries quickly.

HIP BELT

Padded wings at the bottom of your pack designed to help the pack rest on your hips to optimize load transfer. Look for an adjustable hip belt so you can fit the pack to your waist, and make sure it has pockets for easy access to small items on the trail.

STERNUM STRAP

This strap connects the two shoulder straps across the top of your chest. For the best fit, look for a pack with an adjustable sternum strap, as it helps ease the pressure of the pack’s load on your shoulders.

COMPRESSION STRAPS

These straps are typically found on the sides and sometimes the front of the pack. They’re used to tighten down your backpack’s volume, streamlining the load to keep it secure and balanced as you hike.

DAISY CHAINS

While it’s ideal to carry everything inside your pack or in a dedicated external pocket, sometimes it’s easier to attach gear to the outside of your pack. Daisy chains are a series of loops sewn horizontally or vertically in a row on a pack that are used to attach small items to the outside.

Once you select the best pack for you, the next step is to learn the best way to pack your backpack so that it fits comfortably and distributes the load properly. Finally, you’ll be ready to hit the trail – no back or shoulder pain necessary!

 

READ MORE

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