While there are great unisex hiking backpacks, women can benefit the most from women’s models. Their key advantage over unisex models is that they’re designed with the female figure in mind.
Other than that, the build quality, accessories, and sturdiness are on the same level as unisex models. Let’s see what separates the best hiking backpack for women from the rest.
Hiking Backpack for Women Reviews
Osprey Aura AG 65
If you’re heading out into the wild or going for a long camping trip, a backpack such as the Osprey Aura AG 65 that’s designed with female trekkers and hikers in mind could very well be your best option.
The Osprey Aura AG 65 is a large 65-liter backpack designed especially for female trekkers, alpinists, and hikers. It features one large central compartment, multiple zippered and meshed pockets in the front and sides, and a detachable top.
The backpack is made of sturdy rip-stop nylon and well-equipped to see you through all but the most extreme mountain climbing expeditions. The floating top section is removable and equipped with web attachment points and dual pockets with metal zippers. The internal 3L hydration sleeve is big enough to keep you hydrated even on the longest days.
You can adjust this backpack easily with flexible harnesses. It has Osprey’s handy fit-on-the-fly hip belt that’s super easy to adjust on the go. The included sternum belt has an attached emergency whistle should you find yourself in a tight spot.
This backpack also has the Osprey stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment where you can easily store your trekking poles. There are also dual ice tool loops and bungee tie-offs, in addition to detachable sleeping bag straps, inside-out compression straps, and anti-gravity suspension.
As for storage, there are the aforementioned zippered pockets all over this backpack. There is a stretchable mesh pocket on either side where you can store small items or a water bottle.
- 65L capacity
- 3L hydration reservoir
- Made of rip-stop nylon
- Very adjustable
- Sleeping bag compartment
High Sierra Women’s Summit 40
The High Sierra Women’s Summit 40 backpack can see you through a weekend hiking trip with ease.
This 40L backpack is large enough for a weekend trip. The central compartment is top-load style with a drawstring closure. There’s also one zippered front pocket, front-load sleeping bag compartment, and a pair of mesh side pockets.
The High Sierra is made of rip-stop nylon with a mini-hex pattern in the back and a mini-wave pattern in the front. The bottom’s made of highly durable 1680D ballistic fabric. It sports a narrow and tall silhouette and a modern design.
Owing to the lightweight nylon material, this backpack weighs only 4.5lbs when empty. It is 26” tall, 14” wide, and 7.5” deep. The torso fit range is 14 to 18” which makes it compatible with a wide range of feminine figures. The waist straps support waists of 26” and up.
This awesome backpack has a contoured aluminum frame bar that can adjust to the shape of your back. The back is padded with High Sierra’s Airflow mesh for better ventilation. It also has an adjustable sternum strap, as well as extendable bottom compression straps.
The High Sierra Women’s Summit 40 has webbing daisy chains installed on both sides, as well as hardware for ice axes and hiking poles.
- Heavy-duty materials
- Adjustable aluminum frame
- Adjustable waist and sternum straps
- Airflow mesh back
- Might be too narrow for wider torsos
Deuter ACT Trail 22 SL
The Deuter ACT Trail 22 SL is a small 22-liter women’s hiking backpack (advertised as designed by women for women). It is a great option if you’re looking for a backpack that can see you through a one-day trip.
This compact backpack is great for short outdoor trips. It measures 22” tall, 9.4” wide, and 7.1” deep, weighing only 2.29 pounds when empty. The backpack has a modest 22-liter capacity and can accommodate a 3-liter hydration pack, not unlike bigger designs.
The backpack is made of 50-50 super poly tex polyester and micro-rip nylon. It also features a PU coating for abrasion and water resistance. The Deuter ACT Trail 22 SL has an anatomic construction and a U-shaped tensioned Delrin frame that conforms to the shape of your body.
The main compartment has a U-shaped zippered opening. Several zippered pockets and a pair of stretchable mesh pockets are there for additional storage. The back features Deuter’s AirContact padding that’s designed for efficient ventilation. The large pores direct heat and the moisture away from your body, thus reducing perspiration.
The waist and chest straps are highly adjustable and can accommodate a wide range of body frames. All of the straps are padded with the same AirContact padding. This is one cool backpack in terms of looks and temperature.
The Deuter ACT Trail 22 SL can carry heavy loads thanks to its sturdy construction, subject to the limit of the 22L volume.
- Anatomic construction
- Tensioned Delrin frame
- AirContact padding on the back and the straps
- Too small to be more than a day trip hiking backpack
Kelty Women’s Coyote 60 Backpack
The Kelty Women’s Coyote 60 is a multi-day hiking backpack that can support you for up to 5 days. It is large at 60L volume and you can stuff as much as 60 pounds of stuff in it. Obviously, “Coyote 60” means that you can stuff something the size and weight of a 60-lb. coyote in the backpack.
The Coyote 60 and 65 are the latest additions to the Kelty Coyote series. It is made of sturdy 420D poly hybrid fabric. You’ll find highly adjustable straps on this ergonomic design.
This backpack has a large main compartment, detachable top lid, and a dedicated bottom sleeping bag compartment. It also has several zippered pockets, as well as side mesh pockets. The practical “shove-it” pocket in the front is a great place to store your wet clothes and stuff that you need to reach quickly. You can also store your hiking poles in the pass-through compartments behind the side pockets.
The top lid can be used as a waist bag once removed. Or you can just leave it home or in the car if you don’t need it. The hydration system beneath it has two portholes.
The framed backpack measures 32” x 13” x 16” and weighs around 4 lbs. 10oz. The rated torso size is 14-1/2” to 18”.
- Detachable top lid
- Ergonomic design
- Highly adjustable straps
- High weight capacity
- Upper price range
Osprey Women’s Kyte 36 Backpack
The Osprey Packs Women’s Kyte 36 Backpack is a champ at overnight and weekend trips. It is also one of the more affordable Osprey backpacks.
The Osprey Women’s Kyte 36 Backpack is a lightweight backpack that’s made of 100% polyester. Along with the multi-access central compartment, this modern hiking backpack is equipped with 6 additional pockets on the outside. It also has a pair of hip belt pockets, as well as a stretch mesh pocket in the front.
This backpack is equipped with Osprey’s Lightwire internal frame that does a terrific job at distributing the weight evenly. The advanced Airscape mesh on the back panel makes sure that you wouldn’t have to sweat much on those long hikes. The Kyte 36 backpack also sports an external hydration system (to be found behind the shoulder harness).
The Osprey Women’s Kyte 36 Backpack has a large top lid, a removable rain cover with a dedicated storage compartment, and a sleeping bag pocket at the bottom. The front and sides are equipped with tool loops and durable compression harnesses.
The hip belt can accommodate a wide range of figures and you’ll also find the same Airscape mesh padding (as found on the back). The shoulder straps are heavily padded for additional comfort and the chest strap is equipped with a heavy-duty clip.
- Ergonomic design
- Lightwire internal frame
- Framed backpack
- Agile all and all
- One of the pricier 36L backpacks (but not by Osprey’s standard)
What is the Best Daypack Size for You?
You should take as much gear as you feel comfortable taking. Don’t overpack. Make sure your backpack can handle the weight you plan to bring. Be smart about what you pack. Your pack shouldn’t weigh more than 10 pounds.
What if you are looking for a small hiking backpack for women?
A great small women’s hiking backpack should be lightweight, durable, comfortable, and easy to carry. This lightweight pack comes with a large main compartment and two side pockets. It also includes a padded hip belt and shoulder straps.
What is the Best Hydration System for a Daypack?
Hydration packs are essential for any outdoor adventure. You’ll probably use them more often than anything else in your pack. Make sure you get something with lots of storage space. Look for a bag that holds your water bottle snugly.
Women’s daypacks should have easy access to the water supply. There should be a place for the hydration system to fit easily and stay dry when refilled. A dedicated compartment may be best for this purpose. Women’s packs should also be flexible enough to allow for carrying other items such as a laptop.
I think you’re right about two liters being enough. You could even go with three if you really wanted to.
Frameless or Internal Frame?
A backpack should be comfortable, but also sturdy. It should hold your stuff without crushing you. It should protect you from the elements. And it should fit comfortably under an airplane seat.
A backpack frame helps distribute weight evenly over your shoulders. An internal frame backpack allows you to carry more weight than a regular backpack. You’ll feel less pain if you carry heavy loads. There are two different types of frames. Metal and plastic. I think the metal ones are better.
A pack is a backpack that can be used as a personal item instead of a purse. It doesn’t need to be stuffed to the brim to fit an airline requirement. A separate carry-on bag can be taken along when needed.
A-frame backpack gives more support to your back. It also makes carrying heavy items easier. When you’re hiking, you’ll want to choose an internal frame backpack. This backpack meets carry-on luggage size requirements.
For shorter, more frequent hikes, it doesn’t matter if you use a frame or not. You’ll be carrying less weight and therefore won’t need as much support. For longer hikes, you’ll definitely get more out of a frame daypack.
What’s the difference between Daypacks and Backpacks for Hiking?
The backpack is a huge category including everything from school book bags to computer bags to the larger hiking backpacks meant to carry someone for weeks. Day packs are specifically designed for day hikes. The goal is to be as light as possible while still carrying enough gear to survive an entire day. The best daypacks are well-organized and comfortable all day long so now that I’ve narrowed down this list to nine of the top daypacks for women, it’s time to make my final decision.
Women who are looking for large backpacks would be well-served by the Osprey Aura AG 65 or the Kelty Women’s Coyote 60 Backpack. The former has exceptional adjustability while the latter has a high weight capacity. They are both framed (internal) and shaped for the female torso.
If you’re looking for a medium-sized backpack, then the High Sierra Women’s Summit 40 and Osprey Packs Women’s Kyte 36 are your best options. The High Sierra is lightweight despite the use of heavy-duty materials and the presence of an adjustable aluminum frame. The Osprey rocks an ergonomic design, Lightwire internal frame, and multiple additional pockets.
Finally, the Deuter ACT Trail 22 SL backpack is the best in class in the small hiking backpack category. You are bound to be impressed by the anatomic construction and tensioned Delrin frame.