Hey ladies, need a new travel backpack? You're in luck - I found 12 amazing backpacks for travel that are either designed for women or unisex. And I will tell you everything you need to know about them in this detailed review.
I've divided the review into three parts - smaller backpacks, medium sized backpacks and large travel backpacks. So, whichever size you're looking for, I'm sure you will be able to find something right here.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Picks for Women's Travel Backpack
All of the backpacks that I'm about to show you are well made and rated very highly by satisfied travellers like yourself. So, scroll down to find your new backpack for travel!
The North Face Router
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Fjallraven Travel Pack
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Hynes Eagle Amsterdam
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Osprey Fairview 40
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Osprey Porter 46
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Gregory Mountain Products Proxy 45
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Thule Landmark Travel Pack
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AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack
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Kelty Redwing 50
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Osprey Aura AG 65+
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In this section, I will only show you the best travel backpacks for women that have up to 40 liters of capacity. All of them are carry on sized and should be allowed on any airplane.
If you're primarily looking for a carry on, then this unisex SwissGear backpack is a good option. It has some features that will make your life easier, especially if you tend to travel with lots of electronics. Even when compared to it's close relative, the 1923.
The backpack features a dedicated TSA friendly compartment for those electronics. The laptop sleeve is padded and has zipper closure. It can fit most 17” laptops, which is pretty great. There’s also a floating tablet sleeve in this compartment.
The ergonomic shoulders straps are adjustable, padded and feature a loop attachment point for your sunglasses. There is also padding in the Airflow backpanel, which promises great carrying comfort.
One great thing about this backpack is that it has awesome organizational features. The main compartment is very spacious, and has a media pocket with a headphone port. In addition to that, there is also a large zippered pocket in this compartment, as well as a smaller slip pocket – perfect for organizing all your chargers and cables.
The pack also features four additional zippered pockets, one of which has an organizer panel for all your smaller items. There are also two side stretch pockets that are just the right size to hold water bottles.
Fjallraven are known for the very simple and stylish Kanken, but this backpack is packed full of travel features - The Fjallraven Travel backpack. It is made from recycled polyester and organic cotton, and it is coated for excellent water resistance. This backpack is very durable, and you will be able to use it for a really long time.
The Travel pack features a padded laptop compartment (fits 15” laptops) with additional pockets for your tablet, documents etc. That compartment is all the way in the pack, and it can be fully opened. This allows you to get through TSA checkpoints very quickly.
The main compartment of the pack opens up clamshell style, and it is divided into several packing compartments. The bottom side features a large packing compartment with a zippered divider, and the top side of the pack is divided into two smaller compartments.
All of this allows for easy organization, which is pretty important for travel. You also get two external pockets on the front panel that you can use for any items you would want to have handy at all times.
This Fjallraven backpack is a women’s specific design. It’s a bit smaller than the men’s version, and the shoulder straps are slightly shorter. The harness is covered with breathable mesh, for great ventilation. Additionally, the shoulder straps are stowable, and the back looks rather sleek when you put them away.
But that also means that you won’t have a great backpanel on this backpack, which is one downside.
The Router is an amazing travel backpack. It’s remarkably versatile – with multiple compartments, loads of pockets and a few attachment points, this is a backpack you will feel comfortable with both in the air and on the trail.
It is a unisex backpack though, so there are no women’s specific features on it. However, it is not too large or too wide, so I think it should fit you just fine – the shape of the shoulder straps and torso length are the most noticeable on much larger backpacks.
This backpack features a TSA friendly 17" laptop compartment in the back, with thick padding for great shock absorption.
The main compartment is very spacious and has an internal zippered pocket. It’s large enough to fit clothes for a weekend trip, and you can fit everything else in the front compartment and the five external pockets. That front compartment features an organizer panel with a tablet sleeve, smartphone pocket and a bunch of other smaller slip and zippered pockets.
The Router is equipped with the FlexVent suspension system, for excellent carrying comfort. Both the backpanel and harness are very breathable, and the ventilation of this backpack is really great. It is even endorsed by the ACA (American Chiropractic Association), so there’s no doubt that it will feel really comfortable on your back.
The only downside is the hipbelt – it’s rather thin, so it might cut into your waist a little bit.
If you don’t feel like spending hundreds of dollars on a backpack, then this is one of your best options. The Amsterdam is a unisex backpack by Hynes Eagle, with a price tag around $50. The exact price depends on the color that you want to pick up.
It’s very affordable, and you will get amazing value for money. The backpack is made from polyester and it features a padded and ventilated backpanel. The shoulder straps are also covered with breathable mesh, and they are stowable.
The durability of this backpack is not really premium – you will notice some wear and tear sooner than you would on an Osprey backpack. However, that’s to be expected of a backpack that’s this affordable.
You have to compromise on something; with the Amsterdam you are getting a carry on with a large capacity, lots of pockets for organization and multiple compartments. But you’re compromising on durability.
The pack features a laptop sleeve that will easily fit 15.6” laptops, and can even fit some slimmer 17” laptops. It opens up suitcase style, which allows for easy packing. And the internal straps will hold all your clothes in place. There are also the external compression straps, which allow you to reduce the size of the pack when it is not at full capacity.
Another thing worth noting is that this pack features an organizational panel in the front compartment. It has a large sleeve that can easily fit your tablet, and several smaller slip and zip pockets for all your other necessities.
In this section, I will show you some of the best backpacks for women that have a capacity between 40 and 50 liters. A couple of them are small enough that they will be accepted as carry ons, despite their large capacity.
The Osprey Fairview backpack is available in three different sizes, but only the smallest backpack can be used as a carry on. It is a specifically designed travel backpack for women. Which means it has ergonomically shaped backpack straps and a torso that’s shorter than the one on the men’s version (Osprey Farpoint).
This is a front-loading backpack, with laptop and tablet sleeves inside the main packing area. It is similar to many other travel backpacks like the Tortuga Setout, but obviously women specific.
It is lightweight and built from really sturdy materials; the exterior of the backpack is made from 210D Nylon. That material is water resistant even without any additional coating.
The harness of this backpack is fully adjustable and stowable. The backpanel and the harness are both padded and covered with breathable mesh for excellent ventilation. The LightWire Frame Suspension includes a 3.5mm peripheral frame that ensures your backpack never loses its shape, and that helps transfer the load of the pack away from your shoulders and onto your hips.
Of course, you will need to use the hipbelt in order for that to be effective. But that shouldn’t be a problem, since the hipbelt is padded, ventilated, adjustable and just really comfortable to wear.
The Fairview features multiple external mesh pockets and a scratch-free pockets for sunglasses/smartphone. That’s in addition to several internal pockets, all of which allow for easy organization.
The Wanderer is a unisex backpack/duffle hybrid. It’s made from very sturdy materials – water resistant 420D Ripstop. The backpack has padded and ventilated backpanel and shoulder straps, which feel pretty comfortable to wear. However, it does not feature a hipbelt or a sternum strap, so it won’t feel too comfortable when filled to capacity.
But that’s when you can put away the shoulder straps and turn this into a duffel bag.
Timbuk2 claims that this backpack is carry-on sized. However, with a height of 22.8”, not all airplanes will allow you to bring this inside the cabin. So, it’s going to depend on the carry-on size restrictions that individual airlines have. And a little bit on your luck.There is no dedicated TSA friendly laptop sleeve on this travel bag, and that’s one downside.
But, you can easily fit a 15” laptop inside the Wanderer – as long as you have your own laptop sleeve, it should be pretty safe. The main packing area of the bag is very spacious, and it opens up just like a duffel bag. It features a large zippered pocket and internal straps that will keep all your clothes in place.
The travel bag has several pockets, for easy organization. That includes a dedicated shoe compartment that doubles as a wet pocket. And there’s also a small compartment with an organizer panel, on the top of the backpack.
The Wanderer is equipped with external compression straps that help cinch in the backpack when it’s not at full capacity. And which can also help you reduce its size, so that it’s more likely to be accepted as a carry on.
The Porter 46 is a good choice if you want a medium-sized travel backpack. The 46-liter version is too big to be a carry on with most airlines, but some will actually accept it inside the cabin. Be sure to check their requirements for in-cabin luggage, to avoid any surprises.
The backpack features HDPE Framesheet suspension, with thick padding on both the backpanel and the harness. However, there’s no ventilation on the backpack – the harness is stowable and the back is completely smooth, similar to the Fjallraven’s Travel Pack. The hipbelt is padded though, and it is pretty comfortable to wear.
This is a front-loading backpack – the cover of the main compartment unzips nearly all the way, so that the entire packing area is exposed when you open up the backpack. This allows you to easily pack your backpack just like you would a single-compartment suitcase.
The Porter is also equipped with a front compartment with an organizer panel, for all the items you would like to have easily accessible. And it features a couple of external pockets, for everything you don’t want to put in the main packing area.
The Straightjacket compression allows you to tighten up the backpack when it’s not filled to capacity. And when you want to put it away, this really reduces the size of the backpack and the space it takes up.The Porter pack also features a padded laptop sleeve all the way in the back, which will keep all your electronics safe.
This pack is often compared to the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview (mentioned above) and for good reason. They are similar and worthy travel companions. If you like Osprey, they are both a great buy.
Proxy 45 is a women’s backpack by Gregory Mountain Products – a high end brand that makes travel and outdoor gear. They are known for making travel gear that is high quality, durable and very well built.
This backpack is no exception; it is made from 100% water resistant Nylon. The pack features a women’s specific airmesh harness with a sternum strap, which stows into its own compartment for air travel. The entire harness is easily adjustable, so you should be able to make this backpack fit your body perfectly.
The dimensions listed below are the dimensions of the backpack at full capacity. If you don’t fill it to the brim, you could reduce its size with the straps, and then you might even be allowed to bring it inside the cabin.
The main compartment of this pack opens up like a suitcase, for easy packing. It is very spacious and you can easily fit clothes for a week of travel inside it. In addition to that, there is also a front compartment, which features an organizer panel (great for travel accessories) and a padded laptop sleeve. The sleeve can fit most 15.6” laptops, and the panel below it features pockets for both your tablet and smartphone.
The Proxy also features a zippered top pocket, for all items you would like to have easily accessible. And with the lockable zippers, you don’t have to worry about the safety of your belongings. With a couple of other internal pockets and the Active Shield compartment, organizing your stuff will be a piece of cake.
In this section, I will show you backpacks that have a capacity of minimum 50 liters. All of the backpacks you see here can fit enough clothes for at least a week of travelling, and some of them are a great option for backpacking.
Of course, if you are not a fan of carry your large backpack around you might want to consider a wheeled backpack instead!
The AmazonBasics backpack is a really great affordable option. If you’re looking for a backpack with large capacity but can’t afford to spend a lot of money, this is probably one of the best packs you could buy.
The best thing about it is that it is carry on sized, even with a capacity of 50 liters. And it surprisingly well built, considering its price point. The backpanel and the shoulder straps feature thick padding and breathable mesh, for great carrying comfort.
The pack also has a sternum strap and a hipbelt, which help transfer its weight away from your shoulders and onto your hips.
The main compartment of this travel bag is very spacious, and it features two compression straps that will hold your stuff in place. There is also a large zippered pocket on the top cover of it that allows for some decent organization. Additionally, the capacity of the bag is expandable, which allows you to pack pretty much all you can carry.
When the AmazonBasics travel backpack is not at full capacity, you can always use the external compression straps to reduce its size and tighten it a bit.
And there is even an organizer panel in the front compartment. It features several slip pockets, including a couple pen holders. That is in addition to the external zippered pocket, and the dedicated laptop sleeve.
The laptop compartment is unfortunately not TSA friendly, but it all the way in the back. So, it will be pretty easy to take out your laptop – easier than packing it in the main compartment anyway.
The Redwing is a unisex hiking backpack by Kelty, and it’s one of the best affordable options out there. The backpack is available in two sizes – the 50 liters version that I will be talking about here, and a smaller 44 liter version. Neither of them are small enough to be expected as carry ons.
This is an amazing backpack because it is very versatile. Even though it’s supposed to be a hiking backpack, its size and capacity actually make it an excellent travel companion. The top loading main packing area is very spacious, and can fit enough gear for a week or two of travelling (including all those travel accessories).
The Redwing features a Dynamic AirFlow backpanel, with spaced out foam ridges covered in breathable mesh. Because of that, both the comfort and ventilation you get out of this backpack will feel premium.
In addition to the spacious main compartment, this backpack also features a front compartment with an organizer panel. It’s great for all items you would like to have handy while you’re travelling, and there’s even space inside the compartment for your tablet.
The main packing area has a dual use sleeve – it is designed for either a laptop or a hydration bladder. And there are lots of other pockets on this backpack – a quick stash pocket on the top of the pack, stretch side pockets, zippered side pockets and a front stretch pocket. Additionally, there are several attachment points for any bulkier gear on the exterior of the backpack.
If you want a really big pack for backpacking, the Aura AG is one of the best women’s specific hiking backpacks around. The AG in the name stands for Anti Gravity – the technology of the harness and backpanel. They are both covered with suspended air mesh, which makes the backpack remarkably breathable and very comfortable to wear.
The entire harness is adjustable, so it should be rather easy to make this huge backpack fit you well. And considering how big it is, it’s actually pretty lightweight at only 4.26 lbs. Even the hip belt padding is adjustable on the Aura 65, and it can extend up to 6” for the best fit.
This a top-loading hiking backpack, with a rather huge main compartment, and can easily fit enough clothes for a couple weeks inside this beast. The backpack features a floating pocket – the top lid can be removed and used as a daypack. There’s an integrated FlapJacket cover, for lidless use of the pack.
This pack is designed for backpacking, so get features like a hydration sleeve, ice axe loops and trekking pole attachment points. However, those are very versatile and you can use them however you like – the hydration sleeve can always double as a laptop sleeve.
The Aura AG features dual hipbelt pockets, stretch side pockets, a stretch mesh pocket on the front and dual zippered top lid pockets. All of this allows for easy organization, which is very important with backpacks that are this big.
In case you’re looking for a really large backpack, the Thule Landmark is a good option. It is a women’s specific backpack with an overall capacity of 70 liters. The Landmark actually consists of two backpacks – the main backpack with 50 liters and the detachable day pack with a capacity of 20 liters.
The daypack will really come in handy if you’re going backpacking – it allows you to leave most of your luggage in the hotel room, and go exploring only with a small basic day pack on your shoulders.
The Landmark has a comfortable and ventilated backpanel and harness. It features a sternum strap and a hipbelt, for your carrying comfort. And the shoulder harness is easily adjustable – pretty important for a backpack this size.
Even though it’s pretty huge, it won’t be difficult to organize your belongings in it. For one thing, you have two main compartments to pack in. And then you also have a ton of smaller pockets and other compartments. There’s the dedicated laptop sleeve, multiple internal pockets, a zippered side pocket and a top pocket with an organizer panel and a key clip.
Another great feature of this backpack is that you can attach the daypack to the shoulder straps of the main pack, kangaroo style. This makes takes some load off from your back, and is a little more secure when you’re walking through unknown cities.
Overall, if you’re in need of a really big pack for backpacking, the Landmark is without a doubt one of your best options.
The following are some of the most important things you should look at when exploring all the travel backpacks for women. The exact things that are important are obviously specific to you, however, these should help you get started narrowing down your choice.
Ladies, I’m sure you’re well aware by now just how much various companies try to take advantage of us by selling us “women specific” products. Razors, shower gels, lotions and so many other items tend to be more expensive for us than they are for men. Which is ridiculous.
But that’s not always the case. When it comes to these backpacks, there are certain palpable differences between the men’s and women’s versions. The backpacks that are designed for women tend to be a couple inches narrower, and have a shorter torso. The shoulder straps are also shaped a bit differently, to better fit the contours and curves of a female body.
In addition to that, the backpacks that I will show you here are priced exactly the same for both ladies and gents. And that’s a huge bonus - and also a clear sign that they’re not trying to take advantage of you by selling you a pink version of the same thing for more money.
I will also show you some unisex backpacks – these don’t have any gender-specific features, and are always thoroughly adjustable. You can shorten the torso if you need, and tighten all the straps as much as it suits you.
So, if you really care about getting a backpack designed for women, check the mini reviews to see whether it’s a ladies version or a unisex pack.
Anything can be a travel backpack. A good small daypack can easily be your favorite carry on, and a large hiking backpack can be a great option for backpacking through Europe. But I will mostly focus on showing you proper packs for travel – at least when it comes to the smaller sizes.
In general, travel backpacks are usually medium in size. They are small enough that they can pass as carry ons, and have just enough capacity for all your travel necessities. Most of them have at least a laptop sleeve, and some will even feature dedicated pockets for your tablet and smartphone.
If this is exactly what you are looking for, you will find several options in the first section of this review. There I will show you smaller packs that are great for shorter trips, or just as carry ons. Some of the packs will have a women’s specific design, and others will be unisex.
And then there are also big packs, with much larger capacities. These backpacks are great for ladies that are ready to give up on their suitcases, and carry all of their luggage on their back. Most of these packs are designed for backpacking, but some are also very versatile hiking backpacks.
These packs are great if you’re going away for a really long time and you need something large for all of your travel gear. But because they are not proper travel backpacks, I won’t focus on them too much. You will find a couple of great options in the last section of the review.
There are a few other features you might care about, so be careful to check for those in each of the backpacks you like the looks of. Things like external mesh pockets (for drink bottles), organization pockets for all your travel accessories, a rain cover for carrying your stuff in wet weather, and perhaps whether the straps are stowable (which makes for easier travel).
Well, that was a lot of backpacks. And if you’re having a hard time choosing just one, you can just go for our top options. Here are the three of the best travel backpack for women that we always include in our top travel tips newsletter.
Out of all the carry on backpacks, I think that The North Face Router is easily your best option. It has a large capacity for a carry on, and several different compartments and pockets that allow you to organize your stuff. The laptop compartment is TSA friendly, and it will help you breeze through checkpoints. And it is comfortable to wear, thanks to the FlexVent suspension system and all the padding in the backpanel and harness
If you need something a bit bigger, go for Osprey Fairview. It’s a long-time favorite of travellers, and for very good reasons. It is still carry on sized with its 40-liter capacity, and it is made from very durable, water resistant materials. The pack has sleeves for both your tablet and laptop, in addition to several pockets and a very spacious packing compartment. And with the peripheral frame and padded and ventilated backpanel and harness, it feels very comfortable on your back.
Maybe you’re looking for a large backpack; something you can easily use for backpacking? In that case, I suggest the Thule Landmark. The pack has a total capacity of 70 liters, which is divided between the main pack and the detachable daypack. The harness and the backpanel are padded, ventilated and adjustable throughout, which promises great carrying comfort. Additionally, both packs have loads of pockets and several compartments that allow for easy organization of your belongings.
And those would be our top three picks. But you can honestly grab any one of the packs in this review – all of them are rated very highly by happy travellers. Head over to Amazon to check out the prices of all the packs features here.
In case you’re not really happy with the packs I showed you, check out our related posts. Maybe you’ll find the right backpack for you in one of them.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!