Woman looking over the landscape wearing a travel backpack

The Best Travel Backpacks for Women (2022 Reviews)

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Whether you’re packing for a day trip or gearing up for a trek overseas, travel backpacks are made for on-the-go. Travel backpacks for women are designed to fit more narrow shoulders and shorter torsos than men. Some brands design the packs to shift the load-bearing weight from the shoulders to the hips and core using a hipbelt, chest strap, or crossed-style shoulder straps. Travel backpacks for women range in size, capacity, style, color, and additional features.

Our home and family advisor for Safe Smart Family, Richard Bartlett, selected the top five travel backpacks for women. Spanning backpacks from budget-friendly to the largest capacity, he chose the Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack as the top overall pick for travel backpacks for women. Designed to meet carry-on regulations for most airlines, this travel backpack holds up to 40 liters in total volume. Read how he chose the top 5.

Our Home and Family Expert’s Top Pick

Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack

The Osprey Fairview travel backpack holds up to 40 liters and meets the carry-on luggage guidelines for most airlines.

Travel backpacks are made for travel – whether it’s vacation or business. Many brands design their pack to fit current airline standards for carry-on luggage. Other travel backpacks feature use-specific compartments.

Our Home and Family Expert’s Top 5 Travel Backpacks for Women

Here are the top picks from our home and family expert. Compare the ratings and key features of the different models.

Editor’s Picks Brand Rating Locking Compartments Padded Electronics Compartment Carry-On Compliant
Best Overall Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack 4.8
Best Budget Hynes Eagle 38L Flight Approved Carry on Backpack 4.7
Largest Capacity Thule Landmark Travel Backpack 4.7
Best Compact Option Fjallraven Re-Kanken Recycled and Recyclable Kanken Backpack 4.6
Best for Laptops SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA 17-Inch Laptop Backpack 4.7

*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers

Who Should Buy a Travel Backpack for a Woman

  • Train or airline passengers. If you’re traveling by train or plane, consider a travel backpack. They’re designed specifically for the act of traveling and often meet the requirements of carry-on luggage.
  • Campers, hikers, and explorers. Spending time outdoors or going long distance by way of the road, mountains, or trails requires taking along some important items. Use a travel backpack that stays comfortable as you cover miles of hiking while having access to necessary travel items.
  • Bike or foot commuters. Whether you’re out for an afternoon of sightseeing or on your way to work, a travel backpack features multiple compartments – often for your electronics, as well as pockets for water bottles and valuables.
  • Those who’ve had traditional backpacks slide off the shoulders. Women have narrow shoulders that are often unable to hold the straps of traditional bags or backpacks. If you’ve discovered that regular backpacks are difficult to carry, consider one made specifically for women. The backpacks typically feature a hipbelt and chest strap for added support, as well as shoulder straps that are placed closer together to bring the weight closer to your core.

Who Should Not Buy a Travel Backpack for a Woman

  • Those with taller or wider frames or longer torsos. A travel backpack for women may or may not fit a taller or wider frame body. It may or may not fit a longer torso. Some travel backpacks come in multiple sizes and capacities.

Research Tips (from a Home & Family Expert)

Here are some tips and best practices when purchasing a travel backpack for a woman. Be sure to do adequate research on the product you’re considering, look for key features, and ask your friends and family about their recommendations for a travel backpack for a woman.

  1. Consider the type of traveling – Travel backpacks for women are available for a multitude of specific uses. The type of travel backpack you choose depends on how you need the backpack to function. Traveling by plane or train may require specific measurements to get your pack on board. Camping or hiking may require the largest capacity travel backpack you can find. Or maybe your commute to work includes the subway, trolley system, cycling, or walking, in which case, a compact backpack or travel backpack for laptops may be in order. Consider how much you need to put in the backpack and how well it will travel with you depending on your mode of transportation.
  2. What do you need the travel backpack for? Is it for everyday use or are you going on a vacation? Do you need to pack clothing, electronics, or small, valuable items? Do you need multiple pockets or compartments? Consider what is going into your travel backpack. If you’re taking a vacation and bringing a lot of clothes – or expect to come back with more clothes (or shoes), consider a travel backpack that opens suitcase-style for easier access to your items. If it’s a business trip, there are also travel backpacks for women that feature protected laptop and tablet sleeves, along with multiple organizer compartments for other items like your phone, charger, writing implements, cash, and keys.
  3. Material and structure – A travel backpack needs to withstand the rigors of traveling. Most travel backpacks are well made, typically out of polyester, but some brands design their backpacks with nylon or recycled materials. Most travel backpacks for women are not waterproof, though they may be water resistant to a point.
  4. Multiple options for carrying – Though you may have narrowed down the type, size, and style of travel backpack you’re looking for, consider how you’ll be carrying the backpack. Of course, as the name implies, backpacks are meant to be carried on your back. However, many travel backpacks for women feature other carrying options, such as tote- or duffel-bag style, where large handles on the top or sides of the pack offer different ways to carry the pack.
  5. Special features – Travel backpacks for women are often designed to handle the notable risks of traveling. Some travel backpacks feature locks, hidden compartments, whistles, identification tags, and more. Consider what you might want as an added feature on your travel backpack.

How Much Do They Cost?

Between $75 and $150

Expect to spend anywhere from $75 to $150 for a travel backpack for women that features basic travel options, such as a laptop sleeve, TSA-friendly measurements, multiple carrying capabilities, hidden compartments, locks, and more. Standard backpacks go for about $25 to $50, while travel backpacks with more options can be priced upward of $400 to $500.

Our Methodology: Why Trust Safe Smart Family

With the help of my home and family experience, as well as some in-depth research, I selected the top five travel backpacks for women based on use, features, and capacity. There are several factors to consider when choosing a travel backpack for a woman, such as how it fits, safety features, and the type of compartments it has. It’s important to consider what’s comfortable, functional, and portable. – Richard Bartlett

The Best Travel Backpacks for Women: Full Reviews

Our Home and Family Expert’s Top Pick

Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack

The Osprey Fairview travel backpack holds up to 40 liters and meets the carry-on luggage guidelines for most airlines.

The Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack is constructed from nylon ripcord and is available in green, black, and gray. The pack measures just over 21 inches in height, almost 14 inches in width, and is 9 inches deep. The light backpack frame is designed to carry the weight in the hipbelt, as opposed to the shoulder straps. The Osprey Fairview has a large side handle to carry the pack like a duffel bag, as well as a top handle to carry it like a tote bag. An over-the-shoulder, duffel-style strap is also included with this travel backpack.

The large main compartment of the Osprey women’s backpack features a U-shaped opening that zips and locks. The second compartment fits most 15-inch laptops and tablets. The sleeve is protected with a padded interior, and also locks to keep your electronics secure. The front of the travel backpack has two mesh pockets for water bottles, and there’s also a pocket designed for sunglasses or small devices to protect against getting scratched.

When you plan on stowing the backpack away or storing it overhead on the plane, the back of the pack features a zippered panel where you can safely store the shoulder straps, chest strap, and hipbelt. When you are wearing the travel backpack, the mesh back panel aids in air ventilation. This travel backpack for women also features two internal and two external compression straps to hold things in place during transit.

Pros
  • Multiple ways to carry
  • Meets most airline carry-on requirements
  • Multiple harness options
  • Multiple compartments
Cons
  • Does not come with a smaller daypack
Best Budget

Hynes Eagle 38L Flight Approved Carry on Backpack

The Hynes Eagle holds up to 38 liters in volume with a pocket that fits most 15-inch laptops.

Our home and family expert’s budget-friendly pick is the Hynes Eagle 38L Flight Approved Carry on Backpack. Available in blue and brown, and made from 100 percent polyester, this travel backpack for women measures 13 inches wide, 8 inches deep, and almost 20 inches high. The 13-inch shoulder straps store behind the mesh backing, out of the way for when you’re not using them. Add extra support to your hold using the adjustable chest strap. The travel pack holds up to 38 liters in volume and is designed to meet the guidelines of most airlines for carry-on luggage.

The Hynes Eagle travel backpack for women has one large main compartment with a wide, zippered, suitcase-style opening. The main compartment also features an internal zippered pocket. The front compartment, which is for a 15-inch laptop or tablet, features an organizer for your phone, wallet, pens, and other small accessories. There’s also a small, zippered pocket on the outside of the front compartment. This travel backpack features a sturdy top handle to carry the pack like a tote bag, as well as a side handle to carry it similar to a duffel bag. The backpack is outfitted with two external and two internal buckle straps to hold things in place.

Pros
  • Multiple ways to carry
  • Includes adjustable chest strap for additional support
  • Meets most airline carry-on requirements
  • Laptop compartment
Cons
  • Compartments don’t lock
  • No hipbelt
Largest Capacity

Thule Landmark Travel Backpack

The main backpack and detachable daypack hold up to 50 liters and 20 liters in volume, respectively.

For long trips or unknown adventures that require a lot of stuff, our expert advisor chose the Thule Landmark Travel Backpack as the best travel backpack for women with the largest capacity available. Carrying up to 70 liters in volume, the main backpack holds up to 50 liters while the removable daypack can hold an additional 20 liters. The daypack is carry-on compliant and fits a 15-inch Macbook, but the 50-liter backpack will need to be checked as luggage. Measuring just over 19 inches wide, 13 inches deep, and almost 25 inches high, the Thule Landmark backpack is designed to properly fit women throughout the torso and hip area.

Made from polyester, this travel backpack for women is available in blue, red, gray, and green. The backpack features a chest strap and adjustable padded shoulder straps for support. It also comes with a safety whistle attached to the chest strap. The shoulder straps store behind a zippered cover for when you’re not using them, so they stay out of the way during transport.

The Thule Landmark travel backpack for women sports multiple secret compartments for things like keys, cash, passports, etc. In addition, the top of the pack has a reinforced organizer pocket for valuables and small, sensitive devices. The main pack features a large inside mesh pocket with an interior zippered pocket and opens suitcase-style for easy access. Two external and two internal compression buckle straps help keep things in place. There’s also a zippered side pocket with a mesh basket.

Secure your travel backpack with the LoopLock system, which keeps the zippers connected to the bag. Locks can also secure the zippers to each other to keep the pack’s compartments closed tight. (Locks sold separately)

Pros
  • Detachable daypack
  • Comes with safety whistle
  • Multiple hidden compartments
  • Secures and locks
Cons
  • No hipbelt support
Best Compact Option

Fjallraven Re-Kanken Recycled and Recyclable Kanken Backpack

Compact and eco-friendly, the Kanken travel backpack features ergonomic shoulder straps for a better fit.

For the best compact option of a travel backpack for women, our advisor chose the Fjallraven Re-Kanken Recycled and Recyclable Kanken Backpack. Available in a rainbow of colors, it holds up to 16 liters in volume and measures almost 15 inches by 10.5 inches by about 5 inches. This travel backpack is made with polyester created from recycled water bottles. The pack itself can also be recycled. For a better fit, the Kaken backpack features ergonomically designed X-style, adjustable shoulder straps.

The Kanken travel backpack for women features a large main compartment, small, front zippered pocket, and two open side pockets. The backpack comes with a seat cushion for when you want or need to sit down, which is tucked away in the back panel. While the seat cushion is stored, it also helps cushion your back from the pack as you’re wearing it. But if you don’t feel like wearing the backpack, there are large handles to carry it like a tote bag.

Pros
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Recyclable
  • X-style shoulder straps
  • Comes with seat cushion
Cons
  • Compartments don’t lock
Best for Laptops

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA 17-Inch Laptop Backpack

The SwissGear laptop backpack is designed to get through airport scanning without removing your electronics.

The SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA 17-Inch Laptop Backpack is the best travel backpack for women for those who carry around their laptops. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, this travel backpack for laptops features a padded and zippered compartment that fits up to 17-inch laptops. There’s also a padded, tablet-safe, mesh pocket inside the same sleeve. This laptop backpack is TSA-friendly and lies flat for scanning in airports. There’s no need to remove your electronics to get through security.

Available in multiple two-tone colors, the SwissGear laptop travel backpack for women measures 18.5 inches tall, 9 inches deep, and just over 13 inches wide. The pack holds up to 31 liters in volume. The front zippered compartment features an accordion-style file holder, mesh compartment, and phone holder with headphone port. The laptop backpack also has a small, zippered pocket on top for things like keys or small items that need to be accessed quickly. Side mesh pockets hold your water bottles and the pack is equipped with a molded handle on top so it’s easy to carry by hand.

Pros
  • TSA-friendly
  • Holds up to 17-inch laptops
  • Molded handle for carrying
Cons
  • Compartments do not lock

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most comfortable backpack for women?

The most comfortable backpack for women is a backpack that fits their frame the best. Our top choice, the Osprey Fairview, is designed for the female body. The lighter pack features an adjustable chest strap to help hold the pack on your shoulders while shifting the weight of the pack to the core of the body.

Which backpack is best for traveling?

Choose from our top five list of the best travel backpacks for women to find the one that best suits your traveling needs.

What size backpack fits as a carry-on?

Airlines have differing carry-on requirements, so it’s best to check with the airline you’ll be traveling with to determine the right size. That being said, many travel backpacks for women, such as four of the five mentioned above, meet the carry-on guidelines for most airlines.1

What size backpack do I need for a 10 day trip?

The size travel backpack you need for a 10-day trip depends on where you’re going. Camping may require taking more stuff than if you’re hitting hotels along your journey. Colder climates typically require more, heavier, and bulkier clothing than warmer or tropical climates. On average, a 50-liter or larger backpack should hold enough stuff for a week or two.2

Article Sources

Safe Smart Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Forster T, Norcross A. Guide: Carry-On Luggage Sizes by Airline. Travel.usnews.com. Published August 2, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022.
  2. How to Choose a Backpack. Rei.com. Accessed August 12, 2022.