Best travel backpack for women

Small Travel Bags

Backpacks make a smart alternative or complement to traditional wheeled luggage when traveling, leaving your hands free.

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Which travel backpack for women is best?

Travel backpacks might be one of the most versatile pieces of luggage created. They come in different sizes, materials and styles, so no matter what kind of trip you have planned, there is an option suited to your needs.

When it comes to choosing a travel backpack for women, you should consider the carrying capacity, the layout of the various compartments, and the design and padding of the straps and back panel. Some models, such as the excellent Travelpro Women’s Platinum Elite-Backpack, are suitable for business and casual trips alike, while others have a more rugged aesthetic that is more at home when backpacking across Europe or Southeast Asia.

What to know before you buy a travel backpack for women

Capacity

Small travel backpacks that you want to use as your personal item on a flight or double as a daypack when exploring cities typically measure 10-20 cubic liters. If you are looking for a travel backpack that can hold several days worth of clothes and you want to use it as your carry-on piece, something between 30 and 40 cubic liters is best. If you have a longer trip planned and you’ll be using your backpack as your sole piece of luggage, and you don’t mind checking it, 50-80 liters is the proper size.

Comfort

Unlike wheeled luggage, you’ll be carrying your backpack everywhere you take it, which means comfort needs to be a top priority. There are several factors that contribute to a backpack’s comfort, including the width and padding of the straps, the padding in the back panel and additional features like mesh or air channels for airflow. Sternum and waist straps are useful, especially on large backpacks, because they help distribute the load more evenly and take some of the weight off your shoulders.

Construction

Travel backpacks often see a lot of wear and tear, so they need to be made of strong materials to withstand that. The larger the pack and the more you’ll be loading it up, the sturdier those materials need to be. At the same time, those materials need to be lightweight. Ripstop or high-denier polyester and nylon meet both of these requirements. For the zippers, look for models that feature metal hardware rather than plastic.

What to look for in a quality travel backpack for women

Compartments

In addition to the main compartment, travel backpacks may contain a mix of several other compartments that can add to their functionality. External pockets are great for small items you may need quick access to, while mesh pockets on the sides are good for holding water bottles. Alternatively, you can purchase a travel backpack with a hydration reservoir compartment. There also are models available with laptop sleeves for those who travel with computers or tablets.

External attachment points

External attachment points are often on large travel backpacks, although there are some smaller models that feature them, too. These are helpful for attaching items that either don’t fit or you simply don’t have room for in one the compartments.

Water resistance

You never know what kind of weather you might get caught in while traveling. Even if you are relatively confident it won’t be raining where you are going, there is the chance you or someone else could spill a drink on your travel backpack. Because of this, it makes sense to buy one that is either made of a water-resistant material or that includes a pull-over rainfly.

USB charging port

Some travel backpacks feature a USB port on the exterior that you can use to charge a mobile device while on the go. Somewhere inside the pack, there will be a small dedicated compartment to house the charger. Often, these backpacks don’t include the power bank, so expect to purchase that separately.

Grab handles

Small travel backpacks generally have a single grab handle on the top. However, larger travel backpacks may feature additional grab handles on the side or front, which can be helpful for picking the pack up out of a vehicle or off the floor.

How much you can expect to spend on a travel backpack for women

The most affordable travel backpacks for women start around $30. Large multi-day travel backpacks from reputable brands can cost up to $300 or more.

Travel backpack for women FAQs

Can you use a regular school backpack for travel?

A. If you don’t travel often, you may be able to get away with using a regular school backpack if it has enough capacity for your needs. However, frequent travelers should opt for travel backpacks due to their greater durability.

Are travel backpacks for women different from travel backpacks for men?

A. Some travel backpacks for women have smaller overall forms and potentially thinner straps than the counterparts intended for male users. This is to better fit women, who generally have a smaller frame than men. The backpacks may have different color schemes or styles. That said, there are many unisex options that are suitable for any gender or sex.

What’s the best travel backpack for women to buy?

Top travel backpack for women

Travelpro Women's Platinum Elite

Travelpro Women’s Platinum Elite

What you need to know: With a smart layout and sleek style, Travelpro’s Platinum Elite is a top choice for frequent travelers who like to keep their stuff organized while on the go.

What you’ll love: It features an add-a-bag sleeve so you can secure it over the handle of your wheeled luggage for convenient transport. It has a slip pocket on the top with a magnetic closure that is great for holding a phone or passport that you want to keep easily accessible yet still safe.

What you should consider: It’s expensive for its size, but it is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Macy’s

Top travel backpack for women for the money

Osprey Fairview 40 Women's Travel Backpack

Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack

What you need to know: If you have some extreme adventures planned on your travels, the Fairview, with its rugged yet streamlined build, will serve your needs well.

What you’ll love: It includes a detachable shoulder strap for carrying it like a duffle bag, and you can stow the hip belt and shoulder straps while doing so. There is a compression strap for tightening everything down and a well-padded laptop compartment.

What you should consider: It lacks zippered external compartments for items you need quick access to.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Worth checking out

SwissGear 3576 Laptop Backpack

SwissGear 3576 Laptop Backpack

What you need to know: This travel backpack is more stylish than many other models yet is still reliably durable to see you through many trips.

What you’ll love: It has several pockets on the interior to help you keep everything organized, and the liner has a striped pattern. The top has a wide opening for easy loading and unloading of contents.

What you should consider: It’s not very large and won’t have enough capacity for some people.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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