What Is the Best Women’s Backpack for Hiking

  • April 10, 2021
  • / By Keith Terrell
women hiking with backpack

Hiking is always a good idea. It’s an excellent way to get fit while exploring a stunning destination. However, when women go hiking, they do need their own gear separate from men’s because they have different body shapes. This leads many women to wonder what the best hiking backpack is for them.

Women should look for hiking backpacks that have narrower straps, shorter back length, and angled hip belts that fit your measurements. Its size should be large enough to carry your belongings depending on the trip length. Hiking backpacks should also be comfortable and durable.

women hiking with backpack

When women go hiking, they need backpacks that fit properly. That’s because they have different body shapes, shorter torsos, narrower frames and shoulders. Because of this, many women often wonder how to find the best hiking backpack for their needs.

There are certain considerations women should think about when looking for a hiking backpack. Read on to learn more.

Here’s what you need to consider when searching for a hiking pack:

Torso length

Measuring one’s torso is an important step in finding an outdoor pack that far too many skip. However, it does make a significant difference in ensuring that the backpack fits properly and is comfortable. There are specific hiking backpacks made for people with a certain torso size while others are adjustable.

Aside from measuring your torso length, it also helps to measure the width of your hip and shoulder span. This step is critical for women who have narrow bodies.

To measure your torso length, use a flexible tape measure and have a friend give you a hand.

  1. 1
    The top of your torso begins at the C7 vertebra, which is the bony bump along the back where the shoulders meet the neck.
  2. 2
    Run a tape measure down the spin until it reaches the Iliac center, or the center of the spin that meets the highest part of your hip bone.

Shoulder straps

The shoulder straps should snugly wrap around the shoulders, and on the back it should sit 3 inches below the shoulder top.


Hipbelts are essential if you are going on longer trips or are going to carry heavy things. Many female hikers prefer backpacks with hipbelts because they help stabilize the load while reducing some weight off your shoulders. When looking at hipbelts, remember that they need to cover the hip bones so that the weight will rest on the hips.

Hipbelts come in a variety of designs and styles these days; they can be adjustable, fixed, webbed, and padded. Most hipbelts are found in heavier capacity packs such as those that are 40L and up.


The best outdoor backpacks are those made with nylon, especially if they have a waterproof coating. A majority of hiking packs for women are made using tear-resistant ripstop nylon, though cordura nylon is recommended for tough expeditions.

Another good choice is polyester, though they aren’t as durable compared to nylon. Polyester backpacks can be used for day hikes since these trips don’t require a heavy load.

Pack weight

Be sure that your backpack weighs 20% of your total body weight or less once all your things have been packed. If you are physically fit, you can go up to 25% of your total body weight.

Loading method

You can choose hiking packs based on its organizational method. There are front-loading packs which enable you to see the contents of the entire back in a glance and find what you are looking for quickly. Then there are top-loading packs where you pack and unpack from the top.

Front-loading packs tend to be on the heavier range, though top-loading packs are usually lighter. The main disadvantage of top-loaders is that it can be challenging to find items especially when you’re in a hurry.


You can select packs based on the nature of your trip. Daypacks are on the smaller end of the scale, and are made for shorter hikes as well as day tours. There are also weekend and multi-day packs, more of which is discussed below.

Now if you’re planning to hike to a tough destination or one with harsh weather, opt for expedition packs that have features made to withstand these conditions.


Think about how you’ll be staying hydrated during your hike. If you’ll bring along water bottles, your pack should have deep side pockets. On the other hand, if you’ll bring along a water bladder, look for a backpack designed with internal pockets and loops so that it stays in place.

Other features

Check out other features you might need such as a waterproof cover, waterproof material, hooks, loops, exterior and interior pockets based on your needs.

Last but not least, women with longer torsos and wider frames shouldn’t hesitate to try men’s hiking backpacks. You might be surprised to find that men’s backpacks can also be a good fit. Additionally, if you’ve had physical or health concerns in the past, this should be a consideration when choosing a backpack; for example, if you’ve had a back injury before, stick to a smaller backpack size so you don’t increase the risk of more injury from packing too heavy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best women’s backpack for day hikes?

For day hikes, opt for 10-20-liter backpacks though if it’s just half a day, you can go with those on the smaller end of the spectrum especially if you’re minimalist. If you are going on a full day hike, such as one that would last 10-12 hours, this may require a women’s hiking backpack with a 30-liter capacity.

Smaller backpacks and those made for day hikes will also have a few pockets inside and out. You can use packing cubes to help you organize your belongings inside.

-   Osprey Sirrus 24
-   Osprey Tempest 9
-   Gregory Jade 28

What is the best women’s backpack for multi-day hikes?

For multi-day hikes, go with 50 to 70-liter backpacks depending on how many days you’re hiking, the nature of your trip, and if you have to bring special equipment such as bulky cameras. You also need to remember that you should be mindful of your own strength and stature before you buy a backpack.

For example, if you are a petite woman, don’t go with a regular women’s hiking backpack with a 60- or 70-liter capacity. There are hiking packs that cater to specific builds. This is important so that you stay comfortable while preventing injury, strains, and pain.

-   Teton Sports Scout 3400
-   Osprey Aura 65
-   Thule Versant 60