The 5 Best Travel Backpacks For Women [2021 Reviews]

Find a travel backpack to fit all of your needs, we look at this year's top models

Our Editors independently research, test, and rate what we feel are the best products. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

In order to narrow down what makes a best women’s travel backpack specifically, we need to first define what travel means for us.

To separate travel from hiking, camping, and backpacking we’re going to define travel as front-country traveling without specific intent to camp out of your bag.

Because most traveling involves carrying your backpack from place to place, weight and bulk are top considerations.

Choosing a backpack which is large enough for your purposes is great, however be sure not to go large just as a safety precaution.

For more of my top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Hiking Backpacks, Hydration Packs, Hiking Baby Carriers.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Women’s Travel Backpacks – 2021

  1. Osprey Packs Fairview Women’s Travel Backpack
  2. Osprey Packs Ozone Duplex Women’s Travel Backpack
  3. The North Face Women’s Surge Laptop Backpack
  4. Eagle Creek Backpacker Cargo Hauler
  5. Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack

Let’s take a look at our top rated women’s travel backpacks, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.

Best Women’s Travel Backpacks

 Osprey Packs Fairview Women's Travel BackpackThe North Face Surge BackpackOsprey Packs Ozone Women's Travel Backpack
editors choice
Storage:55 Liters27 Liters60 Liters
Size:25" x 13" x 13"8.5″ x 19″ x 13″20″ x 13.5″ x 15″
Weight:3.8 Pounds4 Pounds3.9 Pounds
Laptop Compartment:YesYesYes

Women’s Travel Backpack Reviews

There’s no doubt that backpacks are subject to a wide diversity of preferences and needs, but I’m going to suggest a handful of what I feel are the best travel backpacks for most needs:

Osprey Packs Fairview Women’s Travel Backpack at a Glance:

  • Storage: 55 Liters
  • Laptop Compartment::Yes
  • Dimensions: 25″ x 13″ x 12″
  • Weight: 3.85 Pounds

I can’t say enough good things about Osprey – their lifetime no question warranty is one of the best in the industry. While relatively heavy at times, their gear is nearly bomb-proof and never seems to miss a beat in the design department. This pack also comes in 40L, 70L, and 80L sizes.

The Farpoint backpack is made specifically to cross the boundary between luggage and backpack with stowable shoulder and hip straps for airline and motor transport.

Video: Overview of the Osprey Farpoint.

Osprey Packs | Packing with Osprey Accessories

Detachable daypack system on this bag allows you to take a smaller bag for a quick hike or a jaunt into town – which is a pretty cool feature on a travel backpack.

Lockable zippers, compression straps, and sleeping pad straps really round out the offerings. This is a great choice for a women looking to find a one-solution backpack for front-country travel.

Osprey Packs Ozone Duplex Women’s Travel Backpack at a Glance:

  • Storage: 60 Liters
  • Laptop Compartment:: Yes
  • Dimensions: 20″ x 13.5″ x 15″
  • Weight: 3.9 Pounds

This women’s travel backpack is designed and styled after a duffel bag first, backpack second. With a zip of the mesh back panel you can deploy the shoulder straps and hip belts for carrying the bag or stow them away for easy travel through airports and bus stations when necessary.

Unlike the Farpoint, however, the shoulder straps and hip belts are more of an afterthought on this bag.

If you opt for the larger 60L version of this bag, you’ll have an extra top zippered quick access pocket. Whether or not that is really necessary for your uses is up to you.

Conveniently, it’s easy to attach the Osprey Daylite pack for extra storage and options if you want more flexibility from this bag. This is another highly recommended travel backpack from Osprey.

The North Face Women’s Surge Laptop Backpack at a Glance:

  • Storage: 27 Liters
  • Laptop Compartment:: Yes
  • Dimensions: 8.5″ x 19″ x 13″
  • Weight: 4 Pounds

This is essentially a 27L duffel bag with optional backpack straps. One of the cool things about this bag in specific, however, is the clamshell design where the bag splits open in half for access to organized contents without having to open up a main compartment stuffed with gear.

Like most travel backpacks, the shoulder straps can be stowed for transport which is always convenient to avoid having them shredded off by baggage machines, plus it also has a remove able sternum strap.

There is a padded, dedicated laptop sleeve is a little more front-country oriented than the other bags we’ve looked at. One external pocket and shock cord storage are available but all around this is primarily a front-country duffel bag.

Eagle Creek Backpacker Cargo Hauler at a Glance:

  • Storage: 60 Liters
  • Laptop Compartment:: No
  • Dimensions: 22.75″ x 8.75″ x 12.5″
  • Weight: 1.75 Pounds

This is a great overall luggage bag with backpack carrying options. Sized to fit many carry-on restrictions for airline travel, you can even use it as one of many bags in your travel arsenal.

There are carry handles on almost every side, daisy chain attachments for external gear, and foam padding in the bottom of the bag to help protect contents from being damaged.

I like the lockable zippers and single main compartment design. Call me simple, but I prefer to keep my gear in a single compartment while organizing contents in various stuff sacks.

Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack at a Glance:

  • Storage: 40 Liters
  • Laptop Compartment:: Yes
  • Dimensions: 20″ x 13.4″ x 9.8″
  • Weight: 2.23 Pounds

With stowable shoulder straps and hip belt combined with the pass-through slot for wheeled luggage handle, this bag is the perfect complement for any wheeled luggage.

Carry the bag either attached to other luggage, use the backpack straps, or pick it up by the large carry handle for a duffel bag type feel.

Granite Gear is one of my favorite little-known backpack companies, and they’ve been making great gear for years largely unnoticed. This travel backpack exemplifies their creativity.

Dedicated storage space for phones and laptops is extra-secure and protected to pad that sensitive gear. Multiple pockets for organization, and compression straps bridge the gap between backpack and carry-on luggage.

How to Choose the Best Women’s Travel Backpack

best womens travel backpack

Waterproof or Not?

Backpacks these days come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and materials. Many would-be backpackers get fleeced over at the outfitter store by being sold a waterproof or water resistant backpack.

Unfortunately for us backpackers, there are usually many zippers and/or a large hole at the top for inserting gear where water might also get in.

Even the most waterproof fabric is rendered useless when you need to open your backpack to get out a forgotten piece of gear in a rain storm.

For most backpackers, and travelers, I usually recommend an internal waterproofing system. Let the backpack get wet and let the water come right through the backpack. Any essential equipment which must be kept dry should be stored in waterproof drybags inside the backpack.

This helps me keep things organized, dry, and protected. A simple trash compactor bag liner can also be a great solution. Forget about waterproof backpacks – they’re useless once water finds a way in.


Any quick Google search for traveling and backpacks will return advice about locking your backpack. If you’re worried about someone stealing your backpack then I’ve got news for you: they’re just going to cut the bag open after they steal it, empty any valuables, and toss the rest.

Locking zippers on your bag really only prevents quick theft, someone stashing things in your bag, or baggage handler mischief.

Even baggage handler mischief is unlikely to be thwarted by using a lock as you’ll need to use a TSA lock for airline travel, and they’re easy to get in to.

Overall if you’re worried about theft or vandalism of your backpack or contents, a lock isn’t wholly bad. By and large, however, the true value remains questionable.


Most travel backpacks are going to be large – some will be large enough to need a frame. Packs meant to carry contents of more than 20-30 pounds of gear should feature a frame.

The job of a backpack frame is to help facilitate the transfer of weight load from the shoulders on to the hips using backpack hip belts.

Today’s packs are primarily internal frame and are much more sleek than older external frame packs. If you’re carrying smaller, lighter loads or loads for less duration then a frame may be negligibly useful.

Hip Belts

Hip belts on large travel backpacks are primarily responsible for helping to distribute the weight load of the backpack contents evenly across the hips. Hips (and legs) are much more capable of carrying heavy loads for long duration than the spine, shoulders, and back.

For this reason, you’ll want a backpack with a nice padded hip belt. I prefer thinner hip belts as they tend to conform to my body better than thickly padded hip belts.

Brands such as Osprey feature heat-moldable custom hip belts than can be formed to fit the contours of your unique body shape.

Best Backpacks for Travel

Breathable Back Panels

One cool feature of modern backpacks becoming more popular recently are various forms of back panels meant to facilitate airflow to reduce sweat and heat buildup between the backpack and your back.

Bent frame packs are designed to hold the main body of the pack away from your back by a few millimeters to help cool the body by airflow. Unless you’re planning to do some seriously hot-weather hiking or longer duration walking with your pack on, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Why? Because the bent frame is a pain in the butt to pack objects into inside of the backpack.


When choosing a backpack, it may not be overly evident that the type, design, placement, and number of pockets can be critical. For general travel, you may want several isolated pockets for storing and organizing gear and belongings.

One major drawback, however, is that it can become confusing or difficult to track and remember what you have with you when your equipment is stored across multiple pockets.

I love hip belt pockets, they’re handy and convenient places to store snacks, small phones, wallets, or ID and passports.

Another often overlooked pocket is the water bottle pockets. Look for a bag with water bottle pockets cut at angles so that you can easily access your water on the fly and replace it into the pockets without removing the bag.

Final Thoughts

There are as many solutions as there are various needs when it comes to travel backpacks. Remember to consider your personal needs and wants when choosing a backpack for travel. Many of you may want multiple smaller pockets for organization, some of you may prefer a single large compartment such as the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler.

For maximum versatility, I would recommend either the Granite Gear Cross Trek Backpack or one of the Osprey travel backpacks. All things equal, Osprey’s lifetime guarantee is pretty hard to beat so it’s always good to know that they’ve got your back should anything happen. Travel safe and enjoy those adventures with a great travel specific backpack from our review list.

How We Researched

To come up with the top women’s travel backpacks we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as REI, Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas and Backcountry along with our own personal experience.

We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.

With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options for the price. The author, Casey Fiedler has been leading backpacking trips for over a decade in his native state of Michigan.

To help narrow down the selection he used his personal experience along with recommendations from fellow guides and outfitters.

After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right one for you.


I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best women’s travel backpack to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a backpack I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.

Have fun and be safe out there!

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Casey Fiedler

Casey is a qualified ski instructor, naturalist educator, hunter, and avid outdoorsman based in Mason, Michigan. He spends much of his time in the wilderness where he tests outdoor gear supplied to him by companies such as Patagonia, Smith Optics, and Wolverine. Casey has guided backpackers, kayakers, and skiers on backcountry trips all around the US. He taught Alpine skiing at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah for several seasons before transitioning into freelance writing. When he is not working, Casey enjoys fishing and participating in adventure and orienteering races.
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