The Best Women’s Backpacks: Made Just For Women

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Why Buy A Backpack Made Just For Women?

Why would you choose one of the best women’s backpacks? The best women’s backpacks have features and benefits made just for women. The women specific features and benefits include:

  1. Size – smaller capacity
  2. Fit – hip belts & shoulder straps made to fit women
  3. Torso length – distributes weight properly to reduce the strain on the shoulders, back, and hips

For 7 of the best women’s backpacks, made just for women, read this.

Market Research About Women Specific Hiking Gear (Including Women’s Backpacks)

A February 2004 REI survey has interesting results about women’s outdoor gear, including women’s backpacks.

The results say that most of the women who enjoy the outdoors want to see more women specific outdoor gear. About 36% percent of the responses say that women specific gear gives them a better outdoor experience. More comfort makes the trip more fun.

Best womens backpacks
CamelBak Sequoia 28L For Women

The survey also says that the majority of women and men polled know that bicycles come in women specific designs. Only a small percent of those polled know about women specific backpacks, hydration packs, sleeping bags, and other outdoor gear. So, read this post to find out why you want one of the best women’s backpacks … made just for women.

The REI Force Of Nature campaign focuses on including women in the outdoors. The program also focuses on women’s outdoor gear.

Best Women’s Backpacks (History)

At one time, nearly all backpacks were designed for men. Companies came up with universal “average” backpack measurements. The measurements were based on male bodies. These averages were used to design and make their backpacks, including women’s packs.

When some brands marketed backpacks for women, the products used the same “average” sizes. The only change was using “women’s” colors and making the men’s sizes smaller. The idea was to “shrink it and put some “women’s” color on it.” Backpack brands realized their mistakes though. So, now we have backpacks made for women.

How Do The Best Women’s Backpacks Differ From Men’s?

Female bodies have narrower shoulders than men. Women also have a shorter torso compared to a man’s torso. So, simply shrinking the size and using “women’s” colors does not work. The best women’s backpacks need a design that makes backpacks comfortable for a woman’s shape.

Compared to men’s backpacks, the best features found in the women’s versions are:

Size – It Matters With The Best Women’s Backpacks

Usually, a woman’s backpack size needs to be smaller. The smaller size allows for proper weight distribution on a shorter torso.

Smaller capacity does not always mean a better fit. When it comes to backpacks, the term “smaller” should just refer to “better weight distribution”. Reducing capacity by taking away some smaller compartments makes no real difference for a woman if other parts of the design stay the same.

Best womens backpacks
Best Women’s Backpacks
(CC0 Public Domain)

Some might argue correctly that smaller capacity means less weight on your back. Less weight makes it easier to carry your pack. If the amount of weight was the only factor required for comfort though, a child could comfortably wear an adult’s backpack with a light load. Other factors also affect a woman’s backpack’s comfort. Those factors include the following:

Fit – Hip Belts & Shoulder Straps

Even if a lighter load means easier hiking, the pack’s fit plays the most important role for comfort. The most important features for a comfortable women’s backpack fit include:

  • Hip belt
  • Shoulder straps
  • Torso length

Hip belts and shoulder straps need to be contoured for comfort. The contour gives a better fit for women’s generally wider hips and women’s breasts.

Hip Belts

Ideally, a women’s backpack hip belt has slits. The slits make room for a woman’s sharper, more pointed hip bones. A hip belt that has a slight cone shape fits a woman’s wider hips and her greater arch in the spine.

Best womens backpacks
Deuter Speed Lite SL for Women

A hip belt for women must be designed to wrap naturally around the hip’s curves. This wrap helps the belt fit women’s wider hips. The right fit around your hips gives you better support. The right fit also helps make your pack’s load stable.

The hip belt’s main purpose is to put some of the pack’s weight on your hip bone. Putting weight on your hips avoids straining your back and shoulders. Women have wider hips than men. So, if you have one of the best women’s backpacks, the pack allows for this width difference.

Shoulder Straps

The best women’s backpack’s shoulder straps should be closer together than the straps on a man’s pack. Closer straps prevent uncomfortable pressure on a woman’s breasts. With closer shoulder straps, you also avoid underarm scraping.

With a loaded backpack and a fastened hip belt, the shoulder straps should wrap around your shoulders without a gap. The best position for the women’s backpack’s strap is near the top of your shoulder blades.

Torso Length

Best womens backpacks
Osprey Tempest 20L for Women

A woman’s backpack that has a shorter torso length improves your chances of getting more comfortable weight distribution.

You need your torso measured before you buy a pack. You should have the measurement taken at the store so you have the most accurate measurement.

Summary – Best Women’s Backpacks

A Smaller Man’s Pack Does Not make a Woman’s Pack

You still find backpacks marketed for women that are simply smaller versions of a man’s backpack. For example, the backpack might just have smaller shoulder straps. Avoid these backpacks.

The problem with making a man’s backpack smaller is that you have a have a backpack without the women’s features. Just making a man’s pack smaller fails to give you a women-specific backpack.

Smaller men’s shoulder straps do nothing more than poorly distribute the pack’s weight. Poor weight distribution results in too much back strain.

When women wear a version of a hip belt made for a man’s backpack, her hipbones will get sore after hiking a few miles. The belt was not made to fit a woman’s hips.

Why You Want The Best Women’s Backpack Made Just For Women

Remember that size, hip belts, shoulder straps, and a shorter pack torso remain the key features for the best women’s backpacks. With one of the properly fitting best women’s backpacks, you can carry more gear with comfort.

Remember, the features want to look for in one of the best women’s backpacks include:

  1. Size – smaller capacity
  2. Fit – hip belts & shoulder straps
  3. Torso length – proper weight distribution to reduce the strain on the shoulders, back, and hips

For 7 of the best women’s backpacks, made just for women, read this.

2 thoughts on “The Best Women’s Backpacks: Made Just For Women”

  1. Thank you for this and thanks for pointing out that The old “pink it and shrink it” approach was just not doing it for us. I like my extra small women’s osprey and thankful that they make an extra small. Otherwise I was about to have to try a children’s size! Happy trails

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