If you are browsing around for the best women’s daypack for your next weekend adventure, then browse no further, because we’ve got an expertly curated list of the Top 6. We started with 35 different women’s backpacks and compared them by weight, capacity, functionality, and of course, style. Now we’ve narrowed it down to the best-of-the-best, and we think you’ll be surprised with the results.
Whether you’re spending the weekend on a bike, on the trail, or even on an airplane, having a good trusty day pack can turn a chaotic experience into an organized adventure. Choosing the right pack for you is about balancing what you need to put in it with how it feels on your back.
After the review we are going to share an additional guide that can help shoppers choose a women’s daypack for themselves, just in case our Editor’s Picks aren’t quite what you’re looking for. We will also reveal our number one pick for the best hiking daypack for women according to our team.
Editor’s Choice – Osprey Sirrus 24
|Dimensions||19.3″ x 11.8″ x 11.8″|
The Sirrus backpack by Osprey comes in a couple of sizes, but the one that we got out hands on was the 24. These sizes are a measurement of total volume, or in other words, how much gear you can stuff in there for your weekend adventure. Although the pack itself is not waterproof, the Sirrus 24 comes with its very own rain-fly that stashes into the bottom of the pack. Not only is it nice to get it for free, but having the convenient storage pocket that can be accessed without having to move all your junk around is pretty nice.
Like the other Osprey backpacks that we looked at, The Sirrus is supremely comfortable time if you are going to be doing any serious amount of hiking with this thing. The curved shape of the backpack makes it a poor shape for laptops, however.
Most Versatile Daypack for Women – Deuter Speed Lite 22 SL
|Dimensions||20.1″ x 10.6″ x 6.7″|
Here is a backpack that was designed by women, specifically for women, which is not always the case when it comes to outdoor gear. In fact, a lot of manufacturers simply release a slightly smaller or slimmer version of the same piece of gear and then call it a day. This is not the case with the Deuter Speedlite 22SL. This is a minimalist backpack that has women’s bodies in mint with a revised shoulder harness, a conically shaped hip belt, and a slightly shortened back length.
The pack itself is impressive no matter whether you get the women’s version or not. The v-cut design offers a significantly increased range of movement over this pack’s closest competitors. Then there’s the small stuff that we love, like the sunglasses loop and the glove-friendly zippers. One thing to be aware of if you are considering the Deuter SpeedLite 22 SL is that it is smaller than a lot of users expected … so be sure to check your measurements before you order.
Best Pockets on a Daypack – Camelbak Sequoia 22
|Dimensions||19.7″ x 11.8 x 10.4″|
The Sequoia Hydration Pack comes with a 100 ounce bladder, which is the perfect amount of water for a full day of hiking through the Rocky Mountains. The improved flow-rate of the new Camelbak bags is pretty incredible … something you really have to experience firsthand in order to get a solid grasp of. All of the classic Camelbak features are here, including air tunnels, a front-mounted stuff pocket, and a dual-wing belt that transfers most of the weight from your water onto your hips, and not your lower back.
The rear ventilation panel goes a long way to keeping the sweat from soaking your entire back, however without a frame of any kind this panel actually reduces the amount of support that the hip belt is able to provide. If we had any other criticism it would be that the color can transfer to white clothing in sweaty conditions; it might be best to give this pack a run through the wash machine before use. Not as big as the Sirrus 24, but the added H20 bladder more than makes up for it.
Best Bang for the Buck – Osprey Daylite
|Dimensions||18″ x 10″ x 9.5″|
The Daylite is one of the most affordable packs on our list, and although it is a bit smaller than the Osprey Sirrus 24 that we reviewed above, it has a lot of the same comfort and storage features that make us love Osprey products almost every time. Unlike the Sirrus, the Daylite is far more suited to carry a laptop, which makes this a good pack for students and outdoor enthusiasts alike. This pack is hydration compatible, but unlike Camelbak Sequoia it does not come with its own H20 bladder.
One of our more common complaints about Osprey backpacks is that their side-mounted mesh pockets are almost always too small to make any real use of, especially for those scant few of us who still like to drink from 1L water bottles. Overall, this is a great small backpack that can function well for small day hikes but is not large enough for bigger or longer expeditions.
Budget Pick – Venture Pal 40
|Dimensions||20″ x 12″ x 8″|
Sometimes it does not hurt to create a little bit of distance between you and the biggest name brand gear manufacturers, not only to find a more affordable product, but in many cases, to find something that is unique among its class and innovative for its category. The Venture Pal 40 might be the most affordable pack on our list, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t do a great job of being a hiking daypack for those summertime adventures up to the river. Now, the product description says that this pack is waterproof, but it would be more appropriate to say that part of it is waterproof. It has a pocket within its main pocket that can be used to store items that might otherwise be damaged by water; however, the main pack itself is not waterproof. One of the biggest selling points to this pack over more “popular” name brand packs like the Camelbak Sequoia is the awesome selection of patterns and colors. There is certainly more opportunity with this backpack to make a style statement!
Best of the Rest – Gregory Jade 38
|Dimensions||20.5″ x 12.25″ x 10″|
So far on our review we have looked at five different women-specific backpacks that represent a good balance of affordability and function, but what we have here with the Gregory-brand Jade 48 is a top of the line backpack that is, hands down, the most awesome hiking backpack that we looked at. Like the Osprey Sirrus, the Jade 38 comes with a stowable rain fly, which had made this a really popular choice for ultralight hikers and backpackers. The side straps are capable of holding everything from sleeping bags to hiking poles, further extending on the already versatile nature of this great backpack.
The price tag on Gregory backpacks are known for being a bit higher, but you can trust our team when we tell you that they are some of the burliest, most durable hiking backpacks that you can get, and the Jade 28 is the perfect example of the kinds of design innovations that they are capable of.
Buyer’s Guide: Daypacks for Women (Hiking, Biking, & Travel)
There are actually a number of important design changes that make the backpacks on our list particularly well-suited for women. While it is true that for a very long time the idea of a “woman’s backpack” was something of a novelty. When they first hit the market in the 70s and 80s they were nothing more than smaller, more colorful versions of the very same product.
Fortunately for everyone, this is no longer the case. Women’s backpacks now come with design and shape changes that are specifically tailored to women’s bodies, including re-sized back paneling, hip belts that can curve inwards, and shoulder straps that were clearly designed by women, for women.
What to Look For in a Good Daypack
Just because it has shoulder straps doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good hiking backpack… remember that. Considerations like air flow and cushioning have a much larger impact when you are tramping through the wilderness, as to the accessibility and organization of your gear.
Here are a few of the things that you need to pay attention to when shopping for a women’s daypack:
These days, all hiking backpacks are advertised with their capacity in liters, expressed directly next to the model name. For instance, the Venture Pal 40 has a 40 liter capacity, and the Sirrus 24 has a 24 liter capacity. This does not mean that it is capable of carrying 24 1-Liter water bottles, but rather, it has enough interior space to hold a theoretical 24 liquid liters (though we don’t recommend using them for that).
Generally speaking, daypacks can range from 12 to 40 liters, but depending on how you like to hike, lots of people bring packs that are even bigger. Some families and couples prefer to share a backpack, in which case a much larger backpack is usually needed.
When trying to determine what the best size of backpack for you would be, think about whether you have room for all the clothing, food, water, and emergency supplies that you will need for not only a day in the wilderness, but also a night in the wilderness (just in case).
The Camelbak Sequoia is the only women’s backpack on our list that comes with its own hydration bladder, and that is not surprising considering that hydration bladders is really what Camelbak is all about. But the other packs are all compatible with multiple brands of hydration bladders, as all it usually takes is a dedicated pocket and a small hole for the hydration tube to pass through near the shoulders.
Of course there are still plenty of people that don’t use hydration packs, in which case you just want to make sure that the backpack you are looking at has side pockets that are large enough to fit your water bottles.
Even if you’re bringing plenty of water, it certainly would not hurt to bring a water filter along for the hike, or at the very least a few containers if iodine tablets. You might be planning to only be out until dusk, but if something goes wrong and you get stranded out there, your water supply is going to dry up quick.
Even if you are only going to be hiking for a few hours, having a comfortable backpack can make all the difference between an awesome day and a sad death march. The most comfortable daypacks have the padding to protect your bones, the ventilation to keep you cool, and if you’re lucky, the conical hip belt to help draw more weight away from your back and into your hips, where it belongs.
One of the keys to a comfortable daypack is taking the time to adjust all of the straps. Even the most basic day packs have at least 4 adjustment straps on them that can be used to change the fit. Remember that this is not a quick process; getting your backpack fully adjusted might take a full day, but once you make it happen, you’ll be glad that you did.
If a backpack tells you that it is waterproof, the chances are, it probably isn’t. Because of the intense stitching and zippers used for backpacks of every variety, it is quite rare to find one that is entirely waterproof. The answer to this is rain flies, which are lightweight, packable rain guards that can be thrown over your pack in ten seconds flat if you feel the bad weather coming around the corner.
Not all backpacks come with their own rain flies. If fact, the large majority of them do not, and it is now a feature that you usually see on only the more top of the line packs. However some brands like Osprey have made it part of their brand to include the properly-sized fly with every model, and we want to give them our sincerest thanks (and encourage other brands to start doing the same).
Whether you’re hiking for 20 miles or 20 minutes, the ability to keep your back and shoulders dry and ventilated is a key component in hiking backpacks. Ventilation on daypacks is primarily handled by materials design around the shoulder straps and hip best, though the best women’s backpacks have a dedicated ventilation panel that is designed to “push” the backpack up off the skin, creating a pathway for air to flow through and keep things nice and dry.
Conclusion: The Best Women’s Daypack for Hiking and Travel
Without question, the best daypacks for men and women alike are the ones that you are comfortable with. After all, the more comfortable you are, the more miles you should be able to put away before the sun goes down. Of course mileage isn’t everything, and there are some features that are necessary for basic functionality, like the ability to hold a Camelbak-style hydration pouch, or a waterproof rain fly.
If you combine the above elements with a dash of style and a pinch of affordability, then you have the Osprey Sirrus, which is quite clearly the most balanced, adaptable, and comfortable pack on the list. We have made to attempt to hide out love for Osprey in previous reviews, but we can say without ego that this particular endorsement is all about quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
It doesn’t matter whether you are headed into the wilderness for a week or for a few hours … most of the things that make a great backpack for long trips are the same things that make a great backpack for smaller trips. In both cases you need to make sure that your pack as a good blend of the following features: • Capacity • Durability • Comfort • Versatility Remember: just because a daypack is more expensive does not necessarily mean that it is a better backpack. You have to look at what a backpack is made of as well as who it was that made it. As far as comfort, this is about taking precise measurements and making sure that you are getting the right sized backpack for you.
One of the most important things to remember about packing your daypack for adventure is that you not only have to plan on the things you know that you’ll need, like water, sunscreen, and snacks, but also the things that you might need if something goes wrong. A flashlight is one of the most commonly forgotten items, and it also happens to be one of the most important. This can be a hard one to think of if you are heading out on your adventure bright and early and you expect to be home before sunset. But if something goes wrong in the wilderness and the sun starts going down, the flashlight can be a valuable tool to help you get rescued. Here are a more things that should always be in your day pack: • Med Kit • Water treatment pump and/or iodine tablets • Emergency blanket • Emergency whistle • Pocket Knife or multitool • Waterproof matches • Gloves
Although backpack comfort is best achieved by focusing on what feels best for you are your body, backpack hip belts are meant to sit on the top of your hips, as opposed to directly around them. This is what allows the weight of the backpack to be transferred through your legs and directly into the ground, as opposed to relying on your back muscles.