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Best Backpacks For Women

last updated Jun 07, 2019

As a woman, I quite enjoy exploring the outdoors and seeing the beautiful things Mother Nature provides us. The most beautiful scenery, as you know is off the beaten path, and most of the time you have to backpack to witness these natural wonders. If you are going to go backpacking and have some time with mother nature, you are going to need a backpack to carry all your gear. We have found the best options available for you and also included some criteria to help you not only find the backpack that fits your needs but also to assist you in thinking about some features you may want in your backpack to get you where you’re going securely and comfortably.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research

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Osprey Aura AG 65
98.4/100 our score
Comfort
99
Weight
99
Ease of Use
97
Features
99
Capacity
98
Osprey Aura AG 65
Why is it better?

High quality 

Lots of storage 

Lots of straps for extra support

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Osprey Aura AG 65
Test Winner: Osprey Aura AG 65
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1,477
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
10
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Sami Kritz
By Sami Kritz:

Not all backpacks are created equally. As a woman, you need extra support in certain places and smaller framed backpack. In this update, we have added Capacity as a criterion for each product and added Value as another factor to consider. Check out the FAQ and expert tips to learn more!

Sorting Options
Comfort Weight Ease of Use Features Capacity By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.4
Comfort
99 %
Weight
99 %
Ease of Use
97 %
Features
99 %
Capacity
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
Amazon Link
$269.95
Backcountry Link
$270.00
See Deal
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Comfort
98 %
Weight
98 %
Ease of Use
96 %
Features
97 %
Capacity
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
Backcountry Link
$169.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
$179.01
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Comfort
96 %
Weight
97 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Features
95 %
Capacity
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Comfort
94 %
Weight
97 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Features
94 %
Capacity
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Comfort
93 %
Weight
96 %
Ease of Use
94 %
Features
93 %
Capacity
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
Backcountry Link
$249.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
$259.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Comfort
94 %
Weight
94 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Features
91 %
Capacity
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Comfort
95 %
Weight
92 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Features
94 %
Capacity
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
Amazon Link
$178.95
Backcountry Link
$299.95
See Deal
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Comfort
94 %
Weight
89 %
Ease of Use
90 %
Features
92 %
Capacity
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
Amazon Link
$309.95
Backcountry Link
$310.00
See Deal
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Comfort
92 %
Weight
87 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Features
93 %
Capacity
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
Amazon Link
$549.00
Backcountry Link
$549.00
See Deal
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Comfort
95 %
Weight
79 %
Ease of Use
90 %
Features
90 %
Capacity
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.06.19)
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Osprey Aura AG 65 Osprey Aura AG 65
  • The North Face Terra 55 The North Face Terra 55
  • Thule Versant 60 Thule Versant 60
  • Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 60 OutDry Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 60 OutDry
  • The North Face Banchee 65 The North Face Banchee 65
  • Deuter ACT Lite SL Deuter ACT Lite SL
  • Gregory Deva 60 Gregory Deva 60
  • Osprey Ariel AG 65 Osprey Ariel AG 65
  • Arc'teryx Bora AR 61 Arc'teryx Bora AR 61
  • Lowe Alpine Manaslu Lowe Alpine Manaslu
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. Osprey Aura AG 65

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.4
Osprey Aura AG 65
Amazon Link
Comfort
99
Weight
99
Ease of Use
97
Features
99
Capacity
98
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Pros:

High quality 

Lots of storage 

Lots of straps for extra support

Cons:

Hip buckles could be better

Osprey’s Aura AG 65 Women’s Backpack offers several specific features that women love, which makes it one of the most popular backpacks on the market today. This backpack is designed to be very light, flexible, and also comes with a lot of storage space. Plus, it offers a lot of pockets that help keep items easily organized. Plus, it comes with Anti-Gravity features and an excellent suspension system.

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Comfort
Designed with shoulder straps that are made with women in mind, you also get a great suspension system with this backpack. Plus, there is a mesh system running throughout the backpack that gives it great breathability. The material in the backpack also feels very soft, and there is plenty of comforts featured in this backpack’s design.

Weight
This particular backpack is made to be lightweight so that it is easy for women to carry. It weighs a little over four pounds, meaning it is designed to be very light and easy to carry. There aren’t many other backpacks on the market made to be as lightweight as this one.

Ease of Use
Designed with a lot of versatility in mind, this backpack comes with a lot of adjustable features. It might take a little while to understand all of the straps and adjustments, but once you’ve mastered it, it is quite simple. Also, it features so many pockets that it makes it very easy for you to organize your items.

Features
This backpack comes with a bevy of organizational features that makes both carrying and finding items easy. It features a main compartment that is easy to access when you are on the go, and a bottom compartment designed to hold a sleeping bag. You also get a mesh pocket and two zippered pockets.

Capacity
The particular model that we are discussing in this review is 65L. However, you will notice that this backpack is available in an XS, S, or M. This isn't usually an option for backpacks, and in this case, the capacity changes slightly to better fit your frame. The extra small holds 60L, the small holds 62L, and the medium holds 65L.

2. The North Face Terra 55

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
The North Face Terra 55
Amazon Link
Comfort
98
Weight
98
Ease of Use
96
Features
97
Capacity
97
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Pros:

Comfortable 

Lots of storage 

Great hip support

Cons:

Could come in more styles

Not a lot of room for adjustments

The North Face has long been recognized as a great manufacturer of fantastic outdoor gear products. Their Terra 55 Backpack is very affordable, and still offers a lot of versatility as well as a great design. It offers many great features and is designed for durability as well.

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Comfort
The North Face’s Terra backpack has narrow shoulder straps, which may seem small to some but actually provide a nice boost of comfort, especially if you don’t have much experience backpacking. There is also a nice mesh panel in the back of this pack, which helps keep the ventilation going. Also, there is plenty of great foam padding where you need it, making this a comfortable backpack choice.

Weight
The Terra weighs in at a little over four pounds, which makes it a lightweight backpack. You won’t feel weighed down when you use it. It features an ideal weight range and is designed to carry loads very well. You’ll love its durability and simplicity.

Ease of Use
This backpack gives you a nice, simple design that makes it very easy to use. It’s not complicated at all, and it provides the user with a lot of stability and comfort. It is adjustable, but may not feel quite as adjustable as some other backpacks in our review. It does feature a lot of access points to the main compartment as well.

Features
The Terra offers a lot of simplicity, but it also offers all of the features you’d ever want to have in a backpack. You get water bottle holders on both sides of the pack as well as a hydration lid. There are also plenty of pockets for easy organization.

Capacity
As you may have gathered by the name of this backpack, it's capacity is 55L. This makes it a large backpack that would be great for a multi-day hiking trip, or even for a short vacation. However, because it is a lightweight style, it doesn't offer as many comforts as some of the heavier styles.

3. Thule Versant 60

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Thule Versant 60
Amazon Link
Comfort
96
Weight
97
Ease of Use
95
Features
95
Capacity
95
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Pros:

Very comfortable

Lots of storage 

Great hip support 

Cons:

Could come in more colors

Hip belt could be improved

Thule’s Versant 60 is designed to be a versatile backpack that will work well for any woman. It features waterproof material and is also designed to be very long-lasting. You get a very comfortable backpack with this one, and it has nice padding to make it more comfortable.

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Comfort
This backpack comes with small shoulder straps, but they are actually padded quite well. Plus, the straps feature a mesh material, and that makes the backpack more breathable. It also is very easy to adjust, so you can get a great fit with this backpack.

Weight
The Versant is manufactured to be very light and weighs in at a little over four pounds. For how lightweight it is, it still offers a lot of room to carry along your important items. It’s also very easy to compress this backpack down when you need to.

Ease of Use
This backpack is easy to use, but it could have an easier waist belt adjustment system. Some of the adjustments might take some getting used to on this backpack. However, once you get it adjusted, it can easily stay put. Other than that, this backpack has a nice design.

Features
The primary compartment of this backpack has two access points, and the backpack is designed so it is very easy for you to access your items. You get a large lid with two oversized zipper pockets on the inside that you can get to easily. You also get a nice, detachable lid.

Capacity
In this review, we are specifically talking about the 60L Versant, however, this backpack is available in 50L, 60L, or 70L. We think is a great backpack and are happy to see it offered in versatile sizes. Depending on your motives and what type of packer you are, one of these three sizes will be perfect for you.

4. Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 60 OutDry

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 60 OutDry
Amazon Link
Comfort
94
Weight
97
Ease of Use
95
Features
94
Capacity
95
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Pros:

Waterproof

Lots of storage

Numerous buckles 

Cons:

Could come in more colors

Mountain Hardwear is a brand that is well-known for making great gear, and the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic Outdry 60 is no different. This backpack is great for any season and designed to be waterproof with a lot of durabilities. It’s also very comfortable, and adjustable.

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Comfort
This backpack is designed with a lot of features that help make it a comfortable choice. It features great padding on both the hip belt and shoulder straps. Also, since this backpack is designed for women, it won’t rub or chafe. It also has a decent ventilation system, and a rigid back panel.

Weight
This backpack is extremely light and weighs in at 3.81 pounds. It is designed to be durable and features waterproof fabric that makes it seem like it should weigh more, but it doesn’t. It works well for mid to heavier packing.

Ease of Use
The Ozonic Outdry backpack comes with a lot of adjustment features that make it easy to use. It also has a reversible lid, and excellent shoulder straps that are easy to adjust. This backpack is designed to make access easy while you are on-the-go.

Features
The Ozonic backpack comes with a lot of pockets that make it very easy for any woman to organize her items. It features a total of six compartments that help keep everything organized and safe. Also, the backpack is designed to give you access to things you’d need while you are on the move.

Capacity
This is another backpack that is so conveniently available in multiple capacities. You can enjoy this backpack in 50L, 60L, or 70L. In this review, we discussed the 60L, but you can imagine the same components slightly smaller and slightly larger.

5. The North Face Banchee 65

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
The North Face Banchee 65
Amazon Link
Comfort
93
Weight
96
Ease of Use
94
Features
93
Capacity
94
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Amazon Link
$259.99
Backcountry Link
$249.95
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Pros:

Lots of storage

Great hip support

Comfortable

Cons:

Not as durable as other backpacks on our list

The North Face’s Banchee Backpack is made to be comfortable and also offers a lightweight backpack that is easy to carry. There is a nice, large external pocket on it that you can use to fit just about anything. Plus, there are also several other great pockets throughout the backpack. You’ll love how great this backpack feels no matter how long your backpacking trip might be.

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Comfort
The Banchee was made with comfort in mind and comes with a nice aluminum frame that is made to fit a woman’s body. The backpack also has a mesh panel so you get great breathability and ventilation with this backpack for even better comfort. Plus, the Banchee also offers a design that is comfortable for your back, which is a nice extra as well.

Weight
The Banchee is an incredibly lightweight backpack, so if you want something that weighs next to nothing, this might be the backpack for you. Even though it is lightweight, it also provides a lot of back support, which is very nice. Plus, even though this backpack is lightweight, it still offers some great storage features that will help keep you organized.

Ease of Use
You’ll love how much organization you get with the Banchee since you get a total of eight pockets. Not only do you get many pockets, but the pockets are also designed well so that they are easy to reach. So, you get tons of easy access as well with this backpack and plenty of room for organization.

Features
The Banchee gives you a lot of excellent features. The first, which we already discussed, is the bevy of pockets you get, and how easy they are to access. You’ll also get some nice water bottle holders and a removable lid. We also really like the back panel that is designed with a breathable mesh material which helps to add to the breathability and comfort of the backpack.

Capacity
We decided the review the largest of the trio, the Banchee 65. However, this backpack is also offered in 50L or 35L. The 35L is a small but mighty version of this same backpack, better for day trips. Be careful not to overpack this bag as it hasn't proven to be as durable as some of our other options.

6. Deuter ACT Lite SL

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Deuter ACT Lite SL
Amazon Link
Comfort
94
Weight
94
Ease of Use
95
Features
91
Capacity
93
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Pros:

Lots of storage 

Great for taller women

Great hip support

Cons:

Not as comfortable as the other backpacks on our list

The Deuter ACT Lite is a nice backpack that was made to fit a woman’s body with a lot of comforts. It’s an affordable backpack, but it still offers many of the same bonuses that some of the more expensive backpacks carry. The shoulder straps feature a lot of padding and comfort, and the overall design of the backpack makes it simple. It’s also lightweight and offers a lot of durabilities.

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Comfort
The ACT Lite backpack is made to be simple, and the backpack is also very adjustable, so you get the perfect fit plus a lot of comforts. There is also plenty of cushioning in the back area as well as the straps of this backpack, which gives it a very comfortable design. It’s a backpack that is also designed to fit the style of a woman’s body so that she’ll get a lot of comforts whenever she wears it.

Weight
This backpack is designed to be decently light and weighs about 4.31 pounds. So, it’s not the lightest backpack out there, but it is one of the lighter ones. It also offers a nice, simple design and the backpack comes with ample back support for those who really need it.

Ease of Use
The ACT Lite is made to be easy to use, and the overall simplicity of the backpack makes it a nice choice. You get a backpack that can adjust, but it’s very simple to figure out how to make the fit work. Also, you get some pockets with this design, which helps to add to the organization. If you sometimes struggle with figuring out how to adjust your backpack, the ACT Lite will make it very easy for you to figure this out.

Features
Because of its simple design, the ACT Lite doesn’t come with as much pocket space and organizational concepts as some of the other backpacks in this review. However, it does offer three enclosed compartments, which is a nice feature to have in the design of this backpack. So, while you don’t get a lot of pockets, you do get enough to find enough space for organization.

Capacity
This backpack is 60L, with an additional 10L added if you choose to use the top as storage. The top has dual closures to allow you extra space. Additionally, this pack is available is 28L (no additional 10), 50L, and 65L.

7. Gregory Deva 60

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Gregory Deva 60
Amazon Link
Comfort
95
Weight
92
Ease of Use
92
Features
94
Capacity
92
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Pros:

Durable

Comfortable

Lots of storage 

Cons:

Heavy

Some say straps can be a problem

Gregory Deva’s backpack is designed to easily carry large weights while providing an excess amount of comfort and a lot of support. This backpack is made for all seasons and offers a lot of durability in its design. You also get comfortable shoulder straps that come with a lot of cushioning and a backpack that is designed to fit a woman’s body. Plus, this backpack also has a great ventilation system, and a nice hip stabilizing system as well.

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Comfort
The Deva offers a lot of comforts and is designed to fit a woman’s body shape. You get a pre-curved harness that also comes with a nice hip belt. Also, the backpack offers a lot of cushioning, stability, and support in the back area to make it easy to carry. Also, the shoulder straps come with a lot of padding to help take the weight off the pressure points.

Weight
The Deva runs on the heavier end of the spectrum when compared to some of the other backpacks in our review. While it is designed for comfort, the extra padding and cushioning make it weigh a bit more. With backpacks, there is always a trade-off with extra padding adding to the weight of the backpack, but it all depends on if you want more cushioning or not.

Ease of Use
This backpack does have a bit of a learning curve with ease of use, mostly because it has a lot of straps that make it extra-adjustable. However, the straps do require some time to learn and figure out. However, once you get the hang of the straps and get them to adjust correctly, you should be good to go. You’ll enjoy this nice, large backpack design once you get the fit down.

Features
You get several nice features with this backpack and a lot of pockets that give you some nice organizational potential. This backpack offers you the main compartment, two medium-sized pockets, and two smaller pockets. You also get a rainfly with this backpack. Plus, the backpack is large enough to provide you with plenty of room to store everything you need.

Capacity
This particular review is for the 60L backpack. 60L offers you plenty of room for a winter day trek, or for a multi-day hike in the spring. It is also offered in 70L, with each size also featuring an XS, S, or M option as well, changing the capacity by about 2L each size.

8. Osprey Ariel AG 65

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Osprey Ariel AG 65
Amazon Link
Comfort
94
Weight
89
Ease of Use
90
Features
92
Capacity
92
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Pros:

Durable

Great padding

Lots of storage

Cons:

Pockets could be more accessible

The Osprey Ariel is a nice backpack that comes with a lot of features and also has a lot of room for adjustment. It runs a bit on the heavy side, but it comes with a lot of cushioning and padding that makes it comfortable to carry. It also offers a nice suspension system and a lot of durabilities. You’ll love how comfortable it feels each time you use it.

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Comfort
This backpack was designed to be comfortable, and you get great padding on both the hip belt as well as the shoulder straps. You also get a lot of ventilation built into this pack to add to the comfort level. It’s one of the most breathable backpacks you’ll find on our list. Also, this backpack is designed with curves that are meant to conform to a woman’s shape.

Weight
This backpack is designed with a great cushioning system, but like many other well-padded backpacks, it runs on the heavy side of the spectrum. The Ariel weighs about 5.31 pounds, which does mean it is a bit heavy. However, the padding and the zippers, as well as the overall durability of the backpack, all add to its weight, so you get a few trade-offs here.

Ease of Use
This backpack is designed to be easy to use, but it does feature some complicated features that require a bit of a learning curve to get used to. One thing that will take some getting used to is the adjustment features since there are tons of them with this pack. With so many adjustable features, you will need to learn how to get your adjustments right. However, once you get the backpack adjusted so that it fits you correctly, you will get a great gift and a lot of comfort with this backpack.

Features
This backpack comes with several great features. One of the things we like about this backpack is its use of four enclosed pockets plus three mesh pockets. So, you get plenty of room and space to organize your items, which makes this a nice backpack if you have a lot of things to carry. Also, you get a removable lid with this backpack.

Capacity
This backpack is available in three different sizes, 55L, 65L, and 75L. This specific review is written for the middle size, 65L. This backpack also features additionally sizing of XS, S, and M to create a better fit for your frame.

9. Arc'teryx Bora AR 61

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Arc'teryx Bora AR 61
Amazon Link
Comfort
92
Weight
87
Ease of Use
92
Features
93
Capacity
91
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Pros:

Great support for hips

Strong shoulder straps for extra support

Waterproof

Cons:

More expensive than other backpacks on our list

Arcteryx is a great outdoor gear manufacturer that is well-known for its quality products. Their Bora AR 61 is a nice backpack that is designed to be lightweight, and also features a great hip belt that won’t chafe and is very comfortable. This backpack does run on the expensive in, but it offers so much comfort and durability, it is worth the price.

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Comfort
The Bora backpack is designed with a huge emphasis on comfort. It features a lot of foam padding on the waist belt as well as the shoulder straps. The straps might feel bulky to some, but if you want a lot of cushioning on your backpack, then this one has that.

Weight
This backpack weighs in at just under five pounds, which means it isn’t the lightest backpack in our review, but it is designed for durability. Plus, with the extra cushioning added to the pack, it is very easy to carry this pack along with you. It also doesn’t feel too heavy when you put it on.

Ease of Use
Arcteryx’s Bora backpack comes designed to be very easy to use. It is very adjustable and also built to provide maximum comfort. You get a lot of adjustability in the shoulder straps. The waist belt also comes adjustable. You get three easy to use compartments with this backpack, which offers plenty of organization.

Features
The Bora backpack comes with several great features and gives you plenty of pockets to help you stay organized. It also gives you a lot of space and it is very easy to access the inside of the backpack even while you are on the move. You also get plenty of room for storage and organization.

Capacity
The capacities of this backpack are quite random. This review is written for the 61L, but there is also a 49L available. It offers you great pockets and adjustability in both sizes.

10. Lowe Alpine Manaslu

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Lowe Alpine Manaslu
Amazon Link
Comfort
95
Weight
79
Ease of Use
90
Features
90
Capacity
93
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Pros:

Lots of storage 

Great hip support

Comfortable

Cons:

Heavy

Could be more stylish

Lowe’s Alpine Manaslu Women’s Backpack offers a nice backpack that is very adjustable and can get you both the fit and comfort you need. It comes with a nice carrying capacity and has several straps and pockets for easy organization and carrying. Plus, this backpack feels very comfortable no matter what type of load you decide to carry with it.

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Comfort
The Manaslu is designed with an emphasis on comfort. It features thick straps on the waist and on the shoulders that include a lot of cushioning to help out these pressure points. Also, it comes with a breathable back panel that includes a mesh ventilation system for extra comfort. You won’t feel any rubbing or chaffing with this pack.

Weight
The Manaslu is manufactured with comfort in mind, but it does run more on the heavy side, mostly because of all the strap and cushioning features that come with this backpack. This backpack weighs about four pounds thirteen ounces, and it can feel a bit bulky at times. While it would be nice for this backpack to be more lightweight, you do get plenty of comfort out of the design.

Ease of Use
The Manaslu has a bit of a learning curve with some of the adjustment features it offers you. It can feel a bit complicated because of the extra straps and buckles, but once you get used to it and adjust it, you should experience a lot of comforts and a great fit. The adjustments can be hard to get correct the first few times, but once you get it right, you should be off with this backpack.

Features
This backpack does weigh a bit more, mostly because of its extra straps and cushioning features. It does come with many pockets and it is easy to access the main compartment of this backpack. Also, you get a hydration sleeve and rain fly built into this backpack.

Capacity
This review is based on the 55:70L backpack. The first capacity is for the backpack itself, and the second capacity is with the option to expand the lid and use it for extra storage. This backpack is additionally offered in 60:75L, 65:80L, and 50:65L.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

Comfort is probably one of the most important factors you’ll want to take a look at before purchasing your backpack. You need to consider the comfort of the pack when it is empty when it is loaded, and if its comfort level can also vary depending on how much you pack. Some backpacks have pressure points on them that can cause bruising and rubbing, so you also want to make sure you check out your backpack for those issues. When it comes to comfort, you might wind up having to trade off some comfort features if you prefer a backpack that is more lightweight. Backpacks designed to be lightweight typically don’t come with as much padding, so that makes them lighter, but far less comfortable.

Also, backpacks that are designed to be lightweight also are made to carry lighter loads. If you know you need to carry a heavier load, then you will probably want to opt for a more comfortable backpack that is made to handle heavier loads. So, make sure you also think about the overall amount of items you’ll be carrying. Plus, if you are planning on carrying heavier loads, you more than likely are going to need that extra cushioning and support.

Also, how much cushioning and support you get with your backpack will depend a lot on the overall cushioning on the hip belt and shoulder straps. Typically, the more padding you find there, the less chaffing and pressure points you will feel while you are on the go.

Another part of the backpack that dictates how much comfort you will get is the back panel, which adds to the suspension system on the backpack. Some of these backpacks are designed with back panels that feature a lot of cushioning so you always feel comfortable. Others are made to provide more stability and support for your back if you need it. Also, many of the backpacks on our list feature mesh panels for breathability on the back panel, so that you get the ventilation you need and don’t have to feel like you are overheating or getting covered in your own sweat. Having the ventilation can make you feel a lot more comfortable while you are on the move.

Weight

How heavy the backpack you purchase is can also determine a lot about the backpack itself. If you are opting for a more lightweight backpack, you are likely to get less cushioning, padding, and other features designed into your backpack. However, that choice is really up to you, and you just need to decide if you want something that is more comfortable, or more lightweight.

If you want a lightweight backpack, we offered three very lightweight ones on our review. Those three include The North Face Banchee 65, The North Face Terra 55, and Mountain Hardwear’s Ozonic 60. All three of these backpacks weigh about four pounds or less, so they are built to feel light when you wear them on your back.

Ease of Use

How easy your backpack is to you also becomes an important evaluation point. We took a look at the adjustability and simplicity of each backpack on our list. Some backpacks are far easier to use than others, and some are more difficult. What we discovered is that the more adjustability features that come with a backpack, typically the more difficult the backpack is to use. However, with that extra adjustability comes a nice fit as well, so once you get used to adjusting those types of backpacks, you’ll be able to settle on an excellent fit. So, there are positives and negatives to having this type of extra adjustability.

Also, some backpacks make it easier for you to access your items in your pockets as well as your main compartments when compared to others. So, while you are on the go in the great outdoors, if you want to access your pack with ease, you’ll need to take a look at how easy it is to get your items out of your backpack without having to remove the entire backpack.

Features

Features include many things when we take a look at these backpacks. Features include pockets, buckets, straps, and a few extra concepts. If you want a lot of organization built into your backpack, then you’ll need to look for something that has several pockets. However, just having a lot of pockets typically isn’t enough. The location of the pockets also becomes important. If you want to access your items easily while you are on the go, you need to make sure the pockets are designed with good placement that allows you to do this. So, that is certainly something you want to consider if you want to be able to organize your items easily.

Capacity

The capacity of a backpack is another important feature that shouldn't be overlooked. Knowing how to plan to explore with the backpack ahead of time will help you to decide which capacity will work best for you.

As a general guideline, for a day trip, a bag of about 20L to 35L will be sufficient. In this bag, you could fit, a change of clothes, sufficient water, snacks, a first aid kit, and a few other random necessities. If you plan to take a longer trek, perhaps for a few nights, a 40L or 50L backpack will be better for you. In this bag, you will also be able to fit camping and sleeping gear. It should also be mentioned that if you are a winter trekker, a larger backpack will be necessary to carry thermoses and bulkier clothing.

Additionally, if you are one of those people who brings all of the "just in case" items, you may want to opt for a larger capacity.

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Packing Cubes

Use packing cubes to organize the space in your backpack. Whether you plan on using the bag for hiking, daily errands, or a diaper bag, packing cubes can help to avoid turning your backpack into a Mary Poppin's bag.

The Features

It is important to pay close attention to the features of the bag. The zipper, for example, is very important. You may prefer a zipper that completely unzips and open up like a suitcase. A couple other important features that will make a big difference in comfort are the chest strap and hip belt. If you plan to carry a heavy load, these will make all the difference.

Other Factors to Consider

Weather Resistance

Depending on how you plan to use this backpack, weather-resistance may be an important factor. Many of these backpacks come with rain covers to help add to their water resistance. Most of these backpacks, except for the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 60 which is fully waterproof, are simply water resistant and not waterproof. So, getting a rain cover with your pack can help you keep the rain away from your important items. Weather-resistant materials also tend to be slightly stronger and able to resist abrasions. This will amplify the durability of the backpack.

Value

No one wants to waste their money on a product that isn't worth it. Additionally, no one wants to overpay for a product that they could find elsewhere cheaper. When determining the value of a backpack, it is important to look at all aspect, not just the price. Take a look at the features of the backpack and how well it serves your needs. If you only plan to use for day trips, you would be wasting money by investing in a 40L bag. Additionally, many brands, such as Osprey, offer warranties, some of them are even lifetime warranties. Even if you fall in love with one these backpacks but are put off by the price tag, take a moment to check out the features, comfort, durability, and ease of use. You may just realize that this high price tag has been well-earned.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What do I need to know about the comfort level of my backpack?

a:

Really, that will depend on how much padding you want, and how much weight you can handle. If you opt to purchase a backpack that is designed for more comfort, it will feature more padding and stability options, and that will make the backpack weigh more. For comfort, the first thing you typically look at is the straps, but the breathability is also an important factor in how comfortable you will be. A backpack that overheats you just by wearing it is not going to be very comfortable when put into action.

If you prefer a more lightweight backpack, then you will probably have to sacrifice some comfort to achieve that. So, depending on what you need, consider if you want to opt for a more lightweight backpack or one with more cushioning and support. Lightweight backpacks also tend to have less structure and organization. Ultimately, the choice is really up to you, and how much comfort you need alongside how much weight you can carry.

q: Should I look for back panels that feature mesh panels, or is that important at all?

a:

Yes, you should. Since hiking is a very aerobic activity, it can cause you to sweat quite a bit. You’ll want to make sure you have mesh panels on the back panel so you get the breathability and ventilation you need with your backpack to stay comfortable. You don’t want to find yourself overheating, or feeling like you are covered in your own perspiration while you are on the go. That can feel very uncomfortable, and it is a situation you want to avoid. So, to take advantage of comfort, make sure to get a backpack that ventilates well.

q: What do I need to know about my pack load before I purchase my backpack?

a:

You want to make sure you have a general estimate of how heavy your pack load will be before you purchase your backpack. Take time to think about how you will be using the backpack. If you usually only go out for day expeditions, a 20L backpack will be plenty for you. However, if you plan to take a multiple day trek, a 40L will suit you better. It may even be a good idea to invest in a couple of different sized backpacks to serve your many different adventures. You need to match the pack load to the backpack you want. If you plan on carrying heavier loads, a lightweight backpack probably isn’t going to work for you. However, if you do plan to pack light, then a lightweight backpack will work for you. So, take a close look at how much you will be carrying in your backpack, and factor that into your decision.

q: What do I need to consider about ease of use when purchasing my backpack?

a:

First, how much experience you have with backpacks can play a factor, as well as how much you are willing to learn. Most of the backpacks that offer extra adjustments and bonus features tend to be more difficult to learn how to use, simply because there is more available on the backpack to get used to. However, the nice thing about these types of backpacks is that once you get them to adjust, you also get the perfect fit. The adjustments are something you can consider depending on what you really want, but you also need to remember that some backpacks make it easier for you to access your items while you are on the go than others as well. So, try to factor in what you can take, and go from there.

q: What do I need to know about pockets in a backpack?

a:

Having a lot of pockets can be a great thing if you want the room to organize your items, but remember, pocket placement is also a key here. Make sure the pockets are designed so that you can easily access them while you are on the go, and that can save you a lot of worries.

You should take a look at how the pockets close. For easy access pockets, they sometimes don't fully close and your items can fall out. Some pockets use a velcro closure, and others zippers. Depending on what is preferable to you is what you will want to look out for. For your most important items, such as credit cards, a phone, or passport, you'll want to look for a good interior pocket or even a zippered pocket on the back of the backpack that sits on your back.

q: Is comfort or weight more important?

a:

While you do need to consider weight when you purchase your backpack, but you should really focus more on the comfort of your backpack. Remember, with lightweight backpacks, you are going to be restricted to carrying lighter loads and not having as much comfort and padding. So, make sure you figure out about how much you will be carrying because that will also help you make your decision.

Sources

  1. Jane Jackson, The Best Women's Backpacking Packs of 2017 , Informational Camping Website
  2. Drew Zieff and Melanie Ott, The Best Hiking Backpacks, Informational Camping Website
  3. Julie Marks, The Best Hiking Backpacks for Women 2017, Informational Camping Website
  4. VICKI GARSIDE, THE BEST TRAVEL BACKPACK FOR WOMEN 2019, Female Travel Blog