best hiking backpack

How to choose the best hiking backpack for women

For any adventurous women out there that are looking for the perfect backpack, check out our complete guide to choose the best hiking backpack for women.

Looking for the perfect bag to take with you on your adventures? Check out all our advice on choosing the best trekking or hiking backpack for women.

Women’s trekking backpacks: what special features do they have?

Hiking and trekking backpacks for women have been designed to be really comfortable to carry. These bags usually have:

  • A shorter length
  • A narrower width
  • S-shaped shoulder straps
  • A belt that is more curved than the men’s versions.
The shoulder straps and hip belts on women’s trekking backpacks are therefore designed to fit narrower shoulders and wider hips. This means there is less friction and fewer pressure points, which is essential for avoiding pain and injuries.

These unique features make the backpack more comfortable to carry when hiking and trekking.

What is the best size for your trekking or hiking backpack in terms of its capacity in litres?

The best capacity for your backpack depends on how you intend to use it. Below, you will find our advice on which capacity to choose depending on how long you are planning to hike or trek for.

Please note that these recommendations are based on a standard trekker profile. If you prefer to pack really light for your hikes or treks, your needs in terms of capacity will be quite different.

What size backpack do you need for a day hike?

If you are planning to use your backpack for a hike that lasts half a day or one full day, choose one that has a capacity of between 3 and 30 litres. The backpack that you choose within this range will depend on the difficulty of the hike you are planning, or on what you plan to put in your backpack (for example: if you’re taking your camera with you, you'll need more space in your hiking backpack).

What size backpack do you need for a 2–4-day trek?

If you’re planning to go trekking alone for two to four days, a backpack with a capacity of 35 to 60 litres is ideal. It offers a good balance between capacity and comfort.
This volume means you can take everything you need for several days without making the backpack uncomfortable to carry. Here are a few points to bear in mind when choosing the capacity for your backpack:

  • The length of your trek: The longer your trek is, the more you’ll need to put in your backpack. For a 2–4-day trek, a backpack with a capacity of anything between 35 and 60 litres should be big enough. Some bags can be extended by ten litres to accommodate extra items if required.
  • The season: During winter, we recommend getting a bigger backpack so that you can pack your thicker, heavier clothes.
  • What you’ll need: If you’re planning on going bivouacking, you’ll need space for your tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag. If you’re planning on sleeping in a refuge, you can take a smaller bag.
  • Carrying food and water: If you're going to be completely self-sufficient and plan to carry a lot of food and water, you may need a bigger backpack.
Don't forget to pack your things so that the weight is distributed evenly and to test packing and carrying your backpack before setting off. This will enable you to see if the size you have chosen is suitable for your needs.

If you're staying in a refuge for two to four days, a 30–40 litre bag should be big enough.

What size backpack do you need for a trek that lasts five days or more?

If you are going on a solo trek that last five days or more, we recommend you opt for a backpack with a capacity of between 50 and 80 litres.

Finally, for extreme treks or expeditions that require more equipment, you can choose a backpack with an even greater capacity, up to 80 litres or more.


How much should a trekking or hiking backpack weigh?

The weight of the backpack when it is empty is something to take into account when choosing your trekking equipment. We recommend choosing a backpack that weighs no more than 3 kg when empty.
However, this weight may vary depending on the type of backpack and its volume. For example, a women’s 50L trekking backpack weighs around 1.8 kg.
In addition, the weight of the bag when it is empty depends on the weight of your equipment. For equipment weighing more than 7 or 8 kg, you need a sturdy, comfortable bag, which will therefore be heavier when empty. An ultra light bag works best if your equipment is really light too.

Striking the right balance between the weight of the empty backpack and its comfort and sturdiness will help you find the right bag for you. In fact, some ultra light bags can lack structure and support, which can make them uncomfortable to carry if the bag is too full.

It’s important to note that a bag that is heavier when empty but comfortable and well-fitting may be preferable to one that is really light but uncomfortable to carry.

  • 50L trekking backpack: approx. 1.8 kg
  • Maximum recommended weight: 3 kg
Discover this web page that makes it easy to calculate how heavy all of your trekking equipment will be.

Standard advice is that the weight of your backpack should not be more than 15% of your body weight. For example, a woman that weighs 50 kg should carry a backpack that weighs no more than 7.5 kg or 10 kg as an absolute maximum.

The weight of the backpack when it is filled also depends on your level of training, the trip that you have planned, the length of time you will be wearing it, the altitude, your level of fatigue, etc.


What factors should women take into account to ensure their backpack is comfortable to carry?

To find a bag that is really comfortable to carry, there are several factors you need to consider:

  • belt-women’s-trekking-bag

    The hip belt

    Ideally, they should be wide and padded to distribute the weight of the bag and take the strain off of the shoulders. For women, belts are often cone shaped when fastened so that they mould to the shape of your hips.

  • shoulder-straps-women’s-trekking-bag

    The shoulder straps

    They should be adjustable and padded to prevent chafing. We recommend ergonomic models because they mould to the shape of your shoulders. The straps on models for women are generally S-shaped to avoid constricting the bust.

  • back-women’s-hiking-backpack

    The back of the backpack

    It is essential that the back is well ventilated to limit perspiration. For the back of the bag, there are many different options to choose from: ventilated contact, pads, foam, stretched mesh or a basic back. For a trek that lasts several days, we recommend a padded foam back.

Adjustable features

They should ensure that the bag fits you perfectly. Some models have adjustable shoulder straps or an adjustable back. It's only once you've made these adjustments to your backpack that you'll be able to determine once and for all whether it's right for you. It needs to be comfortable to carry when it has equipment in it, with very little pressure on the shoulders and most of the weight on the hips.

We strongly recommend that you test the backpack before you buy it to check that it fits you and that you find it comfortable to carry.

Why are compartments an important consideration?

When choosing your trekking or hiking backpack, an important factor to take into account is its compartments. Having various easily accessible pockets will make it easier for you to find your things without having to unpack everything.

Some of the most important compartments for a hiking or trekking bag are:

  • A U-shaped opening at the front of the bag for easy access to items at the bottom
  • A pocket for a water bladder
  • A pocket on the front of the bag where you can put items that you need to access quickly
  • A pocket for your water bottle on the side of the bag, so you can grab it without having to remove your bag from your back
  • A small zipped pocket on the top of the bag where you can put your phone, keys, etc.
  • A system on the underside of the bag where you can attach your tent in case you don’t have any space left for it at the bottom of your backpack.
  • A bag top that can be raised to hold more items, depending on your needs.
  • Additional pockets on the hip belt
Accessories such as compression bags can be used to optimise space by compressing your clothes.


Why is durability an important factor?

When choosing your hiking or trekking backpack, as well as considering the volume, weight and compartments, you should also take into account its robustness. This is a factor that is often forgotten, but that is equally important. You need a backpack that you can rely on over the long term, and one that won’t let you down by breaking while you’re trekking in the mountains.

To check that the backpack you're interested in is resistant, you can look at the materials used, or check which durability tests have been carried out (often indicated on the online product sheet).


Can you repair the backpack that you’ve got your eye on?

It may not seem very significant, but repairability is actually an important factor to take into account when choosing your trekking backpack. Even with the wear and tear of time and any damage that may occur to your backpack, knowing that you'll be able to repair it is a real plus.

So it's worth checking out the feedback on the durability of the bag you're interested in. Does it show signs of wear and tear after just a few treks? Some brands offer repair services or spare parts for their products. We therefore recommend taking this information into account when choosing your backpack.

  • What elements are likely to need repairing? Zips, straps and seams are often the first features to show signs of wear and tear.
  • Can the backpack be repaired? Some bags are designed so that specific features can be easily replaced.
A trekking backpack is a long-term investment. Good repairability can make your backpack last considerably longer.

What are the best hiking and trekking backpacks for women?

The best rated 25–35L backpacks - hiking

  • 25L-hiking-bag

    Hiking backpack 25L - NH Arpenaz 900

    More comfortable to carry
    Adjustable back
    Insulated compartment

  • 30L-hiking-bag


    Foam shoulder straps
    Tight mesh back
    Nine pockets

  • 35L-hiking-bag

    Hiking backpack 35 L - MH100

    Padded hip belt
    Ventilated back
    Pocket for water bladder

The best rated 45 L hiking backpacks

  • women’s-ultralight-trekking-backpack

    Women's Ultralight Trekking Backpack 45+10 L - MT900 UL

    Mesh marking out the areas of support
    Adjustable and ventilated back
    Adjustable top (+10 L)

  • women’s-45L-trekking-backpack

    Women's Trekking Backpack 45+10 L - MT500 AIR

    Breathable mesh
    Adjustable and ventilated back
    Large front access

The best rated 55–60L backpacks - trekking

  • women’s-55L-trekking-backpack

    Women's Trekking Backpack 55+10 L - MT500 AIR

    Lightweight, robust material
    Tight mesh back
    Large front access

  • women’s-60L-trekking-backpack

    Women's Trekking Backpack 60+10 L - MT900 SYMBIUM

    Optimal comfort (Symbium technology)
    Breathable back
    Several compartments

So, if you’re looking for the best trekking backpack for women, you need to take into account the factors we have discussed above: female body shape, capacity, weight when empty, comfort, compartments and durability.

Every woman has specific needs when it comes to the level of comfort and storage capacity. So it's essential you think carefully about what you need before making your choice. It's also important to note that some bags are better suited to certain activities (day hikes, multi-day treks) than others. It is therefore essential that you know how you intend on using the backpack.

Once you’ve got your trusty backpack, you’ll be ready to set off on an adventure in the great outdoors! Enjoy!


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