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Women’s Backpacks: How are they different?


In my opinion, the backpack purchase (or suitcase if that’s how you roll) is one of the most important decisions to make before heading out on the road. I often associate the backpack as a traveler’s home since it is where you keep all of your important possessions locked up. In addition, you’ll want something that is a good investment for the future, and you’ll need to find something that’s the right size for your lifestyle.

womens backpacks That brings us to our topic of women’s backpacks in particular. For most females, a women-specific pack will be a better choice, but it is good to note the difference between these and men’s packs just in case a men’s would be a better fit for you. There is no point in being uncomfortable on the road just because someone happened to throw the words “for women” on the tag.

Ways Women’s Backpacks Differ From Men’s:

  • The shoulders are narrower. Men have broader shoulders on average than women, so a pack that is made for women will be designed with this in mind. Having a comfortable pack — one that takes the weight off of your shoulders — is a combination of different features interacting properly. If the width of the shoulder straps is off, then that makes it harder to find the right balance.
  • The torso is shorter. Women typically have shorter torsos than men, so a pack’s length from shoulder to hip will be a smaller size. This isn’t really a big deal since nowadays many backpacks will come with adjustable back pieces that allow you to shorten or lengthen the torso.
  • Different hip belts. Women were gifted with the gift of hips (thanks?), so that means backpacks aren’t going to sit the same on our bodies as they do on men’s. And, let’s not forget how important a good hip belt is in taking the weight of a backpack off our shoulders.

So, overall, you can expect a female backpack to be smaller, but that doesn’t mean that it is right for every female. I have read a number of blogs and stories about girls going with a man’s style bag because they: 1) have broader shoulders, 2) have a longer torso, 3) it was on sale or 4) they just didn’t care.

Did you happen to go with a men’s backpack instead of a women’s? Share your experience by leaving a comment below.

Choosing the right backpack comes down to personal preference. If you aren’t sure where you stand, then I suggest heading to a sporting goods store and having an associate assist you with testing out different bags. Otherwise, you can easily shop online at the following sites:

Photo credit.


7 Responses to Women’s Backpacks: How are they different?

  1. Sasha January 6, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Shopping for a backpack was fun the first two shops I went in but after trying on what seemed like 30 backpacks and none of them fitting the novelty wore off. Luckily I took my Dad along an apparent backpack expert, although I tried men’s backpacks as well there was no way they were gonna fit, plus my Dad had this great fear that I would keel over backwards and worse maybe onto a road! lol In the end I had to special order in a women’s backpack specifically for apparently very very short people! (I didn’t realise I was that abnormally short!)

    Men’s vs Women’s backpacks as long as it can be adjusted to fit your body then your all good!

  2. Rebecca April 7, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    A suggestion for those albeit, few, women who have HUGE shoulders and long torsos: I bought a men’s back and modified it. I bought a Gregory Baltoro 65 (the men’s version of the Deva 60…a VERY popular women’s pack), after trying on the Deva because of my broad shoulders, long torso and 5’10″ frame. But when I was trying it on, it still wasn’t quite right. Luckily for me, I had researched that Gregory had interchangeable hip and shoulder straps so I swapped the men’s shoulder and hip straps for the women’s version (it was free at REI since they could resell the straps), and voila! The perfect pack! It’s ridiculously comfortable, adjusts easily, holds everything I’ll ever need and has an amazing suspension system and lumbar support.


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