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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.
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. You have to choose the right bag for YOUR body.
Ways Women’s Backpacks Differ From Men’s
Is it just marketing or are there real and significant differences in the backpacks that are made for women? Here are the ways backpacks are different between men’s and women’s.
1 – 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.
2 – 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.
However, you should still take your measurements in order to find the right pack for you. This post will show you how.
3 – 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.
Let’s not forget how important a good hip belt is in taking the weight of a backpack off our shoulders!
4 – Designed for a lower center of gravity.
Women have a lower center of gravity than men, and women’s backpacks are designed with this in mind.
This means that the packs will be optimized to distribute the load better and be more comfortable for the wearer in the long run.
Do you really need a women’s specific backpack?
Not at all! Overall, you can expect a female backpack to be smaller, but that doesn’t mean that it is right for every female.
Just like women’s bodies are different biologically from men’s, every woman’s body is also different from other women.
I have read a number of blogs and stories about girls going with a men’s style backpack because they:
- have broader shoulders
- have a longer torso
- it was on sale
- they prefer the styles and colors of the men’s bags
- they just didn’t care
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.
Can a man carry a women’s backpack?
Again, it all comes down to comfort and what works for YOUR body. If a woman’s pack feels like a dream, then there is no reason a man cannot use it.
Video Resources for Choosing a Women’s Backpack
Finding Your Backpack Size
Osprey Farpoint 40 M/L vs S/M Versions
Popular Backpacks Used by Women
The Osprey Fairview 40L
Osprey Fairview 40L
One reviewer mentioned that this backpack saved her honeymoon! The comfort and fit for her petite frame meant she could travel without major back dramas for weeks on end.
Made with the Osprey quality we know and love, we think the Fairview is a great option for women travelers – especially those who want to travel carry-on only!
The Kelty Redwing 40L
Kelty Redwing 40L
The Kelty Redwing is a favorite among our contributors, with a number of them toting it in varying sizes.
One of the best features of this pack is that it’s hybrid-loading, which means that it is both a top loader and a panel loader. It also comes with several organizational pockets for all of your gear and electronics.
The Kelty Redwing comes in both unisex and women’s size.
The Osprey Ariel AG 65L
Osprey Ariel AG Women’s Backpack 65L
If you’re hauling a lot of gear for a multi-day hike, the Osprey Ariel is a great technical backpack. It features anti-gravity technology and its top lid converts into a daypack. How smart is that?
At over $200, this is a pretty hefty purchase, but if you’re the type to go on several hikes a year, this is a good investment.
Did you happen to go with a men’s backpack instead of a women’s? Share your experience by leaving a comment below.