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Finding the perfect travel backpack for women is like stumbling across a unicorn in the wild. It's a rare and magical experience that can transform your travels from complete chaos to organized bliss. Usually, our travel bags resemble a dumpster fire of last minute-packed clothing, photo gear, granola bar crumbs, and a pen and notebook—all jammed together in one pocket or two. This year, we were determined to find the right pack to level up our travel organization and as a result, enjoy a better travel experience.
The following list of travel backpacks are those that made the grade through a year's worth of adventures and getaways around the globe. They have all the features needed to keep your stuff organized and protected through a variety of trips, whether you're hiking in the Alps or parking it at the beach. These travel bags will get you through TSA, and beyond.
Field Mag's Top Picks
- Best Carry-On Backpack: Cotopaxi Allpa 28L Del Día
- Best Hiking Backpack: Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 25L
- Best for Backpacking Trips: Osprey Sirrus 36L
- Best Waterproof Backpack: Yeti Panga 28L
- Best for Stylish Travelers: Lululemon Wanderlust Backpack 25L
- Best Backpack for Adventurous Travel: Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L
- Best for Work Trips: Thule Aion 28L Backpack
- Best Backpack for Skiing: Norrøna Falketind 35L
- Best for Photography Trips: Evoc CP 35L Backpack
- Best Duffel-Backpack Hybrid: Ortlieb Atrack 25
The Best Travel Backpacks for Women
Best Carry-On Backpack: Cotopaxi Allpa 28L Del Día
Having the Cotopaxi Allpa Del Día 28L Travel Pack is like having a personal travel assistant in backpack form. It's built to ensure everything is in its right place. The vibrant and unique design of the Allpa Del Día instantly catches the eye—each backpack is individually handcrafted using repurposed materials, which means that no two backpacks are alike. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the Allpa is packed with functionality. It unfolds like a rolling carry-on bag, revealing multiple zippered compartments that function as integrated packing cubes to help you separate your stuff. It also has an expandable design to maximize luggage efficiency, providing ample space while meeting airline regulations. The bag also has an exterior-access padded laptop sleeve, another small exterior pocket for easy access to personal items, anti-theft zippers, and comfy shoulder straps.
Volume: 28 liters
Material: 100% Repurposed nylon and polyester
Best Hiking Backpack: Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 25L
The Scrambler is built tough, so no matter how many rocks or cliffs you stumble upon, this rucksack-style backpack can take it, thanks to its durable 4-Layer Dimension-Polyant fabric. With a 25-liter capacity, it's spacious enough for essentials without tempting you to pack an entire wardrobe. The backpack's versatile design includes breathable padded shoulder straps, compression straps on the sides to balance your load, and lots of webbing loops that allow travelers to easily attach gear like Tevas and trekking poles without them flapping in the wind. With its water-resistant fabric and sleek aesthetics, this backpack perfectly blends functionality and style, too—the Scrambler is also one seriously good-looking backpack. The multicolored straps add a touch of pizzazz, making you stand out from the crowd.
Volume: 25 liters
Material: 400-denier, TPU-coated nylon ripstop
Best for Backpacking Trips: Osprey Sirrus 36L
The thoughtful design and impressive technical features make the Sirrus 36L our top choice for backpacking trips. With a 36-liter capacity, it offers ample space to fit lots of gear, including clothing, a lightweight sleeping bag, cooking equipment, and even a small tent. While trekking in Nepal, dumpling hunting in Singapore or taste-testing every gelateria in Rome, this travel backpack has exceeded our testing expectations in terms of functionality, comfort, and durability.
One of the standout features of this backpack is its ventilation system. The mesh back panel allows for excellent airflow and breathability, keeping your back cool and dry even during hot and humid weather conditions. It has a useful selection of pockets and partitions—including a large main compartment, a zippered front pocket, zippered hip belt pockets (snacks!), and mesh side pockets/water bottle pockets—all allow easy access to your belongings and valuables. The Sirrus 36L is built with the adventurous backpacker in mind with a hydration sleeve, trekking pole attachments, and an integrated rain cover (a must when traveling outside of peak summer season or when navigating notoriously unpredictable mountain weather).
Volume: 36 liters
Material: bluesign® approved 210-denier high-tenacity recycled nylon (main); 420-denier high density recycled nylon (accent/bottom)
Best Waterproof Backpack: Yeti Panga 28L
Not everyone’s final destination is on land. This backpack laughs in the face of water with waterproof superpowers, and is a minimalist’s dream. The first thing that stands out about the Panga 28L is its exceptional build quality. The high-density nylon shell, reinforced seams, and robust hardware give this backpack an incredibly rugged feel. And let you put it through the wringer—we carried it through torrential downpours to accidental river dips, and not a drop has infiltrated its defenses. That's mostly thanks to the waterproof HydroLok zipper. Inside, there's a sleeve for light organization and a mesh zippered pocket for small items. Its lightweight construction and true simplicity make it a winner in both functionality and design. Bring it fishing, sailing, cliff jumping, and beyond (maybe even wear it to commute to work).
Volume: 28 liters
Material: high-density nylon with TPU lamination
Best for Stylish Travelers: Lululemon Wunderlust Backpack 25L
The Wunderlust's 25-liter capacity and design lends itself well to carrying all your travel essentials without compromising on style. The unisex pack has enough room to accommodate a remote working remote set-up, clothing, toiletries, and other personal items while still maintaining a streamlined and fashionable silhouette. A dedicated laptop compartment, water bottle pockets, and other spots for smaller items like keys and a phone minimize packing chaos. The clean lines, minimalist aesthetic, and high-quality materials used in its construction contribute to its overall stylish appearance, and its flexible, water-repellent fabric means it's conveniently stashable when you want to condense your belongings into one bag.
Volume: 25 liters
Material: water-repellent polyester and nylon
Best Backpack for Adventurous Travel: Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L
Patagonia's Black Hole Pack is well known for its rugged 900D recycled polyester fabric, reinforced with a TPU laminate and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish that make it ideal for outdoor adventures. Its spacious 32-liter capacity and dedicated laptop pocket ensure ample storage for a variety extended trips. With padded straps, a reinforced back panel, and adjustable sternum strap, it offers excellent comfort and support for navigating uneven terrain or crowded streets. Its front-loading design allows for easy access to the main compartment, while the top lid pocket provides additional storage for small items. The duffel-style opening makes accessing your belongings quick and hassle-free, and daisy chain lash points and an ice axe loop offer attachment options for outdoor gear, making it suitable for all kinds of adventures. True to form, Patagonia’s pack is made from recycled materials, reducing its environmental impact and reflecting the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
Volume: 32 liters
Material: 8.7-oz 300-denier 100% postconsumer recycled polyester ripstop with a TPU-film laminate (exterior); 3-oz 200-denier 100% recycled polyester with a PU coating (lining)
Best for Work Trips: Thule Aion 28L Backpack
When it comes to long-haul business trips, the Thule Aion 28L Backpack is the real MVP. Known for their expertise in outdoor gear, Thule has designed the Aion with a focus on ergonomics and functionality, with a streamlined, minimalistic aesthetic. One of the standout features of the Aion 28L is its exceptional comfort. The padded back panel and shoulder straps provide excellent support, ensuring a comfortable fit even during long hours of wear with a full load. The backpack features a customizable suspension system, allowing you to adjust the fit to your specific body type and preferences. The 28-liter capacity strikes a balance between spaciousness and compactness, making it suitable for various applications. (There's also a 40-liter version that's a great large travel backpack.) Inside, there's a pocket or sleeve for everything you need, from your wallet to chargers to clothing to water bottles. There's also a pass-through panel for functionality with rolling carry on luggage.
Volume: 28 liters
Material: Recycled bluesign-approved waxed P600 polyester canvas, 150-denier polyester, airmesh
Best Backpack for Skiing: Norrøna Falketind 35L
Hitting the slopes has never been more stylish with the Falketind's sleek design and spacious 35-liter capacity. It strikes a balance between spaciousness and portability, built specifically to allow for efficient ski gear storage. It has dedicated hands-free ski carry straps (for an A-frame or diagonal ski carry position), which ensures stability and ease of movement while hiking or climbing in ski boots. Norrøna is known for its high-quality construction and attention to detail, and as such the Falketind is made from durable materials that can withstand the rigors of ski trips, including abrasion from ski edges or multitools. The unisex pack's ergonomic design includes adjustable straps and hipbelt plus a breathable back panel, and you can easily access your gear through the laminated WR side zippers.
Volume: 35 liters
Material: 100% Recycled Nylon with PU Coating
Best for Photography Trips: Evoc CP 35L Backpack
For photography enthusiasts and professionals alike, the Evoc CP 35L Backpack is a fortress for your camera gear in backpack form. With a spacious 35-liter capacity, it provides ample room to carry all the major players for even the most demanding shoots. The customizable and padded interior compartments ensure that your lenses and other equipment stay safe, organized, and easily accessible. The ergonomic design and adjustable shoulder straps offer an extremely comfortable fit, even during long hours of shooting or traveling. The CP 35L also incorporates thoughtful details like quick-access side pockets and a dedicated laptop sleeve, making it a versatile solution for on-the-go editing workflows. The reinforced bottom provides extra protection against abrasions and keeps the backpack stable when placed on rocky or uneven surfaces.
Volume: 35 liters
Material: not specified
Best Duffel-Backpack Hybrid: Ortlieb Atrack 25
At first glance, the Atrack 25 may look a bit odd compared to your typical daypack. Rather than going for the traditional bucket or roll top style often chosen by submersible bag designers, Ortlieb changed things up by placing the mandatory chunky zipper close to the back, out of the way. It’s a pack that can handle total submersion while remaining a practical, accessible backpack with top-notch ease of use. It has an upper hand over all others in the category with its fully adjustable and minimalist suspension that is well padded and (crucially, for hectic traveling) extremely well ventilated. For those who want all the bells and whistles of a hiking pack with the added bonus of full waterproofing, the Atrack is a great choice.
Volume: 25 liters