When you’re headed on an overnight hiking trip, you’re backpacking. Often times people backpacking for weekends, and even several days at a time. Thru-hikers are on the trail for weeks and even months. Therefore, finding a comfortable and durable backpack is an important investment.
Women’s Backpacks Shopping Tips:
- What is your size? When shopping for a backpack, you need to know your size. If you don’t already know your size, have someone measure the length of your torso. It can be done really easily – all you need is a flexible tape measure (or use string and line up with a stiff tape measure afterwards), and a friend to help you out. Measure from the little bone that protrudes from your spine on the back of your neck down to the top of your hips. Most manufacturers use the following size guidelines for both sexes:
- Extra small: up to 15.5 inches
- Small: 16 to 17.5 inches
- Medium: 18-19.5 inches
- Large: 20 inches and up
- Is the pack large enough for your trip? For weekend trips, a 40-60 Liter pack will be sufficient; even for long weekends. However, for long journeys, or for backpacking trips in winter time when you need cold weather gear, make sure the pack can be expanded. Often times there is a “collar” below the top of the pack that can be extended upward to store more of your hiking gear.
- Is the pack durable? There are a lot of “ultralight” backpacks, but make sure that you are aware of the features you’re sacrificing before you opt to buy one of these. The most extreme ultralight backpackers make their own gear to ensure the weight of the pack is minimal. However, generally they are much less comfortable for longer journeys, unless you can keep the weight of the contents down to very low levels. I look for backpacks make of durable nylon materials from reputable manufacturers. Many offer excellent lifetime warranties.
- Does it have other convenient features like pockets on the hip belt, a haul loop, and compression straps? It sure is nice to have a hip belt pockets to store a camera, chapstick, and snacks within easy reach. Haul loops make it easier to lift your backpack, without putting unnecessary strain on the shoulder straps. Compression straps make it easier to compress down the pack’s contents and make your backpack more streamlined, especially if it isn’t fully loaded on a shorter trip. Also make sure there are features like a sternum strap, which will help keep your backpack in place when you’re hiking.
- Is it a women’s specific backpack? Fortunately there are now a lot of women’s backpacks on the market where you’ll see features like better fitting hip belts, narrower shoulder straps, and an overall narrower design.
Hiking Lady’s Favorite Women’s Backpack
I’ve only got one listed below because this is by far the best pack I’ve ever owned!
|Gregory Deva 60 Backpack: This backpack is a very comfortable women’s specific backpack that has lots of bells and whistles. Everyone I have ever talked to who uses this backpack raves about its comfort (including me!). The best feature is the well designed suspension system, which makes heavy loads feel much lighter. It is a little on the heavy side, but if you want to be comfortable, the extra weight isn’t even noticeable because of how well designed the pack is.
Check out my full review of the Gregory Deva under my “Gear Review” pages.