Booked your tickets for that incredible backpacking trip you’ve been promising yourself for months? Have you ironed out the details of your trip or do you like to be spontaneous? Either way, we are super excited for you! Traveling without a plan or itinerary has an undeniable appeal. We are complete with you on that. But in your spontaneity, don’t make travel blunders that can ruin your trip.
At Standard Luggage, our travel enthusiasts have made every backpacking mistake in the world and we can tell you quite confidently that venturing out into the world without a good backpack is one of the biggest backpacking mistakes you can make. Read on to see our tips on how to choose the best travel backpack for women.
Size matters! (Your backpack’s)
Who among us hasn’t seen a backpacker carting around a large knapsack that looks bigger than them? Would you ever want to be that person?
Remember that if you’re on a long trip, your backpack will be your companion for weeks or months and that can be tiresome. Not to mention how unpleasant it can be for your unfortunate back!
If you’re a spontaneous traveler who doesn’t like to decide in advance where to stay, you could end up walking around a lot with your heavy bag.
On the other hand, if the bag is too small, you will invariably have to leave any essentials behind.
So how do you strike that elusive balance? Believe it or not, what really determines the ideal size of your backpack is your body weight. Your packed backpack should preferably not weigh more than a 20% of your body weight. This is of course if you are fully fit!
If you’re not in top-notch shape, your packed backpack should weigh even less.
The recommended backpack capacity for women who like to travel light is 40 to 45 liters. It will give you enough space to pack all your essentials and take it as a carry-on bag.
Your backpack must conform to airline regulations
“I am sorry ma’am. Your backpack is too heavy for the cabin. You have to check it in or remove some items”. Arrrggghhh!
You have surely heard this at least once in your life. Although this might seem unreasonable to you, all airlines have baggage limitations. If your itinerary involves hopping from place to place by air, then keep the weight and dimensions of your backpack in mind.
For most airlines, carry-on bags should not exceed 45 linear inches (22 x 14 x 9 in) including handles and wheels.
If your bag is too big, you may be forced to check it in! Most airlines have a weight restriction for carry-on bags that usually hovers around 7 kgs to 10 kgs.
The fear of losing our bags could induce panic mode in many of us.
“Everything I need is in my backpack! Could it get lost in the deluge of bags on the carousel?”
So, pick a good backpack that does not weigh over 2kgs. If it does, you will be limited in terms of how much you can carry since the bag itself will take up a big chunk of your carry-on baggage allowance
Make sure your backpack is suited for a woman’s build
Men and women clearly have different body structures and several companies have gone out of their way to designed feminized hiking backpacks to suit a woman’s build.
A good backpack for women should have a comfortable hip strap, as the hips bear most of the weight of the body and not the back or shoulders. Look for a backpack with a removable hip belt if you don’t want to use it all the time.
Ideally, your travel backpack should be square or rectangular in shape and must not be wider than your shoulders
In addition, the straps should be soft to prevent them from cutting into your armpits.
Your Backpack Should Be Front-Loading
Wondering how it matters how the backpack opens? Believe us! It matters a lot. Whether you’re a messy traveler or a compulsive neat freak, a bag that opens in the front will make your travels a lot easier.
The best backpacks for women usually open from the front and have zips that go all the way around (also known as full-perimeter zips). This means you will be able to place your bag down and open it like a suitcase.
It gives you easier access to your belongings and eliminates the need to dig through everything on top of the bag to get to the items at the bottom. Convenient, eh?
External frame backpack or internal frame backpack
Do you know the difference between external frame and internal frame backpacks?
Internal frame backpacks are travel backpacks that usually have one big compartment and one or two zippered external compartments. On the other hand, external frame backpacks come with one internal compartment and several small external compartments.
External compartments can carry more weight and make organization easier but internal frame backpacks are more stable and better for your back.
Now this choice depends entirely on you and your fitness level. Do you want to carry more items or protect your back?
Your backpack should be water resistant if not waterproof and include a rain cover
It important to invest in a water-resistant backpack to have a carefree holiday. Imagine hiking through the stunning rolling summits of rural Scotland when it starts to drizzle unexpectedly. Do we have to tell you what will happen to everything in your backpack?
Many backpacks also come with rain covers to protect your valuables and keep them dry even in very wet weather.
Your backpack should ideally come with a laptop sleeve
Backpacking is great but you should also be able to protect the assets that generate your bread and butter.
Ideally, your backpack should come with a detachable laptop sleeve especially if you’re trying to embrace the lifestyle of a digital nomad. A laptop sleeve is a sort of pouch that shields your laptops from dust and debris as well as minor blows or knocks. It will also give you easy access to your electronics at the airport.
A safety whistle for your travel backpack is a nice-to-have feature
If you ever find yourself in an unsafe situation, a safety whistle may be useful to signal nearby people for help.
Many travel experts recommend carrying safety whistles especially if you’re traveling solo or alone at night.
Some travel backpacks come with inbuilt safety whistles designed for your safety and protection. Do your research and buy a travel bag that comes with this important safety feature.
A good backpack must have an easily accessible water bottle compartment
In many countries, bottled water is expensive. Not to mention the havoc they wreak on the environment! Instead of spending money on disposable water bottles that are both expensive and environment-unfriendly, carry your own durable water bottle or a flask.
Make sure your backpack has an external pocket for your water bottle for easy access.
When you’re traveling, you must keep yourself hydrated. Many travelers hesitate to drink water for fear of not finding a toilet when they need one.
You must try on your backpack
Dear ladies, we cannot stress this enough but once you find a backpack you like, try it on to see how comfortable it is. Backpacks are like shoes. If they’re not comfortable, they can ruin your trip. Here is what you should do:
- Load up the bag as much as you can and walk around the store for as long as possible
- Check for points of discomfort or pinching
- If the straps are not the right length, look for a different backpack or get the straps adjusted before you leave the store
- Check whether there is a mesh between the backpack and your back to save it from damage due to sweating
- If you want to buy a backpack online, place your order at least a month in advance. If it is not comfortable, return it!
Ultimately, the backpack style you choose will depend on your personal preferences. You may have to try out many until you find one that is suitable for you. Don’t rush into a purchase. If you do your research and remember the tips in this article, you will be able to make a sensible purchase.