15 Best Travel Backpacks for Women in 2023

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15 Best Travel Backpacks for Women in 2023

On more than one occasion, you’ve probably found yourself running to catch some form of transportation—a flight, the train, your bus—with a heavy oversize tote or duffel dragging on one shoulder. For women used to carrying a cute little crossbody bag for everyday essentials, a backpack may seem like a relic of the distant past, relegated to lugging heavy textbooks in high school. But the best travel backpacks will convince you to reconsider what constitutes a great bag when you’re in transit. Look to the vast number of thru-hikers who rely on a backpack to get them across thousands of miles of switchbacks. Handy pockets, durable materials, and lightweight design make a travel backpack ideal for trips when a traditional rolling suitcase would cumbersome and inconvenient. “I love a backpack when I’m roaming around a new city with my iPad or laptop in tow,” Paris-based writer and brand consultant Monica Mendal says. “It’s much more comfortable on my back than draped over my shoulder.”

For world travel or outdoor getaways, you can opt for styles aimed more at gearheads—thoughtful designs from outdoor brands like Patagonia, Osprey, or Topo Designs. For city trips, try something fancier, like a sleek designer backpack from Prada or Louis Vuitton—practical with a trendy touch. Pair it with a suitcase or wear it solo as a catchall for commuting to work and the gym. Either way, a travel backpack may be just the bag you’ve been overlooking.

Compartmentalization made easy: This Everlane pack has all the handy pockets you need to keep the essentials close at hand. For the minimalist in need of a commuter bag that can also handle weekends away, this one's for you.

Colors: Warm quartz, black, warm charcoal, nutria/beech, and kalamata

What reviewers are saying: “I used this as a carryon for an overseas trip recently. Loved the vertical room that I needed for an extra pair of shoes amongst other things. Great durability, enough room to tuck a wristlet in the flap zipper pocket so I didn’t need to carry a purse.”

Practical zip pockets and a soft exterior make this pack the perfect travel companion. A full-wrap zipper, similar to what you'd find in a traditional suitcase, makes packing a breeze while a removable hip belt adds support and stability when you're on the go.

Materials: 100% remnant nylon and polyester

What reviewers are saying: “The 35L is perfect for a carry on flight and multiple day trip. Has everything you need to stay organized. And it’s comfortable.”

Sometimes travel doesn’t require much more than a few essentials. This Acne Studios backpack will keep your necessities protected, but won’t weigh you down when you’re on the move.

Size: 15" H x 10.6" W x 5.1" D

A favorite of Mendal’s, this sleek leather backpack comes in two sizes, 13-inch or 16-inch, and is a sleek option for day trips and sightseeing abroad.

Sizes: 13.3" H x 9.6" W x 7.2" D (13-inch), 15.1" H x 11" W x 7" D (16-inch)

On outdoorsy weekends or low-key trips out of town, I swear by this Patagonia duffel. It has both backpack straps and a longer crossbody option, so you can wear it in whatever way is most comfortable.

Color: Navy, belay blue, perennial purple, and more

What reviewers are saying: “This bag comes in useful for every member of our family as we head out for weekends, plane trips, and camping.”

For the designer-minded, behold a backpack by Prada, produced in the brand’s durable Re-Nylon fabric. Elegant, streamlined, and big enough to pack your essentials.

Size: 13.8" H x 9.8" L x 5.9" W

If you’re on the hunt for a commuter backpack that can hold all of your post-gym clothes, look no further. A handful of pockets means you won’t have to mix sweaty shorts with your laptop or commute read.

Size: 17.1" H x 17.2" W

It’s good to have options. Fjällräven’s Foldsack can be rolled down, or you can unfurl it for a little extra packing room. Double up by using it for a weekend away, then leave your stuff at the hotel and put it to use as your pack on an impending hike.

Colors: Green, navy, brown, gray

For the serially organized, this backpack makes it easy to have a place for all your small carry-along items. Inside you can fit a laptop in a padded pocket, or your water bottle in a compartment with a water-resistant lining. The thoughtful design takes the stress out of travel.

Size: 16.5" H x 12.5" W x 7.5" D

Colors: Green, navy, brown, gray

What reviewers are saying: “It is very well made, has many different compartments, is durable and looks very good.”

You may not equate Louis Vuitton with rugged practicality, but this oversize backpack can handle the elements. While you may want to keep it pristine by limiting it to mainly city-bound excursions, if price is no concern—go ahead, get it dirty.

Size: 17.3" H x 15" L x 8.3" W

“I travel with my canvas-and-leather Hermès Herbag backpack that I sourced from eBay years ago,” Mendal says. She explains that while it can be difficult to open and close, it’s worth it: “[I]’m a sucker for aesthetics, and it’s simply the most beautiful backpack out there!” Search the style online to find it secondhand too.

Material: Toile canvas with leather trim

Size: 14" H x 11.75" L x 4" W

Away’s rolling luggage has become the de facto option for stylish but price-minded travelers, and the brand’s backpack serves as a perfect partner to your checked luggage. It can easily be slipped over the handle for streamlined transpiration, and is designed to be opened lying flat, so you can pack it as you would a suitcase.

Backpack meets roller suitcase in this hybrid style that can handle just about whatever you throw at it. A structured outer means you won’t have to worry about items getting crushed, and the small size means you can carry it right on to the plane.

Colors: Desert palm, olive, black, and more

What reviewers are saying: “Great All terrain bag. Bought this bag for a multi-city European vacation. It performed flawlessly. The wheels easily handled the rough sidewalks and cobblestone without any damage to the bag or it’s contents.”

Another favorite of Mendal’s, Longchamp’s classic Le Pliage backpack is a durable travel option that you can pack in a larger bag and break out for days when you don’t need much space. Tuck the essentials inside, and head out for a day of sightseeing.

Size: 11" H x 10.2" L x 3.9" W

Colors: Cobalt, navy, paper, and more

When the weekend forecast hints at rain, this water-resistant backpack will keep you from spending your trip feeling like a sad, soggy mess. It’s designed to pack flat and also has a luggage pass-through for navigating the airport with ease.

What reviewers are saying: “This was GREAT! Purchased for an Italy trip and did not disappoint! Stuffed it to the max and it held! Will definitely purchase another and highly recommend!”

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15 Best Travel Backpacks for Women in 2023

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