How To Choose The Best Travel Backpack For Women

When you’re traveling as a woman, it’s supremely important to have a backpack that can both carry and protect your possessions, and keep you comfortable. But with so many travel backpacks for women on the market, searching for the one can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? Which features are essential and which aren’t? And how do you pick one that doesn’t look like a suitcase glued to your back?

This week, we’re going to walk you through some key features to look for when choosing the perfect women’s travel backpack.

best travel backpack for women 

The best size travel backpack for women

Size is always the first deciding factor when choosing a travel backpack. The wrong size backpack can make a trip far more difficult than it needs to be: too big, and you might not be able to bring your backpack on the plane; too small, and you won’t have room for your stuff. 

The first thing to consider when choosing a backpack size for travel is the length of your trip. A weekend trip only calls for a few changes of clothes, whereas a trip of a week or more probably requires a few more changes of clothes, and maybe more tech or toiletries. Here’s a summary of Knack Pack sizes and the typical days of travel they cover: 

Small Knack Pack holds 1-2 day’s worth of clothes.

Medium Knack Pack holds 2-3 day's worth of clothes

Large Knack Pack holds 3-4 day’s worth of clothes

The second consideration in choosing a travel backpack size is what you’re doing on your trip. As long as you’re not going on a long hiking trip - which requires bulky camping gear - you probably don’t need as much space as you’d expect. Clothes and shoes take up the most space in your bag, but if you’re strategic in planning your outfits, you won’t need to pack more than four day’s worth. Check out this blog post to learn how to pack like a minimalist for travel.

Third, you need to consider your body size. Women tend to have smaller builds than men, and a large travel backpack may simply be too large. If you have a smaller frame, your clothes likely take up less space and you may be able to get away with a small or medium travel backpack, even when the length of your trip or your activities indicate a larger size.

Read this complete guide to choosing the best size of backpack for travel. 

Other women’s travel backpack size considerations

Can you use your travel backpack as a day pack?

You don’t want to carry an oversized travel backpack while you’re sightseeing or running errands at your destination. With a Knack Pack, you can unload the travel compartment, collapse it, and then use your Knack Pack as a slim everyday carry backpack. Without an expandable travel backpack, you’d have to budget more space to carry a separate daypack. 

Does it fit your laptop?

Many female travelers work on the road, and some just want to stay connected - which means that your travel backpack needs a pocket for your laptop or tablet. Laptops are usually the MVP of our tech, and they deserve a dedicated, padded laptop pocket - like this one:

You can check which Knack Pack fits your laptop here.  

laptop backpack for women

A Well-Organized Travel Backpack For Women

Have you ever been in this situation? Your passport falls to the bottom of your backpack, and you’re absolutely certain it’s lost until you finally pull everything out of your bag. If you’re familiar with the unpleasant rush of adrenaline caused by this scenario, then you should make sure to choose a well-organized travel backpack. 

The problem with most travel backpacks is that they’re just big black holes - they lack the pockets and compartments necessary to keep small things where you want them. 

Here’s how to choose a travel backpack that will keep your stuff in place, even when it gets jostled around:

Your travel backpack should not be top loading.

Top-loading backpacks make it all but impossible to find anything in your backpack without taking everything out first. Choose a travel backpack with a clamshell or suitcase-style opening, which lets you see into the entire compartment. 

Knack Packs have a clamshell opening in the everyday carry compartment, but the expandable travel compartment opens like a suitcase.

Your travel backpack should have pockets for all of your travel essentials. 

These are some of the key pockets that we’ve included in Knack Packs:

. Laptop pocket

. Tablet sleeve

. Mesh pockets so you can see the contents

. Organizer pockets for pens, earbuds, and other little things.

. Stealthy, full-zip water bottle pocket

The separate travel compartment is obviously another advantage that Knack Packs have, since you can keep your travel stuff and your everyday stuff separate. By keeping your travel stuff separate, you don’t have to re-organize your everyday stuff when you zip up the travel compartment and use your Knack as a day pack.

backpack that opens like a suitcase 

A comfortable travel backpack for women

Although traveling teaches you to get out of your comfort zone, your backpack doesn’t need to be uncomfortable. As you travel, you’re likely to end up standing with your backpack for long periods of time - waiting for and on buses, boarding the plane, walking through cities - and your backpack needs to be comfortable enough to carry through it all. 

A comfortable travel backpack for women:

. Is lightweight. Many travel backpacks use heavy, off-the shelf fabrics to protect your contents.  Knack Packs use proprietary fabrics that are both lightweight and strong. As a result, even the heaviest Knack Pack weighs no more than 3.4 lbs, or less than three grande coffees at Starbucks. 

. Has good weight distribution. Your travel backpack should have pockets and compartments that will allow you to store your heaviest items at the center of your backpack and close to your body. Having good weight distribution will help prevent shoulder and back strain. 

. Is padded in all the right places. Your travel backpack should have padded shoulder straps, and a padded back panel that will prevent the things in your backpack from digging into your body. 

. Is the right fit for women. Most backpacks are designed around men, but because Knack Packs are gender neutral, we’ve accounted for both male and female builds by adding backpack straps with an S-curve that lies comfortably across all body types, and an adjustable sternum strap to help distribute weight on all body types.

the best women's travel backpack

A durable women’s travel backpack

The constant movement of travel can be rough on your backpack and on your personal belongings. The best travel backpack for women is made of materials that can withstand whatever you put it through, while protecting the things inside. Be sure to look for:

Quality Materials

We know that a single broken zipper can basically ruin a trip. Any good travel backpack will use top-tier hardware instead of cheap plastic. For example, Knack Packs are made with reliable Duraflex buckles and YKK zippers. 

As for the fabric, your backpack should be made with textiles that have been tested for abrasion resistance, puncture resistance, and tear resistance. The fabric should also be stain-resistant, because there might not be a great place to do a deep clean (and walking around with a dirty-looking backpack won’t make you any friends). We designed all Knack Packs with soft, stain-resistant fabrics that can be wiped clean.

Ideally, your travel backpack will also have an antimicrobial interior lining (like Knack Packs) so that you don’t have to worry about your dirty (or damp) clothes stinking up your bag. 

Waterproof Fabric

Always look for water-resistant materials, especially on the exterior of your backpack. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a downpour, and discovering that all of your clothes - and expensive tech - are soaked. Knack Packs have a water-resistant coating, and the zippers are reverse double-coil in order to prevent liquid from seeping through. 

Aesthetics of a women’s travel backpack

None of us like sticking out as a tourist in a new place. When you’re traveling - and especially when you’re traveling alone as a woman - you’ll feel safer and have a more authentic experience if you can blend into the local crowd. 

But most travel backpacks, with their dangling straps and bulky pockets, make it all too evident that you’re a tourist. That’s why we designed Knack Packs with a streamlined and professional aesthetic - they are meant to be perfect as an everyday work bag as well as a travel bag. With a good-looking travel backpack, you will never feel out of place ducking into a nice coffee shop or restaurant.

a backpack for women that opens like a suitcase

A secure women’s travel backpack

Obviously, your travel backpack plays an important role in keeping you and your belongings safe. Knack Packs have several built-in security features that will pride peace of mind:

. Lockable zippers that deter pickpockets

. RFID-blocking lining fabric that keeps your credit cards and other electronic documents safe from phishing. 

. A pickpocket-proof secret pocket located close to your body for storing your wallet and passport (Series 2 only). 

You can pick up a TSA-approved travel lock, compatible with Knack Pack zippers, right here

Hopefully you’ve discovered some useful tips to help pick your travel backpack. And while you’re looking, don’t forget you can try out a Knack Pack, and enjoy free shipping and free 30-day returns. 

Women's Travel Backpack

The best travel backpack for women.

Steel Blue
Series 2: Medium Expandable Knack Pack® Backpack Knack Midnight Black
Series 2: Medium Expandable Knack Pack® Backpack Knack Alloy Gray

Series 2: Medium Expandable Knack Pack




Color: Steel Blue

Color: Midnight Black

Color: Alloy Gray

Laptops: 15"
Outfits: 2-3
Under seat: All Jets
Overhead: All Jets
Unexpanded: 24 Liters
Expanded: 35 Liters