A sturdy daypack is the best investment you can make when you’re heading into the outdoors. Whether you’re packing for an easy day-hike or a challenging climb, you need a way to carry your food, water, and gear.
While any backpack can work as a daypack, hiking-specific and mountaineering-specific daypacks for women are designed to fit their smaller frames and make it easier for women to navigate the trails.
In this guide, I’ll review the 10 best women’s daypacks for hiking and mountaineering. I’ll also show you how to choose the best daypack for your next hiking adventure.
My Review Process
I’ve been hiking in the Himalayas for over a decade and have tried out many different daypacks over the years.
In searching for the best day hiking backpack or mountaineering pack, my main considerations are weight, comfort, and durability. Another feature I like in my daypack is a well-ventilated back panel—a sweaty back does not make for a good travel companion.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at my top picks.
The Osprey Sirrus 24 is my top pick for the best daypack for women.
The Sirrus 24 has an adjustable torso and is tailored to fit women comfortably. The AirSpeed suspension system supports your back nicely and keeps it well-ventilated—there are no sweaty backs with this daypack.
What I love about the Sirrus 24 is how easy it is to pack and organize things thanks to the panel-access main compartment and the many different exterior pockets. The main compartment is spacious and has a separate internal pocket for a hydration bladder. This versatile daypack has Stow-On-The-Go trekking pole attachments and even comes with an integrated rain cover.
Other than the price, which is a bit on the expensive side, I only have good things to say about this Osprey daypack for women. If you want a dependable, versatile women’s daypack, the Sirrus 24 is perfect.
At just over 1.5 lbs, the Tempest 20 comes in two sizes—XS/S and M/L—and features an adjustable torso that fits most women comfortably. The AirScape back panel molds to your body as you move while still being breathable.
Like most Osprey hiking backpacks, it has a separate pocket for a hydration bladder that keeps your hiking essentials in the main compartment safe from any leaks. The panel-loading opening offers ease of access and the exterior pockets make organization simple.
The Tempest 20 can feel a little uncomfortable for taller women, and I also wish Osprey included a rain cover with this daypack. But aside from these minor drawbacks, Osprey got almost everything right. The Tempest 20 is hands down the best women’s backpack for hiking in my opinion.
The Gregory Alpinisto 50 is my pick for the best mountaineering backpack for women. Although it does not come in a dedicated women’s size, it is a unisex pack that feels comfortable for most women.
This is a technical backpack with lots of space to stow your helmet, rope, ice axe, and any additional gear you might need for a mountaineering adventure. The zippers of the pack are placed in a way that makes it easy to access your stuff without having to unpack everything.
This mountaineering daypack is on the heavier side, but you can remove the frame, waist strap, or top pocket to shed weight. I would choose the Alpinisto 50 if I was heading out for alpine action and needed the extra stability and gear storage space.
If you want the best features of larger backpacks with the versatility of a smaller daypack, the Gregory Maya is the answer. This 16L daypack weighs just over 1.5 lbs and is the perfect companion for shorter day hikes. It has many points for attachments including a quick-stow feature on the shoulder strap for sunglasses. Few other lightweight backpacks offer a similar feature.
The back panel is adjustable and the waist straps and sternum strap offer a good amount of stability despite the Maya being a frameless daypack. I also love how inclusive Gregory is—the Maya 16 is also sold in a plus-sized version.
I wish they had included a rain cover with the daypack, but that is a small drawback for such a versatile women’s daypack.
REI makes some of the most rugged gear, and the Traverse 32 is no different. I think the Traverse 32 is the most durable women’s daypack on the market.
With a steel wire frame, good padding, good ventilation, load management, and three different sizes, the Traverse 32 daypack has it all. REI’s Packmod compression straps sculpt the shape of the backpack to your liking. The side pockets are tilted forward so you can easily reach your water bottles on the go. The pack also includes a rain cover, which can be stowed away under the top lid.
Osprey wins once again with the Sopris 30 ski daypack for women. This daypack has an EVA foam back panel and a contoured fit that offers support without compromising on mobility even during fast-paced descents.
The Sopris 30 has convenient carry straps for skis or snowboards. The full-zip back panel gives complete access to the gear you’ve packed in the main compartment. You can easily attach your helmet, ice tools, and other snow gear to the daypack and stash smaller items in its handy exterior pockets.
The Sopris 30 is less durable than other ski daypacks like the BD Dawn Patrol. However, the comfort and support of the Sopris 30 are hard to beat, and it’s a great ski daypack for women heading out to the slopes.
The Cotopaxi Del Dia Luzon 18 is one of my favorite daypacks ever.
This frameless 18L daypack weighs just 0.66 lbs, but it’s super spacious. The ultralight mesh shoulder straps are comfortable even when the pack is filled to the brim.
The Luzon is made from repurposed ripstop nylon fabric, which is robust yet lightweight. It has one main compartment that cinches closed at the top with a drawstring and a small zippered pocket in the front.
This daypack does not have exterior pockets, so you have to stop every time you need something from the bag. While this can be a big drawback for some, there is a lot to love about the Luzon 18L. In my opinion, it’s one of the best lightweight daypacks for women.
This daypack is specifically made for women and has a micro-adjustable yoke to perfectly fit your torso length. The padded waist strap and shoulder straps and adjustable load-bearing straps at the top ensure that the daypack sits comfortably against your back.
Its three-zipper design provides easy and complete access to all your stuff in the main compartment. In addition, the bottom of the daypack is double-layered for extra durability.
All these features add weight, so the Scree 32 is heavier than most of the daypacks in this category. Still, because of its carrying capacity and extra pockets, I think the Scree 32 is the best large daypack for women for an all-day hike. It can even be used for a light overnight trip.
The Tempest 9 is a comfortable, durable daypack made from recycled materials. It’s a little small for all-day outings, but it’s a great companion for short hikes.
This pack has six handy pockets in addition to the main compartment. It also features Osprey’s Stow-On-The-Go trekking pole attachment and you can attach an ice axe to the daypack with bungee tie-offs. It comes in two sizes—XS/S and M/L—so it’s easy to find the right fit for you.
I like having a little extra space in my packs, especially for stowing gear, and you won’t find extra space in a pack this small. Aside from that, though, Osprey’s Tempest 9 is a fab choice for a small daypack for women.
The REI Trail 25 is quite a popular choice for hikers as a budget daypack for women. It is lightweight, made from recycled, durable materials, and comfortable for strenuous hikes over rugged terrain.
With 25 liters of carrying capacity, you can easily fit all your hiking gear, food and water, and extra layers in this daypack. It comes with a rain cover, which stows away in a dedicated pocket when the sun is out.
The waist strap on this pack doesn’t offer a lot of support and I found the ventilation in the back panel to be lacking. However, if you’re on a budget, the REI Trail 25 is priced at a fraction of the cost of the other daypacks I reviewed.
Women's Daypacks vs Men’s
Most backpacks are designed to fit men. Even packs marketed as unisex are more suited for a larger, boxy, male frame.
Daypacks for women are built around the proportions of women’s bodies. They play an important role in making the outdoors more inclusive and accessible to women. With a women-specific pack, ladies aren’t forced to compromise on comfort or make do with a pack designed for a completely different body shape.
Women usually have a shorter torso than men, and daypacks for women accordingly use frames that are shorter than those for similar men’s packs. As a result, these packs fit better against women’s backs and ensure that you won’t be plagued by shoulder and back pain while hiking. It’s worth noting that women’s daypacks can also be a great choice for men who have shorter torsos.
In addition, women-specific packs usually feature a cushioned waist strap that accommodates wider, curved hips. The chest strap is placed higher so it doesn’t squish women’s breasts. The shoulder straps are also curved to account for women’s narrower frames.
Women’s daypacks might seem like a marketing ploy, but the women-oriented design makes them more comfortable packs to carry. That’s essential when you’re stepping out for a long, strenuous hike.
Women’s Day Pack Buying Guide
With such a variety of daypacks for women available in the market, it can be tough to zero in on a pack that suits your needs. Here are a few key points to consider when buying a daypack.
Size And Capacity
Backpacks for hiking come in different sizes. Think about what activity you will be using your daypack for and then choose accordingly.
Up to 10 liters: These packs are great for very short hiking trips or for use as an ultralight daypack. They let you carry just the bare minimum, including water, snacks, and a small jacket.
11-20 liters: Packs of this size are ideal for day hikes. You can fit food, water, extra layers, and a small camera if you want to carry one. These daypacks usually have extra pockets for better organization.
21-35 liters: Medium capacity packs that have enough storage space for strenuous all-day hikes or travel. Let’s you pack all the essentials while also leaving space for climbing gear or camera equipment.
36-60+ liters: These large packs might be overkill for a day trip, but they’re an excellent choice for multi-day hikes or technical trips.
Weight is an important consideration for any hiking trip, but an ultralight daypack might not be exactly what you’re looking for. Many lightweight daypacks forego extra features that are super useful.
For example, stronger internal frames, more durable materials, and extra padding all add to the weight of a pack. However, you’ll be glad to have these features when you’re out on a long hike.
Consider what activities you will be using a daypack for and how comfortable it feels on your back. Then it’s up to you to decide on the trade-off between weight and comfort.
Women’s daypacks can cost anywhere from $40 to more than $200. But the most expensive daypack isn’t necessarily the one that will suit your needs best.
If you are buying a daypack for longer hikes or mountaineering trips, paying a little extra for better features makes sense. But for a day hike or short trips, you’ll probably be okay getting a daypack that doesn’t break the bank.
When checking out a daypack, make sure to check out how it’s designed and which features the pack offers. Some things to consider are:
- Organization and access points
- Frame construction
- Straps and adjustability
- Hydration bladder compatibility
- Water bottle pockets
I recommend the Osprey Sirrus 24 as the overall best women’s daypack on the market today. Lightweight and comfortable, it is a durable daypack that comes with lots of pockets and straps for easy organization. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you could opt for the REI Trail 25, which balances quality, features and price. Alternatively, the Cotopaxi Del Dia Luzon 18 is ultralight, durable, and colorful.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.