Best Travel Backpacks for Petite Females

Petite female wearing a Fjällräven Kanken Mini as a travel backpack

Traveling can be a transformative experience, but finding the right gear is paramount, especially if you’re a petite female looking to explore the world. Your backpack should be more than just a carrier; it should be a reliable companion, offering comfort, functionality, and style that complements your journey. 

In this guide, we delve into the world of travel backpacks curated specifically for women with small(ish) frames. From urban explorers to rugged adventurers, we’ve scoured the market to bring you a selection that caters to your unique needs and proportions. Say goodbye to ill-fitting, cumbersome backpacks, and get ready to embrace your travels with the perfect companion.

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Table Of Contents

Best Travel Backpacks

Fjällräven Kanken Mini

The Fjällräven Kanken Mini emerges as the top choice for petite female travelers for several compelling reasons. Its design is a perfect fusion of style and functionality, making it a versatile companion for urban adventures and outdoor escapades. What sets it apart is its impeccable fit, catering specifically to women with small frames, ensuring maximum comfort during your journeys. This backpack also excels in its compactness, as it can be packed flat into larger luggage or utilized as a personal item for carry-on purposes.

In a world where travel gear can often feel one-size-fits-all, the Kanken Mini proudly stands out as a petite-friendly, chic, and adaptable choice for the modern female explorer.

Best Travel Backpacks

Bellroy Tokyo Totepack

The Bellroy Tokyo Totepack Compact redefines fashion and functionality for petite female travelers. At a charming 14 liters, it boasts an ideal size that accommodates your essentials without overwhelming your frame. This backpack not only turns heads with its captivating design but also carries an eco-friendly ethos, being crafted from 100% recycled, woven fabric. 

Its undeniable cuteness coupled with its petite-friendly proportions make it the go-to choice for those who crave style without compromising practicality while embarking on their adventures. We adore the Bellroy Tokyo Totepack Compact and can’t help but recommend it to fellow female adventurers who appreciate both fashion and function in their travel gear.

Best Travel Backpacks

Peak Design Travel 30L

The Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L is our top choice for petite female travelers seeking a spacious yet stylish option. Its carry-on compatibility is a huge plus, ensuring seamless journeys. What truly sets it apart is the urban, minimalistic aesthetic that doesn’t scream “travel bag.” The well-designed straps and adjustable features cater to smaller frames, making it comfortable to carry, and it’s our go-to choice when we need extra room for our adventures.

We absolutely love the Peak Design backpack for its blend of functionality, style, and comfort, making it an ideal carry-on companion for our travels.

Best Travel Backpacks

The Cotopaxi Allpa 28L

The Cotopaxi Allpa 28L is our top pick for budget-conscious petite female travelers. With a price tag that won’t break the bank, this backpack doesn’t compromise on quality or durability. While it might not boast the same fashionable flair as some other options, it excels in reliability and functionality. It’s a practical choice for those who want a bag without the high-end price tag.

The Cotopaxi Allpa 28L stands out as our top choice for budget-conscious travelers due to its well-thought-out design and durability, making it ideal for cost-effective adventures.

Best Travel Backpacks

The Thule Aion 40L

The Thule Aion 40L stands out as the ideal travel backpack for petite female travelers aiming for a one-bag travel lifestyle. With its roomy 40-liter capacity, it conveniently falls within the maximum carry-on size for global travel standards, making it the sole bag necessary for short getaways or extended journeys. 

While its size might seem slightly large for smaller frames, it’s remarkably comfortable to carry, thanks to its ergonomic design and adjustable straps. We highly recommend the Thule Aion 40L for its versatility and capacity to simplify your travel experience, eliminating the need for multiple bags and allowing you to focus on the adventure at hand.

Best Travel Backpacks

The Brevite Jumper 18L

The Brevite Jumper 18L stands out as the ideal camera backpack for petite female travelers, thanks to its lightweight design that’s perfect for extended photography excursions. Its chic and sleek appearance blends style with practicality, and the abundance of quick-access points ensures that you’ll never miss capturing that perfect shot while on the go. 

What’s more, it’s incredibly budget-friendly, making it our top choice for adventurers seeking a versatile and stylish camera backpack that doesn’t compromise on quality. We highly recommend the Brevite Jumper 18L for those who want to combine photography with travel effortlessly.

Best Travel Backpacks

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack

The Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack takes the crown as the ultimate packable backpack for petite female travelers. Its remarkable ability to pack down to a fraction of its size and almost negligible weight makes it an essential addition to your travel gear. Whether you’re embarking on a spontaneous day trip in the city or an outdoor adventure in the wild, this backpack is the perfect. 

It effortlessly stows away in your larger travel backpack, ready to be deployed whenever needed. In essence, we believe that the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack is a must-have for every traveler, offering unmatched convenience and practicality in a tiny package.

Women's Travel Backpacks: Buying Chart

Backpack Comparison Table

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Backpack Main Fabric Vol. Weight Load Style WR
Kanken Mini Vinylon F 7L 220g Front No
Tokyo Recycled Nylon 20L 850g Top Yes
PD Travel 400D Nylon Canvas 30L 1,400g Back Yes
Allpa 900D TPU-coated Nylon 28L 1190g Front Yes
Aion 600D Waxed Polyester 40L 1447g Front Yes
Jumper 600D Polyester 18L 862g Front / Top No
UL Stuff Pack 40D Ripstop Nylon 18L 149g Top No

How To Choose A Travel Backpack

Actionable Information

Selecting the best travel backpack, especially for petite females, involves considering several key factors to ensure a comfortable and practical fit:

Size: Opt for a backpack that is proportionate to your body size. Smaller capacity bags, typically in the range of 25-40 liters, are more suitable for petite frames. For daypacks, opt for 7-18 liters. 

Adjustability: Look for a backpack with adjustable straps and harnesses. These features allow you to customize the fit according to your specific body measurements, ensuring it rests comfortably on your hips and shoulders.

Weight: Choose a lightweight backpack as it can significantly reduce the strain on your shoulders and back during travel.

Comfort: Pay attention to the design of the shoulder straps and hip belt. Padded straps distribute the weight more evenly, enhancing comfort.

Accessibility: Opt for a backpack with multiple access points, like top-loading, front-loading, and side zippers, for easy access to your belongings.

Durability: Pick a backpack made from high-quality, durable materials to withstand the rigors of travel. Reinforced stitching and sturdy zippers are essential.

Organization: Look for a backpack with well-thought-out compartments and pockets to keep your belongings organized. This is especially important if you plan to carry electronics, documents, or small essentials.

Carry-on Compliance: Ensure your backpack adheres to airline carry-on size restrictions if you want to avoid checked luggage fees and streamline your travel.

Style: Personal style is important too. Choose a backpack that reflects your aesthetic preferences while maintaining functionality.

Brand Reputation: Established brands with a history of producing quality backpacks, especially those known for their comfort and adjustability, are often safe choices.

Return Policy: Ensure the store or website has a flexible return policy, allowing you to exchange the backpack if it doesn’t suit your needs.

By considering these factors, you can select a travel backpack that fits comfortably, caters to your storage requirements, and aligns with your style preferences.

To determine if a backpack is durable, you can consider several factors and features, including:

Material: Look for high-denier fabrics like nylon or polyester. Higher denier numbers typically indicate increased durability. For instance, 600D or 1000D nylon is more robust than 200D nylon. Some backpacks use specialized materials like Cordura or ballistic nylon, known for their exceptional durability.

Zippers: Check for reliable zipper brands such as YKK or Zoom. These zippers are known for their strength and smooth operation. You should also consider waterproof or water-resistant zippers to protect your belongings in adverse weather conditions.

Stitching: Inspect the quality of stitching. Double or reinforced stitching at stress points, like the shoulder straps and zippers, enhances durability.

Seams & Bindings: Look for backpacks with sealed seams and durable bindings. These features help prevent fraying and ensure water resistance.

Buckles & Hardware: Durable buckles and hardware made from metal or high-strength plastics are less likely to break or fail under pressure. A couple notable brands are Woojin, Fidlock, and YKK.

Frame or Support System: Some backpacks have frames or internal support systems (like HDPE panels or aluminum bars) that increase their load-bearing capacity and longevity.

Water Resistance: A water-resistant or waterproof coating can protect your gear and prolong the backpack’s life. Look for internal PU coatings, as they 

Warranty: A manufacturer’s warranty can be an indicator of their confidence in a product’s durability. Longer warranties often suggest higher quality and longevity.

Weight Capacity: Consider the weight capacity or load limit of the backpack. Overloading a backpack beyond its capacity can lead to premature wear and tear.

Purpose: Choose a backpack designed for its intended use. A hiking backpack may have different durability requirements compared to a travel or everyday backpack.

By examining these factors and considering your specific needs, you can make an informed decision about a backpack’s durability and whether it will withstand the demands of your adventures.

Choosing the right size backpack for air travel is crucial, especially for petite females. You want to ensure it’s spacious enough to carry your essentials but still compact and lightweight for convenience. Airlines have varying size restrictions for both carry-on luggage and personal items, so it’s essential to adhere to these guidelines. 

For petite travelers, a well-designed, smaller daypack, and a larger travel backpack can be the ideal combination, providing flexibility and comfort on your journeys.

Daypack (Personal Item): For your daypack or personal item, consider a backpack in the range of 7 to 18 liters. This size allows you to carry essentials like a laptop, tablet, travel documents, snacks, and a change of clothes for short flights. It’s petite-friendly and compact enough to fit under the seat in front of you, ensuring easy access during the flight.

Larger Travel Backpack (Carry-On): When it comes to a larger travel backpack for your carry-on, a capacity of 25 to 40 liters is an excellent choice. Look for backpacks designed to meet carry-on standards (22” x 14” x 9’’) and accommodate a week’s worth of clothing and travel gear. Ensure it has multiple compartments for organization and is proportionate to your frame for comfort while navigating airports and planes.

When packing a backpack, especially for travel, using packing cubes can be a game-changer. Whether you’re a petite female or not, packing cubes provide several advantages over rolling or folding clothes:

Organization: Packing cubes help you categorize your clothes, making it easier to find what you need without rummaging through your entire backpack. This is particularly useful for petite travelers who might have smaller backpacks where efficient use of space is essential.

Compression: Packing cubes can compress your clothing, allowing you to fit more items in your backpack without adding extra bulk. This is crucial for travelers, as it helps keep your bag compact and manageable.

Wrinkle Reduction: Folded clothes tend to crease, especially in a backpack where they might get jostled. Packing cubes can help minimize wrinkles, so you arrive at your destination with less ironing needed.

Flexibility: By using packing cubes, you can easily access just the items you need without disrupting the rest of your clothes. This is convenient for on-the-go changes during your travels.

Easy Unpacking: When you reach your destination, unpacking is a breeze. You can simply place the packing cubes in a drawer, reducing the need to fully unpack.

For petite females or anyone looking to wear a backpack comfortably, it’s crucial to find the right balance between wearing your backpack high or low. Here are some tips to help you decide:

High on Your Back: Wearing your backpack high on your back is generally a good practice. This means the top of the backpack should rest just below the base of your neck. This position allows the weight of the backpack to sit closer to your body’s center of gravity, reducing strain on your back and shoulders.

Proper Fit: Ensure that your backpack is the right size and has adjustable straps to achieve the high-back position comfortably. The straps should be snug but not too tight, distributing the weight evenly across your shoulders.

Hip Belt Placement: If your backpack has a hip belt, make sure it sits comfortably on your hips and helps bear some of the weight. This can help alleviate stress on your shoulders and upper back.

Avoid Low Hanging: Wearing your backpack low, with the bulk of the weight hanging below your hips, can strain your lower back and alter your posture. This is especially important for petite individuals, as it can lead to discomfort and potential health issues.

Test and Adjust: Before embarking on a journey, put on your loaded backpack and walk around. Make any necessary adjustments to the straps, ensuring it feels secure and comfortable at the high-back position.

Remember, finding the ideal position for your backpack depends on your body shape and the backpack’s design. The goal is to minimize strain and discomfort during your travels, which is especially important for petite individuals who might be more prone to experiencing discomfort from ill-fitting backpacks.

Whether you should buy a toiletry bag for your travel backpack depends on your specific needs and preferences. Here are some considerations:

Organization: Toiletry bags are designed to help you organize your personal care items, such as skincare products, makeup, hygiene essentials, and toiletries. If you value organization and want to keep these items separate from the rest of your belongings in your backpack, a toiletry bag can be very helpful.

Protection: Toiletry bags often have water-resistant or spill-proof linings to protect the contents of your backpack from leaks or spills. This can be especially important if you’re carrying liquids or cosmetics that could potentially damage your clothing or other items.

Easy Access: Toiletry bags typically have multiple compartments and pockets for different items, making it easy to access what you need without rummaging through your backpack. This can save time and make your travel experience more convenient.

Travel-Friendly: If you frequently travel and need to comply with airport security regulations, a clear, quart-sized toiletry bag can help you pack and present your liquids and gels for inspection easily.

Aesthetics: Toiletry bags come in various sizes, styles, and designs. Some are fashionable and complement your personal style. If aesthetics are important to you, you can find a toiletry bag that matches your preferences.

Space Efficiency: Toiletry bags are designed to fit neatly into backpacks and optimize the use of available space. This can help you make the most of your bag’s storage capacity.

Personal Preference: Ultimately, whether you use a toiletry bag is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the simplicity of using small pouches or packing toiletries directly into their backpack, while others value the organization and protection a toiletry bag provides.

In summary, a toiletry bag can be a valuable addition to your travel backpack if you value organization, protection, easy access, and aesthetics. It’s particularly useful for leisure or business travel where you want to keep your personal care items neatly organized and separated from the rest of your belongings. However, the choice depends on your specific needs and travel style.

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Welcome to North of Known! We’re Alan and May, a married couple who have embraced digital nomadism while calling Bangkok, Thailand, our current home base. Over the past 7 years, our shared passion for exploration and adventure has fueled our journey across the globe. Join us as we continue to embark on our nomadic adventures, sharing our insights, discoveries, and travel tales along the way.

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