For the most part, backpacks are classified as either “unisex” or “women’s.” Contrary to what you might think, this is not some sort of creative marketing ploy to pander to the sensibilities of those of us with two X chromosomes–something I like to call “pinking it and shrinking it”–but is in response to the very real fact that women tend not to be built the same as men. We tend to have shorter torsos, narrower shoulders, and more curves than our male counterparts.

To address these aspects of our bodies, backpacks designed for women have shorter back lengths, narrower widths in the shoulder area, and extra padding in the chest and hip straps to provide added comfort. So with that in mind, here are five of the best backpacks for women.

JanSport SuperBreak 25L School Backpack JanSport-Polkadot
While its subtle polka-dot design hints at all things feminine, that’s not all the JanSport SuperBreak 25L School Backpack has to offer as a women’s backpack. It is super lightweight, which makes it easy to tote around back and forth to class, and also features straight-cut, padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel for comfortable carrying. Its large main compartment provides ample space for all you necessities, while the front utility pocket with organizer lets you keep your go-to items easy accessible.



Burton-TinderBurton Tinder 20″ Daypack
Personally, I love the design of this Burton Tinder 20” Daypack. Not only is the fabric feminine without being “in your face,” but its drawstring closure and brushed faux leather detailing give it a timeless vintage look. However, it is only vintage in style, not in function. Its rucksack style main compartment gives you adequate room for books and other supplies, plus it also features a separate padded laptop compartment, a top accessory pocket and zippered internal mesh pocket so you are sure to keep nice and organized. Add to that its ergonomic shoulder straps and fit, which are designed specifically for women, and you can see why this backpack made it to the list.

High Sierra Daisies 19″ Backpack High-Sierra-Daisies
The High Sierra Daisies 19” Backpack isn’t just adorable, but it is jam-packed with compartments to keep you as organized as possible. In addition to a large, front-load main compartment with multiple interior pockets and tablet sleeve, it also features a front zippered accessory pocket, media pocket with headphone port, mesh beverage pocket, and a monster hook for attaching extra gear. It also features adjustable side compression straps, S-shaped mesh padded shoulder straps, and a padded back panel, making it a great option for school, hikes, or day trips.


JanSport Overexposed 16.7″ BackpackJanSport-Pink
Ok, this JanSport Overexposed 16.7” Backpack epitomizes my “pink it and shrink it” philosophy, but is the ideal backpack for those out there who like to stand out from the crowd. That said, while its fluorescent pink design may be cute and girly, its padded, straight-cut shoulder straps and padded back panel are ideal for a woman’s needs. At 16.7” x 13” x 8.5”, it is slightly on the smaller side so many not suit the type of student who needs to bring an entire days worth of school supplies, clothing, and snacks with them on a daily basis, but its large main compartment and front utility pocket with organizer provide ample space for the average student or day trip.

High Sierra Back to School 32L Backpack Plaid
If you are a fan of plaid, and you like to keep organized, look no further than the High Sierra Back to School 32L Backpack. New this year, this backpack has ample room to carry all your essential gear, no matter where your adventures take you, be they scholastic, or not-so-scholastic. Its large, front-load main compartment is perfect for books and your laptop, and can be clipped shut so all your gear stays safe. It also features one large and three smaller front pockets for all your gadgets and essentials, and a mesh beverage pocket so hydration is always close at hand. As is the case with the other backpacks in this list, the High Sierra Back to School Backpack has padded shoulder straps to provide the cushioning you need for extended periods of backpack toting.

TUMI Voyageur 14.25” BackpackTumi
The TUMI Voyageur 14.5” Backpack is the smallest of the bunch in this list, but that doesn’t make it any less functional. Its main compartment includes an integrated, padded sleeve for a 12” laptop or tablet, while its multiple additional interior and exterior pockets provide plenty of storage room for all your other day-to-day essentials. Plus, its adorable daisy-inspired design is sure to add a little pop of colour and whimsy to your day.

BurtonBurton Prospect 21L Outdoor Backpack
This women’s Burton Prospect Backpack features a super compact and streamlined design, but that doesn’t mean it is short on space. Intended to keep you organized and on track in style, the Prospect’s main compartment offers more than enough room for your everyday essentials. It is also designed to keep your electronics safe with a padded compartment for your laptop, and a dedicated sleeve for your tablet. It also features a number of external accessory pockets, including one that is fleece-lined, an internal slip pocket, and an internal mesh pocket with key clip. The icing on the cake though is its cushy, ergonomic shoulder straps and shoulder harness, both designed for women, which make for very comfortable carrying.

Each of these backpacks provide the padding and support us women need, as well as the compartments and pockets to keep all our “stuff” neat, organized, and easily accessible.

Stacey McGregor
Stacey McGregor is a marketing and communications professional based in Vancouver, BC. She has a passion for the written word, loves learning about new technology and gadgets, and enjoys sharing what she learns through Best Buy's Plug In blog.