High-Sierra2.pngIt’s no secret that women have different needs than men; however, I’ve found that when there’s a women’s version of what can otherwise be considered a unisex product, it’s typically just a smaller, pinker, pricier version of its big brother–something I like to call “pinking it and shrinking it.” But sometimes, manufacturers really hit the nail on the head when it comes to addressing the needs of those of us with two X chromosomes. So with that in mind, here’s a list of the top five backpacks for women.

But first, you might be wondering what these “needs” are that backpacks designed for women address. I mean, a backpack is a backpack, right? You pick out a style you like, cram your stuff in it and you’re set! Well, not so much. Generally speaking, women aren’t built like 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 extra comfort.

Roxy Always Core 12L Day BackpackRoxy-Core.png

The Roxy Always Core 12L Day Backpack isn’t just adorable (yes, it’s quite pink and floral!), but it is made of lightweight polyester and features adjustable, padded shoulder straps. It’s a bit on the smaller side, making it ideal for young women or women who are smaller in stature, but it’s big enough to hold all your everyday essentials, like books and your lunch, without putting too much strain on your back and shoulders. It’s also got a front pocket where you can keep important things like your keys, smartphone and wallet for fast access.

High Sierra Loop 33L BackpackHigh-Sierra.png

With it’s 33L capacity, the High Sierra Loop 33L Backpack is perfect for a wide variety of activities–school? Check. Hiking? Check. Travelling? Check. With multiple compartments, I think this pack speaks directly to the needs of us ladies. It’s got a dedicated tablet or laptop pocket, and a media pocket for protecting your phone and other devices. It also features a mesh water bottle pocket and a “premium organizer” compartment that includes numerous smaller pockets, pen pockets and a key fob to keep all your essentials organized. Plus, its bottom straps allow you to attach additional gear, and its padded back and straps help absorb the weight of heavy books and gear. I really wish I had stumbled across this pack before I hiked the Inca Trail last year!

JanSport Digital Student 38L BackpackJanSport.png

This 38L Digital Student backpack from JanSport is the largest on the list, but the most conducive to busy-bees like myself. It’s big enough to store all your needs for the entire day. It features a removable laptop sleeve that fits laptops up to 15” and an external tablet pocket, which accommodates tablets up to 10” perfectly. There’s even an electronic organizer to keep your smartphone and other gadgets handy, and a dedicated external cord storage pocket to keep your chargers and headphones organized. Adding even more space are its two large main compartments, and a side water bottle pocket so you can stay hydrated on the go. Last but not least, its ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps and fully padded back offer extra comfort.

JanSport Insider 24L Backpack

JanSport-24L.pngIf it weren’t for its female-centric design, this JanSport Insider 24L backpack would epitomize my “pink it and shrink it” philosophy! However, while its pink with white polka dot design may be beyond cute and girly, it’s padded shoulder straps and back panel, narrow frame, and multiple organizers make it ideal for a woman’s needs. There’s a dedicated lined compartment to fit a 15” laptop, a large organizer pocket and front accessory pockets to fit all your gadgets and essentials, and an easy access phone pocket that keeps your device separate so it’s quick to locate. As is the case with the other backpacks in the list, the JanSport Insider 24L pack has padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel to provide the cushioning you need for extended periods of backpack toting.

Burton Apollo 19L BackpackBurton-Apollo.png

This streamlined 19L Backpack from Burton is great for day trips or smaller loads to and from school or the office. It features a fleece-lined sleeve for your tablet or smaller laptop, two mesh water bottle pockets and a front pocket to stash important items you might need to access frequently. Its interior capacity is on the smaller side at 19L, but that is ample room for day-to-day essentials like books, a lunch, and umbrella. Add to that it’s fabulous purple on purple design, and this backpack is a great option for any woman.

So there you have it ladies–the top five backpacks designed just for us! Each of these backpacks provides the padding and support we need, and the compartments and pockets we really need to store all our “stuff”!

One thing to note though, while women’s backpacks are designed for women’s body shapes, if you are a tall lady like myself (I stand at 6’), and have broad shoulders (also like myself), you can opt for a unisex backpack, but you may not find them as comfortable. If you do go the unisex route, make sure that there is ample padding in the back panel and shoulder straps, that those straps are adjustable, and of course, that there are ample compartments and pockets to store all your essentials. Let’s be honest, a lady needs a pocket for her compact and lip-gloss!

Check out my other list of the Top 5 New Backpacks for 2015.