Q: What are the best, less expensive, travel backpacks for women if you have a small frame?
Finding the right backpack is crucial. Especially if you’re big into camping and you have to squeeze all the important gear inside. When you carry a lot of weight inside, it should sit correctly on your hips and the chest strap should fit snugly. Some packs allow you to adjust the straps from the inside, fitting it to your shoulders. Therefore, there’s really no way to be sure if a pack is right until you put weight inside and try it on. Camping and adventure outfitters like REI are a great place to start looking because they carry many brands. Typically the larger the pack, the more expensive it gets. For a small frame, I’d recommend no more than 75 liters since you can pack lightly and probably shouldn’t be carrying much more than that anyways. Packs are expensive, but once you buy one that works for you, it’ll last you years, and when it comes to hauling your things around, spend for quality gear that fits and works. From campgrounds in Canada to river rafting trips in Colorado, the best backpack will make a difference. Don’t skimp on your backpack, or you’ll regret it later.
Marmot makes the Freya 35 is 3.4 pounds, 35 liters and $99. It’s simple and logically designed, with a removable lid and framesheet, it can also transform into a lighter, less bulky daypack.
Eagle Creek makes the Salta Vita, a more expensive (but worth it) 65 liter, 5 pound pack for $225. The Salta Vita has all the features of a good multi-day pack, like a cushy canted waist belt and dedicated hydration pocket. It’s built for travel, with a suitcase-style U-shaped zipper and a backpack-strap stow-away panel that zips over the suspension system when you’re flying.
REI‘s Cresttrail 65, a 4.9 pound, 65 liter, $229, provides a pillowy waist belt that moves with your hips, and sits snugly on smaller frames. An eggcrate back panel helps circulate air. Side zips offer easy access, and the four pockets on the front and lid keep stuff organized.
Osprey makes the Verve 13, a 13 liter, 1.6 pound, $94 hydration pack that doubles as a day pack, so if you’re not doing a lot of backpacking and would rather carry a suitcase or duffel, this pack is a great addition to your gear. It has a stiff spine and compresses evenly while draining. Plus it has a fabric-lined sunglasses pocket and the magnetic bite-valve attachment on the chest strap, complete the package.