If you are looking to go carry on only, finding the best travel backpack for carry on is a must. One that fits the dimensions of all airlines, one that will easily fit all of the essentials you plan to pack for your trip and most importantly one that is comfortable to carry around with you when it’s actually on your back. In the 13 years that I’ve been traveling, I’ve been through so many styles and types of backpacks trying to find the perfect fit. And when we went carry on only in 2015 finding the perfect backpack was even more important than ever.
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The Best Travel Backpack For Carry On (for women) – Ladies Travel Backpack
For the past 5 months, I have been trialing the new Osprey Europe women’s range. I found out about this thanks to our friend and fellow blogger Emily Luxton who happened to need us to take care of her backpack for a week while she downsized even further for a quick trip to Cuba. When she handed me her backpack and I put it on I noticed how light it felt, how comfortable the straps were (my old backpack was really lacking in comfort) and how nicely it seemed to fit. I knew that my next backpack had to be an Osprey and especially this new range designed to suit women’s body shapes.
Things that suck about regular backpacks:
- I could never really get the bag to align properly with my back no matter how much I messed with the straps
- The chest strap was always straight across my boobs, which crushed them and just makes you look stupid
- Other travel backpacks for carry on that I had were designed to be small, light, and efficient – but in no way comfortable
- Also, these backpacks never had a designated protective space for my laptop (I know that a few do today) but generally you have to choose between a small laptop bag or a carry on travel backpack.
Just so you know – with the new Osprey ladies travel backpack range you don’t have to be only traveling carry on – not everyone wants to do that! They have an entire range of ladies travel backpacks designed to fit women’s bodies that come in a range of sizes and volumes depending on the travel you are wanting to do. Everything from day backpacks all the way through to ones designed for getting out into the wilderness and more. But as the headline of this article is “The Best Travel Backpack For Carry On (for women)” I’m going to talk more about that – as I’m sure that’s what you’re here for!
In order to follow the majority of airlines carry on sizes (I’m talking European mostly here) I ordered the Fairview 40 and Axis 18 Daypack. We often fly priority so that we can have a touch more carry on allowance than other passengers – but make sure you double check how much baggage allowance you have with every individual airline, as it differs.
I decided on the Fairview 40 as my preferred travel backpack for carry on as it’s Osprey’s lightest travel backpack range that is built to conform to EU carry on dimensions. Weighing in at only 1.44kg this means I can allocate my weight to other more important things that I want to take with me and not have the majority of my weight in the backpack itself – that’s another pretty dress or more underwear you can take with you! A girl can NEVER have too much underwear when traveling – especially when traveling carry on only!
The Osprey Fairview range has been loved by travelers all over for many years and is a leading travel backpack for carry on, everyday travel or hiking. If you look up many top backpacks recommended by travelers – the Fairview is often there. It’s just a great all round backpack and now that they have made a design especially to suit the needs of women’s body types I have to admit I’m totally smitten.
Things I love about the Fairview 40 for women:
- The straps system is designed to get you the best fit possible. It might take a bit of messing with, and I recommend doing this before you leave home, but with the right adjustments to the shoulder and waist straps, you can get the backpack to sit snug on your back. This is important because if you have the shoulder and waist straps working harmoniously together in the correct way for you your pack will feel so incredibly light. I can hardly explain how great this is!
With older backpacks I’ve owned I could only walk for maybe 5 / 10 minutes before everything started to ache, shoulders, back, lower back – I don’t have this issue with the Fairview 40. The entire load is evenly dispersed which makes carrying the backpack so much easier and more comfortable for longer periods. It’s Ah-maz-ing.
- The chest strap is situated higher on the backpack so it actually sits across your sternum and not your boobs! You might have to play with the shoulder straps a bit to get this to sit right as at first I thought it sat too high and kinda was choking me….turns out I didn’t have it set up right for my body. Once I messed with it a little bit it sat perfectly!
- The sternum strap has a built in whistle which is fantastic for any women traveling solo and might need some assistance – I hope you NEVER have to use it!!!
- The Fairview 40 does have a padded laptop sleeve inside that sits along your back and not in a front pocket where it could get damaged more easily – but I tend to keep mine in my Axis daypack which I keep with me at all times when on the road.
- Compression straps inside the backpack which really come in handy if the bag is a touch too full.
There are loads of other great features but the ones above are what I really appreciate about this ladies travel backpack. If you are keen to check out the other features included Click Here
Axis 18 Daypack (unisex)
While this isn’t a backpack specifically made for women it is a handy daypack to have for when you are out and about exploring a new city, or village, or temple, or rainforest, or being a digital nomad like us… You can take it anywhere, is what I’m saying!
For me, this is really my everyday backpack. As I mentioned before I keep my laptop and electronics in the padded pocket in this bag so I can keep it close to me when on bus trips etc. while my main luggage goes in the hold.
There’s an organizer pocket that you can use to grab stuff out easily – phone, pens, passport, hand sanitizer, battery pack (i even keep my menstrual cup here if needed quickly) – for me it all goes in this pocket so I can access it easily and quickly. There’s also a scratch free pocket on the front that you can throw your sunglasses or other electronics in and not scratch them up. Two side pockets that I like to keep my headphones and power cords in, things I don’t need all the time but still easy to access without rummaging through my entire bag.
The main thing I find bizarre about this bag is how roomy it is. From the outside, it seems small but you can seriously fit some gear in this backpack!!!
The backpack does also come with a chest strap with a built in whistle and a waist strap but I hardly ever use these straps, to be honest. But I’m sure there’s plenty of people that do! The only thing that is missing from this backpack is a place for water bottles. I would happily give up a side pocket to have somewhere to put my water bottle. Or if maybe it could be strapped to the front of the bag more easily? But this is something I’m often having to carry in my hands or make space for inside the bag which is a bit annoying.
As a combo, these ladies travel backpacks give me more than enough room to travel carry on only comfortably, and I honestly cannot get over how easy it is to carry the Fairview 40 around for long periods of time. It’s got to the point that even Tommo’s got a bit of backpack envy right now. He wants to change over to Osprey as well – it’s just that great a backpack.
If you’d like to check out other backpack options before you make a final choice about which travel backpack for carry on to buy feel free to check out our dedicated guide HERE we want you to make the best and most informed decision for your travel needs.
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Disclaimer: I did receive the backpacks from Osprey complimentary however all opinions remain my own