On the lookout for a detailed and helpful female backpacking list?
Deciding what to bring on travels can be challenging, especially if you want to travel light.
Packing is pivotal, if you do not plan out what to pack, you may forget something essential, or even worse, overpack and be saddled with a heavy backpack.
This women’s ultralight backpacking gear list is a thorough guide that details backpacking essentials for women. It also includes a women’s hiking gear section which will entail hiking essentials for women.
However, please bear in mind that every traveler has different needs and their own personal style.
Regardless of your packing style, WWB writer, Divya has got you covered with a backpacking checklist for women. She has personally used these items on my travels, and hopes you find this list helpful!
The Ultimate Female Packing List for Travelers: 9 Key Areas To Consider
- Backpacking Gear To Pack
- Hiking Gear To Pack
- Documents To Pack
- Clothes To Pack
- Electronic Items To Pack
- Personal Health Items To Pack
- Things to Pack For Your Safety
- Self-care Items To Pack
- Miscellaneous Items To Pack
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click on them, at no additional cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.
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Female Backpacking List: Backpacking Gear To Pack
This women’s backpacking gear list outlines practical, long-lasting, multipurpose backpacking gear for women who love travel.
- Backpack Rain Cover
- Water Bottle and Water Filtration System
- Sleeping Bag
Backpack: The backpack is the most important item on this backpacking list for women. Finding the right backpack is dependent on a few factors.
Type: There are generally three types of backpacks;
If you’re thinking there can’t be much of a difference between the three, you are quite wrong.
Travel Packs: These backpacks are light-framed, front-loading (zips open like a suitcase), have many compartments, and a section to hide your straps (convenient for stowing it away). All in all, it is an accessible and hassle-free option for when you’re on the road.
Hiking Packs: Hiking packs are top-loading, it isn’t the easiest to pack, however, it has a sturdier frame and it sits easily on your back, which makes it perfect if you’re going for a long hiking trip.
Backpack with wheels: These backpacks come in handy if you have a bad back or you’re always in a rush! It is heavier than your conventional backpack but you have the option to roll it or strap it on.
Size: When it comes to backpacks, size matters. 30 to 50L sized packs are perfect for short holidays ( a week to a month) and 55L to 75L for longer periods of traveling (ranging from a few months to a year).
If your traveling plans involve hopping on a plane and you don’t want to pay for luggage, backpacks up to 45 L in volume can still pass off as carry-on when packed lightly.
Comfort Level: Well-established backpack brands carry gender-specific backpacks, are adjustable and cater to people of different heights & weight distributions. Your backpack should fit your body and sit comfortably on your shoulders.
Quality: A good backpack will be expensive but is a worthy investment. The best backpacks like Osprey, offer a lifetime guarantee and are long-lasting.
The Osprey’s Ariel 65 Women’s Backpack is a great option for travel and hiking as it is both front loading (front J-zip)and top-loading, which makes it accessible and easier to pack. It is also the backpack for you if you’re petite (like me), its adjustable back allows you to experience the perfect fit.
Tip: When purchasing a backpack, load it up with equipment (whatever’s available in the store) and try it on, keep it on for a while to check how comfortable it is.
Day pack: A day pack is what you’ll use for a day trip somewhere while your backpack is nicely tucked away in your dorm. Daypacks range from 10L to 30L and are designed to carry lightweight items.
For working on the go, consider a daypack with a laptop compartment, and for outdoor expeditions, get something waterproof. You could also invest in an anti-theft daypack that ensures that your valuables are secure.
Tip: Get a foldable daypack that is easy to pack and takes minimal space in your main backpack.
Backpack Rain Cover: Some backpacks come with a bag cover, but if yours doesn’t, it would be good to get a bag cover for when the weather is unpredictable and especially if you’re carrying electronic items with you.
Water Bottle & Water Filtration System: There will be instances where it isn’t safe to drink tap water (like in countries like India and Mexico) or you have no access to filtered or bottled water (when you’re on a hiking trip).
I have used the LifeStraw Flex Multi-Function Water Filter System. I love that it comes with a collapsible bottle and can be used with a disposable bottle as well.
Sleeping bag: A sleeping bag might not be necessary unless you’re setting up camp. A good sleeping bag is important especially for camping in cold weather, consider getting a bag with down fill, it’s lightweight and great for insulation.
For damp weather, camping by a waterfall (or if you’re on a tight budget), you’re safer with a synthetic bag due to its quick-drying ability.
The Hyke & Byke Katahdin Ultra Lightweight Sleeping Bag is a great budget-friendly option, it is light, packs small, keeps you warm (hydrophobic down fill), is durable and water-resistant.
Tip: Pack your sleeping bag at the bottom of your backpack to give your back extra cushioning.
Headlamp: This comes in handy in so many situations, it’s one of the first things I pack.
Female Backpacking List: Documents To Pack
Traveling to new countries is very exciting, however, the immigration process in every country is different.
You may have to apply for visas, bring documents for verification purposes, and have a printout of some things (you don’t want to rely on your phone or the airport’s wifi). Here is a general list of documents you may need to prepare before traveling overseas.
- Passport and travel visa: Check the validity of your passport and visa weeks in advance, there was a time I forgot to renew my passport, I burnt my flight tickets and had to postpone my whole trip, not fun.
- Photocopy of your passport & visas: It’ll make things easier if you misplace the original.
- Additional Photo ID: You may want to keep your passport in the hotel, locked away safely, you need another photo ID like your driver’s license while you’re out exploring.
- Passport size pictures: This comes in handy if you’re applying for visas.
- Air Tickets and Proof of Accommodation Bookings: I always carry a hard copy and soft copy with me, you will likely have to share the details of your return flight or flight to the next destination and accommodation details with the immigration counter.
If you don’t have it with you, it may cause complications or delay you from entering the country.
- Travel Insurance Policy: Travel insurance is a must and it is important to purchase it well in advance as it safeguards you against theft, canceled or delayed flights, medical emergencies, and more for a small cost.
Female Backpacking List: Clothes To Pack
With the right balance of comfort and style, you’ll be #outfiitgoals for female backpacking and looking good.
This list is for long-term travel, if you’re going for a short trip (a week to a month) you don’t need as many pieces of clothing.
It’s easier to pack light for warmer destinations as you really only need one layer of clothing(that you’ll probably take off if you’re spending a lot of your time on the beach).
Women’s Travel Wear Checklist For Warm Climate
- 3 Shorts (1 running shorts, 1 denim shorts, and 1 cargo shorts)
- 2 Yoga/Gym Pants (these dry quicker than jeans and are good for long hours of walking, also keep you warm when you’re in air conditioning)
- 6 Tops (1 pretty blouse, 2 tank tops, 2 t-shirts, 1 quick-drying sports top)
- 1 Skirt (I usually opt for a wrap-around as it looks great when paired with a bathing suit or tank top)
- 2 Dresses (summer dresses are great for parties, sunset dinners and just walking around town, get dresses that are soft, do not need ironing, fold easily, and do not occupy space)
- 1 Pair of Trainers / Sneakers (i prefer to pack a stylish pair of trainers as I like to go on runs)
- 3 Pairs of Socks
- 1 pair of Flip Flops (important if you’re going to the beach)
- 1 pair of Sandals (a good alternative to trainers for long hours of walking)
- 1 pair of Flats (for your feet to look cute when you decide to dress up for a night out)
- 7 Underwear (consider adding a few quick-dry underwears to the mix)
- 3 Bras
- 1 Sports Bra (if you’re going to be exercising often, take an extra bra)
- 1 Bathing Suit (if you’re a beach person like I am, bring 1-2 bathing suits, you won’t want to be wearing the same bathing suit in all your beach photos. You could also get more on the road but be wary that apparel at holiday destinations can be double the price.
- 1 set of Pyjamas (I usually wear a comfy pair of shorts with a sweater/t-shirt)
- Hoodie (for when it gets cold at airports, anywhere with AC, or for cool nights)
- Light cardigan/pullover (some countries may be conservative and you’ll need to cover up)
Tip: In warmer destinations, schedule in laundry whenever you can as the chances of reusing clothing multiple times is slim (things can get sweaty).
Women’s Travel Wear Checklist For Cold Climate
The key to packing light for women during winter/cold weather is to pack in layers.
Tip: Wear your heaviest piece of clothing (your winter coat, sweater, and boots) and pack the rest.
- 2 Cardigans
- 1 Fitted Sweater (fitted sweaters take up less space)
- 1 Fleece Pullover
- 1 Winter Coat
- 1 Down Jacket (these are easy to pack)
- 1 Set of Insulated Long-Sleeved Undershirt & Leggings (this can be worn under a pair of jeans and a sweater, it’ll keep you warm and snuggly on your day out exploring)
- 7 Underwear ( thermal underwears are great for keeping warm)
- Tops (3 long-sleeved tops, 2 short-sleeved tops)
- 1 Pair of Jeans (jeans are a great option if it isn’t snowing)
- 1 Pair of Pants (you can opt for pants or wool-lined tights)
- 1 Pair of boots (your boots will be your primary footwear, so get something neutral colored to go with your outfits and make sure it is water-resistant, rubber boots are a great option if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the snow)
- 4 Pairs of wool socks (If your feet tend to sweat, Merino wool socks wick away sweat, is odorless and will keep you warm)
- 1 scarf (Scarfs are great for warmth, get a lightweight scarf that doesn’t take up too much space)
- 1 pair of winter gloves
- 1 woolen beanie
Feel free to mix and match if you will be experiencing different seasons or traveling to several destinations with different climates.
Tip: Create a capsule wardrobe of clothes, shoes, and accessories that go together for your entire trip. You’ll be able to effortlessly coordinate outfits and save on space.
Female Backpacking List: Electronics To Pack
Electronics help us stay connected and make working out of anywhere convenient.
With that being said, electronics can be heavy and will take up space, so it’s important to just bring what you absolutely need. Here is the list of electronics that I must have on every trip.
- Phone (this is a no-brainer): I use a multi-use phone with a good enough camera, I have an iPhone 11 Pro Max that has been taking all my “insta-worthy” pictures for 2 years now
- Laptop: Invest in a lightweight option if you travel often, I bring my MacBook Air, this isn’t essential if you’re not working on the road
- iPad/Tablet: All you need to “Netflix & chill”, catch up on some reading, reply to emails)
- Power Bank: This is a lifesaver when your phone or iPad runs out of battery
- Wireless Earphones: Another must-have item as I enjoy listening to podcasts & music
- Camera and accessories: Not usually on my list but if you like to take quality pictures or are into photography, you’ll probably want to pack these with you
- Chargers and adapters: I usually bring along a portable USB charger
Tip: Get yourself a universal travel adapter if you travel overseas often, it’ll save you time and money (adapters can be super overpriced).
Personal Health Items To Pack
Here are some things to pack to keep yourself healthy and well throughout your travels in this female backpacking list.
- Face Masks: It is advisable to double mask; wear a disposable mask under a cloth mask when you’re in crowded areas or whilst using public transport.
I personally prefer to use N95 masks but always have a few cloth masks with me in case I run out. It is also a requirement to wear masks in public places in many countries (like Malaysia), so make sure to have one on standby.
- Hand Sanitizers: It’s best to keep sanitizing surfaces and your hands with a sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol-based when you’re unable to wash them with soap and water.
I tend to fall sick when I travel, so I never leave home without my medicine kit. I usually store my meds in a small pouch, and here is what goes into it.
Prescription Medications: If you are on prescriptions, bring enough for the first leg of your trip and research if the drug is available on the road.
Make sure to bring a copy of your prescription along (this applies to eyewear as well), you’ll need it when you’ve used up or misplaced your meds and it’s almost always mandatory to purchase medication.
Besides your prescription, here are a few over-the-counter must-haves to pack with you.
- Painkillers: I have painful menses and often need to take painkillers to function, I always carry Ibuprofen with me
- Medication for Diarrhea & Vomiting: A big part of traveling for me is experiencing local food and sometimes the food may not sit well, always a good idea to pack these with you
- Medication for tummy discomforts; gastric and bloating
- Anti-itch cream
- Antihistamines: My sinuses get triggered when I’m tired and this helps, also helps with mild allergies
- Band-Aids: For when you get your knees and elbows scraped
- Alcohol swabs: To disinfect scraped knees and elbows
Epi-pen: You can’t foresee what you may encounter in a new destination. If you have allergies, it may be wise to bring an epi-pen with you.
Tip: Another great way to keep yourself safe is to get a list of your allergies translated to the native language of your destination, it makes communicating your allergies easier and there’s a better chance you won’t wind up at the hospital.
Female Backpacking List: Things To Pack For Safety
63% of women think about safety always or frequently while traveling. When traveling to foreign lands, you can become a victim of pickpocketing, purse snatching, theft, scams, and sexual assault.
A women’s backpacking list must include safety gear, here are a few things you should consider bringing on your trip.
- Portable safe: “Slash-proof” bag with a combination lock by Pacsafe, this 3L size is great as it’s compact & foldable and you can fit your essentials.
- Anti-theft bags and backpacks: Brands like Pacsafe and Travelon carry a wide range of anti-theft packs and bags, these packs have incredible safety features, many have RFID pockets, securable zippers, and are slash-proof.
In my opinion, PacSafe Women’s CitySafe Backpack is the best anti-theft backpack for women, it has the best features, is stylish, durable, and comes with a 5-year warranty.
- Doorstop Security Alarm: This is a doorstop with an inbuilt alarm, you place it under your door and if someone attempts to break in the alarm will go off, scaring the perpetrator and keeping you safe!
- Safety Whistle: This will stop perpetrators in their tracks and alert authorities, it can also be useful if you get lost on a hike
- Padlock: To lock bags, lockers, etc.
- Bra stash: A small pocket to store cards and cash that you can attach to your bra strap
Tip: 17 Solo Female Travel Tips is a great read for guidance on how to stay safe on your travels.
Hiking Gear To Pack
This is a hiking gear list for women that is versatile and can be used for tropical and temperate climates.
When it comes to ladies hiking gear, it is best to use moisture-wicking, quick-drying and odor-resistant materials.
For a comfortable hiking experience, dress in layers to easily layer up or down according to the conditions. Outer layers like jackets and pants should be rip-resistant and it’s super important to pack warm layers for cold weather conditions.
This women’s hiking gear checklist entails all you need to be comfortable on the trail.
- A windbreaker jacket
- A down jacket (only for colder temperatures)
- A fleece zip-up (perfect for chilly weather)
- Hiking tops (long sleeve layers, quick-drying, breathable, lightweight t-shirts and tops)
- A pair of hiking boots or shoes (opt for waterproof hiking boots for long hikes, for shorter hikes go for trail running shoes, add on hiking gaiters if you want to keep dirt, water or snow out)
- Hiking Socks (quick-drying material is best for socks, double layer the socks or use a pair of liner socks for long hours of trekking to avoid getting blisters)
- Hiking Pants (go for pants that are rip-resistant and stretchable)
- Hiking Shorts (you may use workout shorts too, as long as its sweat-wicking)
- Hiking Underwears
- Sports Bras
- Hiking leggings
- Hiking headbands (wipes away sweat and keeps your hair away from your face)
- A hiking cap/beanie (dependant on the weather)
- A pair of hiking gloves (for cold weather, liner gloves for mild weather or to layer if necessary)
Tip: Avoid packing materials like denim and cotton that absorb sweat and add on weight.
For more on hiking essentials for women, read these posts
- 17 Best Plus-Size Hiking Pants You Will Fall in Love With
- 15 Best Hiking Jackets For Women [2021 Update]
- 11 Wide Fit Walking Boots [2021 Update]
Self-care Items To Pack
A backpacking packing list female edition is incomplete without a list of self-care items. Here is a list of toiletries you may need on your travels.
If you’re traveling with carry-on only, most airlines require that liquid items be no more than 100 ml.
- Toiletry bag: To pack all your items, preferably waterproof and comes with multiple compartments to avoid spills and leaks
- Dental Care: Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Hair Care: Shampoo & conditioner (try solid versions and avoid spills, it is also more convenient if you’re only taking only carry-on luggage), hairbrush, hair oil or serum
- Hair Accessories: Hair ties, headbands, hair clips, hair slides
- Body Care: Body wash, body lotion or oil, deodorant, travel size perfume
- Face Care: Face cleanser, sunscreen, moisturizer, lip balm
- Eye Care: Glasses, contact lens case, contact lens solution (A 60ml bottle will last you roughly 5 days)
- Personal Hygiene: razor, tweezer, nail clipper, and nail file
- Basic Make-up: Eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, foundation or tinted moisturizer, blush, bronzer, and eyebrow tint, make up remover, reusable face cloth
- Feminine Products: Pads, Tampons, or Menstrual Cup, Panty Liners (so useful when you’re unable to do laundry), Small Hot Water Bag for painful cramps
Packing light for women can be tough considering toiletries alone can take up substantial space.
To minimize toiletry items, pack items that are multi-purpose.
For example, I use coconut oil as a face & body moisturizer, hair oil, and it’s also great for removing make-up.
Tip: To avoid spills and save up on space, get solid alternatives of shampoos, conditioners, body wash, oils, and perfumes.
These solid versions usually come in bars, you can slice it up and bring just the right amount.
Miscellaneous Items To Pack
Here are a few random things that you may need!
- Insect Repellant: If you’re traveling to somewhere tropical, save yourself from mosquitoes by packing this with you.
- Eye Mask: I take an eye mask with me everywhere I go, it makes falling asleep on buses, airplanes, and in brightly lit dorms so much easier.
- Sunglasses: If you’re going someplace sunny.
- Microfibre Travel Towel: Quick-drying, lighter, and easier to pack than a regular towel, a great option for the outdoors.
- Rain Coat: If you’re going to a damp destination, a foldable lightweight raincoat will do you good. It’ll also take up less space compared to an umbrella.
You might like this article Gifts For Outdoor Moms (31 Ideas To Make Her Happy)
What Should a Woman Pack For a Trip?
Every woman should pack these for her trip :
- 1 dress
- 2-6 pairs of underwear,pack depending on the length of trip
- 2-6 pairs of socks, pack depending on your trip length.
- 1 long sleeved shirt, sweater, or blazer (for a business chic trip )
- 1 jacket
- 2-3 bottoms
- 4-5 tops.
What Should a Woman Pack for a Week-long Trip?
Packing list for a week-long trip:
- Carry-on backpack or luggage
- Multi-purpose self-care Items
- A few outfits, a pair of footwear
- Essential Electronics
- Travel Documents
What Should I Not Forget To Pack?
Most frequently forgotten items to pack:
- Travel Documents
- A Hand Sanitizer
- Phone and Charger
- Prescription Medication
- Glasses and Sunglasses
- Feminine Products
This female backpacking list has come in handy for my travels near and far. What you pack will depend on your own style, the length of your trip, and of course your travel destinations.
Packing can be a fun but daunting process, I hope this female backpacking list serves as a guide and helps you figure out precisely what you need for your next adventure.
My advice is to take the time to think about and list out what you need and start packing at least a week in advance. As long as you have the important items, it’s okay If you miss out on a thing or two, you can always get them on the road.
For more on women’s backpacking gear, be sure to check out