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The best backpacks for women

They're on trend, comfortable and they leave you with both hands free. That's why lots of Mumsnetters have been ditching their trusty handbags in favour of a more practical backpack , and here are their top picks.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Nov 22, 2021

Three women's backpacks

What are the best bargain backpacks?

1. BAGGU drawstring rucksack, £34.15

BAGGU drawstring rucksack

Looking for a canvas rucksack? This drawstring number from BAGGU is an absolute steal. With both interior and exterior pockets as well as adjustable straps, you're getting a lot of practicality for a bag just shy of £21. Nice and sturdy, it comes in two colours: matcha (which we're slightly obsessed with) and, for a slightly higher price, black and white.

“BAGGU bags are brilliant – they're so well made. I buy them for everyone.”

2. Cath Kidston foldaway backpack, £34

Cath Kidston foldaway backpack

Florals for summer? We get it, not very original. But there's something timeless about Cath Kidston's iconic prints. Available in a variety of patterns, this rucksack is fully lined for strength and durability. It also features two pockets on each side, as well as a zip pocket on the front. The foldaway design means you can pop it away with ease.

“I have a Cath Kidston rucksack and it's great. It's roomy and has lots of handy pockets.”

3. Dakine backpack, from £40

Dakine backpack

Time and again, Mumsnet users have good words to say about Dakine rucksacks. Very reasonably priced, this neat little rucksack makes organisation easy. With a front pocket to store your keys, charger and phone, the bag also features a key clip and interior zip-up mesh pockets. It also has a limited lifetime warranty, and comes in various patterns and colours. We're a big fan of this tropical print for summer.

“I recommend Dakine. They're sturdy, lightweight and include all the pockets you could possibly ask for.”

Looking for the best leather backpacks?

4. Dr Martens Kiev backpack, £160

Dr Martens Kiev backpack

From its retro shape to sleek Dr Martens branding, this rucksack is a style statement and a practical addition to your everyday look. Available in black leather, this is sure to be a favourite in no time – there's even a vegan option if you love the look of leather, but not the environmental impact.

“Love this bag, it's beautiful. The leather softens but the bag doesn’t lose its shape.”

5. Portrait backpack in leather, £195

Portrait backpack in leather

Nothing says class like a black leather backpack. This rucksack-satchel hybrid is beautifully sleek, made in Britain and 100% leather. Featuring adjustable straps and elegant double-buckle fastenings, it also comes in the colours 'Oxblood' and 'Vintage'.

“I got this one for Christmas and use it as my work bag. It's so lovely. Really pleased with it. Everyone said they were high quality and lasted for years – I'd say that's true from the short time I've had with mine!”

6. Knomo leather backpack, £199

Knomo leather backpack

Looking for a women's mini backpack? We're swooning over this 10" leather bag from Knomo – available in burgundy and black. Smart, compact and full of handy pouches and compartments, the front pocket is even fitted with RFID protection – meaning you can store your phone, passport and bank cards in there without worrying about identity theft. Pretty neat.

“I've been really pleased with my Knomo bag, which is good-quality leather and feels so comfy and light.”

Best backpacks for laptops

7. Sandqvist Hege Backpack, £219

Sandqvist Hege Backpack

This spacious unisex rucksack has some big fans on our Style & Beauty boards thanks to its scandi-chic design and incredibly practical features. It can easily transport all your essentials (as well as some non-essentials too); it's big enough to accommodate a 15" laptop and has lots of handy pockets – including a hidden external zipper pocket for your need-it-now items.

“I have a Sandqvist Hege in navy/black and I absolutely love it – I cycle to work and it's coped well with rain so far. It's also really roomy, I can fit my laptop, papers, lunch, spare shoes etc. in it with no problems. Also it has a ton of little pockets inside.”

8. Fjällräven Kanken rucksack, from £69.82

Fjällräven Kanken rucksack

Ah, the iconic Kanken. It's a popular rucksack for a reason – synonymous with good quality and comfort. This black backpack is no exception; fitted with a padded compartment to fit your laptop (up to 15"), and composed of lightweight, durable Vinylon F. It also features padded, adjustable straps, and two pockets along the sides.

“I have a Kanken which I really like – my laptop fits comfortably in the pouch at the back. The weight is well-distributed and it can be washed when it gets grubby.”

The best travel backpacks

9. The North Face Electra bag, from £35.45

The North Face Electra Backpack

Looking for a lightweight day sack rather than a hefty rucksack (that will promptly get filled with rubbish)? Then why not treat yourself to the sleek Electra bag from The North Face. Its women-specific back panel, shoulder straps and breathable mesh fabric make it a comfortable option for a day out and about. It's even got a fleece-lined sleeve big enough for a tablet inside, despite its small size.

“I recently bought this bag from North Face for days out with kids. It's small and light and it has been a revelation not having a heavy bag weighing down on one shoulder!”

10. Eagle Creek backpack with wheels, £120.48

Eagle Creek backpack with wheels

A backpack with wheels? That's a bit of a game changer. This model from Eagle Creek is about as versatile and durable as it gets, so it's a worthy investment. With material that can withstand 'both urban and rural terrain', this rucksack can handle just about anything you throw at it. And with style, too – as the fabric is designed to miraculously hide both scuffs and stains. It's also fitted with 'Central Lock Point with Secure Zip™ Toggles' – so you don't need to stress about security.

“Eagle Creek has great wheeled rucksacks – really fantastic quality. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to discover them.”

11. Osprey Tempest 16, £80

Osprey Tempest 16

The adventurer's go-to, Osprey are a safe bet when it comes to versatility, durability and a comfy carrying experience. This rucksack's body wrap keeps the load close to your body – spreading the weight evenly around your hips. If that wasn't enough, its design also makes it easier for you to breathe. So if you're off on a hike or up a mountain somewhere, this is the rucksack for you.

“If you want a comfy, supportive rucksack, buy an Osprey.”

Best backpack changing bags

12. Babymel Robyn convertible backpack, £60

Babymel Robyn convertible backpack

Winner of the Mumsnet Best award in the 'Best Budget Changing Bag' category, this versatile bag can be worn as a rucksack, a cross body bag, or carried as a tote. It's got a secure double-zip fastening and pockets galore – including a special wipe-dispensing one that means you can easily grab a wipe without having to rummage through toys, snacks, nappies etc. Mumsnetters also love the fact that it can be easily attached to your buggy to save your back.

“The best thing about the Babymel bags though is the velcro straps which attach it to the pushchair handle really easily.”

You can read our full review of the Babymel convertible rucksack here.

13. Bebamour nappy changing backpack, £36.99

Bebamour nappy changing backpack

Very reasonably priced, this sturdy bag doubles as a rucksack and tote. The buckles on the shoulders allow you to clip it onto your pushchair with ease, and it's fitted with an impressive six pockets. On top of that, the rucksack comes with an insulated bag and changing mat, and it's waterproof, too. Talk about bang for buck.

“I love it – really roomy and with enough compartments. It's a baby changing bag, but it doesn't look like one.”

Best waterproof backpacks

14. Rains drawstring backpack, from £60

Rains drawstring backpack,

Founded to defy the damp Danish weather (it rains an average 121 days a year, don't you know), Rains know a thing or two about waterproof rucksacks. If the lovely lavender hue isn't enough to tempt you, the interior pockets, adjustable straps, and drawstring top might.

“I have a Rains one which is brilliant – it's like a TARDIS.”

If you want even more tips, check out Swears By for weekly roundups of the best shopping recommendations from Mumsnet users.

If you are looking for women's fashion discounts and deals check out Mumsnet Discounts.