How We Tested Backpacking Pack for Women

By:
Jane Jackson
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
May 15, 2018
We took the Osprey Viva into the Winds  and it endured rain and granite with grace. The exterior has very few straps and three stretch mesh pockets. In a single size  it is adjustable to comfortably fit most women.
We took the Osprey Viva into the Winds, and it endured rain and granite with grace. The exterior has very few straps and three stretch mesh pockets. In a single size, it is adjustable to comfortably fit most women.

Three years of compiled evaluations have lent to this review of 11 women's packs. We took these competitors on multi-day adventures on rugged terrain, in weather ranging from sunshine to light summer rain to early fall snowstorms. We packed these packs for thru-hiking on the John Muir Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail. We carried each one through Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite National Park, and throughout the Wind River Range in Wyoming. We took these packs through torrential mountain downpours, hot desert heat, and on multiple summit hikes. From high altitude passes to canyon climbs, these contenders were taken on explorations up and away. From overnight trips in Desolation Wilderness, Lake Tahoe to multiple days along the crest of the Sierras and the rugged Rocky Mountains of western Colorado, these packs endured a range of conditions.

Our trips ranged from short hiking days to 27 mile hiking days that carried into the night. We, the testers of these women's specific packs, range in body types, from athletic builds to petite, tall and short. We tested with a diversity of fits and experience to gain a broader perspective into how comfortable, adjustable, and easy to use these models are. We spared no attention to detail when looking at the organization and capacity of the packs. Side-by-side, we reviewed all aspects of a women's specific pack that we found to be most essential when determining which model to invest time and energy into, and we did so on real-life hiking adventures from the Rocky Mountain ranges of Colorado to the Sierra Nevada.