If you’ve been searching for small backpacks for women, perhaps because you have a short torso or maybe because you simply don’t want a bulky bag, then you’ve landed on the right page.

In the post, I’ll be reviewing 13 of the best small backpacks for women that’ll enhance your style and comfort without breaking a sweat (or the bank).

And you know what? 

Best Small Backpacks for Women: a burgundy small bag

I carefully selected options that are as versatile as they are fashionable!

And I suspect you’ll agree with me when you go through this list.


Table of Contents

13 Best Small Backpacks for Women in 2021

  1. Best overall:  Cuyana Leather Backpack
  2. Best EDC: Nevenka Women Backpack Purse
  3. Best for travel: Monos Metro Backpack
  4. Best for Security:  Travelon Anti-Theft Backpack
  5. Most Sustainable: The Everlane ReNew Transit
  6. Best for the office Knomo Beauchamp Backpack
  7. Best sling: Bellroy Sling pack
  8. Best water-resistant: Rains Field Bag 
  9. Best for Techies: AER Day Pack 2 
  10. Best for Minimalist: GION Backpacks
  11. The sexist: ISM backpack
  12. Best for the gym: BeeGreen Drawstring Backpack
  13. Best compact: Dakota Neoprene Backpack

Best overall: Cuyana Leather Backpack

Best Small Backpacks for Women: Cuyana leather backpack
Credit: Cuyana

Summary: The Cuyana backpack is small, sturdy, and beautiful. 

The Cuyana backpack is made of high-quality heavyweight leather that is LWG Gold certified.

Fashionable and sustainably made, it looks and feels ready for anything.

It can comfortably accommodate a 13″ laptop leaving enough space for a change of cloth, 2-3 books, a water bottle, a small umbrella, and even a change of clothes.   

In addition, it is secured with hidden magnetic snap closures and features two exterior pockets for your need-to-reach-quickly items.

What’s more?

The Cuyana backpack comes in six goes-with-everything colorways to suit your style.

Best Small Backpacks for Women: Cuyana leather backpack

Plus, It’s ideal as the go-to for work, school, or day trips.

What we also love

You can carry this bag as a backpack or as a shoulder bag.

What’s not great

It’s great, but only if you can afford to splurge a little.

Best Small Backpacks for Women: Nevenka Women Backpack Purse
Credit: Amazon

Summary: Streamlined and cute, the Nevenka Backpack is a functional pack that you can use for pretty much anything you want!

The Nevenka Backpack Purse is the real deal when it comes to small backpacks for women.  To start you off, you get a clean-cut style that blends in well in any setting. 

It is just the right mixture of backpack and purse.

It’s elegant enough to be a purse for a quick errand yet practical enough as a backpack when you’re on the run and want your hands free.

Despite being minimal, the Nevenka pack will comfortably hold your EDC essentials, like a phone, notebook, folding umbrella, tablet, card or card bag, and more.

Inside, there is a divider to break the bag up for easy organization and a front pocket for your go-to items.

Made of quality PU leather – a synthetic material that looks and feels like leather it is touted by thousands of users to be able to withstand the demands of daily use.

Thanks to the golden zippers, the bag looks elegant and will get you multiple compliments.

What we also love   

I like that the bag is very affordable and has tons of colors to choose from.

What’s not great  

Some users don’t fancy the pocket right across the middle of the bag because it makes gets in the way of you getting items from the bag.

Best for travel: Monos Metro Backpack

Best Small Backpacks for Women: Monos Metro Backpack
Credit: Monos.com

    Summary: A spacious and sturdy backpack designed for everyday life on the move. 

    If you need a little more space or travel every now and then, the Monos Metro Backpack is easily a top choice on the list of the best small backpacks for women.   

    Even better, it boasts of a sleek profile that makes it perfect as a daily companion for daily commutes to weekend escapes. 

    This roomy bag 18-liter pack has a clamshell opening and all the pockets you need, including a dedicated and padded 15” laptop compartment.

    In addition, I really love the small unique, and detachableQuickSnap Metro Kit System for extra organization of your smaller gear.    

    Sturdy and water-resistant, its high-quality vegan leather and nylon mix fabric make sure that the bag can take a beating.

    What we also love

    Other features that might win you over include the trolley sleeve for seamless suitcase paring and its beautifully minimalist design. 

    What’s not great

    You may find its price tag too hefty. 

    Best for Security: Travelon Anti-Theft Backpack

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: Travelon Anti-Theft Backpack
    Credit: Travelonbags.com

    Summary: The Travelon Classic backpack is safe, stylish and functional.

    For a secured backpack, the Travelon Classic backpack is your go-to bag for the best small backpacks for women.

    In terms of anti-theft protection, it features locking zippers, RFID blocking pockets, a slash-resistant body, and straps.

    At 13 liters, this is a small-sized functional pack that easily fits a tablet, camera, sweater, phones, snacks, and other bits and pieces.  

    There’s more.  

    The slip pocket by the side is roomy and deep to fit your water bottle, map, sunglasses, umbrella, or any items you need quick access to.

    Plus, it is padded in all the right places so it makes for a comfortable carry while you are wearing it at full capacity.

    What we also love

    I love that the Travelon Classic comes in a stylish design that is available in various sweet colors. 

    What’s not great

    The Travelon anti-theft backpack is really small and so doesn’t have room for a laptop or a ton of gear.

    Most Sustainable: The Everlane ReNew Transit

    Summary: The Everlane Modern Snap backpack is sustainable and great for work, school, commute and everything in between.

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: The Everlane ReNew Transit
    Credit: Everlane.com

    You don’t have to sacrifice style to go green, and the eco-friendly ReNew Backpack from Everlane is proof.

    The Everlane ReNew backpack is made from 100% recycled polyester and a YKK zipper.

    Also, it is water-resistant, so if you are ever faced with the elements at the most unpredictable times, your items are covered.

    Despite its small 18-liter capacity, this bad boy can hold quite a lot. It has pockets to keep all your essentials separated—including a 13” exterior laptop sleeve, interior slip pockets, and two water bottle pockets for better organization.

    What we also love

    Bursting with extra features, it has a sleek design, a well-positioned laptop compartment, a pass-through strap that attaches to rolling luggage, and a handy magnetic closure, and is available in four neutral colors.

    What’s not great

    The laptop pocket doesn’t have a padded (false) bottom to protect your laptop from impacts.

    If you want to know more about the Everlane Renew Backpack and its substantiality goals, I have written a detailed review on it. 

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: Knomo Beauchamp Backpack
    Credit: Knomo.com

    Summary: The Knomo Beauchamp Backpack keeps contents in your bag organized while maintaining a chic and compact silhouette.

    The Knomo Beauchamp is an excellent option as one of the best small backpacks for women because it is feminine, functional, and comfortable.

    This 13.6-liter bag offers smart organization for just about everything, be it your tech, documents, and other work supplies.

    To seal the deal, it features a water-repellent exterior, a well-padded 14” laptop compartment, and a luggage strap for hitching a ride on your wheelie suitcase.

    And you won’t break a sweat with the ergonomic Knomo Beauchamp bag thanks to a padded back and S-shaped straps for carrying comfort.  

    Even though the back panel doesn’t have mesh for airflow, it won’t be an issue since this is a small bag that helps reduce the temptation to pack too much and doesn’t weigh much.

    What’s more?

    It stays slim even when fully packed and is stylish to boot!

    What we also love

    Aside from the dedicated and well-padded laptop space, there are two inner side pockets and enough space in the main compartments for your documents and even a change of shoes.  

    What’s not so great

    The price tag is quite steep.

    Best sling: Bellroy Sling pack

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: Bellroy Sling pack
    Credit: Bellroy

    SummaryYour go-to eco-conscious sling bag. 

    If you’re looking for a reliable sling bag that can hold all your essentials, the Bellroy Sling is a great alternative to consider.

    It features a front pocket, a sunglasses pouch, and the main compartment with a key clip.  

    The best part?

    It’s expandable, so you have the option to accommodate more items or compress it to maintain a slimmer build.

    Plus, it’s made from water-repellent material, so you know your belongings are safe and sound while you’re out and about, no matter what the weather throws at you.

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: Bellroy Sling pack

    The adjustable strap allows you to wear the bag three ways — on your chest, on your back, or around your waist in a true fanny-pack fashion.

    Oh, and it’s made from premium, environmentally certified leather and sustainably sourced fabric.

    (By the way, here are the 15 best sling bags to consider).

    What we also love

    The strap comes with a magnetic clasp so you can take it out of the way and turn this bad boy into a pouch.

    What’s not great

    For a 7L bag, it doesn’t fit as much as the capacity claims

    Best water resistant: Rains Field Bag

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: Rains Field Bag
    Credit: Rains.com

    Summary: A beautiful and water-resistant backpack with a minimalist style.

    The Rains Field Bag has a super stylish minimalist aesthetics and simple organization that makes it fits seamlessly into all environments which is why it made it onto my list of small backpacks for women.

    It’s made of woven polyester combined with a thick polyurethane coating that gives it a water-resistant and matte finish.

    What we also love 

    It spots a 16L compartment with a padded 13-inch laptop sleeve, and a front pocket for smaller items like your keys, wallet, hand sanitizers, Airpods, etc.

    What’s not great

    While the back panel is reasonably padded, it doesn’t have any air mesh for ventilation.

    Also, the laptop sleeve isn’t suspended, so you might want to use a laptop case for extra protection.

    Best for Techies: AER Day Pack 2

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: AER Day Pack 2
    Credit: AER

    Summary: The AER Day Pack 2 is the perfect small backpack for women who need storage for their everyday tech essentials. 

    For tech lovers who want the best protection and organization in a minimal design, the Aer Day Pack 2 delivers.

    First off, the Pack 2 offers a well-padded 16-inch laptop compartment, with a false bottom to protect your tech from the effects of accidental drops.  

    This means if your laptop ever gets scratched, it’s won’t be from carrying it in the pack as the inside is lined with a soft fleece-liked fabric.      

    Also, the organization is well thought out. 

    Apart from the top pocket for your sunglasses/phone, there are organizational pockets for your mouse, cables, headphones, flash drive, stationery, etc.

    Made with durable 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon with water repellent coating, YKK zippers, and Duraflex hardware, this is one of the most durable packs for your tech. 

    What we also love

    The harness system features padded straps, a breathable back panel lined, and a nice sternum strap.

    You will find it comfortable wear, even when the bag is fully packed out.

    Additionally, it features a self-standing design, a luggage pass-through as well a lifetime warranty to deal the deal.

    What’s not so great

    It’s expensive and comes in only one color (black).

    Best for Minimalist: GION Backpack

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: GION Backpacks
    Credit: Horizn Studios

    Summary: A beautiful and functional everyday carry backpack with a minimalist style.

    The Gion backpack impresses with its stylish minimalist aesthetics, water-resistant zippers, and durable vegan construction.

    Plus, it is lightweight.

    At 18 liters, it is for those who are serious about everyday carry without the weight and bulk.

    Designed for a seamless transition from work to exploring the world with friends, it spots a protective 13-inch laptop sleeve, a luggage sleeve, and two spacious compartments for your items.

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: GION Backpacks

    What we also love   

    it comes with breathable padding on the back and shoulder straps, so you can move around more comfortably.

    If you are interested in small backpacks for women, you cannot go wrong with the Gion backpack because it is super chic, durable, and sophisticated.

    What’s not great

    A downside is that this bag gets scratched easily.

    The sexist: ISM backpack

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: ISM backpack
    Credit: ISM

    Summary: The ISM Backpack is a super stylish and well-designed bag that will fit your EDC and much more.

    If you’re big on looks and quality, this head-turning ISM backpack is a good representative of small backpacks for women. 

    It is made from first-rate grain leather and water-resistant nylon with lovely leather trim details.

    The addition of a separate laptop compartment, AguaGuard YKK zippers, a breathable back panel, and a luggage sleeve makes the backpack functional for daily use. 

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: ISM backpack

    What we also love

    Also, it comes in two sizes (17.2L and 10.8L), has a discreet side flap to charge your electronics on the go, and is backed by a lifetime warranty.

    What’s not great

    It doesn’t come with any external water bottle pocket. 

    Best for gym: BeeGreen Drawstring Backpack

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: Dakota Neoprene Backpack
    Credit: Amazon

    Summary: The BeeGreen backpack can comfortably hold your gym essentials.

    The BeeGreen backpack is the best small backpack for women who need a small pack to take to the gym.  

    This Amazon bestseller is made from high-Density Oxford, which allows it to hold up even if you load it to the brim.

    It has the kind of organization that allows you to separate your belongings.

    There’s a zippered exterior pocket for easy accessibility to your iPad. The side mesh pockets hold water bottles, umbrellas, sippers, and sunscreen.

    There’s also a small zippered internal pocket for a wallet, cell phone, or other valuables. You can secure your keys to the lanyard that’s attached to the inside.

    Its capacity is large as it measures 16″ x 20″.

    It is therefore big enough to carry your gym clothes, gym shoes, swim gear, sport towel, a soccer ball, along with other daily supplies. 

    The thick shoulder strap design of the gym bag allows it to sit on your shoulder without causing any burden. 

    And best of all, it costs less than $11!

    What we also love

    The design details that stand out for me are the headphone port for listening on the go, and the key strap inside the main compartment so they’re always easy to find.

    What’s not great

    It is not for you if you tend to carry around a bunch of items with sharp corners.

    Best compact: Dakota Neoprene Backpack

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: Dakota Neoprene Backpack
    Credit: Dagnedover.com

    Summary:  The Dakota Neoprene pack has just enough room for your needed essentials.

    This cute pack is the scaled-down version of the Dakota Neoprene backpack.

    At just 8 liters, it makes the perfect small backpack for women who love to move about light and free as the air.

    However, don’t let this small version fool you into thinking that it can hold fit your phone.

    It comes with an air mesh tablet sleeve, two air mesh interior pockets, two zipped exterior pockets, and, a key leash.

    Constructed from premium and water-resistant neoprene fabric with nylon lining, it has everything you need to conquer your day in style.

    Best Small Backpacks for Women: Dakota Neoprene Backpack

    What we also love

    This teeny baby is also lightweight (1.8 lbs) and has comfy straps that won’t dig into your shoulders. 

    So, take it with you everywhere, no worry.

    What’s not great

    It is not easy to clean and stain so easily.

    When looking for small backpacks for women, you will be spoilt for choice.

    But how do you choose one that you can count on to keep your phone, wallet, makeup, tablet, and other essentials safe and accessible?

    Getting it wrong could mean struggling to fit your stuff or worse, a low-quality pack you are too embarrassed to be seen with. 

    To help you make the right decision, check out these tips.

    Space for your essentials 

    A small backpack for women is usually below 20 liters.

    So, take into account how many daily items you carry at any given time.

    A small backpack does not entirely mean that you should compromise on space. Some backpacks will blow your mind with how many items they surprisingly can hold.

    For example, the Monos Metro Backpack will hold your 15 laptop, wallet, clothes, and a pair of shoes without breaking a sweat.

    Style and Design

    Small backpacks are trendy.

    If you’re buying small backpacks for women, it will make sense to find one that will seamlessly blend with your overall look no matter what you’re wearing.

    The stitching quality

    Small backpacks for women should be able to withstand the demands of constant use.

    If you are looking for the best small backpacks for women, look at their materials, zippers, and stitching, especially in high-stress areas.


    While someone might not have a problem splurging on amazing backpacks, others want something within a narrower budget. Remember that a high price tag doesn’t always guarantee you a high-quality bag.

    Hell yeah!

    Small backpacks are back in style mostly because of how convenient, practical, and lightweight they are.

    They epitomize elegance, making them perfect for enhancing your professional appearance and the transition to a more casual vibe.

    While there are many backpacks on this list that you can travel with, the best small travel backpack in my opinion would be the Monos Metro pack.

    This is because it is spacious, durable, and is designed for everyday life on the move.

    Its other travel-friendly features include its clamshell opening design, a padded 15” laptop compartment, a trolley sleeve for seamless suitcase paring, amongst others.

    Small backpacks are for days when you don’t want something that’s bulky, especially if you’re moving around a busy city.

    It is what you can easily tote around, make a style statement or just transport your very essentials.

    Small backpacks for women can keep your phone, wallet, makeup, tablet, and other essentials safe and accessible.

    Bottom Line

    This wraps up my review of small backpacks for women.

    From the most practical small backpacks to sporty and super glitzy fashion accessories, there’s an option for you.

    However, this list is by no means conclusive, so I’m open to hearing your recommendations, questions, or experiences with any of these bags or others of your own.

    Leave me a comment below!

    Oh, if you are on the hunt for a backpack designed specifically with laptop protection in mind, check out my comprehensive review on the best laptop backpacks.  

    This article is not sponsored in any way by any company. These backpacks have been independently selected by myself and my team. And the only thing I receive is a small commission from our affiliate program if you buy any of them through the links and buttons on this page. It doesn’t cost you a penny. But it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for maintaining the website, editing software, my time, team and everything else that goes into preparing this post.  

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