Arc'teryx has designed theirArc'teryx Altra 62 (*Est. $450) pack to better fit a woman's smaller, narrower frame. It holds a respectable 62 liters, perfect for longer hikes, and weighs just less than 5 pounds, which is considerably light compared to even some smaller bags.
The Osprey Ariel 75 (*Est. $250) weighs the same as the Altra 62, but reviewers say it can be bewildering to figure out all of its straps and buckles. Users say it's very easy to adjust once you get the hang of it, even on the go. The Ariel also features a custom-fit hip belt.
Many packs' main compartments, including that of the Ariel 75, are only accessible through the top. This can be inconvenient unless you pack carefully, placing commonly used items at the top of the pack, users say. The Arc'teryx Altra 62 features a U-shaped zipper around the outside of the main compartment, which allows for quick and easy access to the bottom of the pack without removing the items from the top.
For increased comfort and ease the Altra 62 utilizes a rotating disc at the back of the hip belt. The disc is designed to transfer a bulk of the load weight to the center of your hips, which takes considerable strain off your back and shoulders. Many users describe it as the bag moving with you with each step that you take.
One highlight of the Altra 62 is its GridLock shoulder strap adjustment system. This is featured on other Arc'teryx bags as well, like the men's Altra 65. It uses a peg-in-hole system to allow you to adjust the fit of your pack much more precisely than many competing packs. With a lifetime warranty to top it off, it's tough to compete with the Arc'teryx Altra 62 for a women-specific bag.