Forclaz Women’s Travel 900 60+6L Backpack review

Ahead of my year of travelling around the world, I had a long and hard

Ahead of my year of travelling around the world, I had a long and hard think about which backpack would be the best choice to take with me. Above all, I needed a pack I could rely on to last the trip, be comfortable, and make my life easier. Here’s the pack I found to fit the bill and why – enter the Decathlon Women’s Travel 900 Backpack.

When I was researching for the best backpacks for long trips and treks, I had several criteria to meet. First off, as a female traveller and hiker, I wanted a pack that’d be comfortable to carry on my back for long stretches of time. Women’s backpacks typically have a shorter body, so the back support is a more optimised size for the female frame, and the supporting straps hit the right spots across the torso, which is key.

Our tester Kate wearing Forclaz Women's Travel 900 Backpack

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As I’d be travelling to multiple destinations, I wanted a rucksack that had zipped front access to the main compartment like a suitcase, rather than being a top loader. This makes all my gear easier to organise and get to. A wide access point was a top priority for me and would make life much easier on the road.

Thirdly, I wanted a pack that came with a rain cover for extra protection, but also a cover to keep it safe when taking the plane or long modes of transport. Other than these top features, I was after a pack that was above all practical, and didn’t break the bank either. It might sound like a tall order, but I found all I wanted and more in the largest capacity pack of Decathlon’s affordable Forclaz range, the 60+6L Women’s Travel 900 proved the perfect capacity, with great features and construction designed to be practical and comfortable.

Decathlon Forclaz Women's Travel 900 60+6L Backpack with daypack detachedLFTO

Pros

  • True women’s fit
  • Impressive comfort
  • Loads of storage features
  • Front suitcase-style opening
  • Raincover included
  • Great value

Cons

  • Tad heavier than some rivals
  • No colour options

Capacity

Decathlon Forclaz Women's Travel 900 60+6L Backpack open with gear inside

©LFTO

The Women’s Travel 900 provides a total capacity of 66L and is so crammed with pockets that it took me several trips to discover and use them all. That’s not to say it’s faffy though, there’s a purpose for everything with this pack and that’s why I like it so much.

I’ve already mentioned the main internal chamber; it’s large enough to stash the bulk of my gear, which I put in a few packing cubes that fit perfectly with inner straps to secure. The many additional pockets help to further organise belongings and keep everything in order.

There are also side zip pockets, stretchy bottle pockets, front pouches, two waist belt pockets (large enough to fit a passport and smartphone), and within many of these there are subtle inner pockets and mesh pockets to tuck away valuables.

Decathlon Forclaz Women's Travel 900 60+6L Backpack with daypack detached

©LFTO

Alongside these is the six-litre detachable top compartment (hence the 60+6L), which also has an inner zip pocket along with two tucked straps that can be snapped into place to make a little daypack. It’s ideal for stashing valuables and taking on the plane or for outings when you don’t want to leave your important documents in your hotel or tent.

Features

Decathlon Forclaz Women's Travel 900 60+6L Backpack hip belt and drink bottle pockets

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The wealth of pockets is a winning feature on the Women’s Travel 900, but it’s not the only appeal of the pack. It’s built to be versatile for different kinds of trips. For instance, it’s got a stowable roll top for securing a sleeping bag or tent for those trekking, and it’s also got an additional entry into the main section at the top of the pack for quick access to gear.

Easy-access is the name of the game with this pack, which is why another, stowable bottle cage is built into the right side for reachable access to water while hiking. Inside the main chamber, there’s a laptop sleeve that benefits from the structure of the metal frame for protection. Within the same chamber there is a boot bag to keep dirty shoes separate from the rest of your gear. I’m able to fit both a pair of trail running shoes and hiking sandals there.

Decathlon Forclaz Women's Travel 900 60+6L Backpack with raincover and travel cover

©LFTO

At the front, there’s a slim pocket for holding documents or a folder, behind which is a hidden pouch where the bag’s included raincover lives. This cover is a huge plus as it offers not only waterproofing, but also wraps and protects the pack for transport. The raincover snaps over the edges neatly and has additional material with a drawstring to completely envelop the bag, with duffel straps at the side.

Comfort and construction

Decathlon Forclaz Women's Travel 900 60+6L Backpack back system

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When it comes to quality and construction, I found each compartment to be thoughtfully designed, and that’s most evident in the back system. The pack has a metal frame, and the back system holds the pack away from the back slightly to allow airflow – which is essential for use in hotter climes and extended treks. As mentioned before, this section is shorter in the women’s pack, with padding at the lower back and shoulder blades well placed to ease pressure points.

The padded hip belt is made to sit around the waist, just above the hips, while the chest strap is placed under the collar bone. It’s higher than that on a unisex pack, to avoid any discomfort over the chest. On the chest strap you’ll also find a surprisingly loud built-in whistle. The two shoulder straps are adjusted by pulling upwards, and the hip belt by pulling inwards; this construction makes it much easier to adjust quickly by yourself.

Our tester Kate Milsom walking with the Decathlon Forclaz Women's Travel 900 60+6L Backpack

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The upshot is that I have never felt so comfortable with almost 70L and 13kg on my back. The weight distribution is so fine-tuned that I have no discomfort or pain walking for extended periods (I can even run and jump). It almost feels like I have nothing on my back. It sounds too good to be true. But after getting multiple family members and friends to don the Travel 900, they’ve all been forced to agree. A well-designed and top-performing backpack has completely revolutionised my travel experience.

Verdict

Hiking a field track wearing Decathlon Forclaz Women's Travel 900 60+6L Backpack

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Reading this review, you’d be forgiven for concluding that it’s horribly biased and that the pack seemingly has no faults. Believe me, I tried to find some. But after a couple of months of testing, I’m forced to admit that the Women’s Travel 900 is simply a backpack that performs excellently.

It’s got a great capacity and compartments, several handy features for travel, is logically designed with function in mind, and does not break the bank. I searched high and low for a pack that ticked as many boxes as this one, including those in much higher price brackets. But in the end nothing seemed to fit the bill as seamlessly as the Women’s Travel 900. And all for £104.99 – the value for money is astounding.

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