As you prepare for your grand adventure overseas, you need to have your eye on your back — literally! Shopping amongst the best study abroad backpacks might feel overwhelming now, but being thoughtful while perusing your options will serve you well as you globetrot. Keep reading and get outfitted for studying abroad soon!
What to look for in study abroad backpacks
You’ve seen travellers at the airport or train stations with their oh-so-convenient and cool looking travel backpacks and now it’s time for you to get your first! But how do you know what makes a good study abroad backpack? There are some common factors you can look for that the best backpacks for study abroad will have, regardless if you want a minimalist travel backpack or one with greater storage capacity.
First and foremost is comfort! Padded straps and hip belts to bear weight and that won’t dig into your skin are very important when you could be wearing it for hours on end. Plus, since everybody’s body is different, no pack will feel the same on two people. It’s important to test out your backpack at a local store even if you will eventually buy it online.
Additional factors include…
- Lightweight design so you aren’t lugging around extra pounds you don’t need
- Compression straps so you can adjust the size of your backpack depending on the size of your load (great for carry on versus checked baggage versatility) and protect your stuff so it all fits snug.
- An easy to access top, side, or front zip panel to store things you might need in a jiffy
- Closures with zippers so they can be locked (you never know where you might need to store your bag…and knowing everything is locked up will give you peace of mind.)
- Quality material that won’t easily tear/wear, is water resistant, and will last for multiple adventures.
- Top or front loading that makes packing for study abroad, and fitting everything you need, a breeze
Below we’ve listed some of our top choices for study abroad backpacks that include all of these necessary factors!
The best backpacks for study abroad
1. Deuter Air Contact Lite (Unisex)
First on our list of best backpacks for study abroad is the Lite model of the Aircontact trekking pack from Deuter. As you might guess, it is known for its lightweight and breathable design, that’s perfect for long hikes. If your study abroad plans include ample time in the great outdoors, this may be the backpack for you. Plus it has space for an extra 10L for longer excursions and a bottom zipper compartment to carry your muddy shoes.
2. Osprey Fairview 55 Women’s Travel Backpack
Lady travelers, do not miss out on this large-sized yet comfortable and easy to transport backpack! If your study abroad trip includes more long-term stays with some travel in between, this is a great bag for your needs. Front loading (duffel style) makes packing and unpacking convenient and easy. A detachable daypack lets you carry the essentials you need for the day while your bag is stored in your dorm or hostel. AND the back straps can be tucked and zipped away for easy airport travel.
3. Kelty 60+ Liter Backpack (Unisex)
If you’re going to be gone for a long time and are in need of heavy packing for study abroad, this Kelty Liter model ranges in size from 60L to 105L! (That is some serious storage volume.) This pack has pockets galore – on the sides, front, bottom, and even in the hip belt – and uses Fit Pro technology with easy adjustments for your body’s needs. Reviews scream comfort which is a big plus, and the top lid (on the smaller models) can convert into a sling pack!
4. Osprey Porter 30L Minimalist Travel Backpack (Unisex)
If you can get away with a minimalist travel backpack, like this 30L from Osprey, please do! You and your back will be happy to not have the extra weight on your shoulders, and your feet will be happy when you don’t have to wait for your checked baggage on the conveyor belt. Carry on size, zips open like a suitcase, and can stow away straps – it’s more like a mix between a traditional backpack and duffel, with added straps and hip belts to support the weight.
5. North Face Cobra 60 (Men’s)
Calling our study abroad mountain men! A study abroad backpack for the true adventurer, this North Face model is prepared for anything. It has a lightweight design and loads of loops and carry points for tools and necessities. You can keep it compressed for a close carry while climbing or expand the straps to carry extra pieces.
Get packing for study abroad!
We hope you found your perfect match in our list of best backpacks for study abroad. Make sure to check out our list of 10 things to buy before studying abroad, too! You´ll be completely set with your bag and your essentials 🙂
To recap, here’s our list of awesome backpacks for study abroad:
- Deuter Air Contact Lite (Unisex)
- Osprey Fairview 55 Women’s Travel Backpack
- Kelty 60+ Liter Backpack (Unisex)
- Osprey Porter 30L Minimalist Travel Backpack (Unisex)
- North Face Cobra 60 (Men’s)