15 Best Backpacks for Kids
Backpacks are the number one school staple, but shopping for one among the thousands of options can be overwhelming. (Should I go big or small? Pockets or zippers? Does this need to last for more than one year?) That’s why we rounded up some top picks that have received rave reviews from parents and the kids who are wearing them. Read on for the best backpacks for kids, courtesy of real moms.
1. Columbia Zig Zag 30L Backpack
This option features a divided main compartment to keep binders and files organized, as well as a fleece-lined padded laptop sleeve and bottom panel, so you can rest assured your kid’s pricey iPad or laptop is well protected. This sleek colorblock aesthetic is pretty cool, too.
2. The North Face Youth Recon Squash Backpack
Designed just like the ever-popular North Face adult Recon backpack, this mini version is still big enough to fit standard folders and is the ideal size for kids in elementary school.
3. Wildkin Kids 15-inch Backpack (for Preschool and Elementary)
Kids and parents love the supercute prints on Wildkin backpacks, and they coordinate with other Wildkin gear like lunch boxes. Easy to clean and durable enough to withstand a pounding from a preschooler, this backpack is well padded and comfortable, so your little one will actually want to wear it (instead of making you carry it around.)
4. Fenrici Preschool Backpack (for ages 2 to 5)
Fenrici’s preschool backpack is designed specifically for a preschooler’s arms and shoulders so it won’t slip off when your kid takes off like a rocket. But don’t be fooled by the small fit; this carryall can really carry a lot. It is more spacious than other options (measuring 16 by 11.5 by 4.5 inches), so all those drawings your child made in art class won’t come home crumpled. The price is right, but even better is the fact that this company donates a portion of its profits to fund research for childhood diseases.
5. Obersee All-in-One Kids’ Preschool Backpack With Integrated Cooler
A compact backpack that won’t topple even the tiniest pre-K kid, this choice boasts a few bells and whistles, like a lumbar strap that ensures this keeper will stay comfortably in place. The multiple pouches are great for getting and staying organized, and the front pocket is an integrated lunch cooler that lets you ditch the bulky lunch box.
6. Jansport Superbreak Backpack
Yup, we’re bringing back the ’90s, and JanSport has always combined practicality and quality with casual cool. Padded shoulder straps allow for easy and comfortable carrying of even the biggest stack of books, and the simple design ensures young students don’t lose their supplies in a million secret compartments. The real selling point is this product’s sturdiness: JanSport backpacks come with a lifetime guarantee, so your kid can keep this timeless classic all the way through high school if she wants.
7. Herschel Supply Settlement Mid-Volume Backpack
You’ve probably seen this puppy before, since it’s on the back of every hipster and cool kid in town. To be sure, this stripped-down vintage design doesn’t get old, but the appeal of Herschel backpacks goes beyond looks. They’re terrific for organization, thanks to a discreet key clip on the single front pouch, an internal media pocket with a headphone port and a 13-inch laptop sleeve.
8. Perry Mackin Charlie Kids’ School Backpack
If your child wants to make a fashion statement, opt for this superchic Perry Mackin backpack. The small size is best for elementary school kids, but it does feature two interior pockets, an exterior zippered pocket and two water bottle holders, so it can still carry plenty of supplies. Best of all, the material looks like expensive leather, but it’s not, so you don’t have to worry about what happens when one of those water bottles leaks.
9. Madison & Dakota Reversible Sequin Glitter Backpack
It doesn’t get more glam than this glitter backpack that boasts reversible sequins, but this bag offers way more than just sparkles. We love the large dimensions, spacious pocket-filled interior and easy-to-wipe material. (Because who hasn’t endured a yogurt explosion?)
10. SkipHop Zoo Activity Animal Backpack
Cute, small and comfy, the SkipHop backpack is a popular choice for parents who want their toddlers to tote their own snacks to and from the playground. Reviewers also rave about the material, which is ultra durable and doesn’t tear or scuff, meaning it can even survive a sidewalk temper tantrum.
11. Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage
There’s nothing cool about back pain. Whether your child is carrying around too heavy a load or just doesn’t want to wear something on her shoulders all day, this rolling option is a solid alternative. The multiple exterior pockets provide easy access to school supplies, snacks and everything else, and the cute kid-friendly designs and carry-on size also make it a good choice for travel.
12. DeMarini Voodoo Rebirth Backpack
Got a lot of extracurricular sports lined up? This is the backpack for your little athlete. Sweaty soccer cleats can be tucked into the vented shoe compartment, helmets and gym clothes can be stored in the spacious main compartment, and baseball bats can be slipped into the two neoprene bat sleeves. Padded shoulder straps and back panels offer an answer to the question, “How on earth can I comfortably carry all this equipment?”
13. HotStyle Trendy Max Galaxy Backpack
If you’re the parent of a disorganized kid (wait, there are organized kids?), this product might solve a lot of problems. It has pockets galore for things like a laptop, phone and water bottle.
14. Champion Kids’ Little Youthquake Backpack
Classic sleek design combines with high functionality in this straightforward backpack, which is full-sized but still fits young elementary school kids comfortably. Strong zippers and high-quality construction ensure that this favorite will last, so pick a color combo he won’t tire of by January.