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The Best Kids Backpacks for School -Back to school

Preparing for back to school involves ensuring that your child possesses an age-appropriate backpack. This means selecting a backpack with sufficient space to accommodate all their school supplies while avoiding excessive size. Moreover, the backpack should exhibit durability to withstand daily use, boast a stylish design to appeal to your child's preferences, and fit into your budget, given the cumulative costs of essential school items. In our assessment of children's backpacks, we scrutinize a range of factors including sturdiness, comfort, aesthetics, and organizational elements. Additionally, we employ a consistent packing standard tailored to specific age categories to verify the capacity of each backpack to accommodate school essentials. The selection of backpacks showcased here comprises those that have excelled in testing, encompassing both established styles and novel or popular models that offer distinctive attributes and have garnered enthusiastic feedback.

For a more comprehensive understanding of our backpack testing process and essential considerations while shopping, refer to the conclusion of this article. However, before delving into those details, here's a comprehensive guide to the finest backpacks suitable for children across all age groups.

Available in two size options, this design caters to different age groups: Small is suitable for kindergarten and early elementary stages, while Large accommodates ages 8 and above. Irrespective of the chosen size, the backpack features back padding to ensure comfort during wear. However, it lacks chest or waist clips that could provide extra support for carrying heavier loads. This design is offered in an assortment of colors tailored for both boys and girls, yet it is exclusively available in a geometric print pattern.

Featuring a substantial geometric print, this primary school girls' backpack offers ample storage: a primary pocket with a padded laptop compartment, three front pockets, and two side pockets. The geometric print design ensures your child's daily school supplies can be organized systematically, making them easy to locate.

For comfortable carrying, the backpack is equipped with widened and thickened breathable shoulder straps, a padded back panel, and a sponge decompression handle. These features minimize strain on your child's shoulders, back, and hands. Anticipate a joyful expression on your child's face upon receiving this geometric print backpack – that's my guarantee! This bookbag for teen girls not only accommodates their daily school necessities but also encourages exploration.

An ideal present for occasions like Christmas Day, New Year's Day, birthdays, or the start of the school year, this backpack comes with a lifetime warranty and comprehensive service assurance.

Dimensions: 12.99 x 9.44 x 18.89 inches, equivalent to 33 x 24 x 48 cm (L x W x H). This girls' backpack, suitable for ages 10-12, boasts an approximate capacity of 35 Liters.


  • Popular on Amazon

  • Costs notably less than other styles

  • Four storage compartments to stay organized


  • No chest or waist straps added

  • Very limited print options

Introducing the all-purpose day pack that not only allows you to showcase your unique style through its playful patterns or bold logos but also delivers practical features for your urban adventures.

Columbia's Day packs have consistently achieved remarkable ratings in our laboratory tests for individuals aged 13 to 18, owing to their design attributes that ensure versatility from middle school and high school right through college and beyond. Notably, these packs boast an ample capacity that surpasses that of other styles, coupled with robust fabric and commendable strap padding to ensure durability and comfort.

One standout feature we particularly admire is the abundance of compartments that aid students in maintaining organization, complemented by a padded laptop sleeve for added convenience. With a variety of color options available, teenagers can select their preferred style while sidestepping juvenile prints. The only aspect to note is the absence of additional support straps around the chest and waist.

Its flat, padded bottom not only offers protection but also ensures the backpack remains upright, facilitating easy access to your belongings.

This pack is tailored for the modern, always-connected individual, featuring a fully padded internal sleeve with a soft fleece lining designed specifically for 15” laptops. With an emphasis on organized storage, this bag boasts two generously-sized main compartments, ideal for securely housing large headphones, books, magazines, and more. Its cavernous 30-liter capacity encompasses convenient attributes, including a small zippered inner pocket, two front accessory pockets perfect for chargers, cables, and essential travel items, as well as two practical side sleeves for water bottles.

Crafted with Columbia's signature attention to detail, utilizing top-quality materials, expert craftsmanship, and durable stitching, this backpack guarantees a lasting impact. Prepare to enjoy its high functionality and style for seasons to come.


  • Spacious to hold a laptop, books, and more

  • Versatile to use as an adult

  • Good padding for comfort


  • No straps at the waist or chest

Bentgo's bento boxes and kids' lunch boxes have secured a spot as beloved choices for both parents and product experts at Good Housekeeping. Expanding its innovative offerings, the brand introduces a backpack designed to elevate school lunch convenience. This backpack incorporates a unique insulated zippered compartment located at the bottom, eliminating the need to carry an additional lunch bag and freeing up hands.

Moreover, this backpack doesn't fall short of the qualities of a top-tier backpack. It encompasses attributes such as contoured and padded shoulder straps, a supportive chest clip, and an array of generously-sized compartments. With a vibrant selection of over 10 delightful designs that harmonize with Bentgo's collections, this backpack is tailored to younger children's preferences.

The 2-in-1 Backpack merges the durability and spaciousness of a school or daycare bag with the added convenience of an insulated lunch bag. Constructed from premium, non-toxic fabric, this versatile bag is ideal for kids aged 5 and above. It boasts a roomy design, distinctive prints and colors, and a water-resistant exterior to prevent spills, simplifying the cleaning process. With generous compartments catering to tablets, laptops, and notebooks, along with integrated pockets for pens and pencils, it offers practical organization.

The side mesh pocket accommodates the Bentgo Water Bottle, while the bottom compartment unveils a double-insulated lunch bag section, perfect for securely storing the Bentgo Lunch Box, Bentgo Snack Container, and even Bentgo Buddies ice packs. Featuring a lightweight build and resilience, the Bentgo school bag ensures comfort with padded back and shoulder straps, a sturdy top handle for hanging, and a user-friendly rubber zipper pull. Part of the Bentgo Kids collection, it effortlessly matches coordinating lunch bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, and charmingly shaped ice packs.

Notably, each purchase serves a meaningful purpose, as Bentgo remains a dedicated supporter of Feed the Children, a nonprofit organization striving to alleviate hunger. With contributions totaling nearly $300,000 since 2017, Bentgo showcases its commitment to making a positive impact.


  • Built-in insulated section

  • Ergonomic and organizational features

  • Trendy prints for children


  • Lunch compartment may take space away from main compartment

JanSport holds the distinction of being an Amazon bestseller and stands as one of the most sought-after kids' backpack brands across the digital landscape. Despite its straightforward design, encompassing a solitary main compartment and lacking features like a laptop sleeve, water bottle pocket, or chest strap, this style garners immense popularity for its capaciousness, featherweight construct, and enduring versatility.

One noteworthy feature we particularly appreciate about this backpack is its extensive array of colors and prints, ensuring an option to suit every aesthetic preference. While it may not offer as many compartments as some alternatives, the front small pocket boasts an organizer that adeptly accommodates smaller essentials such as pens, keys, and a phone.

Experience enduring preparedness with the JanSport SuperBreak Backpack, your timeless companion. Combining functionality with a perpetually stylish flair, this backpack is perfectly sized to accommodate all your essentials. It's primed for any challenge, thanks to its robust 600 denier fabric that ensures strength, abrasion resistance, and water repellency. With dependable zippers and a coated interior, this compact backpack guarantees steadfast support.

Find ample space for your necessities in the well-proportioned main compartment, complemented by the front utility pocket featuring a built-in organizer for added convenience. Express your individuality through the understated, classic silhouette, available in an expansive range of over 30 colors and prints, suitable for all styles and genders.

Designed for comfort and ease, this backpack stands as a lightweight and reliable choice, always at the ready with its web haul handle. Ideal for everyday usage, the padded 15-inch drop shoulder straps ensure comfort during extended wear. Notably, this product is intended for individuals aged 13 years and older, making it a versatile option for a wide range of users.


  • Popular with rave reviews online

  • Lightweight and versatile

  • Lots of prints available


  • The brand isn't among the most durable in our tests

  • Lacks features found in other backpacks

This sought-after design by The North Face has consistently proven its excellence over a span of more than 10 years, leaving a lasting impression on both our experts and real users. It notably excelled in various domains, notably displaying its resilience during our Lab's comprehensive abrasion, water-resistance, and durability drop testing.

Featuring substantial padding for optimal comfort, a dedicated laptop compartment, and safety-enhancing reflective elements, this backpack emerges as a remarkable choice. Furthermore, its diverse color selection allows for personalization.

The backpack boasts a larger size, suitable for adults and older kids, making it a more fitting choice for high school and college attendees as opposed to younger grades. While its price tag leans towards the higher end, its technical attributes are of unparalleled quality.

Enhanced breathability is achieved through effective ventilation, and the inclusion of both waist and sternum straps (with an attached safety whistle) underscores its commitment to safety. Additionally, the compartments are fleece-lined for protection, safeguarding their contents effectively.


  • Popular for high school and college

  • Durable materials for long-term use

  • Comfortable padding and straps


  • Pricier than others

  • Not for younger kids

Tailored for toddlers and kindergarteners, this themed backpack offers an array of animal and character choices. Its compact size is perfectly suited to accommodate little bodies while maintaining dedicated compartments for snacks and essentials. Additionally, a top loop allows kids to hang it conveniently on their hooks.

Our team of product experts extensively tested this backpack with their own young children and observed the immense joy the toddlers experienced in proudly showcasing the characters at school or during outings. They also highlighted the remarkable comfort for small children to carry independently and the thoughtful zipper tabs that facilitate easy opening and closing of compartments, catering to little hands. Impressively, the backpack exhibited resilience as a hand-me-down, proving its durability through multiple children's use.

Crafted from polyester, this animal-themed backpack seamlessly blends charming details with sturdy materials, rendering it an ideal choice for all your on-the-go adventures. The mesh side pocket adapts effortlessly to accommodate a juice box, sippy cup, or water bottle, enhancing convenience. Padded straps ensure comfort and alleviate strain on little shoulders.

Designed for kids measuring 43 to 49 inches in height, the backpack offers a spacious main compartment, an insulated pouch for snacks, and an adjustable mesh pocket for bottles. The presence of padded, adjustable, and comfortable straps further adds to its appeal. Please note that colors and details may vary, and it's noteworthy that the backpack is phthalate-free, prioritizing safety.


  • Sized well for young kids

  • Plenty of character options

  • Easy-to-use zippers


  • Not as spacious

How do we test kid's backpacks

Our comprehensive evaluation process begins by categorizing the backpacks according to their intended age groups, considering differences in size, capacity, and various features. Our analysts then subject these backpacks to rigorous testing to assess durability, performance, and user-friendliness. The evaluation procedure encompasses several key aspects:

  1. Design Features: An in-depth examination is conducted to assess and rate design attributes such as shoulder and back padding, provisions for water bottles and electronic devices, the presence of shoulder and waist straps, and compartments for organization.

  2. Strap Padding: We measure the thickness of shoulder straps to ensure that there is adequate padding, effectively relieving stress on the upper body.

  3. Weight: Our analysts record the empty weight of each backpack to verify that the bag itself does not burden kids with unnecessary weight.

  4. Packing Test: By utilizing a standardized load tailored to each age group, our analysts pack each bag and assess its capacity to accommodate the complete assortment of items.

  5. Fabric Strength: We employ a specialized machine called an Instron to exert force on swatches of backpack fabric, gauging the material's resistance to breaking.

  6. Abrasion Resistance: Employing our abrasion machine, the backpack swatches are rubbed against a rough material 15,000 times, followed by visual inspection and scoring for any signs of damage.

  7. Water Resistance: Our laboratory experts employ a spray test method, which involves controlled pouring of water onto the fabric. The fabric's water resistance is then evaluated against a predefined visual standard to determine whether water penetration has occurred.

  8. Drop Test: After filling the backpack with a standardized weight to simulate a genuine load, the bag is mechanically dropped from a height of 3 feet. Subsequent inspections and scoring are carried out to assess any signs of damage. This process is repeated three times for a comprehensive evaluation.

Through this meticulous methodology, we ensure that each backpack undergoes thorough scrutiny, resulting in comprehensive insights into its quality and suitability.

How to shop for kid's backpacks

Shopping for kids' backpacks involves careful consideration to ensure that you choose a bag that is not only stylish but also functional, comfortable, and durable. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Assess Age and Size: Determine the age of the child who will be using the backpack. Younger kids may need smaller backpacks, while older kids might require larger ones to fit their school supplies comfortably.

  2. Consider Usage: Think about how the backpack will be used. Is it for school, daycare, sports, travel, or a combination? Different activities might require different features.

  3. Check Capacity: Ensure the backpack has enough space to hold books, notebooks, lunch, water bottles, and any other essentials. Look for compartments to keep items organized.

  4. Evaluate Comfort: Look for padded shoulder straps that distribute weight evenly and prevent discomfort. Adjustable straps ensure a proper fit, while padded back panels provide extra comfort.

  5. Inspect Build Quality: Examine the quality of materials and stitching. Durable fabrics and sturdy zippers are important for longevity, especially for kids who are active or carry heavy loads.

  6. Consider Style and Design: Kids often prefer backpacks with fun patterns, characters, or colors. Involve them in the decision-making process to ensure they love their backpack.

  7. Check Compartments: Look for multiple compartments to help keep items organized. Consider whether the backpack has a laptop sleeve, water bottle pockets, and smaller pockets for accessories.

  8. Weight of the Backpack: Empty weight matters, as kids don't want to carry a heavy backpack before even putting anything inside.

  9. Try It On: If possible, have the child try on the backpack to see if it fits comfortably and if the straps can be adjusted to the right length.

  10. Test Zippers and Closures: Ensure that zippers are smooth and easy for kids to open and close. Velcro or magnetic closures can be handy for younger kids.

  11. Check for Safety Features: Reflective strips or patches can enhance visibility, especially if the child will be walking or biking to school in low-light conditions.

  12. Water Resistance: A water-resistant or waterproof exterior can protect belongings from rain or spills.

  13. Read Reviews: Look for reviews from other parents or caregivers to get insights into the backpack's durability, comfort, and overall quality.

  14. Brand Reputation: Consider reputable brands that are known for producing high-quality backpacks.

  15. Price Consideration: Set a budget and try to find a backpack that meets your criteria within that range.

  16. Warranty and Return Policy: Check if the backpack comes with a warranty and understand the return policy in case you need to exchange or return it.

  17. Personalization: Some backpacks offer options for monogramming or customization, which can make the bag feel more special to the child.

By following these steps, you can make an informed decision when shopping for a kids' backpack that suits their needs and preferences while ensuring it lasts through their adventures.


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