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To find the best kids’ backpacks and the best backpacks for school, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for you and your family. We recommend that you favor backpacks with bright, kid-friendly designs and those that are made with durable and long-lasting materials. Make sure to also consider how much room is available in the backpack you are thinking of buying, as a roomy backpack can allow for storage of laptops and tablets, among other essential items. When buying a backpack for a kid, always look for a durable build, a fantastic design aesthetic, and plenty of room for toys and other items. The best bags for kids have all these features.
After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of products with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the Nike Kids’ Brasilia Backpack is the best kids backpack on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best bags on the market.
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Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the best school bags for primary school, thanks to comfortable padded shoulder straps, an ultra-durable polyester lining, and a large inner pocket that is perfect for laptops and tablets.
This Nike Kids’ Brasilia Backpack is an exceptional choice for younger students, as this backpack is made with a densely woven and durable polyester lining that should be able to survive whatever your child throws at it. We appreciated the padded shoulder straps, for comfort, and the secure inner pocket, which is perfect for laptops, tablets, and other necessary gadgets.
Though the design is iconic and available in multiple colors, the Nike swoosh logo may not be the right fit for all families. Additionally, this backpack is only available in one size, so be sure to do some measurements before making a purchase. If you’re a working professional you might also be interested in the best backpacks for work that’s right for you and your professional setup.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Great backpack for kids aged 4 to 8, with a gorgeous design aesthetic, availability in nearly a dozen colors, durable YKK zippers, and a useful integrated name tag.
This backpack is only available in a single size, which is suited for kids aged four to eight. Also, this backpack stays on the body via shoulder straps and does not feature chest straps of any kind. For a bag that offers a wide array of carrying options, check out one of the best duffle bags which has a number of D-rings that can integrate with shoulder straps and tie-downs.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: High-quality backpack with a robust feature set that includes a durable polyester enclosure, a vintage unisex aesthetic, and ergonomically designed pebbled zipper pulls.
The Herschel Settlement Backpack is of exceptional quality with a suite of enviable features, such as ergonomically designed pebble zipper pulls and exposed zippers that are built for ease-of-use. We admired the durable polyester enclosure and exterior, which adds a fair amount of security for kids as they go about their day. This backpack also boasts a retro-inspired unisex design that is available in nearly a dozen color options.
Though the polyester exterior offers some level of water-resistance, this backpack is not waterproof, so be careful outdoors in the rain. Additionally, the integrated laptop sleeve is built to handle smaller laptops, so anything with a screen larger than 13-inches wide likely will not fit. A better option in which 17-inch laptops can easily squeeze inside is the best laptop backpack.
Award: BEST DESIGN CHOICES
WHY WE LIKE IT: Perfect for design-conscious children, thanks to shipping in dozens of colors and designs, with availability in multiple sizes and features a front storage pocket for tablets and the like.
The Herschel Kids’ Heritage Backpack is available in dozens of colors and design options, suiting even the most finicky children. These designs are perfect for a boy backpack for school and a girl backpack for school. This bag is also available in a variety of sizes, with options to suit young kids to teenagers and beyond. We loved the attractive and durable striped liner and the front storage pocket, the latter being perfect for tablets and smaller laptops.
Though the front storage pocket is useful, this backpack does include fewer pockets throughout than many competing models. Also, this is not a waterproof or water-resistant backpack, so be careful during use. For your water-related activities, the best dry bag that is highly water-resistant is exactly what you need.
Award: BEST STORAGE CAPACITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: Great for kids who carry a lot of books and related items to and from school, as this backpack can easily accommodate more than 30lb, thanks to an integrated aluminum rod intended for easy transport.
The Tilami Kids Rolling Backpack is the best option for kids who carry an overwhelming amount of stuff to and from their classes, as this backpack boasts a large storage capacity and is built to be able to hold up to 30 pounds. This load-bearing backpack boasts a sturdy aluminum rod, for easy pull-along transport, and wheels along the bottom. The concealed pockets throughout the exterior are handy, as are the multiple colors and designs available for purchase.
Though this backpack is built to carry heavy loads, it is something of a heavy load itself, coming in at over four pounds. Additionally, this kids’ backpack is not machine washable and features very little water-resistance in general. For a machine washable option, check out the top best bags on the market today.
Award: BEST FOR SPORTS ENTHUSIASTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Designed from the ground up to suit kids who play after school sports, this backpack by Under Armour is water-resistant and can be placed in the washing machine for an easy clean.
The Under Armour Kids’ Storm Scrimmage Backpack is great for children who spend time playing sports after school, or during the weekends, as this backpack features the iconic Under Armour design, in addition to being water-resistant. In addition to being water-resistant, this backpack can be placed in the washing machine for an easy and ultra-thorough clean. We admired the soft-lined laptop sleeve and the comfortable padded shoulder straps.
Though this is a comfortable backpack, it is on the heavier side, clocking in at just over a pound. This model is also only available in a single size that is made to suit children above nine years of age. For more size options, have a look at 5 of the best sling bags that are fashionable and have adequate storage space.
Award: BEST FOR GAMERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Great option for kids who love gaming, as this backpack is available in numerous designs based on the popular game Fortnite, with each model featuring a durable polyester lining for protection.
This Fortnite Kids’ Multiplier Backpack is simply a fantastic choice for your children who love to while away the hours playing video games, as it comes in a variety of designs and colors that each pay homage to the popular game Fortnite. We admired the durable polyester lining and exterior, for protection against the elements, and the high-grade and easy-to-use zipper closure. The shoulder straps are also padded here, adding a level of comfort.
This is not the best washable backpack, however, as the design only allows for hand-washing, and not for being placed in the washing machine. Additionally, the Fortnite-themed design is extremely specific, and may not please kids who aren’t fans of the game. As for moms, there’s something unique in the best crossover bag, thanks to an ultra-stylish design and high-grade manufacture from premium Italian craft leather.
Award: BEST FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
WHY WE LIKE IT: Fantastic choice for young kids, from 3 to 6 years of age, thanks to a unique and colorful design aesthetic and a manufacturing process that is completely free from potentially harmful phthalates.
The Skip Hop Toddler Backpack is, as the name suggests, perfect for toddlers, thanks to the unique unicorn design and ultra-bright color scheme. We admired the easy-to-clean canvas exterior and the roomy inner compartment, the latter being perfect for the storage of toys and other necessary preschool supplies. This backpack has also been manufactured without the use of potentially harmful phthalates, which should cause some relief to some parents.
Though the design is striking, we wouldn’t recommend this backpack for kids who are finished with kindergarten, as this design skews quite young. Also, this backpack may be easy to wipe down and clean, thanks to the aforementioned canvas, but it cannot be placed in the washing machine. Students will be glad to know that the best college backpacks are machine washable, and offer some measure of water-resistance, just in case you get caught in the rain.
Award: BEST PERSONALIZED DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: This backpack by Pottery Barn can be personalized via a monogrammed name or message, in addition to boasting a retractable handle and rolling wheels for easy transport.
The Pottery Barn backpack is a great option for parents who want to ensure that the name of their child is present along the exterior of the backpack, as this model allows for monogramming a name or message. We admired the rolling design here, which features a retractable handle and rolling wheels for easy transport. This backpack also boasts reinforced exterior straps and a water-resistant polyester exterior, both of which add to the durability rating.
This backpack, however, is only available in a single size, so be sure to measure it up before purchasing it for a child in your life. Additionally, the color and design here may not suit all consumers. Most if not all of the best designer handbags will suit more consumers due to their varied features and choice of designs.
Award: BEST VALUE
WHY WE LIKE IT: Value-friendly backpack with a robust feature set that includes a light form factor, weighing just 10 ounces, while still offering a spacious inner compartment and a side water bottle pocket.
This Jansport kids backpack comes in at a value-conscious price while offering features in line with more expensive competitors, such as an incredibly light form factor, weighing just ten ounces. We admired the spacious amount of storage here, with the inner compartment boasting enough room for a laptop, and the side pocket for water bottles. This backpack is also available in nearly 20 colors and design options, suiting just about anyone.
Though the inner compartment of this Jansport backpack is indeed spacious, there is just one pocket along the exterior, which may not be enough for some students. Also, this model does not feature too much water-resistance, so it cannot be placed in washing machines for easy cleaning. Try the best commuter backpack that offers some level of water resistance and is machine washable too. For sporting activities, you should open our best gym bag guide.
To help narrow down to the above list, we thoroughly researched a wide range of backpacks for toddlers, young children, and kids of all ages. To that end, we liked brightly colored and uniquely designed backpacks that offer a fresh visual perspective, with bonus points awarded to models that were available in multiple colors and design options.
As for durability, we liked backpacks made from ultra-durable components, such as polyester, allowing for some degree of water-resistance. Fully waterproof backpacks were also appreciated, as this allows for machine washing, significantly streaming, and simplifying the cleaning process.
The storage offered with each backpack was also a prime consideration, as modern kids typically own a laptop or tablet of some kind, so we wanted to make sure they would easily fit inside. Finally, we liked backpacks with plenty of exterior and interior pockets, not just for tablets, but for water bottles, toys, and school supplies.
The best quality backpacks are generally made from high-grade materials, such as polyester and durable canvas. This means they are easy to clean and, often, can even be placed in the washing machine. Look for backpacks with hand-sewn seams and durable zippers.
The best backpacks for students and for school should boast generous inner compartments that can easily hold several textbooks, a laptop, and more. You’ll also want to ensure there are multiple exterior front pockets for smaller items, such as pens, smartphones, and notepads.
Choosing a school backpack can be a difficult decision. Make sure it meets your aesthetic standards and that it is durable enough, with padded straps, to last at least one full school year. You’ll also want to make sure that the backpack you purchase has plenty of space for a lunch box, laptops, textbooks, and other school supplies. The size of these backpacks will vary depending on if they are intended for elementary school, middle school, high school, or college.
High school students tend to use roomy backpacks that feature generously sized inner compartments that can easily accommodate a full-sized backpack. These older students also tend to like classic backpacks that are exceptionally durable and aesthetically-pleasing, with space for clothes and a water bottle.