Another year means the best kids backpacks round up. This is my 4th year rounding these up my favorite backpacks, and I am SO EXCITED about the options I found this year!
This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated in August 2021
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Best Kids Backpacks
I am a mama to 4 kids – this year I am sending kids to 3rd grade, 1st grade, and pre-k. I have gotten the kids so many different backpacks over the years, and feel like I have learned through trial and error what is the best and what is needed.
So what constitutes the best kids backpacks?
There are a few things I look at when it comes to backpacks for kids. One of them is Size – For younger kids – a smaller size that is both big enough to be useful, while also being small enough for them to handle on their own is HUGE.
As kids get into older grades (think first grade and up) a larger size that can hold books, folders, and such is more helpful. They can typically handle the backpack being larger. I will talk through what ages I find each one in todays round up to be best for.
I also ALWAYS look for at least one outside water bottle pocket. I feel like that is of HUGE importance for kids of all ages, and I basically won’t consider a backpack without it. I tend to think the backpacks that have those pockets with elastic on them tend to be the best.
Pockets – I also am a huge fan of at least 2 pockets in a backpack. I love to have the small front pocket for things like my sons epi-pen that I don’t want in his larger pocket.
Last – there are other features that can be helpful but you have to weigh your situation – IE – some allow you to hook your lunchbox to the outside. That is incredibly helpful for some, and for other kids they will never use the feature. Some backpacks also have a tablet or laptop sleeve inside – pending your kids situation that might be very helpful.
Fashion with Function
Honestly – how they look and how they function matter a ton to me. I LOVE my kids backpacks to both be cute and functional. I have to look at them daily, so I try to work with my kids to find an option that they will love and will fit their personality, while also not hating it myself.
This years round ups were PERFECT for suiting both aspects of things, and I think as a mom you are going to love what I found.
Biggest Things to Pay Attention To
As moms we all have different wants and needs. We all handle school differently – IE – do you send cold lunch, or do your kids eat hot lunch?
That said – for me the biggest things I look at in terms of backpacks are: High quality – I don’t need zippers breaking on a kindergarten backpack after a week because they can’t handle the little hands.
Water Bottle slots – I tend to gravitate towards backpacks with the water bottle slots on the side that are elastic but no matter what I think them existing is really important.
Large enough for a folder – If a folder can’t fit then it is likely not big enough for kindergarten and above.
Cute – I tend to go simple, but I do like to let me kids help pick.
Lunch Box Clips – This isn’t a deal breaker but there are several brands that have methods do attach their lunch boxes on the outside so that they don’t take up space inside their bags, and I LOVE THAT.
Below is my round up of the best kids backpacks for this year! I hope you love them and you and your kids find something that makes both of you happy!
Shop the Best Kids Backpacks Below
- Wanderwild Lunchboxes – We used these as one of the kids lunchbox options last year. They can be wiped clean which was HUGE
- Pack-it Lunchbox – comes in several prints and you can freeze the lunchbox itself instead of packing a separate freezer pack.
- Bentgo – I LOVE our Bentgo Boxes and seriously think they are a NEED for school so I assume this brand lunch box works great with them.
- Pink State Lunchbox – we have had state brand bags for years and love the brand
- Gold Lunch box – same as the above
- Fajallraven bags – we have these for each of our kids (and myself) as our travel backpacks and I LOVE THEM.
- Lego backpack. – this is the backpack my 8 year old has and it has held up great and works great for all he needs.
- Unicorn Wanderwild – this is our second year having this style backpack from Wanderwild. They attach to the lunch boxes and are so cute. The floral one in the photos held up well as well.
- Blue Wanderwild backpack – My oldest started his year with this backpack last year and it is amazing. it holds a ton and was really comfortable.
- Colorblock – this is on the smaller side so is likely better for first grade under.
- Pottery Barn Super Hero bag – my younest son has this. I would say when getting the PB bags get the larger size for kinder and up!
- Princess backpack – this is the same as above for the size
- Coral Mongogram bag – this is so cute and classic.
- Gold – we had a gold backpack years ago for my daughter and I think they are so cute.
- Striped State bag – this is at a lower price due to their collar with Target. I love STATE bags and think this one is a great option.
- Carhart bag – classic and simple.
- Floral rainbows – everything we own from this brand is beyond amazing
- Light blue – everyone raves about this brand
- Rocket – BEYOND cute
- Pink and yellow – this is so cute
- Adidas – Classic and comes in so many colors
- Yellow – obsessed with this one
- Black and marble – this is so cute and really affordable
- Green floral – this is so classic and pretty
- Stars – SO CUTE.
- Fuzzy Blue – This is SO cute
- Puffer – this comes in ‘boy’ colors too
- Unicorn lunchbox – I love this print
- Baseball lunchbox
- Bright fun backpack – this is so fun
My Number 1 Mom lunch box suggestion to go with any and all of this is to get this Bengto – we use it every single day. I don’t get fancy but it makes it easy to pack lunches with no baggies.
Other Posts You’ll Love
Hopefully now you have a great idea for a backpack, but if not – I also have another backpack post linked below that has more great options for kids! So be sure you check that out too. I am also linking to some other posts that might help get you school ready this year!
Pin the Photo Below for Later
If you have any trouble finding the best kids backpacks always feel free to DM via Instagram (@arinsolange) or comment below, and best of luck to you parents and your children as they start a new year of school!