10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (2024)

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (1)

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Out of all of the

school supplies you purchase at the start of the year, your kid's backpack is probably the one item put through the wringer the most. From lugging heavy textbooks to and from school to enduring leaky lunchboxes, your little student's backpack has to be durable if it's going to last.

From pre-K to high school teen backpacks and beyond, our best kids' backpack selections are full of personality and designed to take on all of the rough-and-tumble fun along the way.

Best Kids' Backpacks

How We Tested

All of the backpacks on this list have been personally tested by either my own children or the children of those around me. Not all of them have first-person photography — like the L.L. Bean design—because the bag in question has been used for so long that the colorway is no longer available — a true testament to the value of that bag. We put these packs through their paces, letting children do what children do and make their best attempt at destroying them.

Mind you, we test bags year-round so that we can see how they perform in different conditions. The only bag on this list that has had a shorter duration of testing is from the brand LoungeFly, and I'm confident that I can recommend it with a month of testing only because I have tested so many similar bags from the brand.

Read on below for the best kids' backpacks you can buy right now.

1

Best Overall

State Kane Kids Large

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (3)

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (4)

Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (5)Great organization
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (6)Easy to clean
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (7)Large storage capacity
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (8)Comes in multiple sizes
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (9)Colors do fade a bit over time

Organization is where State thrives. The inside is divided into separate filing areas, plus a laptop sleeve. The filing area in the front section has multiple pockets for everything from pens to electronics to phones and IDs.

The shell is durable and made from post-consumer material, which is such an important note. After speaking with the founder of the company, I am heartened to hear about how committed State is to giving back to communities in need, reducing their carbon footprint, and ensuring that the employees who make these bags are treated well.

My daughter is currently testing a different (upcoming) new colorway of this State bag right now, and while normally she is anxious to return to her normal bag, this time? Not so much. Aside from its looks, she loves this backpack because it helps keep all the *things* organized — and she's not alone. One parent of a user of this backpack told me that she's never seen her kid so organized before, and I second that.

More: Tiny Backpacks That Are Just as Cute as Your Pre-K Tot

Key Specs

AgeFor the large, 9 and up
SizeFor the large, 17 x 13 x 7.5 inches
MaterialsPolyester

2

Best Budget

Bentgo 2-in-1 Backpack & Insulated Lunch Bag

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (10)

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (11)

Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (12)Tons of fun patterns
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (13)Comfortably holds lunch boxes
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (14)Kids may grow out of patterns fast

I'm a huge fan of Bento lunch boxes, so I was thrilled when I found out they started making backpacks. The same durable quality that the insulated lunch bags have is seen in their sturdy, cute backpacks. This really is the best backpack bundle because it happens to come with the lunch bag as well, making it a stellar deal for under $35.

I love that the bottom of the bag unzips for your bento box. I was worried it would be too jostled, but having used it several times and our tester really put it through its paces, I can tell you it's a fantastic innovation.

Key Specs

Age5 and up
Size16.5 x 11 x 7.5 inches
MaterialsPolyester
Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (17)Durable
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (18)Great organization
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (19)Washes like a dream
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (20)Kind of dull

This bag is practically indestructible. It's made to take on the rigors of everyday life as well as outdoor stressors. Simply put, if you have a kid who is hard on their stuff (read: most kids), and you want them to be able to not only grow into their backpack but also keep it for several years, you want the chrome.

It has space for a 15-inch laptop, tons of org pockets, an interior water bottle pocket, and a roller bag handle pass-through on the back that makes for easy travel.

It's made of 100% recycled materials, and PFAS-free. Kids love the side-access pouch for things they need to grab often, like pencils, tablets, and scissors. Parents like that even if they are storing their scissors in a terrible location, it's not ripping through the bag.

Key Specs

Age8 and up
Size17.5 x 9.5 x 7 inches
MaterialsRecycled rip-stop nylon and poly

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4

Best Molded Bag

Kiddie Totes Car Backpack

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10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (22)

Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (23)Fun shape
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (24)Easy for kids to open
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (25)Size limitations

This backpack came specifically recommended by my 3-year-old nephew who loves his "wightning magween" bag and takes it absolutely everywhere.

It's definitely a toddler and preschooler bag, but it holds plenty for its size. In fact, it's pretty incredible how chock-full of stuff the little dudeling gets his bag. It's somewhere between a hard shell bag and a soft shell bag, with a really cool molded exterior, soft interior, and really plush straps made to be handled by rambunctious little ones.

Key Specs

Age2-5
Size11 x 5 x 10 inches
MaterialsNylon and PVC-free plastic

5

Best Messenger Bag

Loungefly Collectiv Star Wars Rebel Laptop Bag

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (26)

Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (27)Perfect size for most kids
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (28)Easy to clean
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (29)The interior does stain

The minute I saw little kids wearing more crossbody bags, I knew that I had to feature one on this list. What better way to do that than with a Star Wars bag? Kids can be perfect little sci-fi business folk with this bag. They can also toss it around as you expect and they won't make it unusable.

The bag is undoubtedly precious, but what sets it apart is that it is the perfect size for a kid or teen's crossbody bag. It's not huge, but it's big enough to hold everything it needs to, including a 15-inch laptop, and more.

It has a molded quality without the stiffness of a molded bag, holding its shape without compromising on comfort at all. The strap is easy to adjust, and the two top handles are the perfect size for kids 7 and up.

Key Specs

Age7 and up
Size12.46 x 6 x 8 inches
MaterialsPolyurethane
Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (32)Durable
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (33)Lots of color options
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (34)Trendy, reliable brand
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (35)Light on organization

My daughter has had this backpack (in pink) for fully 5 years, and while it is now quite possibly the dirtiest bag on planet Earth because she will not let me wash it, it is still in great shape other than the relative filth.

It's a fairly basic backpack, but it is well-priced, rugged, and a popular brand for kids, tweens, and teens. If your kid has a more lackadaisical style of organization, or if they're Team Folders, this simple bag made of 100% recycled materials may be the best choice for them.

Key Specs

Age7 and up
Size6 x 12 x 16.5 inches
Materials100% recycled polyester and nylon

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7

Best for Travelers

Beis The Kids Backpack

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10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (37)

Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (38)Doubles as a fanny pack
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (39)Ample storage
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (40)Great preschool size
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (41)Plastic zip can get gunked up

Where to begin with this bag? For starters, it's designed for more than just school trips. It has ample storage for that, of course, but it also has a trolley handle and a detachable fanny pack on the front.

The poly blend is durable and water-resistant, and I can't get over just how bright the points of reflection on the bag are. Plus, the two water bottle pouches are deep, and the elastic fits snugly. It's distinctive and fun, but more than that, it's useful.

Key Specs

Age4 and up
Size14.75 x 10.25 x 6 inches
MaterialsNylon and Poly

8

Best for Young Kids

Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Glow-in-the-Dark Backpack

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (42)

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (43)

Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (44)Tons of fun patterns
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (45)Really durable
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (46)Kids may age out of patterns

With backpack sizes available for pre-K all the way up to incoming high schoolers, you can choose the version of the Mackenzie bag that best fits your kid's workload.

Constructed of 600-denier, water-resistant polyester, the bag includes ample storage options, plus external straps for attaching their lunch box to it. Your kid will be delightfully surprised when they turn off the lights and see that their solar system backpack is glow-in-the-dark and looks like an illuminated night sky.

I have now tested multiple Pottery Barn Kids bags, and they've all performed really well. In fact, my son's bag from fifth grade still looks great, and he continues to use it for travel, and he's in high school now. There's also a new print available of this backpack, and we're big fans! The Roller Rabbit turquoise monkey pattern is as goofy and cute as you're expecting, with the same durable quality and excellent organization.

Key Specs

Age5 and up
Size17 x 13.5 x 4.75 inches
MaterialsRecycled poly

9

Best Personalized Backpack

L.L.Bean Deluxe Book Pack

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10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (48)

Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (49)Monogrammable
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (50)Great organization
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (51)Straps could be longer

Between nightly homework, school projects, and those super heavy textbooks, your kid needs a durable backpack that will take them through the entire school year and into the next one. Kids frequently use one L.L. Bean bag the whole way through elementary school. I know that I did.

This L.L.Bean Deluxe pick is a crowd favorite because it has room to fit every school supply on that endless list (Trapper Keeper, we see you), and it's made of premium materials to ensure that it won't fall apart.

Plus, these backpacks are super fun to monogram with your kids' initials.

Key Specs

Age5 and up
Size17 x 13 x 9.5 inches
Materials420-Denier Nylon

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10

Best for College

Fjallraven Kånken Navy One Size

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (52)

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (53)

Pros
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (54)Very durable
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (55)Super popular and stylish
Cons
  • 10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (56)No cushion on straps

If your teen is social media-obsessed, they are likely fiending for this backpack. The TikTok-viral book bag is super on-trend, but it's also a practical option that your high schooler will actually want to carry. The innovative material, vinylon F, is resistant to dirt, water, and your teen's rough handling.

It's a great transitional bag that will take them from high school all the way to college and beyond. My tester took it backpacking through Kenya and then Ethiopia, and then Europe, and it's still going strong.

Key Specs

Age13 and up
Size14.5 x 10.75 x 4 inches
MaterialsVinylon F

Safety Tips

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (57)

Backpacks are an essential tool for your kids, but they can be uncomfortable and can even cause extreme discomfort. Since no child should experience pain, I spoke with an expert about what should be considered when buying kids' backpacks. I contacted Samantha Ewing, PT, DPT, SC of the Warren Center in Texas. She tells Best Products that, first off, "A lot of people out there will say the goal of backpack weight is to keep it under 15% of body weight — and while I think that's a great goal to aim for, I know it’s not always realistic."

To mitigate any issues that may come from a heavier pack, Ewing says that you need to evaluate the backpack size for kids, noting that "we want to make sure their backpack is proportional to their body size. The backpack shouldn’t be wider than your child and can go just a little past the belly button but shouldn’t go below their hips." Also, if possible, your child should use the chest or waist straps that come with the backpack to help distribute weight evenly.

Worried your kid is struggling with their backpack? Ewing says that there are a few signs that you can look for to weigh in on that (see what we did there?). If your child's backpack is always falling off, if they're constantly leaning forward to prop the bag up, if the pack is hitting their legs, or if they're complaining about it, their backpack is just not cutting it. Thankfully, Ewing says, "Our bodies are very adaptable and are able to be strengthened to bear the load of a heavy backpack, so there's no reason to be concerned about the lasting damage a heavy backpack can cause."

What to Consider

10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (58)

Other than looking at the safety aspect of kids' backpacks, there's a few things you really need to think about before you purchase one. Those are the age of the child, the size of the bag, and what it's made from.

  • Age of the Kids: Kids, unfortunately need different backpacks for different ages and stages. It can get costly. But if you get a great backpack for their toddler years, then young elementary, after that, they can use the same bag through middle and high school.
  • Size of the Bag: Fit the bag to the kid, as Ewing noted above. Your 4-foot zilch 5 year old isn't going to benefit from a 20 L bag.
  • Materials: In this, you're looking for durable materials like nylon and polyester, but polyurethane and plastics may also be used. You want it to be able to stand the rigors of childhood.

    If you follow all of this, I swear, you will find the backpack of your kids' dreams.
10 Best Kids’ Backpacks Designed to Keep up With Your Kiddos All School Year (2024)

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