In this article:
- Ready to choose the best backpacks for your kids?
- Our top picks for kids backpacks
- Best backpacks for preschool/kindergarten
- Best backpacks for elementary school
- Best backpacks for middle school, teenagers, and beyond
- Best casual backpacks for every day
- Best backpacks for laptop
- Best lightweight backpacks
- Related Article to Best Backpacks for Kids
- Conclusion: The Best Backpacks for Your Kids
- The Best Backpacks for Kids – from Kindergarten, Elementary, and Beyond
Ready to choose the best backpacks for your kids?
Backpacks are not just another school supply for the kids. It is more than that.
School backpacks are becoming part of their personality. It’s a way to show off their favorite cartoon characters, favorite colors, or personal style.
And if you’re looking for a way to save money for your back-to-school shopping, I’d suggest to choose a quality sets for backpacks, lunchbox, and water bottle.
Because those three are the school gears which take the most of daily use by the kids. When you choose wisely, you could own ones which last longer over the years and not breaking apart easily.
For choosing the best backpacks for kids, here’s my previous article on 12 tips of school backpacks buying guide.
Our top picks for kids backpacks
In this article I’ve rounded up some of best favorite for different categories;
- best backpacks for kindergarten
- best backpacks for elementary
- best backpacks for middle school
- best casual backpacks for every day use
- best laptop backpacks
✅ This is the favorite for toddler backpacks, best for kindergarten.
This SkipHop collection is parents’ favorite with more than 3800 5-star reviews!
✅ This one is best seller for laptop backpacks. Suitable for middle & high schoolers, and college students.
✅ Our top pick for best value classic casual school backpack.
Perfect alternative for tweens/teens who prefer a simple, non-bulky option. Some even compared this as a budget-friendlier version of a JanSport backpack, but still roomy enough and with 7 pockets! Check out the 7 colors option and more top reviews here.
Best backpacks for preschool/kindergarten
Top pick: SkipHop Zoo Collection toddler backpack.
What kids and parents love the most about this backpack are the whimsical, charming, bright colored animal faces!
With one side pocket for water bottle or juice box, 1 front zipper compartment for snacks and a mesh pocket for crayons, and one main zipper compartment for books, lunchbox, or diapers & change cloth.
Parents also love that it’s still under $20 and made of durable canvas material on the outside with easy clean lining.
Yes there are some other toddler backpacks with cheaper price but sometimes they’re either without another lining material inside (tends to unravel quickly), or it’s made of felt/fuzzy materials (which might be cute but would easily get dirty or wet).
Runner up: Wildkin 12 inch Backpack
PS: Wildkin’s backpacks range comes in 3 different sizes, 12-inch, 15-inch (with one side pocket and 2 zipper compartments), 16-inch (with 2 side pockets and 2 zipper compartments), and 17-inch (2 side pockets and three zipper compartments!).
Tips for choosing preschool/kindergarten backpack:
Both 12-inch backpacks are suitable for toddler age, day care, preK, until Kindergarten. But do note that a standard file folder do not fit well in them. Especially since the top part is in curved shape.
If your kids need to bring along a file folders to and forth, I’d suggest get a 14 or 15-inch backpacks instead.
Best backpacks for elementary school
Top pick: LL Bean Original Book Pack
This is their legendary original backpack since it’s introduced in 1982. And with durability quality people have known since then!
What I love:
- Front pocket with built-in organizational compartments for keys, 2 pen pockets, a small zipper pocket, and a slip pocket for small notebook or wallet and the likes.
- Durable weatherproof nylon materials.
- Reflective strip in front, for extra visibility measures when the wearer walked in the dark.
Available in solid color combo and prints (usually there’re new colors/prints released each year). See all colors and prints options here.
Do note that price might vary depending on the color/prints.
Runner up: HotStyle Trendymax Galaxy Backpack
What I love:
- LOTS of prints to choose from! Their popular best seller is the galaxy prints. Perfect for boys & girls who are into anything astronomy. “It’s like carrying the Galaxy on my back.”
- It lends itself to a leaner shape compared to the bulkier LL Bean backpacks, for those who’d prefer a classy casual looking backpack.
- It has a “secret” zipper pocket at the back panel, perfect to store a mobile phone or wallet for extra easy reach.
PS: They have about 15 bright cute prints to choose, from Lego blocks to floral prints! See all prints options here.
Best backpacks for middle school, teenagers, and beyond
Honestly choosing a backpack for this age group is not that direct.
Some might choose school bags that can hold TONS of their textbooks, gadgets, and stationery. While others might only want to use a simple casual backpack to carry around for classes, soccer games, play at the park, hangout with friends, without the bulk.
So make sure you check out also under “Best casual backpacks” and “Best laptop backpacks” if they might prefer something else.
Onto the picks…..
Top pick: LL Bean Deluxe Book Pack
The big brother of the Original Bookpack, this is bigger (17 inch in height) and packs a LOT more compartments!
What I love:
- 2 main zipper compartments, 1 big organizational pockets, and 1 more zipper pocket at the very front.
- The biggest compartment has a padded gadget sleeve.
- 2 elasticized mesh side pockets.
- It has waist strap, to help distribute the load to your body instead of only on the shoulders.
Runner up: Under Armour Hustle 3.0
What I love:
- Lightweight and water resistant.
- More boys and unisex looks, sporty options, among tons of girl prints in bags world.
- Compartments (can’t you tell by now that I’m crazy about pockets??). This has 2 main zipper compartments, 1 quick-stash front zip pocket, and..
- It has a large gusseted pocket for laundry/shoes at the bottom of the bag!
2nd Runner up: Himawari School Waterproof Backpack
What I love:
- The feminine classy picks, with 37 color combo you can choose from!
- Waterproof nylon materials.
- Surprisingly has a lot of compartments on the inside (2 zipper pockets, 2 slip pockets, 2 elasticized inside pockets), with laptop sleeve too!
- Also 1 front pockets, and 2 side pockets on the outside. Not your usual fashion backpacks.
Best casual backpacks for every day
Top pick: AmazonBasics Classic School Backpack
Amazonbasics now has backpacks, and they’re surprisingly well made, functional although seemingly basic backpacks that get the job done!
This has over 1.7k reviews with average 4.4 stars out of 5. Some also mentioned this is totally comparable to Jansport or Herschel backpacks with a fraction of the cost.
“Great bang for the buck!”
What I love:
- The 2 side pockets has velcro, so if you use it to keep small items they can be kept securely inside.
- The main compartments has 1 large zipper compartment at the back, a gadget sleeve (lightly padded, can fit up to 13 inch laptop), 2 slip pockets & 2 pen pockets on the front flap. Plus one zipper pocket in front.
- Simple minimalist look, which can be personalized with badges, pins, or you can even draw/paint on it.
- Very budget-friendly price for $18!
Runner Up: Vaschy Unisex Classic School Backpacks
If you prefer something classic, minimalist, sleek looking backpack, check out this Vaschy Unisex Classic School Backpack.
What I love:
- Slimmer than average canvas backpack with 5.5 inches in width with overall sleek silhouette.
- Water resistant, durable polyester material.
- With gadget sleeve that can fit up to 15 inch laptop, 2 zipper pockets & 2 slip pockets inside, 2 side pockets, 1 front zipper pocket, and an earphones port on top.
Best backpacks for laptop
Top pick: Mancro Laptop / School Backpack
With more than 6600 rave reviews in Amazon, this is best of both worlds, with 10+ compartments for easy organization but still so sleek without being too bulky backpack to tote around.
Best laptop backpack: Mancro BackpackIt comes in 2 sizes to choose from, the smaller one can fit 15 inch laptop (and available in 7 colors), while the bigger one can fit 17 inch laptop.
What I love:
- Chock-full of compartments! The main compartment has laptop sleeve and a zipper pocket. The 2nd zipper compartment has 3 slip pockets and 2 pen pockets. And another front zipper pocket. And 2 side pockets.
- The side pockets has buckle strap to secure your water bottle or umbrella, and also a snap button to keep it shut if you store small items.
- Built-in USB port.
- It also comes with a lock.
One of the best seller under laptop backpack category and also best seller for middle/high school backpacks, this just shows how versatile this pack is!
What I love:
- Has more than 20 color combo and prints to suit your style.
- Lightweight but durable material.
- Has tons of compartments, also several buckles to attach additional gears when needed.
- Padded shoulder straps with unique “suspension system” that helps to absorb the shock when it’s fully loaded.
High Sierra Loop vs Swerve
Why I choose 2 types in this pick?
The High Sierra Loop backpacks are their most popular backpack for “laptop backpack” and “middle school / high school backpack”. So yes people use this to carry their laptop too.
But, it’s actually not fully padded for a laptop. The Loop backpack has a tablet sleeve in the 2nd largest compartment, but the main compartment are not padded enough for a laptop.
While the High Sierra Swerve backpack is meant for carrying around up to 17 inch laptop in it.
The main compartment has a fully padded laptop sleeve, and it STILL has a separate compartment for a tablet sleeve! The bottom panel is also more padded than the Loop backpack.
The drawback is just, the Swerve is understandably bulkier than the Loop backpack.
Both has adjustable side and bottom compression straps to make the contents snug inside when it’s not fully filled up.
So, if you just need to carry an iPad or other tablet, but not so much of a big laptop, go with High Sierra Loop backpack. But if you need to carry your laptop in most of your days, choose the Swerve.
Best lightweight backpacks
Top pick: HIKPRO 20L
What I like:
- Lightweight and foldable into a small pack (!) that you can tuck inside your luggage or your carry-on bags.
- Budget friendly (about $16 at Amazon) while still fully functional as a daypack.
- It even has two side mesh pockets for your water bottle and umbrella.
Runner up: Osprey Daylite Daypack
This is actually meant for a hiking backpack, so it has more support compared to others lightweight foldable backpack.
What I love:
- It has chest strap AND waist strap.
- Lightweight, but this still has a padded back panel, a little more like a frame for support.
Related Article to Best Backpacks for Kids
For choosing the best backpacks for kids, I previously shared my 12 tips for you to consider when doing your back-to-school shopping.
Conclusion: The Best Backpacks for Your Kids
With the 6 different categories (and 12 picks) above, I hope you can find something that suit you and your kids!
Don’t just settle for a “cute backpack”.
Even when a manufacturer offers refund/replacement warranty when your bag broke, but it’s not so fun to have to send back and wait for the turnaround time, while you would NEED the bag for school the next day.
So do your due diligence, choose wisely, check on store or see what people said online. And have fun choosing the colors or prints!
The Best Backpacks for Kids – from Kindergarten, Elementary, and Beyond
Have another favorite bag you’d recommend? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear what your pick is!
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