Best Kids Backpacks of 2021

Updated
Children can carry their gear in style with the best kids’ backpacks.

A good backpack is an essential gear for your kid’s childhood, and it’s a purchase that often marks one of their first steps to independence.

Whether they are preparing for their first day of school or getting ready to venture out on a school trip, it’s a parent’s responsibility to equip them with the gear they need.

A backpack will be carrying around your child’s most important equipment, from lunchboxes to books, pens, and water bottles. You’ll want to make sure you select one that’s equipped to deal with the unpredictabilities of your little one’s life.

Our Top Picks

Image
Model
Compare the Best
Features
Product Image of the Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack, Navy/Tan, Classic 22L
Most Practical Backpack
Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack
  • Practical for school and work
  • Waterproof zipper
  • Laptop sleeve gives protection for valuables
Product Image of the JanSport SuperBreak One Backpack, Black
Best Multipurpose Backpack
JanSport Superbreak Backpack
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Sufficient back padding
  • More than 30 colors
Product Image of the Hunter Kids Original Backpack (Kids) Black One Size
Most Durable
Hunter Original Kids’ Backpack
  • Durable nylon material
  • Water-resistant
  • Suitably padded straps
Product Image of the Fjallraven, High Coast Trail 26, Green
Safest Backpack
Fjallraven High Coast Trail 26
  • Recycled water-proof nylon
  • Ergonomic
  • Reflective material detailing
Product Image of the Nike Kids' Brasilia Backpack, Kids' Backpack with Durable Design & Secure...
Coolest Backpack
Nike Brasilia Kids' Backpack
  • Affordable
  • Practical different pockets and compartments
  • Safe for your kid’s back
Product Image of the Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack - Black
Most Affordable Backpack
AmazonBasics School Backpack
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Several different compartments
Product Image of the Columbia Northern Pass Day Pack (Black)
The Versatility Award
Columbia Northern Pass Day Pack
  • Padded laptop sleeve
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Padded shoulder straps
Product Image of the Mochila Military Cool Mochila Military Cool Mini Army Green Backpack Water...
Most Eco-Friendly Backpack
Mochila Military Small Backpack
  • Durable, military-style material
  • Safety features
  • Great ease of use
Product Image of the Kipling Sanaa Wheeled Backpack (Hydrangea Pink)
Coolest Design
Kipling Luggage Sanaa Backpack
  • Small, sleek wheels for easy mobility
  • Water-resistant and durable material
  • Great for children of all ages
Product Image of the Herschel Retreat Backpack, Black/Black, Classic 19.5L
Sleekest Design
Herschel Retreat Backpack
  • Lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Drawcord closure

Finding the Best Kids Backpacks

Safety

When choosing the best kids’ backpacks, it’s easy to get lost in the array of colors and designs available. Your first instinct will be to go for the most eye-catching option or the one that has their child’s favorite cartoon character on it.

What you should be focusing on is finding a backpack that will offer the most benefits to your child’s health and safety.

A backpack with thin or non-adjustable straps won’t only be uncomfortable for your child — it may lead to nerve and circulation issues. This could present problems for a child, such as numbness, tingling sensations, or general weakness (1).

Be sure to opt for a backpack designed with wide, padded secure straps. Many are also made with compression straps, as well as chest and waist fastenings, to aid in weight distribution.

If possible, select a backpack with an identification tag. That will reduce the risk of theft or mix-ups.

A good backpack should also include reflective material. Being visible in the dark minimizes the risk of accidents.

Durability

One of the most important things to look for when purchasing a backpack is its robustness. The items going into it need to be protected and secure.

Ensure you pick out a durable backpack and stay away from those made from inferior material.

Compartments inside the backpack are essential to properly organize your child’s belongings and ensure that nothing valuable is damaged.

Select a machine washable backpack. Then it can easily be cleaned in the event of any spills — common in the case of messy kids.

Making informed choices like this will save you money in the long run.

Suitability

A backpack that suits your child’s shape, height, and size is crucial. A child’s backpack, when fully stuffed, should weigh no more than 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. This will prevent the backpack from pulling the child down or placing an excessive strain on their back.

Busy kids may be involved in a lot of extracurriculars. This will result in them often having to lug around different kinds of clothes or equipment.

It’s wise to invest in a backpack that will cater to this. Outer mesh pockets are great for carrying a water bottle to their after-school club. It avoids leaks on school books or clothes, which stay safe and dry inside the backpack.

Additionally, a backpack with a secure and proper laptop compartment will both protect the item and also aid in proper weight distribution when carrying these often heavy devices.


The Best Kids Backpacks of 2021

Let’s take a look at our shortlist of the 13 best kids’ backpacks.

1. Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack

Most Practical Backpack

Herschel is a well-known brand, and for a good reason. Through the years, their backpacks have proven to be reliable, durable, and practical.

Though the price may seem high, this backpack comes in a variety of colors and is well equipped for your kid to breeze through the school hallways, not only in style but in comfort too.

With dimensions of 17.5 inches by 11.75 inches, this backpack comes with multiple inside pockets and compartments and a 15-inch laptop sleeve. It’s ideal for books, gadgets, pencil cases, and everything else.

Herschel also equips it with waterproof zippers, as well as padding and fleecing inside. This backpack is durable and will protect your kid’s valuables.

PROS:
  • Practical for school and work.
  • Laptop sleeve gives protection for valuables.
  • Waterproof zipper.
  • A choice of different materials and colors available for this backpack.
CONS:
  • High price.
  • Does not come with an external water bottle compartment.

Additional Specs

Warranty Lifetime warranty
Dimensions 17.5 inches (H) x 11.7 inches (W) x 6 inches (D)
Age recommendation Grade school, high school kids
Waterproof Waterproof zipper detail
Material Polyester, synthetic leather

2. JanSport Superbreak Backpack

Best Multipurpose Backpack

At an affordable price, this JanSport backpack may be a great option for your kid.

The key is in its name: Superbreak. Its main selling point is its 600 Denier polyester material. This fabric is industrious and isn’t likely to fall apart any time soon.

If your kid has a hectic schedule darting from school to after-school clubs or trips, JanSport’s Superbreak backpack will support them through this.

It’s also equipped with a padded back panel and padded straps, boosting your kid’s comfort. The AAOS recommends these features for better weight distribution of the backpack on the back (2).

PROS:
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Sufficient back padding.
  • More than 30 colors.
  • Durable and long-lasting.
CONS:
  • The inside has only one compartment.
  • No padding or protection for laptops.

Additional Specs

Warranty Lifetime warranty
Dimensions 16.7 inches (H) x 13 inches (W) x 8.5 inches (D)
Age recommendation Grade school ages
Waterproof Water-resistant
Material Polyester

3. Hunter Original Kids’ Backpack

Most Durable

While Hunter Originals is best known for its stylish and durable Wellingtons, the brand has created a good backpack for younger kids.

Their creation is eye-catching and comes in a selection of different colors, such as pink, red, and black.

This backpack will help your youngster be properly equipped for school or days out adventuring.

Constructed with water-resistant nylon material, the contents of this backpack are protected through thick and thin.

Since nylon is more durable than polyester, this backpack is going to last and maybe your child’s best friend for years to come. Its well-padded straps aid comfort.

With a lot of room for carrying their possessions, Hunter has designed a backpack that can cram in a lot, while still being able to remain a suitable size for small kids.

PROS:
  • Durable nylon material.
  • Array of stylish colors.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Suitably padded straps.
CONS:
  • Lacks compression and chest straps.
  • Not suitable for older children.

Additional Specs

Warranty Two years
Dimensions 12.5 inches (H) x 9.5 inches (W) x 4 inches (D)
Age recommendation Small children
Waterproof Water-resistant
Material Nylon

4. Fjallraven High Coast Trail 26

Safest Backpack

The Fjällräven brand was founded by a Swedish entrepreneur who sought to create a company specializing in outdoor equipment — a desire stemming from his own bad experiences with backpacks as a kid. This backpack has been designed with practicality, safety, and comfort in mind.

This pick belongs to the High Coast range of the brand, which is named after the founder’s hometown. An area of waterways and mountains — this backpack has that in mind.

It’s constructed with recycled polyester, which guarantees durability. It also resists moisture with its G-1000 eco-fabric. This backpack is a safe option for your child — installed is a hidden security pocket containing a key-clip, as well as a whistle.

This backpack is going to have a long life. Its water-resistance and safety features will see your kid through all kinds of adventures.

PROS:
  • Recycled water-proof nylon.
  • Ergonomic.
  • Reflective material detailing.
CONS:
  • Only comes in two color choices.

Additional Specs

Warranty Two years
Dimensions 17 inches (H) x 11 inches (W) x 8.6 inches (D)
Age recommendation 6 to 9 years
Waterproof Yes
Material Polyamide, recycled nylon

5. Nike Brasilia Kids' Backpack

Coolest Backpack

Is your child into big brand names? If the answer is yes, this Nike Brasilia backpack may be the best option to keep you both happy.

Nike has kept its design simple for easy use, while still creating a backpack great for everyday carrying.

This backpack looks cool, sporting the famous brand name, and it comes in a few color choices. Its unique look will keep the wearer feeling stylish in the hallways.

This design boasts a generous amount of space for water bottles, lunch boxes, books, and more. The storage consists of the main compartment, mesh side pockets, and a front pocket for small items.

The bag is also fitted with adjustable shoulder straps and a padded back to prevent the risk of spinal injury and back pain.

PROS:
  • Affordable.
  • Practical different pockets and compartments.
  • Safe for your kid’s back.
CONS:
  • Only a few color choices.
  • Not suitable for machine washing.

Additional Specs

Warranty 60 days
Dimensions 12.9 inches (H) x 9.8cm inches (W) x 5.11 inches (D)
Age recommendation Young kids
Waterproof Everyday waterproof
Material Polyester

6. AmazonBasics Classic School Backpack

Most Affordable Backpack

If your kid needs a simple, practical bag to see them through a typical school day or outing, this is a good bet.

Its design is lightweight and easy to carry around. For extra safety and comfort, the shoulder straps are adjustable and padded.

Although it’s a simple design, this backpack has a spacious main compartment fitted with a zippered pocket, two water-bottle pockets, and a small zipped compartment on the front exterior, great for necessary school equipment

PROS:
  • Affordable.
  • Lightweight.
  • Has several different compartments.
CONS:
  • Does not appear to be waterproof.
  • Not as durable as some other brands.

Additional Specs

Warranty One year
Dimensions 15.8 inches (H) x 12.2 inches (W) x 6 inches (D)
Age recommendation Grade-school ages
Waterproof No
Material Polyester

7. Columbia Northern Pass Day Pack

The Versatility Award

Does your kid have a love for the outdoors? A desire to explore the wilderness? Or loves to carry a million and one things to school?

This versatile backpack will take care of it all. Its multipurpose design makes it a good option for the kid who does everything.

Its main compartment offers maximum space, while the array of different pockets and compartments makes for efficient organization.

It boasts two front pockets for little trinkets and essentials. Inside is fitted with a padded laptop sleeve, along with a side pocket for accessible water-bottle storage.

This backpack isn’t too big or too small You won’t have to worry about your youngster dragging a heavy load around.

PROS:
  • Many different compartments to organize belongings.
  • Padded laptop sleeve protects valuables.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Padded shoulder straps minimize back pain and strain.
CONS:
  • Lacks padding on the lower part of the shoulder straps.
  • Not the cheapest option.

Additional Specs

Warranty Yes
Dimensions 2.6 inches (D) x 17.7 inches (H) x 15.6 inches (W)
Age recommendation Elementary and middle schoolers
Waterproof Everyday waterproof
Material Polyester

8. Mochila Military Small Backpack

Most Eco-Friendly Backpack

This may be the most efficient, durable, and cool backpack, all at the same time.

With its adjustable drawstring closure and two hidden pockets, this backpack is safe and easy to use. To secure the bag, pull the drawstring closed, and then pull the second closure flap over the top. This helps to prevent theft.

The backpack is well kitted out with multiple compartments inside and out, so it has enough room for items such as iPads, books, pens, and other essentials. It is a good option for school.

The designers have chosen to give the backpack a military-style with a color choice of army green, khaki, or black.

It’s constructed with Oxford Waterproof Fabric material, so if your youngster is heading out on a school camping trip, or is a budding explorer, this could be a good choice for them.

PROS:
  • Durable, military-style material.
  • Safety features.
  • Great ease of use.
CONS:
  • Lacks chest or compression straps.

Additional Specs

Warranty Yes
Dimensions 11.8 inches (H) x 11.8 inches (W) x 7 inches (D)
Age recommendation 12 and up
Waterproof Water-resistant
Material Oxford material

9. Kipling Luggage Sanaa Wheeled Backpack

Backpack with the Coolest Design

Kipling has created an easy-to-use backpack that will do the heavy lifting for you. It’s equipped with the standard backpack straps and rolling wheels too.

If the owner has lots of books to carry or is suffering from back discomfort, they can choose to wheel their backpack through the school halls.

This innovative design removes the possibility of shoulder and back pain, while letting the user look cool too.

It’s fitted with water-resistant crinkle nylon, shoulder pads, and a telescopic handle.

The designers also had in mind convenience and functionality. They have installed mesh pockets for water bottle storage and an exterior flap pocket for easy access to essentials.

The array of compartments allows for an organized backpack, which will get your youngster through their day.

PROS:
  • Small, sleek wheels for easy mobility.
  • Water-resistant and durable material.
  • Great for children of all ages.
CONS:
  • Expensive.
  • Might be a trip hazard in the school hallways.

Additional Specs

Warranty One year
Dimensions 18.5 inches (H) x 12.5 inches (W) x 10.8 inches (D)
Age recommendation All ages
Waterproof Water-resistant
Material Nylon

10. Herschel Retreat Backpack

Backpack with the Sleekest Design

Are you looking for a backpack that is lightweight, practical, and holds a lot? This Herschel Retreat pick may be a good choice for you. This modern version of a traditional style is effortlessly cool and functional.

With its lightweight design using a drawstring closure and magnetic fastenings, it handles practicality and security subtly.

This pack also comes equipped with padded shoulders for a comfortable fit.

The backpack is fitted with a 15-inch laptop sleeve and is spacious inside.

Whether your kid has to haul a gym uniform to class, or must have their laptop on them, this backpack will suffice.

PROS:
  • Lightweight.
  • Stylish.
  • Padded shoulders.
CONS:
  • Not waterproof.
  • Pricey.

Additional Specs

Warranty Standard warranty
Dimensions 17 inches (H) x 12 inches (W) x 5.75 inches (D)
Age recommendation Middle-school to college
Waterproof No
Material Polyester, fleece

11. Dakine Youth Grom Backpack

Most Useful Backpack

Dakine is a well-known brand, and rightfully so. They design their backpacks to maximize practically and durability. This affordably-priced backpack could see your kid throughout the entire school year, whatever may come.

Designed with kids in mind, this backpack has multiple pockets and compartments for school essentials.

A bungee cord attachment on the exterior of the backpack is great for sneakers or outdoor equipment for after-school activities.

The safety whistle and reflective detailing ensure the safety of your kid when they are out and about. Plus, the 600-denier polyester material should ensure that this backpack will last.

PROS:
  • Extremely versatile.
  • Durable material.
  • Warranty.
CONS:
  • Not a big assortment of color options.
  • May be too big and bulky for younger kids.

Additional Specs

Warranty Limited lifetime warranty
Dimensions 16 inches (H) x 9.5 inches (W) x 6 inches (D)
Age recommendation All ages
Waterproof No
Material Polyester, nylon

12. Adidas Prime Backpack

Best Backpack for a Sporty Kid

While Adidas is mostly known for their sports gear, it has created this trendy backpack for your kid’s needs. With many color options and fresh designs, your kid will be well equipped to strut the school halls.

This backpack delivers practicality and ease. It is fitted with a padded laptop pocket and a main internal compartment, with as many as five outside pockets.

The pockets on the backpack’s exterior benefit the user by helping with the weight distribution. The designers have considered safety and have incorporated external reflective detailing.

It also has LoadSpring shoulder straps and a sporty silhouette.

PROS:
  • Reflective detailing for safety.
  • Numerous pockets for organization.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Durable.
CONS:
  • Lacks compression straps.

Additional Specs

Warranty Lifetime warranty
Dimensions 20.50 inches (H) x 14.50 inches (W) x 14.00 inches (D)
Age recommendation Middle school to college
Waterproof Water-resistant
Material Polyester

13. Oscaurt Anti-theft Travel Backpack

Best Backpack for the Modern World

Are you looking for a backpack to suit your kid’s daily adventures in the modern world? Oscaurt’s innovative backpack is fitted with a portable USB charging cable, so it may be a good bet.

For the mature kids who may often be traveling, this backpack is fitted with several safety designs, including a hidden zip and pocket, anti-cut fabric, and reflective detailing, great for keeping your kid and their valuables safe.

PROS:
  • Multiple safety features.
  • Waterproof.
  • Multiple compartments for organization.
  • Affordable price.
CONS:
  • May be too bulky for younger kids.

Additional Specs

Warranty No
Dimensions 17 inches (H) x 11 inches (W) x 5 inches (D)
Age recommendation All ages
Waterproof Yes
Material EVA

Kids Backpack Comparison Chart

Product Best Warranty Dimensions Age recommendation Waterproof Material
Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack Practical Backpack Lifetime 17.5″ (H) x 11.7″ (W) x 6″ (D) Grade school, high school kids Waterproof zipper detail Polyester, synthetic leather
JanSport Superbreak Backpack Multipurpose Lifetime 16.7″ (H) x 13″ (W) x 8.5″ (D) Grade school ages Water-resistant Polyester
Hunter Original Backpack Durable Two years 12.5″ (H) x 9.5″ (W) x 4″ (D) Small children Water-resistant Nylon
Fjallraven High Coast Trail 26 Safest Two years 17″ (H) x 11″ (W) x 8.6″ (D) 6 – 9 years Yes Polyamide, recycled nylon
Nike Brasilia Kids’ Backpack Coolest 60 days 12.9″ (H) x 9.8cm” (W) x 5.11″ (D) Young kids Everyday waterproof Polyester
AmazonBasics School Backpack Affordable One year 15.8″ (H) x 12.2″ (W) x 6″ (D) Grade-school ages No Polyester
Columbia Northern Pass Day Pack Versatility Award Yes 2.6″ (D) x 17.7″ (H) x 15.6″ (W) Elementary and middle schoolers Everyday waterproof Polyester
Mochila Military Backpack Eco-Friendly Yes 11.8″ (H) x 11.8″ (W) x 7″ (D) 12 and up Water-resistant Oxford material
Kipling Luggage Sanaa Backpack Coolest Design One year 18.5″ (H) x 12.5″ (W) x 10.8″ (D) All ages Water-resistant Nylon
Herschel Retreat Backpack Sleekest Design Standard 17″ (H) x 12″ (W) x 5.75″ (D) Middle-school – college No Polyester, fleece
Dakine Youth Grom Backpack Useful Limited lifetime 16″ (H) x 9.5″ (W) x 6″ (D) All ages No Polyester, nylon
Adidas Prime Backpack Sporty Kid Lifetime 20.50″ (H) x 14.50″ (W) x 14.00″ (D) Middle school – college Water-resistant Polyester
Oscaurt Travel Backpack Modern World No 17″ (H) x 11″ (W) x 5″ (D) All ages Yes EVA
Jump to the Full Kids Backpack Reviews

Choose the Best for Your Kids

Choosing the best kids’ backpack is not an easy decision. They should be equipped with one to help them in any adventure they set out on, whether that be school or a vacation.

Making an educated decision will also give you peace of mind. Always opt for a backpack with ample back and shoulder support for your child.

Reflective detailing is essential if your child is often out alone, and water-proof material is a must if they can’t get enough of the outdoors.

Giving them the right backpack can instill in them a sense of independence and confidence, so you want to provide them with the best possible.

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Edited by

Shannon Serpette

Shannon Serpette is an award-winning writer and editor, who regularly contributes to various newspapers, magazines, and websites. Shannon has been featured on Insider, Fatherly, SheKnows, and other high profile publications. As a mother of two, she loves to write about parenting issues and is dedicated to educating other parents at every stage of their child's development.
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