A good backpack is 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.
Finding the Best Kids Backpacks
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.
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.
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 2020
Let’s take a look at our shortlist of the 13 best kids’ backpacks.
1. Herschel Pop Quiz 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.
- Practical for school and work.
- Laptop sleeve gives protection for valuables.
- Waterproof zipper.
- A choice of different materials and colors available for this backpack.
- High price.
- Does not come with an external water bottle compartment.
|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
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).
- Lifetime warranty.
- Sufficient back padding.
- More than 30 colors.
- Durable and long-lasting.
- The inside has only one compartment.
- No padding or protection for laptops.
|Dimensions||16.7 inches (H) x 13 inches (W) x 8.5 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||Grade school ages|
3. Hunter Original Kids’ Backpack
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.
- Durable nylon material.
- Array of stylish colors.
- Suitably padded straps.
- Lacks compression and chest straps.
- Not suitable for older children.
|Dimensions||12.5 inches (H) x 9.5 inches (W) x 4 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||Small children|
4. Fjallraven High Coast Trail 26
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.
- Recycled water-proof nylon.
- Reflective material detailing.
- Only comes in two color choices.
|Dimensions||17 inches (H) x 11 inches (W) x 8.6 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||6 to 9 years|
|Material||Polyamide, recycled nylon|
5. Nike Brasilia Kids' 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.
- Practical different pockets and compartments.
- Safe for your kid’s back.
- Only a few color choices.
- Not suitable for machine washing.
|Dimensions||12.9 inches (H) x 9.8cm inches (W) x 5.11 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||Young kids|
6. Amazonbasics Classic School 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
- Has several different compartments.
- Does not appear to be waterproof.
- Not as durable as some other brands.
|Dimensions||15.8 inches (H) x 12.2 inches (W) x 6 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||Grade-school ages|
7. Columbia Northern Pass Day Back
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.
- Many different compartments to organize belongings.
- Padded laptop sleeve protects valuables.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Padded shoulder straps minimize back pain and strain.
- Lacks padding on the lower part of the shoulder straps.
- Not the cheapest option.
|Dimensions||2.6 inches (D) x 17.7 inches (H) x 15.6 inches (W)|
|Age recommendation||Elementary and middle schoolers|
8. Mochila Military Small 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.
- Durable, military-style material.
- Safety features.
- Great ease of use.
- Lacks chest or compression straps.
|Dimensions||11.8 inches (H) x 11.8 inches (W) x 7 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||12 and up|
9. Kipling Luggage Sanaa Wheeled Backpack
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.
- Small, sleek wheels for easy mobility.
- Water-resistant and durable material.
- Great for children of all ages.
- Might be a trip hazard in the school hallways.
|Dimensions||18.5 inches (H) x 12.5 inches (W) x 10.8 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||All ages|
10. Herschel Retreat Backpack
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.
- Padded shoulders.
- Not waterproof.
|Dimensions||17 inches (H) x 12 inches (W) x 5.75 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||Middle-school to college|
11. Dakine Youth Grom 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.
- Extremely versatile.
- Durable material.
- Not a big assortment of color options.
- May be too big and bulky for younger kids.
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
|Dimensions||16 inches (H) x 9.5 inches (W) x 6 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||All ages|
12. Adidas Prime Backpack
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.
- Reflective detailing for safety.
- Numerous pockets for organization.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Lacks compression straps.
|Dimensions||20.50 inches (H) x 14.50 inches (W) x 14.00 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||Middle school to college|
13. Oscaurt Anti-theft Travel Backpack
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.
- Multiple safety features.
- Multiple compartments for organization.
- Affordable price.
- May be too bulky for younger kids.
|Dimensions||17 inches (H) x 11 inches (W) x 5 inches (D)|
|Age recommendation||All ages|
Detailed Comparison Chart
|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 Back||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|
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.