Best Toddler Backpacks of 2020

Updated
The top toddler backpacks for carrying all that childhood cargo.

Is your toddler starting daycare? Or, are you going on a trip and want to give them their own bag for toys and essentials? Regardless of the situation, giving your little one a backpack can make them feel more independent.

There are plenty of bags for small children out there. We’ve streamlined your choices down to the 15 best toddler backpacks.

Our Top Picks

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Finding the Best Toddler Backpack

Safety

Although backpacks sound quite harmless, there are some features to look for to ensure your toddler is safe and comfortable.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you look for wide shoulder straps, chest strap, and padded back (1). This will ensure comfort by distributing the weight and cutting back on any materials from digging into the skin.

Another thing to be aware of is the location of the name tag. If your little one goes to daycare, kindergarten or nursery, a name tag is essential so teachers can recognize whose bag it is.

However, a child tends to trust people who know their name. So, to prevent abductions and other unfortunate situations, keep their name tag on the inside (2).

Size

It may baffle you the first time you see a toddler backpack — they’re tiny, but that’s for a good reason. Toddlers aren’t strong enough to carry a large bag full of toys and books.

When giving them a backpack, plan only to have them carry some clothes, diapers, wipes, and perhaps a water bottle and a small toy.

If your child goes to daycare or kindergarten, check with the staff about size requirements. Some will ask that the backpack is big enough to accommodate a standard-sized folder. Try to aim for a size between 10 and 15 inches in height.

Watch the Weight Limit

A heavy backpack can lead to aches and other ailments. Keep the weight to about ten percent of a child’s total body weight.

Materials

Things can get messy quickly with toddlers — spills, crumbs, and sticky hands. We highly recommend you look for a backpack that’s machine washable or easy to wipe clean.


The Best Toddler Backpack of 2020

After an extensive search through leading sites, we found the 15 best toddler backpacks. Let’s have a look.

1. Bag & Carry — Animal Toy Toddler Backpack

Best Stuffed Animal Toddler Backpack

Cute Toy Toddler Backpack – Kids Stuffed Animal Toy Backpack – Kids...
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This adorable backpack from Bag & Carry is a two-in-one. Your little one gets a backpack with a cute stuffed animal attached to the back. They can remove it for play and take it to daycare for comfort.

The included stuffed animal is soft and cuddly, the perfect adventure companion. Parents are in love with the backpack itself, and we don’t disagree. It’s lightweight and comes with adjustable straps.

Although it’s not the largest, there’s ample room for supplies, snacks, and extra clothes. The backpack measures roughly 10 inches in height and is made from soft plush material.

PROS:
  • Adorable look.
  • Stuffed animal included.
  • Several designs to choose from.
  • Plenty of room for essentials.
CONS:
  • Size might be too small for some.

2. Skip Hop Toddler Backpack

Bee Fancy Toddler Backpack

Skip Hop Toddler Backpack, 12' School Bag, Bee
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For children who love bees, we found this ultra-cute bee backpack from Skip Hop.

The backpack is roomy, great for daycare, or traveling to the grandparents. It measures 12 inches in height and 11 inches in length. One side of the bag has a pocket for a water bottle or anything your toddler wants to keep handy.

Our favorite feature is the insulated pouch perfect to keep your little ones’ snack fresh. It’s not machine washable, but it’s safe for your child, and sturdy. The breathable material and padded shoulder straps will keep your toddler comfortable on trips out.

PROS:
  • BPA- and phthalate-free.
  • Insulated pouch.
  • Roomy interior with side pocket.
  • Several designs available.
CONS:
  • Not machine washable.

3. Skip Hop Toddler Leash And Harness Backpack

Best Backpack for Wandering Toddlers

Skip Hop Toddler Leash and Harness Backpack, Owl
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Whether you’re running errands or going to the park, a leash is a fantastic way of keeping your toddler close. This backpack from Skip Hop comes with a detachable tether and adjustable front strap.

This backpack is for light travelers — it measures 7.5 inches in height and 9 inches in length. It has enough room for light clothes, wipes, and diapers.

The zoo theme is charming, and you can pick between different animals — we adore the owl. On the inside, there’s a name tag for your toddler’s information.

PROS:
  • Removable leash.
  • Adjustable front strap for extra security.
  • Small and lightweight — great for young toddlers.
  • Name tag included on the inside.
CONS:
  • The front clip on the strap is a little tight to open and close.

4. Dinosaur Toddler Daycare Backpack

Best Toddler Backpack for Daycare

Cute Dinosaur Small Toddler Daycare Backpack Leash for Kid Children Knapsack Boy
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With a length of 11.5 inches and a height of 5.5 inches, this one is excellent for daycare use. Parents say there’s plenty of room for supplies, even extra diapers and snacks.

The material used is nylon with breathable mesh on the back. On the sides are spacious pockets for bottles and cups. It’s light, weighing around 12 ounces.

PROS:
  • Plenty of room for daycare supplies.
  • Lightweight materials.
  • Included safety leash.
  • Several colors available.
CONS:
  • The zipper can get caught in the mesh material.

5. Yodo Kids Insulated Toddler Backpack

Best Toddler Backpack for Snacks

yodo Upgraded Kids Insulated Toddler Backpack with Safety Harness Leash and Name...
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Whether you’re going to the museum or the park, toddlers will need their snacks. This backpack from Yodo enables them to carry their own.

Thanks to an insulated pocket, snacks will stay fresh, and accidental spills won’t ruin the bag. The pocket consists of a BPA-free lining, capable of keeping the contents cool or warm for up to three hours.

On the sides of the backpack are additional mesh pockets for water and juice.

It’s a great size, measuring 8.5 inches by 10.5 inches.

PROS:
  • Insulated pocket for snacks.
  • Durable materials — easy to clean.
  • Fantastic size for small children.
  • Safety harness included.
CONS:
  • More like a wearable cooler than a backpack for supplies.

6. KK Crafts Toddler Waterproof Backpack

Best Unicorn Toddler Backpack

Toddler Backpack, Waterproof Preschool Backpack, 3D Cute Cartoon Neoprene Animal...
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We’re crazy about unicorns, so this backpack from KK Crafts had to get a place on our list. It’s brightly colored pink and white, with a 3D unicorn horn and ears, suitable for children aged 2 to 6 years.

Made from environmentally-friendly materials, it’s free from BPA, phthalate, and PVC — safe for use with small children. It consists of a soft, neoprene material, which is water-resistant, elastic, and lightweight. It will protect your little one’s stuff from dust and spills.

It’s a roomy backpack, measuring 10.2 inches in height. There’s space for small books, clothes, and diapers.

PROS:
  • Made from non-toxic, eco-friendly materials.
  • Water-resistant exterior.
  • Adorable 3D unicorn design.
  • Fantastic size.
CONS:
  • The side pockets aren’t elastic, so fitting cups in is challenging.

7. Alphabetz Butterfly Toddler Backpack with Leash

Best Toddler Backpack for Girls

Alphabetz Butterfly Toddler Backpack with Leash, Safety Harness, for Girl
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For little girls, we found this adorable butterfly backpack. It’s also available with a muffin or unicorn motif. It’s colorful and bright — fantastic for little girls going to daycare.

Your child will be comfortable too. The straps are fully adjustable, and there’s a safety harness at the front, which keeps the backpack in position when using the leash. It’s suitable for children aged 1 to 5 years.

PROS:
  • Cute theme.
  • Comfortable straps and front harness.
  • Included safety leash.
  • Plenty of pockets for stuff.
CONS:
  • The included leash is quite short.

8. Red Owl Toddler Backpack

Best Toddler Backpack For Animal Lovers

ABkids Toddler Backpack. Supercute Kids Backpack for Boys and Girls - Red Owl
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If your toddler loves animals, this one might be a hit. This backpack from ABkids is available in four bright animal themes.

This backpack is durable and is made from stretchable, lightweight material, excellent for daycare. We appreciate that it’s easy to clean, and the exterior is water-resistant.

It measures 10 inches in height and has ample room for essential supplies. Plus, your little one will look stylish.

PROS:
  • Bright colors and fun animals to choose from.
  • Durable, water-resistant materials.
  • Great size.
  • Easy to clean.
CONS:
  • There’s no front strap.

9. Yisibo Rocket Toddler Backpack With Safety Leash

Best Toddler Backpack for the Aspiring Astronaut

yisibo Rocket Toddler Backpack with Harness Leash Snack Nursery Bags for Kids...
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For toddlers who are fascinated by space, we found this backpack from Yisibo. It’s decked out in an adorable space shuttle theme with a transparent front pocket for toys.

There are wide padded straps and a front chest harness that are fully adjustable for comfort. The zippers are coated in rubber, making them easy for small hands to grip.

The backpack is made from eco-friendly neoprene, which is both lightweight and water-resistant. Plus, you’ll receive an included leash to keep your toddler close.

PROS:
  • Fantastic space theme.
  • Ample room for supplies.
  • Comfortable to wear.
  • Rubberized zippers.
CONS:
  • No side pockets for bottles or drinks.

10. Stephen Joseph Little Sidekick Backpack

Best Toddler Backpack for Lion Fans

Stephen Joseph Kids' Little Boys' LION, Large
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This adorable 3D lion backpack is ready to accommodate your little one on all their adventures. It features a large mouth and friendly eyes.

We applaud the machine-washable materials — with toddlers, things get messy fast.

The padded straps are comfortable, and the side mesh pockets are excellent for drinks.

PROS:
  • Fun lion theme.
  • It’s machine washable.
  • Side pockets.
  • Comfortable straps.
CONS:
  • Mesh pockets are on the small side.

11. Yodo 3-Way Kids Rolling Backpack

Most Versatile Toddler Backpack

Yodo Zoo 3-Way Kids Suitcase Luggage or Toddler Rolling Backpack with wheels,...
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This two-in-one backpack is incredibly versatile. Your toddler can use it as a regular backpack or as a rolling luggage bag. It’s a fantastic size for daycare, measuring 11.8 inches by 15 inches.

It has spacious compartments and an inner zip pocket. At the front, there’s a padded pouch for small items.

It’s comfortable to wear, too. The back is padded as well as the straps.

PROS:
  • Can be used in two ways.
  • Great size for supplies.
  • Plenty of compartments.
  • Comfortable to wear.
CONS:
  • The wheel cover isn’t durable and may rip if it isn’t contracted while in rolling mode.

12. MomMore Fashion Toddler Backpack

Most Fashionable Toddler Backpack

mommore Fashion Toddler Backpack for Girls with Safety Leash for Kids Age 1-3,...
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If you’re looking for something fashionable, as opposed to childish, this backpack is a good option. It’s a small, lightweight bag, great for outings and daycare.

The backpack is available in three colors and is made from water-resistant oxford fabric. It’s effortless to clean and machine washable. Included is a 38.9-inch leash for when you want more control over your little one.

PROS:
  • Simple yet stylish.
  • Roomy compartment for stuff.
  • Available in three colors.
  • Made from great materials.
CONS:
  • The straps are long — require a fair amount of adjusting.

13. Mountaintop Toddler Backpack

Best Toddler Backpack for Outdoorsy Toddlers

Mountaintop Toddler Backpack for Kids Boys Girls, Daycare Kindergarten Preschool...
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Taking your toddler with you on the trail is a great idea. This backpack from Mountaintop will be a good companion. It’s a lightweight bag, best suited for toddlers between 2 and 3 years.

It includes a YKK buckle, which is effortless to clip and undo. Around the backpack is padding for comfort and mesh to provide air circulation. It can comfortably fit the essentials like a water bottle, snacks, and a change of clothing.

The backpack also comes in a wide variety of colors and designs.

PROS:
  • Lightweight and excellent for bringing outside.
  • Easy-to-use buckle.
  • Comfortable materials.
  • Included name tag.
CONS:
  • Not suitable for carrying folders or large items.

14. Zoo Small Bee Toddler Chest Strap Knapsack

Best Bus-Themed Toddler Backpack

Zoo Small Bee Toddler Backpack with Leash Kids Kindergarten Chest Strap Knapsack
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For toddlers who love buses, this 3D backpack should be a hit. It’s a mini backpack, measuring only 8.3 inches by 9.4 inches. Your little one can use it to carry wipes, diapers, and afternoon snacks.

The bus theme is fun — a big windscreen sits over the bus’s headlights and grill, which double as eyes and a smiley face. Wheels on the bottom finish the look

There’s an adjustable chest strap, keeping the backpack in place and an included safety leash.

PROS:
  • Cute bus theme.
  • Mini backpack, great for small toddlers.
  • Adjustable chest strap.
  • Included safety leash.
CONS:
  • The blue bags have a pink inner lining.

15. Toddler Dinosaur Backpack Book Bags

Best Toddler Backpack for Boys

Toddler kids Dinosaur Backpack Book Bags with Safety Leash for Boys Girls (6...
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For the best toddler backpack for boys, we found this ultra-cute dinosaur bag. It’s made from oxford cloth and polyester and sports a fun 3D design.

The breathable material makes it light and comfortable to carry and prevents overheating. There’s enough room for small books and diapers. For safety, you’ll receive a leash to keep your little one close.

PROS:
  • Fun 3D design.
  • Made from lightweight materials.
  • Ample room.
  • Leash included.
CONS:
  • The strap for the leash sits at the bottom as opposed to the top.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best toddler backpacks can help organize all your toddler’s necessities like diapers, a change of clothes, and snacks.

Backpacks are also essential if they’re going to daycare or starting kindergarten.

When searching, make sure the backpack you choose is safe and comfortable — find one with a name tag on the inside. Verify that the straps are wide and adjustable.

Look for a backpack made from machine-washable materials or ones that can be wiped clean.

A leash can also be useful if your independent toddler is prone to running off.

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Edited by

Shannon Serpette

Shannon Serpette is an award-winning writer and editor from Illinois, who regularly contributes to newspapers, magazines, and websites. 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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