Product Reviews

It’s Back-to-School Time: Best Backpacks for School

Whether your child will be starting preschool or high school later this year or moving up a grade, it’s time to start putting together the list of back-to-school supplies. As well as the uniform, stationery, and equipment needed, a backpack is an essential element of the back-to-school kit.

Keep reading for all the information you need on how to choose the best option for your child, along with a full roundup of the very best backpacks for school. Let’s dive in!


Types of Backpacks


most popular backpacks

Evgeny Atamanenko/

First off, let’s take a look at the different sorts of backpacks available—and you may be surprised at how many there are!

Classic Standard Backpacks

This is the most common type of backpack, available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and styles. Most incorporate two compartments: a large compartment to carry textbooks and other bulky items and a smaller compartment for personal belongings.

Laptop Backpacks

As the name suggests, this kind of backpack is designed to allow students to carry around their laptops along with their other school supplies, equipment, and belongings. As well as being specifically designed to prevent laptops from overheating, laptop backpacks usually also incorporate a range of other, differently-sized compartments for maximum convenience.

Drawstring Backpack

This simple design, which usually incorporates a single compartment, is predominantly used by kids to transport school sports equipment and kit. The drawstring open-top design means that it’s easy for kids to see what’s in their bag at a glance without having to pull everything out.

Sling Backpacks

Sling backpacks make for a trendy choice without sacrificing any convenience. This option has a single, wide strap and can be worn on the back or across the front of the body. Typically, sling backpacks feature one or two large compartments and a smaller front compartment.

Rolling Backpack

For high schoolers who have lots of school stuff to lug about through the course of a day, a rolling backpack on wheels could be a perfect choice! This type of bag also features twin shoulder straps, so can also be worn as a regular backpack. When it comes to durability, this option is one of the best.

Tote Backpacks

Popular with older, fashion-conscious schoolgirls and teens, tote backpacks tend to be square or rectangle-shaped and spacious enough to fit in all the supplies she needs. Many options are expandable, too, for extra convenience and practicality.

Satchel Backpack

A traditional choice that’s been around for decades, satchel backpacks remain a good option for helping your child transport everything they need into the classroom. They’re available in a wide variety of styles and colors, tend to be extremely durable, and incorporate a variety of compartments, so your child can arrange their things in a way that works for them.

Best School Backpack Brands

best backpacks for elementary school

Tatiana Mikhailina/

So now we’ve explored the main types of school backpacks, it’s time to discover the very best backpack brands to help you narrow the choices down still further.

Generally speaking, the best backpack brands depend on the needs of your child. For example, JanSport and Champion are good options for kids that prefer a separate compartment for their laptop, a water bottle holder, and bags made from recycled materials. Dickies and Adidas tend to offer some of the most durable backpacks on the market, while Amazon Basics is a great all-around choice that’s also budget-friendly.

Matein, JinBeryl, Under Armour, and Nike are also worth checking out as backpack brands that are popular with students and parents alike.

How We Picked and Tested the Backpacks

To help you get the best back-to-school backpack for your child or teenager, we put several options through their paces. This included checking their functionality, practicality, durability, style, and design.

Hopefully, this means when it comes to buying your kid their new backpack, you can be confident that you’ve made the right choice to support their classroom endeavors.

Remember! The weight of the backpack should not exceed 10-15% of the child’s body weight. Carrying a heavy backpack can strain the child’s back, shoulders, and neck, leading to discomfort and potential health issues. Parents should regularly check and remove unnecessary items from the backpack to reduce the load.

The Best Basic Backpacks for Young Students

JinBeryl Toddler Backpack

backpacks for first graders

  • Dimensions: 11” x 6.5” x 15”
  • Material: Polyester

Perfect for preschoolers, this cheerful dinosaur-patterned toddler backpack features a large main compartment, a small front compartment, and two side pockets to carry items such as water bottles and umbrellas.

The chest strap and adjustable shoulder straps ensure a secure fit, while the padded back will help to keep your pre-schooler as comfortable as possible throughout the day.


  • Easy-to-clean, water-resistant material
  • Safety tested
  • Offers comfortable, secure fit


  • Not as durable as some other options

Eagerich Kawaii Backpack

best backpack brands for school

  • Dimensions: 12.2” x 5.5” x 17.3”
  • Material: Nylon and PVC

This super cute and girlish backpack is perfect for six to eight-year-olds, or even older girls who love the on-trend kawaii look. It features one large main compartment and two side and three front pockets and is perfect for your little one to use to carry all their school supplies.

The soft double shoulder straps are adjustable for ultimate comfort, and the fabric is water-resistant. Plus, the backpack comes with three cute kawaii pins, a small cow toy, and three pretty cards.


  • Fashionable and cute
  • Water-resistant
  • Variety of compartments


  • Not suitable for particularly heavy loads

Skip Hops Sparks Kindergarten Backpack

best preschool backpack

  • Dimensions: 10.5” x 5” x 14”
  • Material: Synthetic

A backpack that’s the perfect size for kindergarteners, you can choose from five designs to best suit your child: Ice-Cream, Rainbow, Rocket, Soccer, and Strawberry. Each has a roomy main compartment and a front pocket that’s the perfect size for snacks, as well as a mesh side pocket for a water bottle or juice box.

The adjustable padded straps guarantee comfort, and the cute zipper pulls are designed for little fingers. Your kid will be eager to pack their things and get started on their first day at kindergarten with their cute new backpack!


  • Range of colors and patterns available
  • Perfect size for kindergarteners
  • Matching range of water bottles and accessories available


  • Not waterproof

Hawlander Kid’s Backpack

best school backpack

  • Dimensions: 15” x 11” x 5”
  • Material: Polyester

If you’re looking for a back-to-school backpack for a child aged three to six years old, this could be a great choice. It features a main compartment and a smaller front compartment, along with mesh side pockets and padded adjustable straps.

The bag is water-resistant, and also boasts a chest strap and an inner name tag, and is made from material that can be easily wiped clean when needed—plus, it’s been safety tested for your peace of mind.


  • Practical, simple design perfect for young children
  • Water-resistant, easy-clean material
  • Adjustable straps and buckle for comfort


  • Fabric is a little thin compared to other options available

Sesame Street Gang Toddler Backpack

best backpacks for kids

  • Dimensions: 16” x 11.5” x 4.5”
  • Materials: Synthetic

All kids (and lots of adults!) love the Sesame Street gang, and they’re all here on this bright, fun backpack designed specifically for toddlers. As well as a spacious main compartment, the bag also features two durable side pockets and a clear smaller front compartment, so your little one can easily see the item they’re looking for. The shoulder straps are comfortably padded and can be adjusted to achieve the perfect fit. This backpack is sure to be a hit with any little Sesame Street student!


  • Fun and funky design that little kids will love
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Clear front compartment


  • May be slightly too big for some toddlers

Skysper Toddler Hiking Backpack

best backpack for school

  • Dimensions: 9” x 4.7” x 13.8”
  • Material: 600D polyester

If you’re seeking a back-to-school backpack for your kindergartener that can also be used on hikes and family days out, then look no further than the toddler hiking backpack from Skysper. It boasts a generous ten-liter capacity main compartment and two handy side pockets and features reflective strips to help your little one be seen in low lighting, for extra safety.

Made from 600D water-resistant polyester, and incorporating adjustable padded shoulder straps, this little backpack is the ultimate in functionality.


  • Practical, comfortable, and lightweight
  • Reflective strips
  • Easy open and close zippers


  • Relatively expensive compared to other options

Lego Classic Backpack Combo Set

kids backpacks for school

  • Dimensions: 16” x 12” x 5”
  • Material: Polyester

Bright, fun, and sure to be loved by little (and even big) kids, this officially-licensed Lego combo set comes with a backpack and lunch tote and is a perfect addition to your child’s back-to-school setup. With vibrant graphics, a sturdy design, and adjustable shoulder pads, your child will love carrying all their supplies to the classroom in this high-quality backpack.


  • Eyecatching design that kids will love
  • Comes with matching lunch tote
  • Durable and easy-clean material


  • Tote bag doesn’t attach well to the backpack

Carter’s Mini Backpack

backpack types

  • Dimensions: 19” x 8.25” x 23”
  • Material: Synthetic

Backpacks don’t come much cuter than the range of mini backpacks from Carter’s, which are perfectly sized for preschoolers. The simple design is just right for young kids, with a single main compartment and a handy mesh pocket along with adjustable padded straps and a top grab handle. Your little one will love how grown up their feel with their very own mini back-to-school backpack!


  • Cute design that young kids will love
  • Adjustable padded straps
  • Range of cute prints and patterns


  • May be too small for children over four years old

Another essential element in preparing for school, especially for younger and middle-grade children, is installing the Findmykids app. It will show you where your child is right now and the route they are taking, allows you to listen to the sounds around them, send notifications when they arrive at school or leave home, and much more! Don’t worry about your child during the school period—protect them even from a distance! Download the app for free right now.

The Best Packs for Middle School Students

JanSport Laptop Backback

kids school backpacks

  • Dimensions: 13” x 10” x 7.5”
  • Material: Polyester and synthetic leather

Help make middle school a breeze with this stylish laptop backpack from JanSport. The bag incorporates a padded laptop sleeve designed to keep your child’s device safe, as well as two large compartments for all their academic supplies, a side water pocket, and a small front compartment.

The ergonomic S-shaped shoulder straps help ensure a comfortable day at school, while the high-quality materials make this a durable option, too—this is one of the best backpacks for middle school around.


  • Range of colors and patterns available
  • Features a web haul handle and cord pullers
  • Extra large capacity


  • Zippers may have a tendency to become stuck in the fabric

Amazon Basics Ergonomic Backpack

backpacks for 5th graders

  • Dimensions: 8.5” x 11.75” x 17.5”
  • Material: Synthetic

For a budget-friendly option that ticks all the boxes, you can’t go wrong with this ergonomic backpack from the Amazon Basics range. It’s highly functional, with three main storage compartments and a variety of smaller pockets to help your middle school boy or girl organize all the supplies and equipment they need throughout their school day. It’s available in a range of colors to suit all tastes, and the straps are adjustable, so it can adapt as your child grows.


  • Ergonomic, padded straps
  • Very spacious
  • Water-resistant material


  • Heavier than some other options on the market
  • Some colors are more expensive to buy than others

JiaYou Laptop Backpack with USB Charge Port

school backpacks for teens

  • Dimensions: 18.1” x 11.4” x 6.3”
  • Material: Synthetic

This backpack covers all the bases: it features a 16” laptop compartment, main compartment, front zipper pocket, side pockets, and ergonomic, cushioned straps—and it’s made from water-resistant, durable fabric, too. The backpack incorporates a USB charge port—although please note it does not come with a battery bank, which must be purchased separately.

As a versatile, comfortable, option with lots of capacity for school books, stationery, and other supplies, this is a great one-stop-shop solution that looks stylish, too.


  • Features a range of compartments and a USB charge port
  • Durable and water-resistant
  • In-built laptop sleeve


  • Not as large as other options available

Under Armour Unisex Hustle Backpack

childrens backpack

  • Dimensions: 6.3” x 20.1” x12.6”
  • Material: Polyester

It’s no surprise why the Hustle backpack from Under Armour is an Amazon bestseller: the brand is now well-known for its high-quality, practical designs and durability, making it popular with kids and parents alike. It incorporates UA Storm Technology to deliver a highly-water resistant finish that can withstand the elements, an abrasion-resistant bottom panel, a gusseted shoe compartment at the bottom of the bag, and 2D rings and molle webbing on the shoulder straps, providing additional attachment points. And if all that wasn’t enough? It’s machine-washable, too, for ultimate convenience.


  • Extremely durable and long-wearing
  • Dedicated shoe compartment
  • Able to withstand the elements
  • Machine-washable


  • Pricier than some other options on the market

Nike Heritage Backpack 2.0

types of backpacks

  • Dimensions: 17” x 12” x 6”
  • Material: Polyester

Fashion-conscious middle-schoolers will love this stylish backpack from Nike that’s available in a wide range of colors and patterns. The spacious main compartment features an interior sleeve designed for a laptop, and there’s a handy smaller front pocket, too, for carrying additional supplies.

The padded shoulder straps and back panel help guarantee a comfortable day at school, and the densely woven, easy-wipe-clean polyester material makes the backpack tough enough to carry a substantial amount of weight.


  • Smart and stylish
  • Incorporated laptop sleeve
  • Tough and sturdy material


  • Relatively expensive compared to other options

Ugrace Vintage-Look Laptop Backpack

best kids backpacks

  • Dimensions: 13.7” x 29.5” x 43.7”
  • Material: Synthetic

If your middle-schooler is a fan of the vintage look, they’ll adore the old-school leather buckles and soft Oxford-type material of the Ugrace extra-capacity backpack. It boasts six compartments in total, including a laptop sleeve and a small zipped inside pouch for valuables, so your kid can get all their school supplies perfectly organized, a USB charging port and cable, and wide adjustable reinforced shoulder straps for comfort. This backpack is available in six gorgeous colors, so you can pick the perfect shade according to your child’s preference.


  • Lots of compartments and plenty of capacity
  • Vintage aesthetic
  • Built-in charging port compartment and cable


  • Only suitable for children aged twelve and over

Bluboon Laptop Backpack with Lunch Tote and Pencil Pouch

best school backpacks

  • Dimensions: 12” x 6.5” x 17”
  • Material: Synthetic

This set from Bluboon provides not just a back-to-school backpack but a complete school storage system! As well as the spacious backpack that incorporates a padded section for your child’s laptop, you also get an insulated lunch tote and a small pouch that can be used for stationery and personal belongings.

The material is durable and double-sewn to guard against rips and tears, and the zippers have been designed to open and close easily and smoothly. Choose from five fabulous and fun designs to suit your child, from marbled black to butterfly motifs.


  • Matching set of bags
  • Dedicated padded laptop compartment
  • Wide range of colors and styles available


  • Some reviewers found side pockets a little too small

Flymei Anime Cartoon Luminous Backpack

kid backpacks

  • Dimensions: 11.4” x 6.7” x 18.9”
  • Material: Oxford-style fabric and synthetic

Have you got an anime-loving middle schooler in your household? If so, this backpack could be a must-buy for back-to-school time! After absorbing light for around ten to twenty minutes, the motif will glow in the dark for an impressive four to six hours.

As well as looking cool, the backpack incorporates a laptop sleeve that will fit a 17” device, a USB charging point, and a theft-proof combination lock to keep the contents safe.

Water-resistant and with a heavy-duty inner lining, your little anime fan will be delighted to take this backpack to school on their first day back in the classroom.


  • High-quality, water-resistant fabric
  • Unusual luminous anime motif
  • Anti-theft combination lock for extra security


  • Some reviews suggest zippers are not as sturdy as other options

The Best Backpacks for High-School Students

JanSport Big Student Laptop Backpack

backpacks for kids

  • Dimensions: 17.5 x 13” x 10
  • Material: Polyester

 High schoolers need extra-capacity backpacks to carry all their additional gear, and this is exactly what the Big Student Laptop Backpack delivers—it’s one of the largest options around and includes a specially-designed laptop sleeve to keep their device safe.

Your big kid can choose from thirty-five colors and patterns, and the backpack has two large main compartments, a front utility pocket with an organizer, a pleated front stash compartment, and a zippered front stash pocket. Its size and ergonomic nature mean that it’s great for travel as well as high school— making it one of our top picks!


  • Designed for all-day comfort
  • Dedicated padded laptop compartment
  • Extra-large capacity


  • One of the more expensive options on the market
  • Best for older students only

Tilami Rolling Backpack with Lunchbag

best backpacks for school

  • Dimensions: 18.9” x 11.8” x 7.1”
  • Material: Synthetic

A rolling backpack is a versatile option that’ll help your teen easily transport everything they need for school. This backpack from Tilami is waterproof, has padded straps for maximum comfort, boasts a main compartment with a laptop sleeve, three smaller compartments, and two side pockets, and has noiseless wheels for smooth rolling. Plus, it comes with a matching lunch bag with three handy compartments.


  • Offers comfort and convenience
  • Waterproof material
  • Double-handle grip


  • Relatively pricey option
  • May be a little awkward to maneuver when fully loaded

Adidas Foundation Backpack

school backpack

  • Dimensions: 19.7” x 16.5” x 2.2”
  • Material: Recycled synthetics

If a long-lasting backpack is what you’re looking for, then this option from Adidas is one of the best backpacks around—it’s so durable that it even comes with a lifetime guarantee! The secure interior sleeve is designed to keep your teen’s laptop safe, and the wipeable material makes for easy and convenient spot cleaning when necessary. With ample space for books, binders, and folders, there are also smaller compartments for your high schooler’s phone, keys, stationery, and other smaller items.

The backpack is made from recycled materials, supporting Adidas’ commitment to reducing its use of plastic in its manufacturing processes.


  • Environmentally-friendly option
  • Dedicated laptop compartment
  • Extremely durable, with a lifetime warranty included


  • No shockproof layer in the laptop compartment
  • Somewhat pricier than other options

Dickies Signature Lightweight Backpack

backpack brands

  • Dimensions: 18” x 5.5” x 12”
  • Material: Polyester

The Dickies brand is well-known for its high-quality design and the toughness of its products—and this lightweight backpack is no different. It’s made of eco-friendly, durable, water-resistant polyester and offers thoughtfully-designed, spacious multiple pockets, and is lightweight and compact yet sturdy.

The padded straps will keep your child comfortable on their way to school and throughout the day, and the built-in laptop security strap means there’s no risk of your kid’s laptop falling free.


  • Lightweight and designed for comfort
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Available in a range of colors


  • Not suitable for children under the age of twelve

Adidas Prime 6 Backpack

toddler backpack

  • Dimensions: 11” x 12.5” x 20.2”
  • Material: Recycled polyester

With a lifetime warranty and featuring an extra-spacious organization main compartment with a laptop sleeve and five zippered outer pockets, this Adidas backpack is perfect for fashion-forward high schoolers who want both practicality and style. The LoadSpring shoulder straps have been specifically designed to spread and ease the weight of the bag for comfortable all-day wearing, and the wipeable material makes for easy spot cleaning.


  • Extra-large capacity
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Designed for comfort


  • Doesn’t feature double-zippers

Xincada Canvas Laptop Backpack

kids backpack

  • Dimensions: 13.77” x 6.29” x 19.29”
  • Material: Cotton canvas and synthetic

The cotton canvas of this laptop backpack both looks great and is extremely hard-wearing. With a main compartment and several other pockets, including a laptop sleeve, your high schooler will be able to easily find what they need—there’s also a hidden compartment on the back of the bag, which is perfect for storing valuables.

The air-mesh padded back, and shoulder straps are designed to provide all-day comfort and relieve pressure on the shoulders. Choose from khaki, black, or white to suit your teen’s style.


  • Dedicated padded laptop sleeve
  • Ergonomic straps and padded back for maximum comfort
  • Plenty of compartments including a hidden pocket for valuables


  • Relatively expensive option

Egoelife Small Satchel / Messenger Bag

school backpacks

  • Dimensions: 13.5” x 3.1” x 10.8”
  • Material: Canvas and leather

If your teen would prefer a classic vintage option for transporting their books and laptop to school, then consider this beautiful satchel, made from high-quality canvas and leather, with a cotton cloth lining. While this option isn’t as spacious as most ‘regular’ backpacks, it’s perfect for students who don’t have too much to carry to and from the classroom.

As well as the main compartment, the satchel also features an exterior zippered pocket and two open pockets in front, and detachable strapped shoulder straps.


  • Stylish vintage option
  • Waterproof and scratch-resistant material
  • One-year quality guarantee


  • Bag does not feature padding
  • Not suitable for particularly heavy loads

Yorepek Expandable Backpack

backpacks for school

  • Dimensions: 10 x 12.5” x 18”
  • Material: Synthetic

The Yorepek backpack is expandable and features an incredible seventeen pockets, so no matter how much stuff your high schooler needs to transport, this bag can handle it! The multi-panel padded back is designed to provide the best comfort level possible, and the built-in charging cable and port ensure ultimate convenience, too. A hidden pocket is great for stashing valuables, and the luggage strap makes travel easy for your teen.


  • Extra large capacity and lots of compartments
  • USB cable and port
  • Anti-theft back pocket


  • Some high schoolers may find the design too plain

Choosing the Perfect School Backpack for First Graders: Key Criteria

good backpacks for school

LightField Studios/

The transition to first grade is an exciting time for both children and parents. As the academic journey begins, one of the essential back-to-school items to consider is the school backpack or rucksack.

Finding the perfect backpack for first-graders involves more than just picking a stylish design; it requires careful consideration of various key criteria to ensure the child’s comfort, safety, and overall well-being during school hours.

  1. Size and Capacity: First-graders are still young and should not carry excessive weight on their backs. Opt for a backpack that is appropriately sized for their smaller frames and provides ample capacity for their school essentials, such as books, notebooks, and a lunchbox.
  2. Ergonomic Design: Look for a backpack with padded shoulder straps and a supportive back panel. An ergonomic design helps distribute the weight evenly, reducing the strain on the child’s shoulders and spine.
  3. Durability: Children can be quite active, so a durable and sturdy backpack is essential to withstand their daily adventures and play.
  4. Compartments and Organization: A well-organized backpack makes it easy for first-graders to access their belongings and keep their supplies in order. Look for multiple compartments to store different items separately.
  5. Lightweight Material: Lightweight backpacks are preferable, as they add less weight to the child’s load and prevent unnecessary strain.
  6. Easy-to-Use Zippers: Choose backpacks with smooth and easy-to-use zippers, as young children might struggle with complicated closures.
  7. Comfortable Handle: A comfortable handle on top of the backpack allows children to carry it easily when needed.
  8. Water-Resistant: Select a backpack with water-resistant material to protect the contents from unexpected spills or light rain.
  9. Safety Features: Reflective materials or bright colors on the backpack enhance visibility, particularly during early morning or late afternoon walks to and from school.

Reflective elements are not the only way to ensure the safety of your child, especially when they are commuting home from school alone. You can install the Findmykids app on your young student’s phone or smartwatch, which will show you their current location, the route they are taking, and who/what is around them. The app can also help locate a lost gadget or allow you to call your child, even if the phone is at the bottom of their backpack in silent mode.

Average Child’s Back Sizes and Weights for Backpacks by Age

Age Group Back Length (Inches) Weight (Pounds)
4-6 years 12-14 inches 30-40 pounds
7-9 years 14-16 inches 40-60 pounds
10-12 years 16-18 inches 60-80 pounds
13-15 years 18-20 inches 80-100 pounds

Please remember that these measurements are approximate and can vary depending on individual differences in children’s growth and development. When selecting a backpack, it is crucial to consider both the back size and weight of the child to ensure a proper fit and avoid potential discomfort or strain on their back and shoulders.

How to Keep Your Back-to-School Backpack in Top Condition

backpack brands for school


So now you’ve chosen the perfect backpack for your preschooler, middle grader, or high school teen, what are the best ways to keep it in great condition? Luckily, you’ll find that taking just a few simple steps will help it last for as long as possible, rather than just a single school year.

  1. Firstly, it’s important to use the backpack in the intended fashion and not to overpack it, which can cause ripping and increased general wear and tear. To this end, be sure that the backpack you buy is sturdy enough and has sufficient capacity for your child’s needs. This is especially important if they have a lot of heavy equipment or kit to transport to and from school on a daily basis.
  2. It’s also a good idea to make sure—for younger kids—that they know to hang up their bag on the provided hooks (if possible) rather than leave it on the floor beneath their desk, where it can get kicked, scuffed, and damaged.
  3. Finally, follow the cleaning instructions on the backpack carefully. Most can’t be machine washed but can be wiped clean with a soft cloth and some soapy water if necessary. Some backpacks can be hand-washed—you can do this by filling the bathtub with lukewarm soapy water (baby shampoo is ideal) and gently washing the inside and outside of the bag. Next, rinse it thoroughly, use towels to dry the bag as much as possible, and then hang it up to air dry.

The Best Backpacks for Back-to-School Time

good school backpacks


With back-to-school time just around the corner, now’s the time to look for the best backpack for your child or teen. With so many options on the market, from cute toddler backpacks to roller laptop backpacks that are in line with the latest trends, you’re sure to find the perfect bag for your kid’s needs with the help of our handy guide!

Why not share your recommendations for the perfect children’s backpacks—we’d love to hear your advice and tips in the comments below.

The picture on the front page: A3pfamily/

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