The new school year is on the horizon, and even if you’re doing school at home, if there’s one thing your kids really need, it’s a sturdy bag that’ll hold all their gear (and won’t fall apart in six months). From the hottest trends to classic style, we’ve found 24 cool backpacks that’ll send your kids back to the classroom with confidence. Keep reading to see our favorites.
photo: mCubed Backpacks
Your littlest schoolers won't be able to wait until fall to use mCubed packpacks. Each one comes with comfortably padded straps, a lined nylon interior pocket, extra inner back pocket and a side non-mesh pocket. Even though they're made for littles, they can still fit standard folders and books, plus all your essentials.
Available at mcubed.com, $34
photo: Perry Mackin
The Charlie Backpack from Perry Mackin
If you're looking for something streamlined with a retro knapsack vibe but fits those little backs just right (and can still hold all that stuff), may we suggest the Charlie Backpack from Perry Mackin? It comes in eight fun colors, including mustard, pink, aqua, blue and metallic gold, has two exterior water bottle pockets, a front zipper storage pocket and two interior pockets, and a top zipper with magnetic strap closures. It's also made from water-resistant polyester and is wipeable inside. Confession: one of our editors got one to use as her daily commute bag! It holds a 13" laptop just right.
Check them out at perrymackin.com, $48 (currently on sale for $31.
photo: State Bags
Super Styles from STATE Bags
Take your pick from printed canvas, metallic materials and nylon in over 25 colors and patterns in kid-perfect sizes. The popular Kane bag fits a 13" laptop and standard school folders and books. The large front pocket is great for small items, while the side pocket can accommodate a 17oz. water bottle and smaller. In addition, every bag purchased from STATE helps to fund donations of fully-packed backpacks, special projects with partner charities and schools, and shed light on social injustices.
Shop back-to-school styles at statebags.com, $65 & up.
photo: Mark and Graham
Casey Camo Backpack from Mark and Graham
Mark and Graham's Casey Camo bag is made from durable, water-resistant polyester that will stand up to the busy school year. Along with the camo print, this bag comes with reflective piping for safety, adjustable, padded straps, internal pockets and exterior side pockets for water. Choose from blue, pink or green colors and add a monogram, too!
Available from markandgraham.com, $29
100% Recycled from Parkland
We're not sure what we love more—the dozens of fun prints to choose from or the fact that Parkland's backpacks are made from 100% recycled materials (It takes 12 water bottles to make one backpack.) With a secure zipper pocket, mesh padded straps, internal divider and lifetime guarantee, this school gear will stand up to the test. Choose from adorable pre-school options or bold new prints for older kids.
Available at amazon.com, $24.99 & up.
Vaschy Little Kid Backpacks for Boys and Girls with Chest Strap
It can be difficult to find toddler and little kid-sized backpacks for school, but Vaschy has nailed the design. Large enough to fit small tablets and school supplies, but not so big your little can't carry it, these kid-sized backpacks also come with a chest strap, water bottle pockets, a name tag, and large exterior pocket. The hardest part about picking one of these is choosing from their exclusive artwork and bold color patterns.
Available on amazon.com, $24 & up.
A Durable Backpack from Fenrici
The backpacks Fenrici are made with 900-denier extra-sturdy material that guarantees years of use, the extra high mesh side pockets ensure taller water bottles stay snug, and the reflector patches help keep kids safe. We also love that each pack comes with an empowering name: Kindness, Confidence, Gratitude, Bravery, Strength and more. And, if that wasn't enough, 5% net proceeds are donated to Global Genes to fund the research and education for childhood rare diseases.
Available at amazon.com, $19.99.
Cat & Jack for Target
Is there no end to the cuteness from Target’s Cat & Jack? This 17-inch glow-in-the-dark dino backpack is new this year (among other adorable prints) and comes with padded shoulder straps, exterior pockets, including a mesh side pocket that's perfect for water bottles. The plush dino zipper pull is a fun added feature.
Available at target.com, $19.99.
Eco Kids Backpack from Garnet Hill
Choose between eight prints, including trendy geometrics, feathers, florals and solar systems. These backpacks are designed with grade school kids in mind, as each one fits a 4” binder, has a built-in organizer, side pockets with vents and 360-degree reflective features for safety. Plus, the material is a sustainable poly made from recycled water bottles and requires 53% less energy than normal to produce. The best part? If you buy one before Aug. 14th, you’ll get a matching lunchbox as a bonus!
Available at garnethill.com, $35 & up.
Toddler Backpack from So Young
Perfect for your tiniest scholars, the toddler backpack from So Young is made from a linen-cotton material that can be washed on the gentle cycle (no dryer), has a reinforced bottom for longevity, a chest strap for added support and comes in adorable designs like the See You Later Alligator, the Blue Dino, the Nordic Friends and more. Don't have a young kiddo? So Young has plenty of options for grader schoolers too!
Available at soyoung.ca, $35.
The Stash from Zoli
New from Zoli is the Stash backpack. Perfect for your older grade school or tween, this pack has a place for a laptop, is made from durable 300-denier polyester, has an extra flap for added protection and handy side pockets for extra items and is offered in seven colors.
Available at zoli-inc.com, $55.
Rocket Packs from Babiators
Did you know that the company that makes your kids’ fave shades also makes great backpacks? Yup, Babiators has durable packs for your little one. Made with a touch military-grade fabric, they work for both indoor and outdoor activities. With multiple pockets and loops, there’s plenty of space for school supplies and any other gear your kiddo might want to tote around. Offered in three different color schemes, there’s one for every kid in your crew.
Available at babiators.com, $15.
Unicorn Pack from OMG Accessories
Indulge in your kid's unicorn obsession with an adorable mini backpack that's perfect for sleepovers at nana's house. Choose from all kinds of bling, including sequins, rainbows, holograms and more!
Available at amazon.com, $27.99 & up.
From the fashion-forward prints and the comfy fit to the 100% water-resistant polyester fabric that makes for easy cleanup and the extra pockets for plenty of storage space, this backpack is something that beginning students can enjoy past the preschool years. Plus, the magnetic snaps makes access easy for little kids practicing fine motor skills as well as busy school kids on the go.
Available at babytula.com, $39.
Zoo Friends from Skip Hop
Skip Hop knows that kids need a friend to help get them through those first days of school. That’s why we love the NYC-based company's Zoo Collection. Measuring at 11" x 5" x 12", they are the perfect size for first-time scholars. The front insulated pocket can hold a stash of snacks, the wipeable liner makes for easy cleanup, and the padded shoulders give little shoulders extra comfort. New in 2020 to the ever-expanding menagerie is a flamingo and a shark!
Available at amazon.com, $18.70.
Bundle Set from Bixbee
Weighing in at just over one pound, each Bixbee backpack is designed with your student’s comfort in mind. There are five exterior pockets (including a lunch money pocket and water bottle holder), an ID holder, and three interior organizer pockets that hold small necessities like pencils, pens, and crayons. With this bundle you'll get the patented horizontal backpack and matching lunchbox—and it's offered in over 10 fun prints and styles.
Available at bixbee.com, $29 and up.
Your first-time scholar will love to have a friend along for the big day. These adorable packs from Animal Packers come with a large zippered pocket right under the animal’s mouth that’s perfect for snacks, a large, bright interior that makes it easy to find treasures, and two side pockets for toys and drinks. Each one is made ethically and is BPA, PVC and Phthalate free.
Available at animalpackers.com, $26 & up.
Voyage Backpack from 7 AM Enfant
For the kids that need a little lift during this unusual time, we love the Voyage backpack from 7 AM Enfant. This sweet mini pack is machine washable, has easy grab handles and padded shoulder straps, plenty of zipper pockets, and of course, wings.
Available at amazon.com, $41.99
The Mackenzie from Pottery Barn Kids
Packed with pockets, straps and gear loops to keep everything in place, made of water-resistant polyester and featuring adjustable padded shoulder straps and exterior straps, the Mackenzie backpack is one of the most efficient and playfully designed collections around—making it a hit with kids and parents alike. The large backpack holds a lunch bag, a large notebook, two small notebooks, several books and a water bottle. New prints this year include metallics, Minecraft and more!
Available at potterybarnkids.com, $18 & up.
L.L. Bean Original Book Pack
We love the combo of L.L. Bean's classically sturdy gear and bold new prints for Back to School this year! Still made from 100% polyester, with tough-made zippers and reflective material for visibility, additional features include a new mesh pocket for water bottles, easy folding capabilities to stash in a larger duffle, organizing front panel, key clip and much more.
Available at llbean.com, $36.95.
The Hero Backpack
The backpacks from HERO NEW YORK are ready to accompany your kiddo anywhere. They are made from military-grade, water-resistant material and lined with an easy-to-clean (for real!) nylon, and there’s a front compartment with a key fob for easy access, a small pocket at the back for valuables and special pockets for electronics. There are plenty of charming, on-trend prints to choose from. And, the best part? Each backpack comes with a collectible trading card of a hero from history that’ll inspire kids when the going gets tough.
Available at herobackpacks.com/collections, $45 and up.
Big Kid Courage from 12 Little
We are totally crushing on these adorable backpacks—12 little kids by TWELVElittle. They include two-tone zipper accents to add a little pop, there are also multiple pockets for easy organizing, and TWELVElittle designed the interior lining themselves (the 12 animals from the Asian zodiac calendar!). Also, each backpack comes with a pack of iron-on patches so your little designer can customize his backpack to his own individual style.
Available at twelvelittle.com/courage-backpack-pink, $20.
Super Scholar from Daph Daph
Designed with your littlest scholars in mind, these sleek backpacks can turn a nervous kiddo into a superhero in the blink of an eye. Simply don the secret cape that’s stashed away in a pocket at the back of the backpack and pow! There’s even an accompanying eye mask to complete your kid’s transformation. Each backpack is insulated with EVA, which keeps drinks and snacks cold, and can easily store notebooks, a change of clothes and more. There are 10 color combos for every type of superhero, a SuperME velcro patch, and the option to personalize!
Available at daphdaph.com, $39.90.
LEGO Eco Backpack
LEGO Eco backpacks take the love of LEGO and being green to a whole new level. Every bag is made from recycled plastic water bottles, and you’ll find amazing designs—clever brick-patterned fabric styles; the giant LEGO brick pack that has two outside pockets and plenty of room for all the gear kids tote around all day and new this year, the Minifig classic that kids can decorate with a set of fabric markers (not included). Each pack features a place to write your kiddo’s name, stash pockets, reflective fabric strips on the padded shoulder straps and the bags are big enough to hold everything without being too big for the kids.
Available at legobags.com/backpacks, $55 and up.
photo: Erin Jackson
The Tot Tote
This mom-invented tote can be worn as a backpack, carried as a bag, and can even be used as a backseat organizer! You’ll find seven internal pockets to keep everything tidy, one mesh drink holder and an external zipper pocket for easy access. Whether older kids use it while on the way to after-school activities or if younger tots use it to tote along with their favorite items to school, the multi-pocket function will always come in handy. And, with over 10 adorable designs in five collections, there’s a style for every kid.
Available at tottote.com, $35-$45.
— Gabby Cullen
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