Gearing up for back-to-school and vacation is more fun than ever, thanks to a host of new and improved kids backpacks. Featuring the most coveted features for 2019, from trendy prints and tech-friendly compartments to washable, durable fabrics and comfortable, kid-friendly straps, these A+ backpacks for school and travel will have your back!
Best Kids Packpacks for Toddlers
1. SkipHop Toddler Backpack
Adorable and adored by both kids and parents, SkipHop’s Toddler Backpack features a write-on interior nametag, easy to grab zipper pulls, a multi-use front pocket for snacks or school supplies and fun, whimsical zoo creature designs. The 12-inch toddler backpack—ideal for a plane ride or a visit to Grandma’s house—can fit a change of clothes, a small blanket and a few toys. A reinforced side mesh pocket accommodates a sippy cup.
2. Urban Infant Toddler Preschooler Backpack
Designed to easily fit in a cubby (or under an airplane seat), the Urban Infant Toddler Preschooler Backpack has several outstanding features that send it to the front of the class. Number one is a built-in patented art tube, created to help your little one safely tote artwork from school to home. Other notable backpack details include an oversized zipper and a waterproof, laminated outer fabric that wipes clean. A handy D-ring can be used to attach a favorite toy—great for occupying your toddler during travel. (For other diversions for toddlers, check out the 9 Best Travel Toys for Toddlers).
Best Kids Backpacks for Preschool
3. Lands’ End Kids ClassMate Small Backpack
Proportioned to comfortably fit a typical 3- or 4-year-old, the quality constructed Lands’ End Kids ClassMate Small Backpack may just be the perfect preschool backpack. A reinforced grab handle helps little kids reach an otherwise tall backpack hanger at school, and uniform side pockets and a roomy front pocket hold water bottles, a hat, gloves and a light jacket.
4. JanSport Half Pint Mini
Lightweight and built to last, JanSport’s Half Pint Mini is a great small backpack for taking to preschool, the babysitter or Grandma’s house. The backpack has a mesh side pocket for a water bottle and a front zip pocket for a snack or notepad. JanSport Backpacks are available in a variety of solid prints and collectible patterns.
5. L.L. Bean Junior Original BackPack
Tall enough to fit a standard size take-home folder, the L.L. Bean Junior Original BackPack is designed to grow with your preschooler. Waterproof and sturdy, the junior version of the beloved L.L. Bean backpack can fit a blanket, a change of clothes and a water bottle. Choose from cute prints like dinosaurs, sharks and flowers.
Best Kids Backpacks for Kindergarten
6. Perry Mackin Charlie Kids School Backpack
Are you looking for an eye-catching, functional backpack for your kindergartener? Parents and teachers love the easy to maneuver magnetic strap closures on the Perry Mackin Charlie Kids School Backpack. Kindergarteners dig the simple, modern European envelope design, which practically screams “I’m a big kid now!” A water resistant outer with a pocket for a water bottle, a roomy interior with space for folders and books, and an under-the-envelope name label (discretely located for your child’s safety) will surely make the grade.
Best Kids Backpacks for Grade School
7. JanSport DigiBreak Laptop Backpack
Combining the durability of the classic JanSport brand with the modern features your grade schooler craves, the JanSport DigiBreak Laptop Backpack has everything students need to safely carry all their devices. Tech-friendly features in the waterproof backpack include a 15-inch laptop sleeve, a tablet pocket and a dedicated smartphone pocket. A mesh side pocket fits a water bottle. This JanSport Kids backpack comes with a lifetime guarantee, making it a favorite with parents, too.
8. SwissGear SA1923 Rich Navy TSA Friendly ScanSmart Laptop Backpack
You’ll feel good about sending your student on a school trip with the SwissGear TSA Friendly ScanSmart Laptop Backpack. Designated tech and organizer compartments will keep their devices and travel documents secure and easily accessible during travel. The main compartment can accommodate a laptop along with several binders or books, or else a travel pillow, light blanket and a change of clothes.
9. High Sierra Swerve Laptop Backpack
With tech-friendly features like a media pocket with a USB port for easy listening en route and dual cushioned laptop and tablet sleeves, the High Sierra Swerve Laptop Backpack makes it cool to “geek out” on the go. Durable and roomy, this well-made tech backpack is likely to outlast most devices.
Best Kids Backpacks for Sports Gear
10. Athletica’s Youth Soccer Bag
Featuring separate compartments for cleats, a ball and a laptop, plus plenty of room for protective gear, a uniform and a water bottle, Athletica’s Youth Soccer Bag will carry your kids through the sports season and beyond. Ergonomic padded straps and an outer pocket large enough for a jacket add comfort and convenience, while an isolated, vented cleat section will help keep the stink out.
11. Lands’ End Packable Drawstring Bag
Lightweight, functional and built to stand up to wear and tear, the Lands End Kids Packable Drawstring Bag is a great backpack alternative for carrying sports gear, as well as travel. Two sturdy mesh pockets hold a large water bottle. A handy zip-front pocket stores keys, an ID, sunscreen and a smartphone. The interior holds cleats, a light jacket and a uniform. Use it for soccer practice, for city exploration or while visiting a theme park. Lands’ End backpacks and bags can be monogrammed and personalized with your child’s initials and favorite icons.
Best Kids Backpacks for College Kids
12. Herschel Settlement Backpack | Mid Volume
Herschel has bags for every age and style, but we love the Hershel Settlement Backpack | Mid Volume for college-age kids. This sleek bag, available in several colors and patterns, features a 13-inch laptop sleeve, a front storage pocket with key clip, and an internal pocket with a port for headphones.
13. Loungefly Mini Backpack
Looking for a fun back-to-school gift for your college kid? The Loungefly Mini Backpack is built for campus excursions, city exploration and theme park touring! The 10.5 by 9-inch bag fits all of your college student’s essentials, with plenty of room to spare. Available in popular prints like Star Wars and Disney Villains, this backpack is sure to turn heads on campus.
14. Targus Newport Backpack for 15” Laptops
Combining form and function, the Targus Newport Backpack will make any college girl proud to graduate to “adulting.” Built for work and travel, the tech-friendly, professional backpack fits a slim laptop or tablet, headphones, a cell phone, a small notebook, travel documents and a crossbody bag.
Jackie Perrin has covered the best of family travel for nearly two decades, for media ranging from newspapers and magazines to TripAdvisor.com. At home and on the go, she manages a crew of companions. Follow her on Pinterest, TripAdvisor and Instagram, @NYfamtravels.