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14 Best Kids Backpacks for 2021

See recent posts by Jackie Perrin

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

SkipHop Toddler Backpack; Courtesy of Amazon

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; Courtesy of Amazon

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

Lands' End Kids ClassMate Small Backpack; Courtesy of Lands' End

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.

JanSport Half Pint Mini; Courtesy of Amazon

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.

L.L. Bean Junior Original BackPack; Courtesy of L.L. Bean

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 Grade School

JanSport DigiBreak Laptop Backpack; Courtesy of Amazon

6. 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.

SwissGear SA1923 Rich Navy TSA Friendly ScanSmart Laptop Backpack ; Courtesy of Amazon

7. 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.

High Sierra Swerve Laptop Backpack; Courtesy of Amazon

8. 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

Athletica’s Youth Soccer Bag; Courtesy of Amazon

9. 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.

Lands' End Packable Drawstring Bag; Courtesy of Lands' End

10. 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

Herschel Settlement Backpack | Mid Volume; Courtesy of Herschel

11. 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.

Loungefly Mini Backpack; Courtesy of Amazon

12. 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.

Targus Newport Backpac; Courtesy of Amazon

13. 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 At home and on the go, she manages a crew of companions. Follow her on Pinterest, TripAdvisor and Instagram, @NYfamtravels.

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