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Best School Backpacks

Last updated on March 15, 2024
5 school backpacks

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top School Backpacks

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Best Classic

JanSport Cool Student Backpack

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Cool Student Backpack

Featuring a special compartment for a laptop, this fabric backpack has a simple design with synthetic leather on the bottom. It has thick, padded straps and multiple front pockets for small items. You can pick from nine colors.

Overall Take

Classic and FlexibleThis iconic, timeless school backpack holds up to heavy use and includes a handy laptop holder.

 Best for Active Kids

adidas Classic 3-Stripes Zippered Backpack


Classic 3-Stripes Zippered Backpack

This Adidas backpack offers plenty of room in the main section plus has a pocket on the front for securing small items. The timeless design features the brand's iconic three stripes on each side. The fabric offers durability, too.

Overall Take

Simple and DurableConsider this backpack if you prefer durability and just a few simple compartments.

 Best Multipurpose Set

PUMA Lunch Box Backpack Combo


Lunch Kit Combo Backpack

This lunchbox and backpack combination is an ideal choice for students on the go. Made of 100% polyester, it has a 15-inch shoulder drop for a comfortable wearing experience. The lunch box is completely detachable, so it’s easy to grab when the bell rings.

Overall Take

Lunch Box IncludedMake every school day simpler with a combination lunch box and backpack.

 Most Personality

High Sierra Sequin Loop Backpack

High Sierra

Sequin Loop Backpack

Keep all of your things organized and secure with this multi-compartment design. There is also an outer side pocket for a water bottle. This backpack has a padded back panel and shoulder straps for comfort.

Overall Take

Multi-Compartment DesignThis functional backpack has a generous main pocket and multiple smaller pockets.

Buying Guide

Whether your child is just starting kindergarten or in their last year of high school, a good backpack is essential. This iconic school accessory comes in many designs and styles so that you can find one that fits your child’s tastes, age and size. You can choose from everything from simple backpacks in a solid color or character theme to an organizer backpack that comes with cool tech-related features.

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You’ll want to first consider your child’s age and size to determine the right backpack size for their needs. If your kid is in elementary school, they can do fine with a smaller backpack since they’re less likely to need to bring home many heavy books for homework. But if you’ve got a middle schooler or high schooler, a larger backpack usually becomes necessary due to the heavier workload expected. However, this may not be true if your child’s school uses mostly electronic materials, so it’s good to know what the school recommends.

School backpack designs include both traditional and rolling styles. Traditional backpacks worn on the back are the most common for students and take up less space, but they do put more stress on the neck, shoulders and back. You can also find shoulder bags with a single strap. Backpacks with wheels, on the other hand, offer the benefit of being less demanding on your child’s body. However, they’re often too bulky to fit in a standard school locker and may not be allowed at some schools.

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You can find school backpacks made of various materials. Plastic is a popular material for transparent backpacks, while nylon is a very popular fabric option. Plastic is easier to quickly clean, though both materials can offer durability. If you go with a nylon backpack, be aware it may not offer protection in the rain.

Take a look at the types and sizes of the compartments a backpack has. There will be a large open space inside that may be divided into compartments for items like notebooks, textbooks and folders. In addition, you’ll often get pockets on the front or sides to conveniently hold smaller school supplies like pens and calculators.

Comfort is also crucial for finding the best school backpack. First, you’ll want to check that the backpack is sized appropriately to fit your child. For example, the backpack shouldn’t be so big it falls below their waist. Second, pay attention to the straps to make sure they’re appropriately adjustable and won’t dig into your child’s shoulders. You should look for wider straps that have padding since these feel more comfortable, especially when the backpack gets heavy.

What to Look For

  • Schools can have rules forbidding certain types of backpacks, so always check their policies before you make your purchase. For example, some schools require mesh or transparent backpacks for security reasons, while others don’t want students using backpacks with wheels. Other policies can dictate the color of the backpack and any logos or imagery on it.
  • Appropriately adjust the backpack’s straps and hip belt for a good fit. The shoulder straps shouldn’t be too tight or too loose, and you’ll need to consider your child’s height as you make adjustments. In the end, the backpack should sit at your child’s middle back. In addition, make sure the hip belt sits at your child’s hips and is secure yet comfortable.
  • Ideal for older children and teens, some school backpacks incorporate technology ports so that one can charge devices like phones and tablets or listen to music through connected headphones. If you opt for one of these, check whether the power bank needs to be purchased separately to avoid inconvenience.
  • If your child uses a laptop for school and regularly brings it home, consider a backpack with a special laptop holder inside with padding to offer protection during transportation.
  • Don’t forget to consider the backpack’s quality since you’ll want it to last through the current school year and beyond. This means checking for issues like poor stitching, flimsy fabric and exposed zippers. A good backpack for school will feature durable fabric, flaps to protect zippers and strong straps. You might consider looking for backpacks that resist water and stains to get better durability as well.

More to Explore

Did you know the average school backpack weight averages 18.4 pounds for elementary students and can be up to 20 pounds for high schoolers? Since heavy books and other items can quickly make a backpack too heavy for your child, you’ll want to follow some guidelines to protect your child’s body.

A rule of thumb is that the filled backpack shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of your child’s weight if worn on their back or 20 percent if rolled. If you find your child carrying more than this, make sure they’re only bringing home necessary items and taking advantage of electronic books to avoid the extra weight of traditional books.

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