Spacious interior is well-organized. Sturdy and comfortable straps. Lined inside pocket makes it possible to safely carry a laptop. Nice style. Comes in numerous color choices. Interior compartment to help organize pencils, keys, cell phone, and other items.
This backpack is an organizer, but does not have as much interior space as some others on the market.
This backpack will stand up under heavy wear and could last your child several years. Lots of room. Includes a laptop sleeve. Mesh pocket for carrying water bottles. Very versatile. A good size. Lots of pockets. Many colors to choose from. Good quality on the zippers.
The cloth over the zippers on this backpack has a tendency to get caught in the zipper.
Good quality for the price. Includes a padded and zippered area to keep a laptop safe. Includes two side pockets for extra storage. Extra padding on the shoulder straps for greater comfort. Also a handy backpack for travel.
This model is lacking some extra pockets available on other more expensive Eastport models.
Good-quality backpack that still has personality. Comes in six color schemes. Can be machine washed. One large interior and one small exterior compartment. Heavy-duty zippers will last through the whole school year. Very cute and fun design.
You may end up having to buy one of these cute backpacks for everyone in the family.
Sturdy and comfortable backpack that is well-made. Flaps can be changed if your child changes their style or preference. Includes a padded pocket. Lunch box clips to the outside of the backpack. Holds a lot. Good support on the straps.
This is not a terribly deep backpack.
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When it's time for your kids to head back to school, you'll find yourself on the business end of a long list of supplies. A school backpack might just be one item to check off, but your child will be carrying it around all year, so it needs to be both sturdy and stylish.
Choose the wrong school backpack and you'll have one disappointed kiddo on your hands, but equally, you need to make sure your choice is based on the quality and features of the backpack, not just what style your child likes.
If you're starting to feel overwhelmed, you're not alone! We at BestReviews have put together this shopping guide so you can find the information you need to pick the right school backpack and get on with the important task of parenting.
Standard: Most school backpacks fit into this category. Unless your child has any specific wants or needs, you'll probably end up getting a standard school backpack.
Laptop: These backpacks are much like standard backpacks, but these feature one padded compartment large enough to fit a laptop. If your child needs to take a laptop or other fragile electronic device to school, a laptop backpack will help to protect it, as well as provide enough space for other necessary gear.
Two-in-one: Some school backpacks are convertible so they can also be used as a shoulder bag or messenger bag. Two-in-one school backpacks are ideal for kids who like a change now and again. That said, it might not be good for your child to carry a very heavy school bag over the shoulder, so you do need to be cautious.
Wheeled: You can find school backpacks with wheels and an extendable handle that can be pulled along much like a wheeled suitcase. While these backpacks are great for kids who can't carry a backpack (either at all or for extended periods) due to medical conditions, many schools ban them, so check before buying.
If you want a school backpack that will last, this classic from The North Face will serve your child well. It’s sturdy enough to stand up to heavy everyday use without damage and water resistant to protect books and laptop. You’ll pay a premium for the quality, but this backpack delivers.
Look at the external size of any backpack you're considering and make sure it isn’t too large for your child. You can find smaller models suitable for younger kids who would be swamped by a full-size backpack.
Along with the external size, you should consider the size and capacity of the backpack's interior. Find out what your child needs to take to school each day and make sure there's enough room for everything. Factor in books, lunch, and any special projects that need to fit in there. If your kid has a locker at school, you can probably get away with buying a slightly smaller bag since your child won’t have to carry everything around all the time.
Some backpacks have just one large compartment, while others have a range of compartments and pockets. While children in elementary school might be able to manage with just one compartment, middle schoolers and high schoolers will find it a struggle. Having plenty of compartments makes it easier to stay organized because the student can separate laptop or tablet, textbooks, projects, pens, lunch, and other supplies.
It might not matter that much to you, but it’s likely that your child cares a lot about the backpack’s style. While you shouldn't sacrifice substance for style, it should be possible to find a high-quality, functional backpack that's also fashionable. Assuming it's not a surprise or the wearer isn't too young to choose, you should involve your child in picking the backpack style. You might let your kid have free rein, or you could offer a selection that you deem suitable. Otherwise, think about the sorts of things your child likes – favorite colors, personal style, what's in at the moment – in order to help you decide.
Since your child will be wearing this school backpack for fairly long periods of time at least five days a week, you should make sure it's comfortable to wear. As a rule, backpacks with wide, well-padded straps are more comfortable because the straps more evenly distribute the weight of the bag over the wearer's shoulders.
Some school backpacks have reflective strips that can help keep the wearer safe if when walking to or from school in the dark.
Some school backpacks are very expensive, so think about your budget in advance and stick to it.
Chest and waist straps can help redistribute pressure on the shoulders and make carrying a heavy backpack more comfortable.
You can find school backpacks in a wide range of price points, from $10 to $100 and up, so you should be able to find something to fit your budget. Inexpensive school backpacks start at less than $10, but we wouldn't recommend choosing one of the cheapest models because these are unlikely to last more than a couple of months with regular use.
Although maybe not flashy, reliable school backpacks priced around $25 to $30 are common. High-end backpacks could set you back well over $100.
Good for gadgets
Tech-savvy students who need to bring a laptop or tablet to school will love the padded pouch in this Eastsport backpack and the comfortable cushioned straps. With plenty of pockets and pouches for supplies and even water bottles, this backpack will keep your kid organized.
Choose a durable backpack. Your child will be using it daily and filling it with heavy books, so an insufficiently durable option is unlikely to last the school year.
Consider what your kid will be comfortable with and actually use. Sure, you might want to buy a backpack with a waist strap to relieve pressure from the shoulders, but if your child will never use the strap for fear of looking uncool, there's no point pushing for this feature.
Think about weather. A good school backpack should be waterproof or at least water resistant to protect the books and homework stowed inside. Avoid models with exposed zippers because water can leak in through them.
Q. My child's backpack seems awfully heavy. Should I be concerned?
A. If you're concerned about how heavy your child's backpack is when full, it's worth weighing it to make sure it's of a safe weight. Your child shouldn't be carrying a backpack that weighs any more than 15% of his or her body weight, and even that might be too heavy for some kids. If your child is struggling under the weight of the school backpack, think of some strategies to minimize it, such as leaving books for afternoon classes in the locker and collecting them during lunch break.
Q. Should I buy more than one school backpack?
A. While you might be able to make do with a single school backpack, there's always the risk that you'll be left in an awkward situation if a zipper breaks or a strap snaps. The trouble with having a backup backpack is that it might be deemed "uncool" by the time your child needs to use it. If you do buy a second backpack, it might be worth buying something fairly plain and timeless that isn't likely to go out of fashion within six months or so.
Q. My child wants the latest "on-trend" backpack. Should I buy it for her?
A. Many parents have mixed feelings about buying their kids the latest trends. It's natural for your child to want to fit in, especially if all her friends are sporting the newest trendy backpack. However, you don't want to buy something that won't last. As long as it's of decent quality, has all the features she needs, and fits in your budget, there isn’t any harm in making your child happy by purchasing the latest in backpack fads.
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