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August 19, 2022  |  Fashion Accessories

Trendy backpacks for elementary school students

Elementary school students are becoming more discerning by the year and want stylish backpacks that don't look too babyish. While most kids used to be happy with "Sonic" or "Pokemon" backpacks, you'll have to do better than that these days. 

If you're looking for trendy backpacks for elementary school students, start with popular brands. Then you can look at color and print options with tie-dye and color gradients being big hits with kids right now. 

What to look for in a backpack for an elementary school student


There's no single correct size for an elementary school backpack. The amount a first grader needs to carry is significantly less than what a fifth grader must take to school each day. Not to mention that little kids aren't capable of carrying as much as older students

A good way to find a backpack of a suitable size is to measure the length and width of your child's back. Kids shouldn't wear backpacks that are larger than their backs. If you check the measurements of any bags you're considering and compare them to the back measurement you've taken, you won't accidentally choose a bag that's too large. 


It's important that your chosen backpack is comfortable for your child to wear, even when full. Padded straps reduce the feeling of pressure on the shoulders, which can make a big difference. 

It's also nice to have a layer of padding on the back wall of the bag that sits between the bag's contents and the back of the child carrying it. This keeps the corners of books and binders from digging into kids' backs. 

For the comfort and well-being of your child, make sure their backpack doesn't weigh more than 10% of their body weight when full. Anything heavier than this can lead to back pain. 


Kids need to stay organized at school, which is easier with backpacks that have a range of compartments. Side pockets are great for holding water bottles, while front and interior zippered pockets are handy for holding small items they need easy access to, such as spare pens. Interior dividers can also help with organization. For instance, they're useful for keeping homework separate from textbooks. 


Some brands are more popular than others. For instance, Fjallraven backpacks are so on-trend at the moment that it's rare to walk down the street without spotting someone wearing one. Older elementary school students are more likely to care about brands than younger ones, but the fact remains — if you want a trendy backpack, brand matters. 

Sportswear brands like Nike and Adidas never go completely out of style, so they're safe choices if you're not sure what's popular right now. The same goes for Eastpak and JanSport backpacks, which are enduringly popular. Vans is a fun brand for kids into skating or alternative style. 

Color or print

You can find school backpacks in practically every solid hue and color combination imaginable. Some kids prefer single-color backpacks or those with mixed block colors, such as a red body, blue front pocket and green side pockets. 

Other kids may prefer prints that make their backpacks stand out. Tie-dye is currently a hugely trendy print, thanks to a resurgence of ’90s and early 2000s fashion. However, you'll have countless other options to choose from, including color gradients, animal print, camo and floral prints. It's a good idea to consult your child before buying, unless you're certain what they'd like best. 

Small backpacks for elementary school students

Fjallraven Kanken Mini Classic Backpack

This mini version of the iconic Fjallraven Kanken backpack is great for kids who don't have a huge amount to carry. Measuring approximately 11 inches tall and 8 inches wide, it comes in many colors, including plum and black with rainbow straps.

Sold by Amazon

Nike Kids' Classic Backpack

Available in either solid black or solid pink with a Nike logo, this is an understated choice for kids who want something basic and stylish. The shoulder straps are well-padded and easy to adjust.

Sold by Amazon

Puma Kids' Meridian Backpack

Kids will easily stay organized with this backpack, thanks to the array of pockets and compartments offered. It comes in three color combinations: black and silver, gray and yellow and red and camo.

Sold by Amazon

State Kane Kids Backpack

Simple and stylish, this is a perfect backpack for kids who want to look effortlessly trendy. It's not too large but still roomy enough to fit folders, pencil cases, lunch bags and so on, and there are ample pockets to stay organized.

Sold by Amazon

Simple Modern Fletcher Collection Kids Backpack

Super light and compact, this is a great backpack for first and second graders. The prints offered range from understated, such as stripes and galaxy print, to fun animal themes, such as dinosaurs and sea creatures.

Sold by Amazon

Large backpacks for elementary school students

JanSport Big Student Backpack

Just right for older elementary school students, this is a bag that will see them through into middle school. It's roomy with space for a 15-inch laptop plus plenty of books and other school essentials. Additionally, it includes large pockets and compartments.

Sold by Amazon

Adidas Back to School Creator Backpack

Spacious but not oversized, this backpack is suitable for kids in third grade and up. You can choose from a range of cool designs, including a rose pink and onyx gray gradient print and a stonewashed rainbow print.

Sold by Amazon

Vans Old Skool III Backpack

This Vans backpack is a great choice for young skaters or kids who like bags with clean, timeless profiles. This one comes in a range of solid colors and prints, including a classic red checkerboard print and a black tie-dye print.

Sold by Amazon

Eastpak Padded Pak'r Backpack

With its classic design and spacious interior, this Eastpak backpack is a practical choice for older elementary schoolers. It comes in several solid colors and prints, including blue, pink and palm leaf print.

Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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