The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Kids Backpacks

If you have ever had to choose a kids backpack, you know that the process can be even more trying than choosing one for yourself. This is because there is so much at stake with this decision! You have to think about your child’s comfort, health, while also making sure that the necessary items can fit in there. It’s enough to make your head spin.

So, we decided to step in and show an easier way to do things. In this article, you will find the best way to start your search for a backpack. With the right information on hand, you will find that the whole process becomes a lot less taxing. Here is what you should be aware of:

Quick and Simple Guidelines for Finding the Ideal Kids Backpack

Kids’ backpacks are clearly a thriving business, considering just how many there are out there. You can often find rows and rows, wherever you go. So, with all of this selection to choose from, how are you supposed to narrow down what your little one actually needs? Well, this isn’t a question that you need to ponder any longer because there are now a set of guidelines that you can follow to help you out:

Types of Kids Backpacks

One of the first things that you need to know is the various types of children’s backpacks that are available. This will aid you in deciding which one your child actually requires:

  • Kids Laptop Backpack: this is a backpack that has a specialized compartment for laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices. This pocket keeps all important or delicate items safe.
  • Kids Rolling Backpack: kids rolling backpacks are essentially bags that have a frame that contains wheels. These backpacks are ideal for children that need to take heavy loads as they don’t need to be carried on their back.
  • Kids Travel Backpack: there isn’t too much difference between a traditional backpack and a kids travel backpack. However, these bags do tend to be a bit bigger and may come with wheels as well.

Wheels vs. No Wheels

One of the main questions that parents will ask themselves is wheels or no wheels when choosing a backpack. This is regardless of whether your little one needs a bag for school or for travel. There are a few things that you will need to think of before arriving at this decision.

First, just how much is your child expected to take on a daily basis? Ideally, your child should not be carrying more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight on their back. If their filled backpacks weigh more than this, then wheels will save your child from a lot of back strain and discomfort.

Of course, backpacks with wheels tend to be quite a bit heavier than wheel-less options. This means that they are not ideal for schools or environments with a lot of stairs or uneven ground. Here, your child will need to carry their bag and a wheeled backpack can make it quite difficult to do this.

Does Your Child Need a Laptop Bag?

Typically, laptop bags are most popular among middle school and high school students. This allows them to carry their electronic devices more easily. However, these days, it is becoming more common for younger students to take tablets to school with them. So, if you want to keep your kid’s device safe, a laptop backpack may be the way to go.

Backpack Sizing

One of the steps to reducing back pain in children caused by too-heavy packs is to ensure that the bag is the right size. You will be able to find the best size for your little one by considering the length of your torso.

Now, there are a few points on your child’s torso that you need to know about. The first is where the backpack straps need to sit. This is a spot that is halfway between your child’s neck and their shoulder joint. Then, you will need to consider where the backpack should end while your child is wearing it. This is their waistline which is somewhere around their navel. This means that the ideal size of the backpack would be one that rests between these two spots.

So, the first thing you will need to do is to measure the length from your child’s shoulders to their waistline. You should also measure the width of their shoulders. When choosing a backpack, the bag should not exceed these dimensions by more than two inches in any direction.

There are guides that will give you a rough idea of the size of the backpack that you should get, in relation to your child’s age. If your little one is taller or shorter than the average height of children their age though, it is best to use your own measurements.

Suspension System

Apart from the weight of a full backpack, the other thing that contributes to kids back pain is the way that the bag sits on their back. Once you have found a bag that meets your kid’s dimensions, the suspension system on the bag is the next thing to look at. The suspension system on backpacks consists of shoulder straps, sternum or chest straps, and hip belts. Due to the size of most kids’ backpacks, there is usually only shoulder straps present and sometimes, a chest strap.

The shoulder straps should be wide enough to help spread the weight evenly but not so wide that they are falling off your child’s shoulders. In addition to the width, the straps should be well-padded, preferably with foam. This means that when you pinch the material of the straps between your fingers, it pops back up.

If your child tends to carry heavier loads, a chest strap can be quite useful. This helps to pull the bag, towards their back, so that it is closer to their center of gravity. Not only does this evenly distribute the weight, it also makes walking a lot easier. This way, your child will not have to bend forward to compensate for the weight of the bag.


The most common types of materials that kids’ backpacks are made from are polyester and nylon. If you want to lessen the load of how much your child has to carry, polyester bags, on average tend to weigh a bit less. While nylon may bring in a few more ounces, it also has the benefit of being quite durable. So, it is more likely to last the school year. It is a good idea to check that the materials that the bag are made from are at least water resistant. This way, your child’s belongings will have a bit more protection, in the event that it gets wet.

Does your child have to keep his or her backpack on for a long period of time? In this situation, you should look for bags that have back panels made from mesh or moisture wicking material. This will make it easier to keep this area cooler. Also, it will prevent any moisture from being absorbed by the bag.

Another thing to think about when settling on a particular fabric or material is how easy it is to clean. Keep in mind that your child’s bag is going to get quite dirty and will need frequent cleanings. It is best to opt for materials that are machine washable so that it is much easier for you to manage.

Organization Features and Storage

Another important thing to consider is just how many pockets and compartments a bag has. Now, there should be a main compartment closest to your child’s back. This is so that the heavier items such as books or laptops can be stored here. Such a placement allows for a better distribution of weight across your child’s back.

It is up to you how many more storage compartments there should be in the bag. It is often best to have lots of compartments for little children so that they can find their things more easily. Older children may benefit from having small pouches to store their stationery.

You should probably look for external water bottle holders. This way, if there is a leak then there will be less damage done to your child’s things inside of the bag. Pockets that are higher are better at holding the bottles in place.

Backpacks for Boys and Girls – Is There a Difference?

For younger children, there isn’t really a difference between boys’ backpacks and girls’ backpacks in regards to design. At this age, both girls and boys tend to be of similar heights and there isn’t much variation in their physique. As such, you don’t need bags specific to each gender. The only real disparity is colors, patterns, and logos.

Girls over the age of sixteen, however, may benefit from a women-specific backpack, depending on their size. These backpacks have been designed to better suit the average female form – shorter torso, narrower shoulders, and wider hips.

Backpack Style

Let’s face it, there is only one reason that children are excited to get a backpack and that is to do with what the backpack looks like. The most commonly found ones are those sporting popular TV and movie characters. However, there are many preschoolers that prefer backpacks that look like stuffed toys, have wings, or look like toys in any other way.

The older that your child will get, the less likely that they will want such novelty items. Instead, they will move towards cool and personalized options, complete with their favorite color and perhaps, even their name. Some of them may also prefer to sport popular brands.

Of course, you should remember that fads are fleeting. So, if you want your child to use a backpack for a long time, you may want to stay away from items that are trendy for short periods of time.

These are all of the guidelines that you should follow if you want to find the best kids backpack for your little one.

Top 10 Best Kids Backpacks

1 – Deuter Pico

Deuter Pico Kid's School and Hiking Backpack
  • DESIGNED FOR FUN - Perfect for kids 2 and up, the Pico pack comes in bright colors that kids will love and parents can easily spot across the playground; Animal patterns add extra fun to playtime
  • SOFT AND COMFORTABLE - Padded S-shaped shoulder straps with soft edges are fully adjustable and feature a chest strap to help little ones carry loads more comfortably; Back is padded
  • STORAGE OPTIONS - Mesh side pockets are perfect for snacks and small treasures; Easy-access main compartment with a curved zipper with fabric pulls; Kid-friendly buckles for little hands
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES - Name label on the inside prevents mix ups at school; Grab handle
  • SPECIFICATIONS - Constructed from lightweight, durable Super-Polytex; Waterproof PU coating; Weight: 7 oz (0.2kg). Volume: 5 L. Dimensions: 11 x 8 x 5 in.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Deuter Pico:

Reviewers like these things about the Deuter Pico

  • Many reviewers commend the Deuter Pico backpack for the optimal comfort it delivers.
  • Users noted that the pack is perfectly designed for kids two years old and above.
  • They thought that the bag comes in bright colors that kids will love.
  • They also noted that its padded shoulder straps are fully adjustable.
  • Reviewers indicated that its chest strap allows the kids to carry things more comfortable.
  • Other reviewers mentioned that its mesh side pockets are ideal for keeping snacks and small items.
  • Users thought that its padded back adds comfort when used.
  • Reviewers believed that the bag is versatile and lightweight.
  • Testers said that its main compartment could be accessed quickly.
  • Other reviewers also found its integrated name label useful to prevent mix-ups when used in school.
  • Testers pointed out that the pack has a waterproof PU coating which helps the bag repel water.
  • Users recommended that the pack could be used for school or everyday use.
  • Other users also thought that kids could use the bag for hiking.
  • Parents of children who have used the product praised its creative and eye-catching designs.
  • Reviewers said that the pack is durable.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer indicated that the bag is tiny.
  • Another reviewer noted that a hydration bladder does not fit inside the pack.

2 – Skip Hop Zoo

Skip Hop Toddler Backpack, 12" Raccoon School Bag, Multi. Also, can you please remove bullet points 1 & 2 from the same ASIN that say - Polyester & - Imported
  • Perfect back pack for toddler to preschool to kindergarten
  • School bag includes an insulated front pouch to keep snacks and lunch at the right temperature
  • Canvas material and easy-to-clean lining makes for the perfect backpack for kids on the go!
  • Roomy main compartment to fit all of your little one's things. Size (inches) 11l x 5w x 12h
  • Includes an adjustable mesh bottle pocket and is Phthalate-free

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Skip Hop Zoo:

Reviewers like these things about the Skip Hop Zoo

  • Many users liked how the front pocket easily holds two diapers, small pack of wipes and a tube of diaper rash cream.
  • Other reviewers liked its large zipper pulls and how it holds its shape well.
  • Some users find the side pocket for sippy cup stretchable you can keep adult bottle in it.
  • Many users appreciate how comfortable the padded straps Are.
  • A lot of users liked how spacious the inside of the bag is and able to fit their kids essentials.
  • Others love that it comes with two good sized compartments.
  • A lot of users find the stitching is very solid, even on the zipper pulls.
  • Parents love how the zippers have big apples on them which are good for little hands to grab.
  • Others noted that each piece is themed with cute patterns, bright inviting colors, and decorative accents.
  • Many liked how comfy it is to carry with the padded straps and easy to clean with a damp towel and soap.
  • Others love the carry handle and side mesh pocket for drinks.
  • Some kids love how the snout part of the bag unzips and acts as a front compartment.
  • A lot of users love its fun design and lively colors.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some would’ve prefer if it came with two bottle holder.
  • Some said it’s not big enough for school.

3 – hotstyle Galaxy

hotstyle TRENDYMAX Galaxy Backpack Cute for School | 16"x12"x6" | Holds 15-inch Laptop | Green
  • Lightweight and durable backpack perfect for school, travel, and commute etc.
  • Spacious and utility daypack keep the class supplies and daily essential organized
  • Multi-pockets bookbag: water bottle holders, laptop compartment, handy zipper pocket...
  • Fashion rucksack with allover printed personalized pattern to level up your style
  • 12-month warranty against manufacturing defects. 7x24 hours friendly customer support

Here’s what the reviewers think about the hotstyle Galaxy:

Reviewers like these things about the hotstyle Galaxy

  • Many users find this backpack durable and large enough to hold all of their supplies.
  • Some users find the color as vibrant as the picture shows.
  • Others find the secret pocket in the back a nice bonus.
  • Other users thought it has just the right amount of pockets to hold what is necessary.
  • Some reviewers thought this is the perfect back pack to keep kids organized.
  • Others love the presence of two side pockets that nicely fit water bottles.
  • Some reviewers find the bag super cute and the colors so vibrant.
  • Many users are very pleased with its colors, size, pockets and padded shoulder straps.
  • A number of reviewers find the straps very comfortable and interior well cushioned.
  • A number of users are glad to find it’s easy to keep clean.
  • Others like how the zipper pocket on the back panel provide a quick access to small item.
  • Some users find it incredibly reinforced in all the right spots.
  • Others particularly find the pattern beautiful and the size perfect to fit into locker.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users thought it has very thin material and the straps arent very well padded.
  • Others find it too expensive for a kid’s backpack.

4 – Deuter Kikki

Deuter Kikki Kid's Backpack
  • Breathable Foam Back
  • External Pockets
  • Sternum Strap

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Deuter Kikki:

Reviewers like these things about the Deuter Kikki

  • According to users, the Deuter Kikki backpack is soft and comfortable to use.
  • Users took notice of its ample storage options for keeping items.
  • Other users thought that its fabric provides sufficient durability to the bag.
  • Reviewers mentioned that its pockets could be accessed quickly.
  • Users noted that the backpack is perfectly designed for kids three years old and above.
  • They thought that the bag comes in bright colors that kids will love.
  • They also noted that its padded shoulder straps are fully adjustable.
  • Reviewers noted that its chest strap allows the kids to carry things more comfortable.
  • Testers said that its main compartment is spacious.
  • Reviewers mentioned that its side pockets with Velcro closure are ideal for keeping snacks and small things.
  • Other reviewers also found its integrated name label useful to prevent mix-ups when used in school.
  • Reviewers indicated that the bag has 3M reflectors which makes it visible especially when exposed to low-light environments.
  • Other reviewers mentioned that its compression strap is easy to use and are essential in securing the pack lid.
  • Users thought that the buckles work well for little hands.
  • They also mentioned that the backpack is lightweight.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that it was smaller than expected.
  • Another reviewer noted that the bag would not fit all body types.

5 – Wildkin Olive Kids

Wildkin 15 Inch Backpack, Extra Durable Backpack with Padded Straps and Interior Moisture-Resistant Lining, Perfect for School or Travel, Olive Kids Design – Trains, Planes, & Trucks
  • PLAYGROUND APPROVED - Your child will be the talk of the playground with the Olive Kids by Wildkin 15 Inch Backpack! Eye-catching patterns and a functional design come together to make this backpack a fun addition to your child's school and travel essentials. Two padded, adjustable shoulder straps and a padded back provide a comfortable wear, while the durable top handle is perfect for hanging in a locker before heading to class.
  • THE PERFECT SIZE - Fill it up! The 15 Inch Backpack's just-right size means you can bring the school supplies AND your favorite snack. Measuring 15 x 11 x 7 inches, this backpack is perfect for school, practice, and travel. Its two zippered compartments and interior utility pockets and pencil holder make organization a breeze, so your child can find what they need in a snap!
  • ULTRA-DURABLE AND EASY-TO-CLEAN - We've designed our 15 Inch Backpack to withstand even the toughest, homework-filled school days. Made from super durable 600-denier polyester fabric with an interior moisture-resistant nylon lining, the 15 Inch Backpack is capable of handling anything you throw at it - both inside and out. If things get a little too messy just spot clean as needed and leave open until completely dry.
  • TRAVEL IN STYLE - At Wildkin, we know that details matter to you and your child, and we made sure that our 15 Inch Backpack was designed with that in mind. Featuring vibrant, playful patterns, your child will love this fun new addition to their school and travel gear.
  • COORDINATES WITH OTHER WILDKIN GEAR - Make a theme out of it! Each 15 Inch Backpack was designed to coordinate with other Wildkin gear. From lunch boxes, to duffel bags, to sleeping bags, your child will love having their favorite designs with them on-the-go.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Wildkin Olive Kids:

Reviewers like these things about the Wildkin Olive Kids

  • Many parents like how its roomy interior helps keep school work organized.
  • Some reviewers love how its two padded, adjustable shoulder straps and a padded back provide a comfortable wear.
  • Others find the durable top handle perfect for hanging in a locker.
  • A number of reviewers love how the two zippered compartments and interior utility pockets and pencil holder make organization a breeze.
  • A lot of kids love its vibrant, playful patterns.
  • Some reviewers describe it as a super sturdy awesome backpack for little kids.
  • A number of users observed that the pack is constructed in such a way that the weight is well balanced.
  • Many reviewers thought the zippers seem to be good quality metal.
  • Some reviewers find the main compartment perfectly sized and holds a change of clothes and plenty of snacks, toys and water cup.
  • Many parents thought it’s a great and sturdy backpack and perfect size for their little ones.
  • Some reviewers are amazed with how the backpack has withstood multiple washings and still come out looking new.
  • Others were especially impressed with the heavy duty base of this pack, which looked like it would resist heavy books from poking through the fabric.
  • Some parents though it’s the perfect size for a Kindergartener’s back and shoulders.
  • It’s a well-made pack, cushioned enough for everyday use, and attractive enough to make little ones proud as observed by many parents.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some reviewers wished it had an outside mesh pocket for their drink.
  • Others wished it had a chest clip to keep the shoulder straps on the shoulders.

6 – Fjallraven Kanken 13

Fjallraven - Kanken Laptop 13" Bag, Heritage and Responsibility Since 1960
  • ICONIC: Classic Kanken with a twist. Same design, updated size. Stash your 13" laptop in its own padded compartment and still have the main compartment and 3 extra pockets for everything else.
  • PRACTICAL: Meet the material: Vinylon F. It has a weird name but it's dirt-resistant, water-resistant, and wipes clean.
  • FUNCTIONAL: 2-way zipper with rain flap for more protection. Padded, ergonomic shoulder straps for the long haul. Dual top snap handles for quick carry.
  • ROOMY: 13 L of storage space for everything you need and some things you don't. Measures 13.8" (35 cm) x 9.8" (25 cm) x 6.3" (16 cm). Weighs 0.8 lb.
  • HERITAGE: Durable, timeless, functional. Since 1960.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Fjallraven Kanken 13:

Reviewers like these things about the Fjallraven Kanken 13

  • Users have noted that the Fjallraven Kanken backpack has an iconic design which has been in style ever since.
  • Many of the reviewers indicated that its Vinylon F material is resistant to dirt and water.
  • Other reviewers thought that it is easy to clean the bag.
  • Laptop users found it easy to store their gadgets due to a padded sleeve dedicated for laptops.
  • Other reviewers said that the bag’s pockets made it easy to organize and access personal belongings.
  • Users recommend the bag for everyday use including work use and commuting.
  • Several users felt that it was easy to carry the bag due to its top snap handles.
  • Users liked that it can hold a variety of things well.
  • Other users commended its ability to store items safely and securely.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Due to its relatively small size, a few reviewers felt that it could use more small pockets for small valuables.
  • A reviewer thought that the bag might be smaller than expected.

7 – Trunki Paddlepak

Trunki PaddlePak Back Pack - Water Resistent Kids Backpack (Bob), Blue
  • Cute backpack ideal for days out, trips to the beach, swimming pool or school
  • Spacious 2 gallon capacity
  • Reflective trim and high visibility reflective straps
  • High quality water-resistant fabric
  • Ingenius roll top that clips together creating a dry seal with breakaway safety clip

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Trunki Paddlepak:

Reviewers like these things about the Trunki Paddlepak

  • Sturdy and cute, vibrant colors and character, good stitching, extremely lightweight are cited as the most favorite features among users.
  • A lot of users thought the backpack is downright adorable.
  • Many enjoy the water resistant fabric and safety light reflectors features of the bag.
  • Some appreciate the presence of dry zip pocket and loops for hanging accessories.
  • A lot of kids love the vibrant colors and characters design of the bag.
  • Parents agree that it’s not only absolutely adorable but also a highly functional product.
  • A lot of parents find the bag very convenient to pack everything from goggles to swim diapers.
  • Many users are glad with how the adjustable straps make it easy to pop onto the kid’s back for between the car and pool.
  • Many reviewers thought it’s well made with rip stop fabric and nice sturdy folding top.
  • A lot of parents thought it’s the perfect size for their kid’s swim lessons.
  • Majority of users thought it’s the cutest little bag ever.
  • Some users liked how the strap stays on the shoulder and does not slide off.
  • Some users particularly like the little bottom of the fish that turns out to be a dry pocket, they find it especially useful for a pool ID or money.
  • Many parents love its lightweight, so it doesn’t weigh down the child.
  • Some thought the straps are cushioned, but not overly thick or too wide.
  • Other users particularly noted that there is not a single loose thread or flaw in the construction and even the reinforcements on the interior base add to a design that’s made to last.
  • Others liked how the material dries quickly and doesn’t hold onto water.
  • Overall, many parents who chose the bag thought that it’s very well made with a well thought-out design.
  • Others thought the roll top feature on the bag is a cool feature since it makes it look more like a fish and also keeps wetness from escaping better than a zipper would.
  • Many parents are happy with how they can easily hose down the outside of the bag if it gets too covered in dirt and don’t have to worry about the contents getting wet.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users thought it’s cute but too small for a beach towel.
  • Others said the snap buckle appears very flimsy.

8 – Bixbee Sparkalicious

No products found.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Bixbee Sparkalicious:

Reviewers like these things about the Bixbee Sparkalicious

  • Most users said that it is a great option for preschoolers.
  • Reviewers also mentioned that it sits well on the back while still fitting standard books for school.
  • Users also said that the sparkles held up really well.
  • Many users praised the fact that the weight is more evenly distributed around the middle of their back.
  • Reviewers have mentioned that it has got lots of little pockets and plenty of room for notebooks.
  • Several users said that the material is strong.
  • One great feature mentioned by many users is that the fold over flap prevents things from getting wet.
  • Some other reviewers said that it has no signs of wear despite being rough with it.
  • Most of the users love the sparkles and the wings!.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user complained that there was a rip near one of the seams near the wings.
  • Some users complained that the water bottle was impossible to put in the side mesh pocket.
  • Some of them said that the corners of the folder poke up over the top of the bag’s pocket opening.

9 – Burton Emphasis 26L

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Burton Emphasis 26L:

Reviewers like these things about the Burton Emphasis 26L

  • Testers found out that the Burton Emphasis backpack is durable due to its polyester fabric.
  • Reviewers mentioned that the pack is comfortable to wear.
  • Users noted that it has multifunctional straps for skates.
  • Other users also stated that it comes with several pockets to fit a variety of essentials.
  • Other testers said that it comes in a variety of attractive and stylish colors.
  • Laptop users praised its padded compartment specifically designed for laptops.
  • Users pointed out that it has pockets on its sides for accessories.
  • Reviewers recommend the use of the bag for school, work, and adventures.
  • Many users said that the backpack is lightweight yet durable.
  • Testers noted that it comes with a ID window and a name card for identification.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A tester discovered that it is quite difficult to get things in and out of the bag.
  • A reviewer mentioned that it might not fit a variety of body types.

10 – Nike Cheyenne 3

Nike Cheyenne 3.0 Solid Backpack
  • Polyester shell features a dense weave for lasting durability.
  • Padded shoulder straps create a more comfortable carrying experience.
  • Dual-zippered main compartment stores and organizes your gear.
  • Internal, zippered pocket stores small valuables.
  • 2 zippered side pockets provide extra storage.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Nike Cheyenne 3:

Reviewers like these things about the Nike Cheyenne 3

  • Some users described it as durable and spacious bag.
  • Many users love how its water-resistant coating keeps the contents of the bag protected from the weather.
  • Other reviewers love how the paddedback panel and adjustable shoulder straps keeps them comfortable.
  • Some users love the presence of the interior mesh pocket for organisation and breathable storage.
  • Others like how the welded front zip pocket provides easy access to small items.
  • Many owners thought it’s well made and easy to clean.
  • A number of users like how the dual zip main compartment and internal zip pocket provide secure storage for books and electronics.
  • Some users thought it looks cool and comes with a large capacity.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users find it smaller than expected.
  • Others said the straps are a bit difficult to adjust.

About MightyGoods

Here at our site MightyGoods, we have checked thousands of reviews in order to build the biggest directory of backpacks, luggage, handbags and lots of other bags.

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Last update on 2018-11-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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