The first day of school is on the horizon, and if there’s one thing your kids really need, it’s a sturdy bag that’ll help them make the grade. From the hottest trends (hello, unicorn pack!) to classic appeal, we’ve found 23 backpacks that’ll send your kids back to the classroom in style. Scroll down to see our picks.
Vaschy Little Kid Backpacks for Boys and Girls with Chest Strap
It can be difficult to find toddler and little kid-sized backpacks for school, but Vaschy has nailed the design. Large enough to fit small tablets and school supplies, but not so big your little can't carry it, these kid-sized backpacks also come with a chest strap, water bottle pockets, a name tag and large exterior pocket. The hardest part about picking one of these is choosing from their exclusive artwork and bold color patterns.
Pick from 6 adorable designs starting at $20 on Amazon!
A Durable Backpack from Fenrici
We aren't sure what we love to most about these super durable backpacks from Fenrici. The fact that they're made with 900-denier extra-sturdy material that guarantees years of use, the extra high mesh side pockets to ensure taller water bottles stay snug, the reflector patches that'll help keep kids safe, or the fact that each pack comes with an empowering name: Kindness, Confidence, Gratitude, Bravery, Strength and more. And, if that wasn't enough, 5% net proceeds are donated to Global Genes to fund the research and education for childhood rare diseases.
Available at amazon.com, $34.95.
100% Recycled from Parkland
We're not sure what we love more—the dozens of fun prints to choose from or the fact that Parkland's backpacks are made from 100% recycled polyester. With a secure zipper pocket, mesh padded straps, internal divider and lifetime guarantee, this school gear will stand up to the test. And the best part? Until Aug. 15th, Parkland will donate 10% of online sales to Pharell Williams and his mother, Dr. Carolyn Williams' non-profit organization, FOHTA!
Available at parklandmfg.com, $37.99.
Fun Colors with EggKids
These fun packs from EggKids are made from dirt-resistant and water-resistant Vinylon. Designed with two-way zip closures and a front zipper pocket complete with rain flip, there’s room for up to two water bottles, and there’s a sleeve for separate storage inside the main compartment. Offered in four fun options with adorable animal graphics (they even have names: Elliott, Maja, Sven and Sofia!), you can let your little scholar pick his favorite.
Available at kiddlykids.com/eggkids, $40.
Rocket Packs from Babiators
Did you know that the company that makes your kids’ fave shades also makes great backpacks? Yup, Babiators has durable packs for your little one. Made with a touch military-grade fabric, they work for both indoor and outdoor activities. With multiple pockets and loops, there’s plenty of space for school supplies and any other gear your kiddo might want to tote around. Offered in three different color schemes, there’s one for every kid in your crew. And here's a bonus! Babiators has created a sale code especially for Red Tricycle readers: until Sept. 1st, use REDTRI25 at checkout to save %25!
Available at babiators.com, $25.
Sustainable Canvas by Joggo
For your older scholars, why not let them choose something different than the standard pack. This canvas, sustainably-made backpack from Joggo is super sturdy, comes in two colors (black and soft pink) and the front zipper pocket makes it easy for your kid to stash any gear she'll need between classes. The clean finish makes for a classic, simple style and Joggo contributes 10% of the proceeds to refugee education initiatives through their partnership with CARE Canada.
Available at joggo.com, $79.99.
Unicorn Backpack from OMG Accessories
Indulge in your kid's unicorn obsession with an adorable mini backpack that's perfect for sleepovers at nana's house. There are two zippered pockets, adjustable straps and it's made with iridescent material that adds a whimsical touch.
Available at omgaccessories.com, $55.
We can't decide what we like the most about these new backpacks from Tula Kids. From the fashion-forward prints and the comfy fit to the 100% water-resistant polyester fabric that makes for easy cleanup and the extra pockets for plenty of storage space, this backpack is something that beginning students can enjoy past the preschool years.
Available at babytula.com, $79.
Your first-time scholar will love to have a friend along for the big day. These adorable packs from Animal Packers come with a large zippered pocket right under the animal’s mouth that’s perfect for snacks, a large, bright interior that makes it easy to find treasures, and two side pockets for toys and drinks. Each one is made ethically and is BPA, PVC and Phthalate free.
Available at animalpackers.com, $31.
Eco-Friendly Backpack from 7 AM Enfant
You’ll get your preschooler off on the right eco-friendly foot with this stylish backpack that’s made entirely out of recycled water bottles. Offered in a stylish star print, it comes with padded shoulder handles, has two zippered vertical pockets and is machine washable. Score!
Available at 7amenfant.com, $42.
NYC-Inspired Backpacks from Tea Collection
Let your kid take a little bit of the Big Apple with her to school this year. Offered in two new NYC-inspired prints, each backpack is made from 100% polyester with adjustable shoulder straps and measures 15.5"x 11.23" x 4.5", which means they’re perfect for your grade school scholars.
Available at teacollection.com, $46.50.
The Mackenzie from Pottery Barn Kids
Packed with pockets, straps and gear loops to keep everything in place, made of water-resistant polyester and featuring adjustable padded shoulder straps and exterior straps, the Mackenzie backpack is one of the most efficient and playfully designed collections around—making it a hit with kids and parents alike. The large backpack holds a lunch bag, a large notebook, two small notebooks, several books and a water bottle. New prints this year includes glow-in-the-dark features, Frozen and more!
Available at potterybarnkids.com, $29-$59.
Cat & Jack for Target
Is there no end to the cuteness from Target’s Cat & Jack? This adorable gray with gold dot backpack has a roomy interior, adjustable straps, a laptop sleeve to keep electronics safe, two exterior zip pockets and two mesh pockets for water bottles. It's just one of eight fun designs you can find at a great price.
Available at target.com, $19.99.
L.L. Bean Original Book Pack
We love the combo of L.L. Bean's classically sturdy gear and bold new prints for Back to School this year! Still made from 100% polyester, with tough-made zippers and reflective material for visibility, additional features include a new mesh pocket for water bottles, easy folding capabilities to stash in a larger duffle, organizing front panel, key clip and much more.
Available at llbean.com, $39.95
The Hero Backpack
The backpacks from HERO NEW YORK are ready to accompany your kiddo anywhere. They are made from a military-grade, water-resistant material and lined with an easy-to-clean (for real!) nylon and there’s a front compartment with a key fob for easy access, a small pocket at the back for valuables, special pockets for electronics. There are plenty of charming, on-trend prints to choose from. And, the best part? Each backpack comes with a collectible trading card of a hero from history that’ll inspire kids when the going gets tough.
Available at herobackpacks.com/collections, $49-$99.
Patch Perfect from 12 Little
We are totally crushing on these adorable new backpacks—12 little kids™ by TWELVElittle. The new gear includes two-tone zipper accents to add a little pop, there are also multiple pockets for easy organizing, and TWELVElittle designed the interior lining themselves (the 12 animals from the Asian zodiac calendar!). Also, each backpack comes with a pack of iron-on patches so your little designer can customize her backpack to her own individual style.
Available at twelvelittle.com/courage-backpack-pink, $54.50.
Super Scholar from Daph Daph
Designed with your littlest scholars in mind, these sleek backpacks can turn a nervous kiddo into a superhero in the blink of an eye. Simply don the secret cape that’s stashed away in a pocket at the back of the backpack and pow! There’s even an accompanying eye mask to complete your kid’s transformation. Each backpack is insulated with EVA, which keeps drinks and snacks cold, and can easily store notebooks, a change of clothes and more. There are 10 color combos for every type of superhero, a SuperME velcro patch, and the option to personalize!
Available at daphdaph.com, $39.90.
LEGO Eco Backpack
LEGO Eco backpacks take the love of LEGO and being green to a whole new level. Every bag is made from recycled plastic water bottles, and you’ll find amazing designs—NINJAGO and NEXO Knights; clever brick-patterned fabric styles; and—our favorite—the giant LEGO brick pack that has two outside pockets and plenty of room for all the gear kids tote around all day. Each pack features a place to write your kiddo’s name, stash pockets, reflective fabric strips on the padded shoulder straps, and the lining even has its own brick pattern. And, the bags are big enough to hold everything without being too big for the kids.
Available at legobags.com/backpacks, $40-$50.
The Tot Tote
This mom-invented tote can be worn as a backpack, carried as a bag, and can even be used as a backseat organizer! You’ll find seven internal pockets to keep everything tidy, one mesh drink holder and an external zipper pocket for easy access. Whether older kids use it while on the way to after-school activities or if younger tots use it to tote along their favorite items to school, the multi-pocket function will always come in handy. And, with over 10 adorable designs in five collections, there’s a style for every kid.
Available at tottote.com, $35-$45.
Zoo Friends from Skip Hop
Skip Hop knows that kids need a friend to help get them through those first days of school. That’s why we love the NYC-based company's animal backpacks. Measuring at 11" x 5" x 12", they are the perfect size for first-time scholars. The front insulated pocket can hold a stash of snacks, the wipeable liner makes for easy cleanup, and the padded shoulders give little shoulders extra comfort. New in 2018 to the ever-expanding menagerie is a llama and a bat!
Available at skiphop.com, $20.
Value Set from Bixbee
Weighing in at just over one pound, each Bixbee backpack is designed with your student’s comfort in mind. There are five exterior pockets (including a lunch money pocket and water bottle holder), an ID holder, and three interior organizer pockets that hold small necessities like pencils, pens, and crayons. New this year is the value set—you'll get the patented horizontal backpack and matching lunchbox—and it's offered in four fun prints.
Available at bixbee.com, $34.99.
Gym Rucksack from Beckmann
Beckmann offers a wide array of sizes, and their Gym Rucksack is ideal for preschool or kindergarten kids with a smaller frame. Designed to be a day pack, it actually attaches to the outside of the 1st-grade backpack, so it can be removed and used separately or be the solo bag. It has an insulated lining and can double as a lunch bag, plush padded straps and with reflective features and is super lightweight. We love it for weekend trips, hikes and plane trips as the perfect pint-sized carry-on.
Available at beckmann-us.com, $40.
A Custom Backpack from Stuck on You
It’s all about being able to customize your gear, and these cute backpacks from Stuck on You will do the trick. Personalizing the backpack is included in the cost so your little learner can pick a color, a graphic (there are 22) and a font (there are 10) that fits his personality the best. The large rucksack backpack is made from a durable soft poly canvas, comes with a front small zipper pocket, a large compartment zippered space, and measures in at 16.53L x 11.41W x 4.72D.
Available at stuckonyou.com/largebackpack, $35.96.
— Gabby Cullen