The new school year is on the horizon, and if there’s one thing your kids really need, it’s a sturdy bag that’ll hold all their gear (and won’t fall apart in six months). From the hottest trends to classic style, we’ve found 20 cool backpacks that’ll send your kids back to the classroom with confidence. Keep reading to see our favorites.
Your hip skater kiddos will love these new backpacks from Dakine! There are several prints to choose from, and there are all sorts of cool features like a fleece-lined sunglass pocket, an insulated cooler pocket, adjustable sternum strap and more.
Buy it here, $45.
Wildkin's Pack-it-all Backpack
Perfect for kindergarteners or early grade-school kids, this backpack has a place for everything! There's a name tag inside, a secret pocket for treasures, and the front exterior pocket is the perfect size for a bento box. Available in several prints and colors, it's perfect for a first-time "big kid" school year!
Buy one here, $39.99.
Herschel Supply Co.
We love the quality and variety of Herschel backpacks, and they've just launched new styles just in time for Back to School.
The first is their third collab with Star Wars. Inspired by the light side of the Force, there's a black backpack with cool graphics that include the Millenium Falcon, the Rebel logo, and of course the iconic Star Wars movie logo, as well as a lighter one inspired by Princess Leia.
Buy them here, $59.99.
Another cool addition to the Herschel Supply Co. lineup is their new Day/Night Heritage Kids Backpack. Made with reflective fabric, the diamond in the middle is a real light. You press it once for continuous light, twice for a flashing light. Made for kiddos up to age four, with 14 different hues to choose from, it's perfect for any time they have to be out in the dusk or dark.
Buy them here, $64.99.
Rockets of Awesome x STATE | Sustainable Back-to-School Bags
Your favorite kids' clothes subscription service just came through in a major way on the backpack front. Just in time for back-to-school, the NYC-based kids clothing brand, Rockets of Awesome, has teamed up with the social justice supporting bag maker, STATE Bags, for a limited-edition collection of eco-friendly school bags.
The collection is made from 100% recycled nylon and includes two styles: a backpack with padded shoulder straps, two exterior bottle holders, a special leak-proof snack pocket, and a main compartment that’s sized to hold a lunchbox, laptop, and plenty more. And an insulated lunchbox with a zippered silverware compartment and adjustable divider.
Get them here.
Your littlest schoolers won't be able to wait until fall to use mCubed backpacks. Each one comes with comfortable padded straps, a lined nylon interior pocket, an extra inner back pocket and a side non-mesh pocket. Even though they're made for littles, they can still fit standard folders and books, plus all your essentials.
Buy it here, $34.
Perry Mackin's Charlie Backpack
If you're looking for something streamlined with a retro knapsack vibe but fits those little backs just right (and can still hold all that stuff), may we suggest the Charlie Backpack from Perry Mackin? It comes in six fun colors, including mustard, navy, pink, camo and khaki, has two exterior water bottle pockets, a front zipper storage pocket and two interior pockets, and a top zipper with magnetic strap closures. It's also made from water-resistant polyester and is wipeable inside. Confession: one of our editors got one to use as her daily commute bag! It holds a 13" laptop just right.
Buy it here, $58.
STATE's popular Kane bag has been redesigned in 17 prints and colors just in time for Back to School 2021! fits a 13" laptop and standard school folders and books. The large front pocket is great for small items, while the side pocket can accommodate a 17oz. water bottle and smaller. In addition, every bag purchased from STATE helps to fund donations of fully-packed backpacks, special projects with partner charities and schools, and shed light on social injustices.
Buy them here, $65 & up.
Parkland's 100% Recycled Backpacks
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 materials (It takes 12 water bottles to make one backpack.) This school gear will stand up to the test with a secure zipper pocket, mesh padded straps, internal divider, and lifetime guarantee. Choose from adorable pre-school options or bold new prints for older kids.
Get them here, $19.99 & up.
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 a large exterior pocket. The hardest part about picking one of these is choosing from their exclusive artwork and bold color patterns.
Buy one here, $24 & up.
Fenrici's Super Durable Backpacks
The backpacks Fenrici are made with 900-denier extra-sturdy material that guarantees years of use, the extra high mesh side pockets ensure taller water bottles stay snug, and the reflector patches help keep kids safe. And, if that wasn't enough, 5% net proceeds are donated to Global Genes to fund the research and education for childhood rare diseases.
Order one here, $27.99 & up.
Target's Cat & Jack
Is there no end to the cuteness from Target’s Cat & Jack? This dino backpack is new this year (among other adorable prints) and comes with padded shoulder straps, exterior pockets, including a mesh side pocket that's perfect for water bottles. The plush dino zipper pull is a fun added feature. What's even cooler is that this same backpack style and print is now also available in Target's Adaptive line (although currently sold out), so it will fit on the back of a wheelchair with ease.
Buy it here, $19.99.
So Young's Toddler Backpack
Perfect for your tiniest scholars, the toddler backpack from So Young is made from a linen-cotton material that can be washed on the gentle cycle (no dryer), has a reinforced bottom for longevity, a chest strap for added support and comes in adorable designs like the Jungle Cats, the Blue Dino, Groovy Llama and more. Don't have young kids? So Young has plenty of options for grader schoolers too!
Pick your favorite here, $35.
Zoli's STASH Backpack
The STASH backpack is perfect for your older grade school or tween, this pack has a place for a laptop, is made from durable 300-denier polyester, has an extra flap for added protection and handy side pockets for extra items and is offered in seven colors
Buy it here, $55.
Babiators's Rocket Packs
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.
Snag one here, $14.99.
Skip Hop's Zoo Friends
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 Zoo Collection. 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 additions to the ever-expanding menagerie in 2021 are a puppy and a koala!
Pick your friend here, $19.99.
Bixbee's Bundle Set
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. With this bundle you'll get the patented horizontal backpack and matching lunchbox—and it's offered in over 10 fun prints and styles.
Buy one here, $29 & up.
Pottery Barn Kids' Classic Mackenzie
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 include the Colby Starburst, the rainbow ombre and Star Wars™ Grogu™
Pick your favorite print here, $39.50 & up.
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 mesh pocket for water bottles, easy folding capabilities, organizing front panel, key clip and much more.
Available at lbean.com, $36.95.
TWELVElittle's Adventure Backpack
We are totally crushing on this adorable backpack by TWELVElittle. Available in five different prints—twinkle star, leopard, black, navy and camo print—there's a style for every individual in your house.
Buy one here, $49.
Daph Daph's SuperME Backpacks
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 six color combos for every type of superhero, a SuperME velcro patch, and the option to personalize!
Buy them here, $39.90.
Wanderwild backpacks come in three different styles: The Explorer, The Adventurer and The Wanderer. The Wanderer has a zippered front pocket, while the Adventurer is bigger, which makes it a good pick for older kids and the Explorer has a front velcro pocket for quick access.
Buy one here, $50 & up.
All images courtesy of retailers