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Best Overall: JanSport Superbreak Backpack
For an affordable, well-made backpack that will last for years, it’s hard to go wrong with the Jansport Superbreak Backpack. The company has been in the backpack biz for decades, and for good reason.
These backpacks are made to last, so much so that they come with a lifetime warranty. If anything happens to your backpack, you can send it back, and they’ll repair or replace it.
The design is simple, with one main compartment and a smaller front pocket that zips. It measures 13 by 16.7 by 8.5 inches and has plenty of room for school supplies or whatever they may need for a sleepover or sports practice.
Lightweight and simply designed, it’s one that can be used for years to come by multiple members of your family.
Best Baby: AnyHug Baby Diaper Bag Backpack
A convenient alternative to diaper bags, diaper backpacks offer a hands-free means of carrying all the things a baby needs. And let’s face it, babies need a lot of stuff. From diapers to bottles, wipes, and toys, having a sturdy, functional bag makes life a whole lot easier for mom and dad.
This one from Freilach gets high marks from parents for its design. It comes with pockets aplenty (there are 17 compartments in all), which makes finding things easier. It also has a changing pad for diaper changes on the go.
Made of easy-to-clean material, the backpack is waterproof and durable with steel zippers. Its padded straps make it comfortable to carry, too.
This backpack’s simple design makes it one that mom and dad will both want to carry, and it can be used well beyond the baby years.
Best Toddler: Skip Hop Toddler Backpack
Dreams do come true with this unicorn backpack from Skip Hop made just for toddlers. Beyond being adorable—a big reason to buy this backpack—it’s also functional and made toddler tough.
With side and front pockets, they can carry along snacks, a water bottle, toys, and more. It’s just the right size for toddlers (11 by 5 by 12 inches) and has thick, padded straps that make it comfy for little shoulders to wear. And did we mention the cute factor?
If unicorns aren’t their thing, it also comes in a variety of other adorable animal options too.
Best Preschool: Obersee Mini Preschool All-in-One Backpack for Toddlers and Kids with integrated Insulated Cooler
Preschool-aged kids can be little packrats They like to collect items and can’t seem to leave the house without bringing their collections with them, no matter where they go. From books to toy cars and crayons to dolls, this backpack from Obersee has room for it all.
This one also comes with an insulated front pocket, so they can take along snacks and lunch, without the hassle of carrying another lunch box. Inside, there are pockets to keep everything organized.
Designed for kids ages 3 and up, it measures 10 by 14.5 by 5.5 inches, so it’s big enough to hold school folders and supplies, but so not big as to weigh kids down. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and parents say it’s durable and just the right size for preschool.
Best Grade School: L.L. Bean Original Book Pack
As kids get older, their backpacks need to be a little bit bigger to carry homework and other things to and from school. This classic backpack from L.L.Bean is up for the job.
The Original Book Pack has compartments for all their school gear, including a lunchbox. The company has also added a water bottle pocket to the design. Made of nylon, it’s waterproof and sturdy, and a padded back panel makes it comfortable to wear. It also has reflective material on the front of the backpack and on the straps for safety.
This one comes in several solid colors, which kids won’t outgrow like some themed options, and it gets top marks for durability. Parents report kids using these backpacks throughout their entire grade school stint, and the bag comes out looking no worse for the wear.
Best Athletic: Under Armour Storm Scrimmage Backpack
For the sporty set, this backpack from Under Armour will hit it out of the park. Great to tote their things to class, the field, and beyond, it has plenty of space and pockets to hold everything they need.
There’s a padded sleeve that can hold a laptop up to about 15 inches, and two water bottle pockets ensure maximum hydration. Made of weatherproof material, it comes in a variety of color combinations, all featuring the bold Under Armour logo. Adjustable straps make it great for kids of all ages (adults, too), and it can grow with them.
Best Rolling: Rockland 17" Roadster Rolling Backpack
All those books can get heavy, and wheels provide welcome relief to tired little shoulders and backs. The Rockland Roadster Rolling Backpack will keep them zipping along.
This 17-inch backpack has plenty of room for books, folders, and more. It has a large main compartment as well as zippered ones on the front, one of which includes a built-in organizer. Mesh pockets on the side can hold a water bottle or other items kids want to reach easily. Double skate wheels make for a smooth ride.
Better yet, the backpack comes in 15 cool colors and patterns. While most will be more appealing to girls, there are a few boys will dig as well.
Customers say it’s a great alternative for kids who aren’t comfortable carrying a traditional backpack, and most say they’re impressed with the quality.