Buy Your Child the Best Backpack This Year

  • 01 of 07

    Buy Your Child the Right Backpack This Year

    Getty/Jamie Grill

    When shopping for back to school, think about both how to save money on school supplies in the short term and invest for the long run. School backpacks are an investment. Buy a cheap backpack, and it might not even last the school year. Buying school backpacks for the long haul will also save the time spent shopping for a new book bag every year. Most quality backpacks, after a spin in the washer, are good for multiple school years.

    But to be sure your child's will last from year to year (or...MORE even to the end of this school year), look these qualities when purchasing.

     First Quality to Look For

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  • 02 of 07

    Long-Lasting Appeal

    Getty/Blend Images

    Kids' desire for something different every fall is probably the number one reason parents get new school backpack each year. Kids are rarely thinking about how well-made their backpacks are. The hottest TV character decorating their backpack this fall may be forgotten by spring and, worse, an embarrassment by next fall.

    Solid colors and classic patterns (florals, plaid, stripes) may not excite kids like cartoon characters, but they don't go out of style. Let kids decorate their bags with...MORE a key chain of other hanging toys (if allowed) to make them more fun.

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  • 03 of 07


    back-to-school shopping at Target
    Joe Scarnici/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images for Target

    Zippers that come off the track and seams that fray are often a problems with cheap school backpacks. Pictures and decals can crack and wear off. Buying a name-brand backpack from someplace with a good return policy can head of these quality issues.

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  • 04 of 07



    Wide, padded straps on school backpacks help kids carry heavy loads. Messenger bags and one-strap backpacks are not recommended in this backpack buying guide.

    Wheels are good for kids that have a lot of heavy books and/or must carry their bags long distances. But keep in mind that wheels add weight overall, and the folding handles of rolling backpacks can be uncomfortable on the back.

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  • 05 of 07

    The Right Size


    Many school backpacks designed for preschoolers are not even large enough to hold a folder without bending it, and preschoolers tend to come home with big art projects. Messenger bags and laptop backpacks are often narrower and may not hold all your child needs.

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  • 06 of 07

    Useful Features

    Getty/Jonathan Kirn

    Look for added extras on school backpacks that your child will actually use, such as pockets, key chains, lunch kits, water bottle holders, cell phone holders, etc. (But keep in mind there is such thing as too many pockets when a kid is looking for misplaced lunch money.) If your child will be bringing a laptop or tablet too and from school, look for a bag with padding made to protect these devices.

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  • 07 of 07


    Getty Blend Images Jamie Grill JGI

    Some schools have rules against wheeled backpacks while some require clear school backpacks, so check your school supply list before purchasing.



    See my my best backpack purchase over the years.