10 Best Kids & Toddlers Backpacks in 2018

Back to school giving your family the blues? We can’t stop summer from slipping away, but we can help to ensure that you approach the school year ahead feeling prepared and excited for the coming months.

Send your little one back in style this year, with one of these top-notch backpacks. Even as young as pre-K, there are hundreds of accessories and school supplies to be worried about. Art projects, school newsletters, notes from teachers, extra clothes–we know you’ve got your hands full. So free them up with a backpack that’s just right for your family’s storage and organizational needs.

The following backpacks are not only functional, but kid-approved as well. From cute, cartoon animal faces to galactic glory, we’ve made sure there’s something for all ages and tastes included on our list. Looking for something comfortable but cool too? We’ve got you covered. Zip your worries away with these high-quality, fashionable options. Kids will love showing off their newest accessory to all of their friends. Some of the options below even provide insulated pouches where you can store lunchboxes or extra snacks. With all of the improved technology out there, family-friendly companies continue to make life a little easier each and every year for you and your loved ones.

Last Updated: September 9, 2018
By Amanda Milewski:

This list was updated with a number of new products and features a wide range of styles that fit the needs preschoolers as well as younger school-age children. The product details, availability and pricing have all been doublechecked and verified as accurate.

Our Top 3 Picks

Olive Kids Trains, Planes and Trucks
  • Olive Kids Trains, Planes and Trucks
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • One Year Warranty
  • Price: See Here
Skip Hop Zoo Backpack
  • Skip Hop Zoo Backpack
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Insulated Food Pocket
  • Price: See Here
Amazonbasics Classic Backpack
  • Amazonbasics Classic Backpack
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight & Durable
  • Price: See Here

Criteria Used in Evaluation of The Top Kids Backpacks 

Having the right backpack for your child is so important for their physical health. Chiropractors and doctors stress the need for a structurally sound and well made bag. As kids keep growing older, so do their back-to-school shopping lists. Having a proportional and well-made bag can distribute the weight evenly and make it not only easy but safe for your child to use. Buying the right bag and teaching your child how to fill these bags and lift them properly can save your child from injury and long term back pain.

Additionally, they shouldn’t hold more than 10 percent of your child’s weight. That means if your kid weighs 70 pounds, the bag should be no heavier than 7 pounds. Most laptops range from 2 to 6 pounds and a textbook weighs roughly 5 pounds. This number is to prevent damage to children’s back and shoulders. They should be made of lighter materials too so they aren’t heavy before filling up with supplies. Canvas and other similar options are much better than things like leather.

Your bag also needs to fit your child comfortably. You can’t purchase a large bag for a growing kid, because they would be overloaded until they grow. It is much safer to purchase the correct size and just know you need to replace it. The same logic works for shoes, you don’t put large shoes on a toddler and wait for them to grow into them. You just simply throw them in storage until they’re forgotten and too small and buy the ones that fit.

Parents should also avoid careless stitching and seams. Things that are frayed and falling apart will just get worse. It pays to get the quality not only for your wallet but peace of mind. These cheaper backpacks won’t last very long and will cost you in the long run. Your kid and your wallet will be happy if you put down more up front and get a ton more use.

You should also make sure your kid is wearing both their shoulder straps. Constantly bearing weight all on one shoulder puts unnecessary strain on the spine and can cause long-term damage. Buckles and other features that distribute the weight of the bag evenly help take the strain off other parts of the body as well.

What Determined the Top Kids’ Backpacks on Our List

When we decided to do a list of the most amazing backpacks for kids, we knew it would be challenging. After all, we are not simply looking for a replacement of Dora’s famous backpack. What we are looking for a types of bags that our kids will definitely adore as they grow older.

As such, the very first thing we had to look for is the construction or the overall integrity of the design. Unfortunately, we can only rely on certain parameters that can help us determine the quality workmanship of a particular bag. For starters, it would be virtually impossible to physically subject each bag to rigorous testing of its strength and durability because there are clearly thousands of them. So, we had to rely on some forms of quality indicators such as the overall reputation of a company. A trustworthy backpack manufacturer, we believe, won’t sacrifice the integrity of its brand image by producing bags that are of mediocre quality. This is especially true among companies that have been in the business for many years, some even decades. They clearly don’t want to throw away what they have worked for all these years just by producing a backpack of highly questionable quality. Secondly, we had to confirm this by comparing it with consumer reviews and feedbacks. At the very least, our assumptions of quality workmanship must be fully satisfied.

Next, we then looked at the functionality of the bag. Sure, it may look cute but if it cannot serve its fundamental purpose, then it will only serve as an accessory which a backpack is clearly not meant to be. Thus, we looked at how the manufacturer considered fulfilling the basic function of a bag. If it comes with a variety of pockets, are they useful? If these bags have a certain unique lock mechanism, then we’d make sure that it’s easy to operate and that it really serves its purpose.

We also considered the comfort that the backpack can provide to kids. The shoulder straps as well as carrying handles must be designed in such a way that they do not put a strain on the part of the body that will be bearing most of the weight. This is also related to the convenience of using the backpack. If it comes with a lot of features that only get in the way of optimally using the bag, then these features are mere nuisances and serve no meaningful purpose.

Lastly, we also looked at the style. Kids love film and TV characters as well as brightly colored designs. Of course, there are also those who like it plain and simple. Nevertheless, this did not prevent us from looking at the designs of these bags and enlisting the help of parents through their feedbacks to help us get an idea of the general perception of kids. At least we can say that we have the backing of parents in the making of our top 10 amazing backpacks for kids.

Tips to Choosing the Right Backpack for Our Kids

We have already shared with you how we chose the backpacks in our list. But if you would like to explore backpacks on your own, you might be interested in the following tips.

  • Understand your child’s developmental needs. Younger children require more fun learning features while older children will typically require versatility and functionality.
  • Make sure to check the product label of the backpack you’re buying. It must be made of kid-safe materials and should not contain BPA, PVC, lead, phthalate, and formaldehyde as well as other harmful chemicals.
  • Look for features that will provide optimum comfort for your child. Padded straps are a must. However, equally important is a padded back support as the weight of the bag can inadvertently push against the back of your child.
  • If the backpack comes with a variety of features, try to study each of these carefully. Determine how your child will benefit from these features. If there are no obvious benefits or the benefits are only minimal, try to look for another one.
The Bottom Line

Choosing a backpack for your kid is like choosing clothes for them. You have to know what “fits” and “suits” them. With our top 10 amazing backpacks for kids, we’re sure choosing has never been this easy.


Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can the Olive Kids Trains, Planes and Trucks Pack n’ Snack Backpack fit a standard-sized folder?

A: Unfortunately, it can not. This bag has the right height to fit a folder but the rounded corners would force it to bend. This size is best for toddlers and younger preschoolers. It does fit a composition book, coloring books and all sorts of other things you may need.

Q: What are the differences between zippers?

A: Ideally, both the pull tab and the teeth of the zipper should be made from metal or high quality, BPA-free plastic. This is to ensure that it doesn’t break or wear down. Flaps that cover the zipper also prevent different weather elements from getting into the bag through the zipper. You should consider these things when determining what bag is best for your individual needs.

Q: Why is the Coolwoo Kid Backpack made from neoprene?

A: The neoprene is commonly found in diving wet suits. It is breathable and durable making it incredibly comfortable and nice for children. This also makes it water resistant and stain resistant making the neoprene an exceptional option for messy toddlers and fickle weather.

Q: How do you recommend washing backpacks that aren’t machine washable?

A: Some bags have materials that need to be washed gently. If not, you could ruin the foam padding and the prints. We recommend looking at each product and see what the manufacturer recommends. Hand washing and line drying can be an option or maybe even dry cleaning. Thankfully a lot of the backpacks we mention can be more easily washed or contain material that is stain resistant.

Q: Why is it important for the backpacks to have padding?

A: Padding throughout the straps and the back panels add to the overall comfort of the bag. Having adjustable straps also makes it easier for your child to pack around whatever school supplies they need without the strain of thin, tight straps.

Q: Can I get my backpack monogrammed?

A: We actually don’t recommend getting your kid’s name monogrammed. This is because of the safety issue of putting your kids name is such a public place. Children are much more likely to trust a stranger who knows their name. Putting their name on the inside label is cheaper and easier. Your kid and their teachers can still figure out everyone’s bag without announcing it to every car that drives by.