12 Best Kids' Backpacks For School And Travel

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The humble backpack, a harbinger of all good things.

They're evergreen in terms of style, come in a huge variety of designs depending on the need of your family, and are pretty much essential for your kids to take back to school with them, thanks to the fact that they can carry so much. Pile in the gym kit, textbooks, stationery, packed lunch, change of clothes, musical instrument, exercise books, water bottles, tech, and whatever else your kids think they absolutely need to take with them for the new school year (the kitchen sink may also be required).

We've done the work for you, searching far and wide for the 12 best kids' backpack there is so that you can make an informed decision on the best options out there. Your kids can discover and learn, and you can rest easy knowing that they've got the school backpack that ticks the boxes for everything they need.

Header Image © Pexels under a creative commons licence.

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Kidadl's Top Pick

1. Little America Backpack Youth - Herschel Supply Company

Pink and grey Little America Backpack.
Image © Herschel Supply Company

These are the best backpacks for school, travel, work, play, hiking - whatever your kids can dream to do with them, they can do. They're designed for children ages 5 and up, and have a mountaineering-inspired style with their magnetised strap closures and front pockets. There's a key clip in this pocket for extra safety and security, a mesh water bottle pocket on the side, a removable sternum support strap alongside the padded shoulder straps, and a drawcord closure. The backpack also has a woven interior name label, for extra identification, and Herschel's signature striped fabric liner, with a 13 inch padded laptop sleeve. The durability of these backpacks means that they're a great investment as they last for years, and the timeless designs ensure that your kids will continue to love them without outgrowing them.

Main Features

  • Price: £65
  • Ages: 5 +
  • 13 inch padded laptop sleeve
  • Mesh water bottle side pockets
  • Front pocket with key clip
  • Interior name label for extra identification
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Drawcord closure and magnet fastened strap closures

Best For Families On A Budget

2. Classic Backpack - Amazon Basics

Mint green classic backpack.
Image © Amazon

Coming in several colourways, these backpacks are lightweight but durable. They have a main compartment with a double-zipped closure and a padded pocket on the inside for any laptops. There's a water bottle pocket on both sides and a front zippered pocket, too. Straps are adjustable and padded for extra comfort. This backpack does the job and will take your kid from school to play no problem.

Main Features

  • Price: £14.99
  • Ages: 6+
  • Lightweight, durable
  • Several pockets including a water pocket and padded inner pocket for laptops
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Comes in several colours

Best For Early Years

3. Zoo Little Kids Backpack - Skip Hop

Zoo Little Kids Backpack, shaped like a dog.
Image © Skip Hop

Skip Hop design their backpacks specifically with your little kids in mind. The zipper pulls are made for small hands, the comfy padded straps are built for little shoulders, and the whimsical animal designs are dreamy - there's even a narwhal option! A top hanging loop makes for easy storage, and there's a durable, easy-to-clean lining with a write-on name tag on the bag's inside. The mesh side pocket adjusts for most sippy cups or water bottles, and there's a front pocket and internal pockets for extra snacks or stationery. Ideal!

Main Features

  • Price: from £16
  • Ages: 3+
  • Comes in multiple animal designs all featuring a friendly, colourful face
  • Durable and easy-to-clean lining
  • Name tag for easy identification in the classroom
  • Many pockets, including internal and side
  • Insulated pouch for snacks
  • Roomy main compartment
  • Padded straps for small shoulders

Best For Under 5s

4. Survey Backpack Kids - Herschel Supply Company

Pink and spotty Survey Backpack for kids.
Image © Herschel Supply Company

These super cute square backpacks have been designed specifically for kids ages 3 to 4, and are amongst the coolest children's rucksacks. Inspired by scouting bags and with Herschel's distinctive strap closures, these are sure to make your kids' backpack one of the most spottable in the playground.

Main Features

  • Price: £35
  • Ages: 3 - 4
  • Featuring Herschel's striped fabric liner, which is wipeable
  • Hidden zippered storage pockets
  • Woven interior name label for easy identification
  • Magnetic strap closures for easy fastening
  • Durable synthetic leather or rubber details
  • Unique design

Best For Under 10s

5. Seek School Backpack - Smiggle

Old video game themed Seek School Backpack.
Image © Smiggle

Smiggle is the brand to have if your kids are of a certain age, and the Seek range of products is amongst the best. This backpack has reflective piping for extra safety on both the body and straps to make sure your kids can be seen in darker hours. There are three zipped compartments, two water bottle sleeves, a pocket for a 15 inch laptop if needed, plus a chest strap and padded shoulder straps.

Main Features

  • Price: from £32
  • Ages: 5+
  • Classic, colourful and cool kids backpacks in fun designs
  • Reflective piping on the bag's body and straps for extra safety
  • Double zipped main compartment
  • Two water bottle sleeves
  • The best school bags for primary school
  • Internal padded pocket that can fit a 15-inch laptop
  • A matching lunch bag, drink bottle, stationery, and pencil case is also available

6. Padded Pak'r Backpack - Eastpak

Red Padded Pak'r Backpack.
Image © Eastpak

Eastpak is a classic brand for backpacks and can be seen nationwide in schools. Their iconic status is well-deserved. This bag has a spacious main compartment with a zip-fastened front pocket. It's also got adjustable padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel, is 100% vegan and comes in over 170 different colours and designs, so is sure to please even the most disgruntled teenager. They also last for years, so are a great investment.

Main Features

  • Price: £45
  • Ages: 7+
  • Classic backpack in over 170 colours/designs
  • Spacious main compartment
  • Padded shoulders and back panel
  • 100% vegan
  • Durable, so will last for years

7. Big Campus Backpack - Jansport

Paint splattered style big campus backpack.
Image © Jansport

It's highly likely that late teens have a load of things to take to school with them. The Big Campus backpack is large enough to carry everything they need, and organised enough to compartmentalise and make items easy to locate. There's a front utility pocket and a zippered front stash pocket. A padded laptop compartment fits a 15 inch device, and the ergonomic shoulder straps and fully padded back panel will ensure that even the weightiest bag sits comfortably on your kids' shoulders. There are two compartments in the bag's main body, plus a side pocket for water bottles.

Main Features

  • Price: £48
  • Ages: 14+
  • Ergonomic shoulder straps
  • Padded back panel
  • Two front pockets, and two main compartments
  • Side pocket for water bottle
  • 15 inch padded laptop compartment
  • Unique designs

8. Kånken Mini -  Fjällräven

Yellow Kånken Mini.
Image © Fjällräven

Created in 1978 to help mitigate the back problems that affected Swedish school children, the Kånken backpacks have become iconic in status since then. Their mini version works fantastically for kids and is smart, stylish, and practical. Shoulder straps are long and adjustable and can be fastened with a clasp. There are two flat side pockets and a zipped front pocket for extra storage, and foam seat cushion which is stored in the back pocket and prevents items inside the bag from poking at the backs of your little ones. The material is lightweight and hard-wearing, and the front logo is reflective. There's also an address label inside the main compartment, just in case. Fjällräven is a company committed to sustainability, practising ethical and environmental design and production.

Main Features

  • Price: from £59.99
  • Ages: 5+
  • Adjustable shoulder straps that can be clasp-fastened
  • Lots of storage: two side pockets and one on the front
  • Foam seat cushion (removable) that prevents items in the bag from poking the wearer's back
  • Durable Vinylon F fabric
  • Reflective front logo
  • Address and name label on the bag's inside
  • Can be used as a regular bag via convertible straps
  • Comes in multiple colours

9. Original Kids Peppa Pig Backpack - Hunter

Camo-themed Original Kids Peppa Pig Backpack.
Image © Hunter

That's right, everyone's favourite pig now also adorns a super sturdy backpack. This limited-edition collaboration with Hunter (the brand behind the wellies) comes in two camouflage prints and captures the joy of mucky puddles and adventurous play. Totally water-resistant, these backpacks also have padded backs straps for extra comfort on small shoulders, a front pocket and are 'easy open'. They're the perfect school bags for boys and girls - we're so jealous that we might purchase one for ourselves!

Main Features

  • Price: £45
  • Ages: 5+
  • Water-resistant nylon
  • Limited edition collaboration and design
  • Easy-open
  • Front pocket
  • Padded back straps
  • Other items with the Hunter Original x Peppa Pig print include wellingtons and accessories

10. Happy Sammies Children's Backpack - Samsonite

Pastel unicorn-themed Happy Sammies Children's Backpack.
Image © Samsonite

These are super cute travel backpack for kids, as they come with matching suitcases (called 'Uprights'). Your kids can choose from a variety of animal characters, including Unicorn Lily and Fox William, and the backpacks are durable as well as design-forward, with reflective details, easy-wipe melange fabric, cute zipper pulls and name tags for easy identification.

Main Features

  • Price: from £39
  • Ages: 5+
  • Comes in fun animal designs, and with optional matching suitcase
  • Name tags for easy identification
  • Wipe-clean fabric
  • Fun zippers
  • Reflective details

11. Recycled Superbreak - Jansport

Red Recycled Superbreak backpack.
Image © Jansport

Constructed from 100% recycled materials, this backpack is made of recycled polyester, nylon, and jacquard webbing. There's a front utility pocket, a sturdy handle, and the bag folds right down so that it can be stored in its own front pocket.

Main Features

  • Price: £50
  • Ages: 7+
  • 100% recycled nylon, polyester and jacquard webbing.
  • Large front pocket into which the bag folds
  • Bright colours
  • Sturdy handle
  • Jansport quality

12. Borealis Classic Backpack - The North Face

Black Borealis Classic Backpack.
Image © The North Face

If you've got kids who love to get adventurous, hiking, cycling, and all-round mess-making, then this is the bag to have. It's got 29 litres of space, and a removable hip belt and sternum strap for extra comfort and support. There's also an air-mesh padded back panel and foam straps on the shoulders, plus a front stash pocket, two water bottle pockets on the sides and a secondary compartment.

Main Features

  • Price: £45
  • Ages: 11+
  • 29 litres, with several compartments for organisation
  • Hip and sternum support straps for comfort when hiking
  • Two water bottle pockets
  • Air-mesh padded back panel and shoulder straps
  • Laptop sleeve

Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for best kids' backpacks then why not take a look at the best stationery to put inside, or for something different take a look at the best books about witches for some amazing bedtime stories.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

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Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong. 

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