Round-up graphic of Cubby's favorite backpacks for kids.
Credit: State: All credits to State Bags and all backpacks can be purchased on Credit: Courtesy of Jem + Bea Credit: Courtesy of: Fluf Textile Goods Sticky Lemon-Credit: Courtesy of Smallable

Our Favorite Kids’ Backpacks to Start the School Year Off Right

published Aug 25, 2022
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It’s back to school time, which means you may be on the hunt for a new backpack for your kid! Thankfully, there are some super cute options out there, including from a few brands may even be unfamiliar to you! Comfortable, colorful, and durable, here are the ones we have our eyes on:

Our Favorite Kids’ Backpacks

1 / 10
The Tot

This Jem & Bea backpack has all the personality in the world -- just like your kid! Made from a nylon that's recycled from old fishing nets, it has water-repellent lining that's easy to clean. That's all good (really, it is!), but it's the quirky face we're here for.

2 / 10

Copenhagen-based Liewood also knows how to do subtly-shaped kids backpacks, like this cute cat backpack. (There's a bear backpack, too!) The backpacks are made of recycled polyester and ideally sized for ages 3-7. They also come with padded shoulder straps and a chest strap to take the pressure off little shoulders.

3 / 10

If your kid is more a fuss-free type, then the simple organic cotton canvas bags from Fluf are a good bet. In addition to black, they come in many lovely colors (lavender! teal! poppy! moss!) for an understated, versatile bag they can grow with.

4 / 10
Just Shoes for Kids

Sticky Lemon, based in the Netherlands, has been around since 2016. Their distinctive backpacks (made of recycled PET bottles) are "quirky, colourful, bold and sunny," as the brand states on their website, and their unique color and pattern combinations are more sophisticated than you usually see in kids' backpacks. (I bought one of their bags for my kids a few years ago, and it's held up very well!)

5 / 10
The Tot

A NYT Wirecutter pick for the best "stylish and sophisticated student backpack," these backpacks do not come cheap. But they're high quality, roomy, have lots of organizational features, and come in many, many trendy patterns and colors.

6 / 10
L.L. Bean

Old school in the best way. The design of LL Bean's Original Book Bag hasn't changed much since it was launched in 1982, and that's part of the appeal. It was good then, and it's still good now.

7 / 10
Urban Outfitters

Fjallraven Kanken bags have been around for decades: they're pricey but classic, and the material is really hardwearing. Their latest release has rainbow-colored straps (!), and we are very into it. This is the mini size (suitable for preschoolers), but you can also find it in the regular size for school-age kids ($90), and in the other three colors of Air Blue, Spruce Green, and Warm Yellow.

8 / 10
Pottery Barn Kids
was $64.50

No one does novelty and character-driven backpacks quite like Pottery Barn Kids. They offer monogramming and six sizes for every backpack, from mini all the way up to rolling. But it's the kid-friendly designs - like this glow-in-the-dark backpack, or this LEGO backpack, or this Paw Patrol one - that make them such a popular option.

9 / 10

Another understated pick, this backpack from Nine + Little has perforated material on the outside that's specifically designed for adding little bits like pins and charms. The end result is much more personalized than it looks!

10 / 10

And the most colorful backpack award goes to ... this unicorn and rainbow backpack from Boden! You'd be able to spot your kid a block away with this one, not to mention it's very on-point for the ever-popular unicorn theme. (As my five-year-old said when she saw this backpack on my screen while I was writing this article, "I want that backpack. No, Mom, like I really want that backpack.")

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