In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

The 5 Best Kids Backpacks

We tested kids' backpacks from top brands, like VASCHY, Everest, Skip Hop, JanSport, and more to find the best
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Best Kids Backpack Review (Each product in our review has been purchased for hands-on testing and side-by-side comparison.)
Each product in our review has been purchased for hands-on testing and side-by-side comparison.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Our Top Picks

By Molly Bradac ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Thursday January 25, 2024

Need a kid-friendly backpack? We've got you covered. Our review ranks the 8 most popular kids' backpacks available today. We researched the market and purchased the most popular and compelling products for hands-on testing to determine the best. We believe a top-notch pack should offer the capacity and features your child needs, plus the quality to withstand frequent use. We kept these factors in mind while evaluating the competition. So, whether you're sending your child off to school, daycare, or sports practice, we are confident there is a backpack in our lineup that will meet your needs and budget.

Need other supplies for your kids? We've probably tested it here at BabyGearLab. If you need other back-to-school items like the best children's books, our favorite kids water bottles, the best vitamins for kids, kids desks, or the top-ranked kids' headphones for little ones, we have you covered.

Editor's Note: We updated our backpack review for product availability and pricing on January 25, 2024.


The Best Kids Backpacks


1

Best Overall Kids' Backpack


VASCHY Preschool Backpack


Side Pocket(s): Yes | Size/Capacity: 11x4.3x14.6/11.5L
REASONS TO BUY
Two side pockets
Chest strap
Write-on nametag
Quality
REASONS TO AVOID
Too small for older children

Not only does the VASCHY Preschool Backpack meet our backpack expectations, but the bag is downright cute (bring on the compliments!). The bag feels sturdy, and the fabric feels durable, making the bag's overall quality satisfactory for most needs. Besides one large compartment, it has an easy-access front pocket for smaller items like snacks. The zippers are a breeze to open and close, and the bag features two elastic side pockets to stash a water bottle and more. Inside the big compartment, there's a write-on nametag, and this contender is the only one in our lineup with a chest strap, which helps stabilize the backpack and improve wearing comfort.

This bag has one large compartment, which we prefer for younger children who don't need to organize items like older students. But if a bag with multiple storage pockets is a better fit for your child's organizational style, you may not like this contender as much. Also, this backpack comes in two sizes: small and large. We tested the small size for our review, which we think meets a preschooler's or kindergartener's needs. We suggest moving up to the large size (11W x 5.5D x 15.7 H and 15.69L capacity) for older children as they will likely carry more items. A larger pack that also rolls and might be suitable for kids with heavier books is the J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack. However, if you need a basic pack that works for younger kids, this is a great contender.

kids backpack - we consider the vaschy is an all-around winner as it sports features...
We consider the VASCHY is an all-around winner as it sports features that make this bag high-quality and comfortable to wear.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

2

Best Bang for the Buck


Everest Basic Backpack


Side Pocket(s): No | Size/Capacity: 11x5x15/13.9L
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive
Simple
REASONS TO AVOID
Low quality
No side pockets

The Everest Basic Backpack is minimal, with no bells or whistles. It offers one spacious main compartment for books and folders, plus a front pocket that is easy to access for smaller items like a snack, calculator, or writing utensil. With a selection of available colors, kids can choose one that fits their style.

The Everest's lower price point is applause-worthy, especially for budget-minded folks, but the bag's design and quality are somewhat lacking, making us question potential durability and longevity. The shoulder straps have minimal padding, but the bag's backside has none. The lack of padding makes it a no-go for older kids with heavier loads who might find it uncomfortable when full of favorite children's books. Also, the fabric is thin, increasing the chance of holes, and the bag has no suitable pocket for a water bottle. If your budget can be stretched, the VASCHY Preschool Backpack could be the better choice, with more padding on the straps and a little better quality. However, the bare minimum design and lower price make it a good choice for younger children with less to carry.

kids backpack - the everest basic backpack may appeal to someone willing to trade...
The Everest Basic Backpack may appeal to someone willing to trade quality and some features for a low-price tag.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

3

Best Rolling Backpack


J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack


Side Pocket(s): Yes | Size/Capacity: 18x13x9/34.5L
REASONS TO BUY
Adjustable handle
Versatile
Lots of extras
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive

Lighten the load with the J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack. This contender is full of features like wheels, organization, and versatility, like no other contender in our review. If you prefer to take a break from rolling, clip the padded shoulder straps into place and wear it backpack-style. The main compartment is roomy, and the front pocket is overflowing with extras. The adjustable handle extends to 34 or 39 inches to accommodate a variety of user heights.

This pack costs more than most of the competition, which means it might be prohibitive for smaller budgets. However, the standout features and quality seem to justify the added cost, depending on your needs or goals. We think the J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack is best for older children with a greater need for bringing books and supplies back and forth to school. The additional comfort and durability will be appreciated, as we suspect it can make it all year without a replacement. Some schools don't allow rolling bags and the VASCHY Preschool Backpack might be a better consideration.

kids backpack - your child will travel in style with this versatile backpack with...
Your child will travel in style with this versatile backpack with lots of features to make the journey to and from school easier.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

4

Most Adorable for Little Ones


Skip Hop Little Kid Backpack


Side Pocket(s): Yes | Size/Capacity: 11x5x12/10.8L
REASONS TO BUY
Write-on name tag
Quality
Large front pocket
REASONS TO AVOID
Check buttons

There's much to adore about the Skip Hop Little Kid Backpack. It brought smiles to our faces, and we think it will instantly win your little one's heart. Although more petite in size than other contenders, this bag is mighty. It feels high-quality and offers a roomy main compartment to hold treasures and trinkets. It also features a write-on name tag. For an added dose of cuteness, check out the rainbow zipper pull. Pretty cute, right? And with little ones busy finding treasures to tote, the zipper experienced frequent use, and we did not experience any issues.

This pack is intended for children three years of age and up, potentially due to the animal's button eyes posing a choking hazard should they fall off. On the product we purchased for testing they feel secure, and we did not experience any issues, but it is good to remember that any button can detach under the right circumstances. Therefore, we suggest checking them regularly to ensure they are securely attached. The Everest Basic Backpack is also a smaller pack for little kids without the cuteness but also without the choking potential. We think the Skip Hop is an adorable backpack and is a winner whether your tot needs a light pack or is graduating from a diaper bag.

kids backpack - the skip hop is small but mighty. it sports some features that make...
The Skip Hop is small but mighty. It sports some features that make this bag enjoyable to use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

5

Best for Quality


High Sierra Loop Backpack


Side Pocket(s): Yes | Size/Capacity: 13.5x8.5x19/35.7L
REASONS TO BUY
Great organization
Quality
REASONS TO AVOID
Might be overkill

The High Sierra Loop Backpack may be an exciting option for a middle schooler or older who needs a higher capacity for homework-filled days. Thanks to its multi-compartment design, this pack has ample storage for school essentials, lunch, a water bottle, etc. Compared to the lineup, this backpack's quality is impressive, making it an option we believe will likely last longer.

The pack's capacity is overkill for most kids, particularly younger children who don't need the extras. It could be larger than some little ones' torsos, making it harder to wear and carry supplies. The Everest Basic Backpack might be a suitable smaller option for those with shorter torsos or less to carry. Therefore, we consider the High Sierra to be best for a middle schooler going into high school or traveling. If you need larger capacity or higher quality, this pack could last a long time, providing ample space.

kids backpack - the high sierra loop backpack is large and great for those who...
The High Sierra Loop Backpack is large and great for those who appreciate multiple pockets for organization.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

6

Best for Early Elementary


Wildkin 15 Inch Backpack


Side Pocket(s): Yes | Size/Capacity: 12x7x15/20.6L
REASONS TO BUY
Durable
REASONS TO AVOID
No front pocket
Too small for multiple big items

The Wildkin 15 Inch Backpack is a mid-sized backpack with multiple fun designs for children three years old and older. It has two zippered pockets for packing essentials and a mesh side pocket to hold your child's water bottle. This backpack is 600 Denier Polyester, and according to its care instructions, this bag is spot clean only.

Unlike other contenders, this backpack does not have an easy-access front pocket. Although this is not a deal-breaker, a small, easy-to-access pocket can be handy for items you'd like to grab, such as a snack. The VASCHY Preschool Backpack has a front pocket and side bottle holder, making it more useful if you need better organization. Also, if your child carries a heavier load to school (think binders and textbooks, etc.), you may discover the bag's size is too small for their needs. We suggest this option for elementary school-aged kids.

kids backpack - although comfortable to wear, the wildkin may be too small for big...
Although comfortable to wear, the Wildkin may be too small for big items, like binders and textbooks.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

7

Best for Internal Pockets


Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack


Side Pocket(s): Yes | Size/Capacity: 12.2x6x15.8/18.9
REASONS TO BUY
Decent padding
Better quality
Internal pockets
REASONS TO AVOID
Velcro closures on side pockets

Although the Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack is straightforward in design, it still boasts qualities we consider essential for a great kids' backpack. The quality is decent, and there is enough padding to make the bag comfortable to wear. The main compartment is generous and features multiple internal pockets for extra storage and organization. We also appreciate the front pocket for quick access to items.

We had high hopes for this product, but the Velcro closures on the bag's side pockets lowered its ranking. We consider it a downside because the pockets do not stretch as much as contenders with stretchy elastic side pockets. The VASCHY Preschool Backpack has great storage with multiple pockets to keep things separated and easier to find. But if a basic backpack with internal pockets works for you, this option is a potential contender.

kids backpack - the amazon basics classic school backpack is a likable option;...
The Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack is a likable option; however, the side pockets' Velcro closures left us feeling disappointed as they don't offer much stretch.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

8

Best for a Basic Backpack


JanSport SuperBreak


Side Pocket(s): Yes | Size/Capacity: 13x8.2x16.5/25L
REASONS TO BUY
Minimal in design
REASONS TO AVOID
No water bottle pocket

The JanSport SuperBreak is like the Everest Basic Backpack but has minor differences. This contender offers back padding, and its dimensions are slightly larger. The roomy main compartment opens wide and can hold binders, textbooks, and more, plus the front pocket has some internal organizers for small items.

Although we don't mind keeping things simple, we wish this contender's design incorporated at least one side pocket for a water bottle. The lack of this feature is disappointing, especially for kids toting a bottle to school who need a quick drink. The VASCHY Preschool Backpack offers a water bottle holder and a front pocket, if you need more organization diversity. However, check out the SuperBreak if you seek a simple backpack that offers a little more quality than the bare minimum.

kids backpack - the jansport superbreak is basic yet offers a little more quality.
The JanSport SuperBreak is basic yet offers a little more quality.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Tip: Backpacks collect all sorts of items, including food crumbs and smells. Therefore, cleaning your child's backpack at least once a week is helpful. Involving your child to help complete the task can teach valuable life skills and increase compliance on things like throwing away trash regularly.

kids backpack
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Why Trust GearLab


We tested a range of kids' backpacks to provide an overview of the current market. Our hands-on testing involved testers loading and wearing the bags to see which ones were more comfortable and easier to use.

The BabyGearLab team has been testing gear since 2013 and holds incredible experience and knowledge. Leading this review is Molly Bradac, Senior Review Editor and nanny with over 14 years of experience. Molly has worked with various children and ages, making her the best expert to suggest the perfect kids' backpack for you and your family.

The J World New York has the ability to transform into a backpack by...
The J World New York has the ability to transform into a backpack by fastening the shoulder straps.
The Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack is comfortable to wear and...
The Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack is comfortable to wear and adjust.

Analysis and Test Results


When shopping for a kids' backpack, it is essential to look beyond style and color options and consider factors like capacity and quality. We kept these metrics in mind while evaluating the competition and noted user feedback from testers ranging in age from three years to middle school. Collectively, these factors influenced our overall ranking of products and selection of award winners.

kids backpack - although small in size, the skip hop has a roomy main compartment.
Although small in size, the Skip Hop has a roomy main compartment.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Capacity


Our lineup includes products of various capacities. The size you select may depend on your child's needs or size. The High Sierra Loop Backpack, which is oversized compared to other packs, has the largest capacity in our review. Following close behind is the J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Skip Hop Little Kid Backpack, one of the tiniest backpacks, with the VASCHY Preschool Backpack being one step up in capacity. Other bags that we consider middle-of-the-road in size include the Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack and the Wildkin 15 Inch Backpack.

Whether you use a backpack as your next-stage diaper bag or your child is transporting heavy textbooks to and from school, it is essential to consider your needs and your child's overall size when selecting a suitable bag.

kids backpack - it's a miracle if a backpack makes it to the end of the school year...
It's a miracle if a backpack makes it to the end of the school year. Therefore, we recommend selecting a high-quality pack to increase your chances of product longevity.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Quality


There's no doubt that backpacks take a beating. Let's face it, it would be wonderful if a bag could make it to the end of the school year, but this is a far-reaching goal for most kids' backpacks, in our experience. However, selecting a high-quality product up front gives you the best chance of achieving this goal. Therefore, we investigated the quality of each option, including fabric, padding, clasps, and zippers.

We consider the High Sierra Loop Backpack the king of quality in the competition. It has heavy-duty fabric, great padding, and zippers that we believe will last. Runner-up contenders include the VASCHY Preschool Backpack, J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack, and the Skip Hop Little Kid Backpack.

Alternatively, the backpack with the most flimsy and lightweight fabric is the Everest Basic Backpack. The material makes us question its durability, but it also lacks padding down the pack's backside. Since it is one of the most inexpensive packs in our review, this is likely why the quality falls short.

Important: Although you might be tempted to save money by purchasing a larger backpack your child can grow into, it is critical to select one that fits them now. This plan helps them avoid discomfort and potential injury from a poor fit or heavy pack.


kids backpack - we greatly appreciate kids' backpacks that offer a stretchy side...
We greatly appreciate kids' backpacks that offer a stretchy side pocket to hold a water bottle, making the task of grabbing a drink of water much easier and accessible.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Conclusion


A backpack can be an essential piece of kid gear from the first day of school to bouncing around from one activity to another. Selecting a durable and reliable backpack can make life easier for you and your child. We feel confident you'll find a kids' backpack in our selection that best fits your goals and your child's needs.

Molly Bradac