The best kids’ backpacks you can buy in 2019
YOUR kid’s backpack will be one of your child’s most used pieces of school kit, toting everything from homework and notepads, to lunches and trainers for after-school clubs.
We’ve rounded up the best kids’ backpacks that not only work for school kids, but also for toddlers and sixth formers.
We’ve picked these using our own expertise and preferences and selected other top-rated kids’ backpacks, according to parents.
Kids’ backpacks aren’t just ordinary bags these days.
From sequins and super-cool graphics to unexpected added features, they’re useful for school days and beyond (we recommend that kids bring them out for every adventure they go on, overnight or otherwise).
Some kids’ backpacks do more than just carry stuff: Yuubag’s colourful backpack doubles as a fold-down desk with activity packs and is ideal for transporting on planes.
There are plenty of kids’ backpacks that are suitable for toddlers, too: the sooner you can get them excited about carrying their own backpack, the easier for you as a parent (you’ll probably already have your arms full carrying their scooter, toy buggy and other gear).
Kids’ backpacks are still a staple item for older kids moving through secondary school and into uni, and while practicality, comfort and ability to house a laptop are important, style is still a key factor when it comes to older kids choosing a backpack they’ll want to use every single day.
Best backpack for toddlers
- £19.99 at LittleLife – buy here
If you’ve ever run after a toddler careening down the road, you’ll appreciate how handy a backpack with reins can be.
It’s perfect for giving parents some peace of mind, while allowing little ones to pack their favourite toy, a snack and some water.
When your baby gets big enough to walk responsibly, you can ditch the reins and they’ll just have a cute animal backpack. Other designs and colours available.
Best budget backpack
- Global I Mall Unisex Galaxy School Backpack, £10.98 at Amazon – buy here
We love this backpack, and not just because it ticks the galaxy/space print backpack phase that most school kids seem to go through.
It’s got a few zipped compartments and a handy pencil case – plus the print looks great.
Best sparkle and glitz backpack
- Smiggle Shimmy backpack, £37 at Smiggle – buy here
Hands down, Smiggle has the selection of backpacks kids prefer, especially those kids who like a bit of sparkle, shine or sequins.
This roomy bag has four zipped compartments, two drinks pockets and a laptop compartment.
Best all rounder backpack
- Eastpak Padded Pak’r Brize Jungle, £45 at Eastpak – buy here
Eastpak’s versatile backpacks come in every colour and print you can imagine and are suitable for kids of all ages; the Padded Pak’r is especially good for sixth formers and kids heading off to uni thanks to its padded back and shoulder straps, which provide extra comfort.
It’s extremely hard-wearing, so can transport textbooks as well as a laptop.
Best travel backpack
- Trunki BoostApak, £39.99 at Trunki – buy here
Parents love this backpack and swear that it’s a must-have on holiday: you see, Trunki’s BoostApak isn’t just a backpack, it’s a booster seat suitable for kids aged four and up.
Kids can stash the front pocket with their essentials and carry it on planes or long bus journeys.
It’s so popular, some parents even use it as a car seat when in the UK. Just note that it doesn’t have the high-backed safety feature of many other car seats.
Best backpack for overnights
- Supply Co Retreat Backpack, £70 at Herschel – buy here
Herschel backpacks are beloved for their simple design (with fabulous attention to detail, like patterned linings and colourful zips) and ability to withstand the wear-and-tear of daily life.
And the wear-and-tear of children. This mountaineering-style design is perfect for sleepovers, Cubs’ overnights or for use as an everyday school bag.
Best backpack for trekking
- Quechua hiking backpack, £6.99 at Decathlon – buy here
This 20L hiking backpack has plenty of compartments and sturdy, hardwearing straps. Plus, it’s under a tenner.
Not only does this work for walks, day trips and hikes with your child, it makes a great backpack for older kids heading off for the summer or teens who need a day bag for gap year adventures.
Best backpack activity centre
- YUU Max Deluxe HUUG YUUbag, £55 at John Lewis – buy here
This colourful backpack turns into a fold-down desk and comes with a variety of activities like a dry-erase board, activity pad and pencils and frisbee.
It has 20 pockets and compartments, and not only is it a handy choice on plane journeys, but you can also fasten it to the car seat to keep kiddos entertained on car journeys.
Best backpack for laptops
- Clas Seoul backpack, £87 at Kipling – buy here
Kipling’s super-organised backpack with laptop compartment and multiple pockets is water resistant and lightweight and has all the signature Kipling brand details parents and kids love: the monkey key ring, bold logo and funky hardware details on the zips. Perfect for secondary school and beyond.
Best for the coolest prints
- Mi-Pac Ice Cream Mini Backpack, £26.99 at Mi-Pac – buy here
The combination of stylish prints, simple styles (this backpack has a zipped front pocket, internal divider and internal media pocket) and affordable prices have made Mi-Pac backpacks favourites with parents and their children.
Look out for their cool collaborations, like Mr. Men and Little Miss, MTV, Liberty and more.
Best wipe-clean backpack
- Cath Kidston Jurassic Friends rucksack, £30 at Cath Kidston – buy here
Cath Kidston’s easy-wipe backpacks in printed oil cloth are available in both mini and regular sizes for toddlers and school kids.
The small versions are ideal for taking to dance class or out on day trips; the bigger version, with front zip pocket, inner pockets, and side mesh pocket for a drink, will see your school kid through term after term in comfort.
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If your child is of school age, our round-up of the best school bags might be useful before any purchase.