10 Best Kids Backpacks (+ Some are on Sale for up to 40% Off!)

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Gearing up for a new school year? These are the best kids’ backpacks for all ages, trends, & budgets! 😉

best kids backpacks on hook

There’s just something about a quality backpack…

As a kid, one of the most exciting parts of back-to-school shopping is choosing a new backpack. It’s probably one of the more expensive items on your school supply list, too. 🥴

So whether you’re searching for a durable backpack to last multiple years or you plan to change out your bag yearly to keep up with changing trends, you’re going to want to get the best deal possible on a high-quality bag.

Below, we’re sharing a round-up of the best kids’ backpacks available for every need, style, and budget! Best of all, many of these backpacks are team-tested, and some of them are even on sale or have free shipping!

4 kids with backpacks on

Here are our top picks for the best kids backpacks of 2023:

  1. Best long-term backpack – The North Face Youth Court Jester Backpack
  2. Best budget backpack – High Sierra Curve Backpack
  3. Best personalized backpack – Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Backpack
  4. Best preschool backpackSkip Hop Mini Backpack
  5. Best sports backpack – Adidas Creator Backpack
  6. Best laptop backpackThe North Face Surge Backpack
  7. Best traditional backpack – L.L. Bean Junior Original Book pack
  8. Best multi-pocket backpack – Adidas Prime 6 Backpack
  9. Best backpack for comfort – Lands’ End Class Mate Backpack
  10. Best color options for a backpack – JanSport SuperBreak Plus

1. The North Face makes one of the most durable kids’ backpacks.

red and blue backpack on hook

The North Face Youth Court Jester Backpack $55

  • Sign up for Dick’s Sporting Goods text alerts and get $20 off your $100+ order! Simply scroll to the bottom left-hand corner of this page to sign up.

It’s no surprise that The North Face Jester Backpack tops our list as one of the best kids’ backpacks to use over a long period of time. It might be more of an investment upfront, but this bag’s durability, style, and functionality will save you money in the long run!

It features two water bottle pockets, a front bungee for bulky items (like jackets), an inner divider sleeve, an internal name tag, spacious zippered compartments, and a sternum strap for added support.

Hip Sidekick Sara’s boys each had this backpack for years! Here’s why she loved it…

“Both of my boys picked these out when they started kindergarten and they have completely blown me away by how good the quality is! My middle child is about to enter his 6th school year using this book bag every day and it still looks brand new! It’s a bit big for a kindergartener but not unmanageable since they don’t carry much anyways and he has grown into it so well.

The adjustable strap in the front came in handy so much for sports shoes, towels, a lunch box, or whatever else he needs to free up his hands for, and of course, there’s a plethora of pockets inside! If you want the most bang for your buck, go for this awesome bag that’s under $60!”

2. High Sierra’s Curve is the best budget backpack for kids.

opened backpack

High Sierra Curve Backpack $19.99 (regularly $29.99)

Known for their durability and their spacious interior, these highly-rated kids’ backpacks are perfect for students of all ages. There are even styles for techy teens and adult commuters!

This affordable option has 3 main compartments, a hand sanitizer and water bottle pocket, and 6+ inner supply pockets!

Here’s another reasonably-priced High Sierra option with outstanding reviews!

black and white kids backpack opened

High Sierra Fatboy Backpack as low as $22.99 (regularly $35.99)

The large main compartment of this backpack is big enough to hold a soccer ball! Plus, there’s a secret passthrough hole at the top for quick charging cable access to your child’s tech.

In addition, this kids’ backpack has nice, thick padded straps, and a total of 9+ pockets!

See why buyers keep coming back to this backpack…

High Sierra has such high-quality backpacks made especially for school. I’ve been using this brand for years. – RKNC

I have been purchasing the Fat Boy backpack since my oldest was in First Grade. She’s 27, and I’m still buying this backpack for my youngest. (He’s 14.) The Fat Boy backpack has never let us down and has lasted several years for each of my 6 kids. They never go out of style, and they wash beautifully. We have often handed them down to the next kiddo, and after a good wash, it looks brand new! Thank you, High Sierra, for the many years of school that your backpacks have joined us through. I have used them through my own college days, and will again, as soon as I get back into school.– JennLeaLea

3. We love these personalized Pottery Barn backpacks.

2 boys with spiderman backpacks

There are personalized backpacks, and then there are Pottery Barn personalized backpacks for kids. I mean, who hasn’t oohed and ahhed over them?? 😍 They have a HUGE assortment of Disney, Marvel, LEGO, and more whimsical prints and the option to add matching accessories. We’re talking lunch boxes, water bottles, food canisters, and so much more.

Plus, they vary in size from mini to extra-large, so there’s a perfect size for your preschooler up to your preteen. Best of all, you can personalize these kids’ backpacks with a beautiful embroidered name or monogram to make their school adventures feel even more special. ❤️

4. Skip Hop’s character bags are the best preschool backpacks.

skiphop kids backpack

Skip Hop Backpacks w/ Safety Harness as low as $16.59 (regularly $21.99+)

These adorable backpacks double as a safety harness with a detachable wrist strap. The zippered compartment is large enough to hold your preschooler’s essentials and there is also a water bottle pocket. Plus, toddlers can show off their unique personalities with so many adorable animal characters to choose from!

5. The Adidas Creator is the best backpack/sports bag combo.

black and white backpack

This Adidas backpack is a great double-duty bag for student-athletes going right to sports practice or a game after school!

It features tons of roomy compartments for school and sports, it easily wipes clean, and there’s even a sunglasses pouch at the top. There’s also a quick-access water bottle pocket for easy hydration.

6. The North Face Surge may be the best laptop backpack for big kids & adults.

unzipped backpack with supplies

The North Face Surge Backpack – $139 shipped

*Don’t forget you get $20 off when you sign up for Dick’s Sporting Goods texts!

This elevated bag may be the best backpack for middle schoolers we’ve found. It offers all the comfort and spaciousness your big kid needs with a sleek, mature look that grows with them. Plus, it boasts tons of media compartments as students transition to high school and acquire more tech.

Its most notable features include a front compartment with secure zip pockets and a padded tablet sleeve. There’s a highly-protective compartment dedicated just for a 15″ laptop, too!

Sara approves of yet another North Face kids backpack…

“Although my oldest had a North Face Jester book bag that was still going strong in year 7, he wanted to pick out something new for middle school. He ended up choosing the Surge, which is a seriously heavy-duty bag! Even though he’s just getting started with it, I can tell it’s going to last until he graduates high school or even into college!

My favorite part is the super heavy-duty laptop pocket in the back, which he really needed. It’s also so ergonomic and comfortable to carry around, even when it’s packed full thanks to the unique straps and extra padding on the back.

I bought this at Dick’s and I was able to save $20 (since it’s over $100) when I signed up for text alerts, so it really wasn’t too much more than the Jester. When all is said and done, I’m convinced thatThe North Face makes some of the best book bags on the market and they’re worth every penny!”

7. L.L. Bean makes one of the best traditional backpacks around.

l.l. bean kids school backpack

When you hear the word ‘backpack,’ this bag might just be the first image that pops into your mind – and it’s no surprise! Since their debut in 1982, L.L. Bean’s kids’ backpacks have been among the highest-rated backpacks thanks to their carryall size, durability, and classic, beloved look.

The brand’s Junior Original Book Pack may be the best backpack for kindergarten because of its lightweight durability and manageable size. L.L. Bean also has a variety of rolling options, cinch packs, and explorer styles, so they’re built to keep up with school, camping, traveling, and much more.

Some reviewers name these backpacks a ‘legacy’ item. Here’s why they love them…

I always wanted one when I was a kid so I got it for my kindergartner and it’s the same quality I remember. There’s plenty of room for his lunch, a notebook and pencil case, and a few other items plus it’s not so big that it overwhelms him. – Blacdraco

This book bag is worth the money! It is so sturdy and so well made. It is quality. I have 2 of them and I am ordering another one. All 3 of my children will have one now. These book bags are a legacy item. You need them. – HLNC24

8. The Adidas Prime 6 is our favorite multi-pocket backpack.

girl with navy backpack

Adidas Prime 6 Backpack $56 shipped (regularly $70)

This bag features FIVE external zippered compartments, 2 inner divided sleeves including a padded computer pocket for up to a 16″ laptop, a water bottle side sleeve, and additional pockets for pencils, calculators, and more!

It’s designed to hold a lot of stuff without sacrificing comfort, as this kids’ backpack also has spring-loaded shoulder straps for added cushion.

Hip Sidekick, Liza scooped up this Adidas Prime 6 backpack and had this to say…

“Kiddo had a Lands’ End backpack the last few years that she loved, but this year she wanted to change it up. Kids seem to be leaning towards the athletic brand styles, so she randomly picked out this Adidas one when we were at Kohl’s. I was super happy to see the crazy good reviews when we got home. It fits all her stuff & then some, and the quality seems good. Love the colors too! This will be our second year using it, and it still looks brand new.”

Prefer Nike instead?

Kohls.com also has a sale on Nike kids’ backpacks! We spotted kids’ backpacks as low as $28 (regularly $35)!

9. The Lands’ End ClassMate is the best kids’ backpack for comfort.

Lands' End Best Kids Backpacks

Lands’ End ClassMate Small Backpack as low as $23.97 (regularly $39.95) with promo code BOW at checkout

Lands’ End ClassMate backpacks are one of the most lightweight yet sturdy backpacks around, making them one of the best elementary school backpacks available!

Students will love how comfortable these backpacks are, with padding on the back, contoured mesh straps, and an adjustable sternum strap. Grown-ups will appreciate that they’re machine-washable, too!

10. Jansport has the most backpack color options we’ve seen.

JanSport Superbreak Backpack - Lucky Bandanna

JanSport SuperBreak Plus – as low as $39.99 shipped

This popular backpack brand was sure to make our list for a few reasons — style, nostalgia, and functionality. After all, this is the same brand our frugal parents purchased back in the 70’s and before, so we think it’s safe to say there’s a JanSport backpack for every budget.

The best part about these backpacks is that they come in SO MANY different colors and patterns — this specific style has up to 30+ options!

Plus, they’re available at so many different retailers so it’s almost always possible to find a deal! We’ve even seen JanSport backpacks for as low as $11.99 if you can wait to grab them on clearance! 😱

2 teens wearing jansport backpacks

Hip Sidekick, Lina, has seen plenty of brands come & go, but Jansport is back on top…

We have had lots of brands, and my daughter had the same North Face for so many years and wanted a change. 😂 JanSport seemed to be the cool brand again with teens in high school this year. My daughter just bought the smaller Superbreak one and my son has one from Target. I remember them from my own school days, so it’s kind of nostalgic. I think JanSport is high-quality, functional yet lightweight, and they come with a great warranty.

We’re sharing all the best school supply deals available right now!

About the writer:

Jenna has a Bachelor's Degree from Lycoming College and her Master's from Penn State, holding 4 years of writing experience between a variety of publications and Hip2Save.

Join The Discussion

Comments 9

  1. Amandan

    I bought my kids Jansport backpacks bc of their awesome replacement/repair program! They used the same backpacks for years and even to college!

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      So great that your kiddos were able to use their Jansport backpacks for several years, Amandan! 🙌 They do seem to have a great warranty! 💖

  2. sheilds1980

    Macys haves the backpacks on sale there to .

    • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for letting us know where you spotted backpacks on sale too! 🤗 💞

  3. Becca

    Just one suggestion -although they are cute, it is recommended to NOT put your child’s first name on a backpack for safety purposes. It would be so easy for a stranger see it and then address them by name and a child to feel then safe with that person since they know his/her name. Just something to truly think about.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for the warning, Becca. ❤️

      • Rae

        Yes but a stranger could also hear someone else call their name in public. I think if your child is older and understands stranger danger. Like my middle schooler wouldn’t talk to a stranger. Plus my kids are at school or with me. They don’t walk to the bus or play outside alone.

  4. Emily

    Any recommendations on clear backpacks? My son is going into middle school, and while not required, clear backpacks are encouraged. There are metal detectors, and those with clear bags have an “express lane,” which I’m sure will appeal to my son. I’d love to have an option ready for the second day of school, when he’s convinced he needs a clear backpack ASAP.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Hey Emily! 🤗 I checked with the team on this, and our Hip sidekick, Liz shared – “I have this Clear Hurley Backpack and it works great. We use it for concerts when we get lawn seats. It’s big enough to hold a blanket, some water bottles, snacks, and our concert tees we always end up buying!” Hoping this might be an ideal size and style for your son to have for middle school! 🤞❤️

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