Best School Backpacks for Kids


A new backpack is on many back-to-school checklists.  Ultimately, you want your child's backpack to function well and to be safe of harmful materials like PVC (labels may say #3). 

Vinyl (PVC) backpacks are a health concern because they may contain high levels of lead.  As kids handle their backpacks throughout the day, often before eating, lead can transfer onto children’s hands.  The Center for Environmental Health has tested backpacks and found that several leading brands contain high levels of lead.  So, it's wise to avoid vinyl backpacks and choose cloth, polyester or nylon instead.

All of the backpacks available at MightyNest are screened carefully to be free of PVC, Phthalates, Lead and BPA.

Since there is quite a difference between kindergarteners (and what they actually need to carry) versus older kids who are now accustomed to schlepping daily homework, books, a water bottle and maybe even gear for an after school activity, we've simplified the choices via age.

Backpacks for Preschoolers: We recommend Beatrix's Little Kid Backpack. Designed for ages 2-5, this size is perfect to carry a lunchbox and a change of clothes or stuffed animal from home. Choose from Lions, Dinosaurs, Sharks, Ladybugs, Owls and more.

Little Kids: The grade school backpack by SoYoung fits nicely on smaller kids (dimensions: 11" x16") and it's linen exterior is coated with EVA for easy care and protection. The inside is lined with nylon and the side pockets are insulated to keep water bottles cold while stored.

Wildkin's Sidekick: The younger version to the macropack, this backpack is designed for 3-8 year olds (dimensions: 15" x 12" x 7"). The adjustable padded straps and multiple interior pockets (even a pencil holder!) make this a perfect starter backpack.

Big Kids: The Big Kid Backpacks from Beatrix are big enough to hold textbooks, school supplies, a lunchbox and even a laptop!  They are durable and easy-to-clean with a large interior space and a smaller interior pocket. The backpack's exterior has a large front pocket and two side pockets.  The back and shoulder straps are padded for comfort and the back panel has sewn in name tag.  All grey parts on the backpacks are made from nylon that is spun from recycled and shredded water bottles and the colored parts are made from cotton canvas.

Wildkin's Macropack: Made for kids 8 years and up, the macropack (available in various colors and patterns) measures in at 17" x 12.5" x 7.5" and has 3 spacious zippered compartments, multiple interior pockets and side pockets for water bottles.

Fluf's Messenger Bag: Made from certified organic cotton and  lined with a cheery yellow wipeable and water-resistant lining, this is a great alternative for the kid who wants something slightly different than a conventional backpack. The straps are adjustable so carrying this bag is comfortable and cool. Size: 11" x 9.5" so it's great to carry a lunchbag and a few smaller items.

Even Bigger Kids: By the end of grade school or even middle school, backpacks that offer multiple compartments for personal stuff beyond homework, tend to fit the bill. The Junior Backpack is ideal for this age group; this pack comes with a collapsible insulated lunchbag and has insulated side pockets for keeping water bottles cool. The bottom is reinforced for rugged wear while maintaining a very handsome look. Available in two designs: world map and camera.

And finally, there is also Wildkin's Serious backpack for kids who are in need of packing a laptop computer (has a padded section to fit a 15" laptop) and additional room to pack books, a water bottle (insulated holder), and several other pockets for optimal organizing. The straps are also padded so this backpack wears very comfortably and doubles well for traveling too.

What do you look for in choosing your backpack?