Back-to-School backpack guide
A backpack is just a pack for your back, right? Plain and simple.
Not anymore. While the backpacks we wore to the bus stop when we were in elementary school may have been basic, a lot more goes into the modern backpack. And all backpacks are not created equal. Some serve specific purposes, meet different needs or express unique styles.
Before you buy just any ol’ thing, here are our five top picks for this year’s best back-to-school backpacks for your kids. Pick the one that best meets your kiddo’s needs, and don’t forget to cash in with some Cash Back from ShopAtHome.com.
You can get coupons and Cash Back for all of the products listed here to save you money effortlessly. Because we know that the price of school’s not as plain and simple as it used to be, either.
1. For the classic best-seller:
You can’t go wrong here.
LL Bean’s Deluxe Book Pack has been a top-selling pack since 1989 (perhaps you owned one yourself!). There’s good reason why. This pack has tons of extra space to carry the maximum amount of school supplies and books, and it’s known for its extreme durability. Zippers are heavy duty. The nylon is weatherproof.
And for those days when the books feel extra weighty, the waist belt can help distribute the load. This pack even is lined with reflective material to make your kid more visible to cars.
L.L. Bean hasn’t changed the design over the years, because, as they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” You can even order it in an oh-so-’80s minty green-blue color. L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack, $29.96 (plus Cash Back), LLBean.com
2. If you’re on a budget:
This one’s not fancy, but it gets the job done without causing major ripples in your bank account. For less than $5, this 17-inch pack (slightly smaller than most) has a separate front zippered pocket and comes in three colors. Your kids might not get excited about black, but it comes in pink or blue, too. Dome Backpack, $4.97 (plus Cash Back), Walmart.com
3. Designed by a kid, for kids:
If anyone knows what kids want, it’s kids. The Kids Global ClassMate Backpack at Lands’ End is a bit of a star. It was originally designed in collaboration with a Project Runway Junior contestant and has appeared in Seventeen Magazine.
Other than great style (like feather-shaped zipper pulls and a cute drawstring top), this pack is all about organization. It features tons of pockets (two on the front, two on the side and another, larger front pocket). Inside, it even has a laptop sleeve.
As for the design, look closely. That’s not just any print. That’s a gorgeous mosaic map of the world. Kids Global ClassMate Backpack, $59 (plus Cash Back), LandsEnd.com
4. For the biggest (literal) bang for your buck:
If your school supply list is extra long this year and you need an extra big backpack, ClassMate makes an extra large backpack that can hold 2,000 cubic inches of stuff. It’s a whopping 19 inches in height and 13 inches in width, the biggest pack at Lands’ End.
As if that’s not big enough, it even has an extra external lunch box clip and an extra external strap to hold even more.
Although it’s pricier than a $5 pack at Walmart, this bag is truly made to last. It’s crafted with extremely durable polyester, strong stitching and is water repellent. For safety, this pack has padded straps and reflective edging.
For a special bonus (that is also practical), you can choose to embroider your child’s name or initials into the bag. That sure beats a Sharpie. ClassMate Extra Large Backpack,$59 (plus CashBack), LandsEnd.com
5. For the little fashionista:
For the schoolkid with extra flair for fashion, the sequined backpack by Juicy Couture is a whole new level of backpacking.
Although it’s small, at only 13 inches high, it does have an optional extra three inches of drop-down space. Accented with faux leather and gold clasps, this bag is mostly about style and a little less about function — although it will carry what you put in it, just as well as the next bag. And it does so with attitude.
Best of all, this pack is on sale, down from $99 marked at $69.30. Juicy Couture Lacy Sequined Backpack, $69.30 (plus Cash Back), Kohls.com