Schools in! How to fit your child for the best backpack this year.

As your child starts school this year, their backpack carries all of their daily necessities. Lunches, textbooks, and other supplies get hauled back and forth nearly all day long. The pack becomes a fashion statement, and an expression of personality and style. It is exciting for children to choose their own backpack, but how do you know if their pick is a good choice? Does it fit properly? How do you pack it? and is it actually worth your money?

Take a deep breath.
We have some answers!

If you are letting your child choose their own backpack this year, do some research to find the best brands/styles beforehand and limit their options. There are hundreds of brands, styles, and colors to choose from and it will become overwhelming very quickly. You can find our favorite (and cost effective) brands later in the blog.
There are multiple styles of packs for school; cross-body satchels, traditional over-the-shoulder backpacks, and the newer pull-behind rolling packs. No matter what the style, ALWAYS look inside the bag and make sure the seams are not frayed and take time to test all buckles, zippers, and weight-bearing straps.

  • Cross-body bags are not usually recommended for children as it distributes weight unevenly across the body, and can lead to back/shoulder strains.
  • Traditional backpacks have a more even weight distribution between shoulders, and when they are the right size and weight back issues should not occur.
  • Rolling backpacks are becoming more common and are easier on backs. Keep in mind, your child will have to lift it up stairs, and it must function in snowy conditions. Keep it small so that it will fit in their locker.

All backpacks should:

  1. Have good padding: Padded areas should be comfortable, supportive and stable. Pinch the padding and wait for it to return to its original shape. You should not hear any crinkling or popping and it should not hold the pinched shape.
  2. Have wide, padded straps: This helps distribute weight and reduces the chance of muscle strain. Extra straps or belts around the hips and chest provide extra support.
  3. Fit the torso of the child: The pack should sit close to the back and not droop down below the child’s hips. Also, the foam back pad should not come up the back of the neck of the child (too large).
  4. Room for supplies: It should easily fit a 2 or 3 inch binder, some textbooks, and have some zippered pockets for access to keys, pens/pencils, ID cards, or phones.

Tips for Packing

Don’t overload it. A child should not carry more than 10-20% of the child’s body weight. So if your child weighs 50 lbs, they should not carry more than 10 pounds.

Pack smarter. Keep the heaviest items (books, laptops, etc.) closest to the child’s back and lower in the pack. This keeps weight distributed evenly and prevents weight pulling away from the spine.

Less is more. Make sure your child is not carrying things they don’t need. If they are moving from class to class, encourage them to keep unnecessary supplies and unrelated materials in their lockers.

Our Favorite Brands:

Herschel (Canadian Company)

Thoughtfully designed for kids and youth, the Herschel Supply Kids Collection features sized-down offerings of classic Herschel Supply silhouettes. With unique patterns and color ways created exclusively for the Kids Collection, each piece consists of modern functionality and timeless design while maintaining a fine regard for detail.

Limited Lifetime Warranty- Bag will be replaced in any case of defective manufacturing


“We’re the original. JanSport started making packs and outdoor gear back in 1967. We’re about the journey, the discovery of fun, freedom, and adventure. We’re dedicated to safe, ethical, and lawful manufacturing and adhere to the Fair Labor Association code of conduct. We design our products to be durable, functional, and versatile.”

Lifetime Warranty- “All of our packs come with a lifetime warranty. Because good stuff should last. Ours does, or we fix it. No questions asked.”

The North Face

The North Face delivers an extensive line of performance apparel, equipment, and footwear. We push the boundaries of innovation so that you can push the boundaries of exploration.

Lifetime Warranty-“Our products are covered under warranty, to the original owner, for the lifetime of the product.”


Our mission is to create innovative high performance gear that reflects our love of adventure and our devotion to the outdoors. We succeed when we meet the demanding expectation of our most discerning customers and they are proud to use our packs. Osprey is proud of the strides we have made to lessen our impact upon the planet and tread lightly.

Lifetime Warranty-“All Mighty Guarantee – quality and durability for a lifetime”

L.L. Bean

Kids’ Backpacks from L.L.Bean: Tougher Than School®
For decades, parents have relied on L.L.Bean for rugged backpacks, messenger bags and lunch boxes that are built to last. Our broad selection makes it simple to find the right pack for your kid, whether your child is beginning preschool or grad school. You’ll find packs that have stood the test of time, like our Original Book Pack that’s been a favorite since 1982, as well as new packs that go well beyond the classroom with technical hiking features and all the comfort you need on the trail. Use our shop-by-age feature to find your school backpack quickly, or shop by color or style. When you’ve selected your kids’ pack, you can buy with confidence, because we test every pack and messenger bag in the lab and in real-life situations to meet our high standards.

Lifetime Warranty-“Plus, like everything else we sell, our backpacks and lunch boxes come with our 100% satisfaction guarantee.”


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Good luck and happy shopping!