The best back-to-school backpacks

back-to-school backpacks

by Samantha Ball |
Updated on

When shopping for your back-to-school essentials, back-to-school backpacks should be at the top of your list.

After school uniforms, a backpack is one of the more important items on your shopping list. They need to be durable, hold everything your child needs and more importantly, be something that your child loves to carry.

Your child might already have a favourite backpack at home, or you might even consider using their nursery backpack, but buying a new back-to-school backpack will guarantee it lasts the year, and you'll be able to keep their school belongings separate from their day trip bag.

Our favourite back-to-school backpacks shortlist 2023

Grey Woodland Bear Rucksack: Buy now on ASDA.
Barbie Girls 4-Piece Backpack: Buy now on Amazon.
Minecraft Backpack Set: Buy now on Amazon.
Smash Daisy Backpack: Buy now on Argos.

Even if they don't need a whole array of back-to-school supplies, a good back-to-school backpack should be able to fit in a lunchbox, water bottle and a raincoat.

Best Barbie back-to-school backpacks

Best back to school backpacks Barbie Girls 4-Piece Backpack

Rrp: $39.95

Price: $33.00

This Barbie Girls 4-Piece Backpack has everything you need. With a cooler lunch bag for keeping your child's lunch cool, it fits in the bag with ease. It also comes with a matching pencil case and water bottle, which can be stored in the mesh side pocket.

One review said: "Very quick arrival. My daughter loves it! It looks just like the picture."

Pros

  • Four piece set
  • Pretty design
  • Adjustable straps

Cons

  • Wipe clean only (bag) and hand wash only (bottle)
Dimensions:36 x 26 x 12cm
Pockets:3
Weight:180g
Machine washable:Wipe clean only
  • 1 x water bottle
  • 1 x pencil case
  • 1 x lunch bag

Best woodland back-to-school backpacks

Perfect for nursery or school, the Grey Woodland Bear Rucksack features a cute woodland print design, with a front pocket bear face and 3D ears. It has plenty of storage and adjustable shoulder straps too.

One review said: "Love this! So spacious, my son uses it for nursery, fits a few changes of clothes. I even put my things in so I don't have to take a changing bag and handbag"

Pros

  • Zip fasten closure
  • Cute woodland design

Cons

  • Wipe clean only
Dimensions:37 x 31 x 10cm
Pockets:3
Weight:N/A
Machine washable:Wipe clean only
  • Bear face with 3D ears
  • Side and internal pockets
  • Zip fasten closure
  • Adjustable shoulder straps

Best back-to-school backpacks

The VASCHY Kids Dinosaur Backpack is a lightweight yet durable design that's perfect for school. It features adjustable chest straps for added support and comfort.

One review said: "Pretty decent backpack. Cute print and we’ve been using it for over 2 months now and it’s been fine."

Pros

  • Water resistant
  • Adjustable chest strap
  • Easy access front pocket

Cons

  • Some said it might be too big for smaller children
Dimensions:28 x 11 x 37cm
Pocket:3
Weight:350g
Machine washable:N/A
  • Bottle pocket
  • Square front pocket

Best 4 piece Minecraft back-to-school backpacks

Best back to school backpacks Minecraft Backpack Set
Price: $28.99

The Minecraft Backpack Set comes with everything your child needs for heading back to school. It comes with a large backpack, matching pencil case, lunchbox cool bag and a water bottle.

One review said: "Bought for our 6-year-olds return to school and pleased with the item. Good height to the bag to fit in school/ homework books, lunch bag fits everything in he usually has for lunch and all seems durable."

Pros

  • Matching accessories
  • Plenty of storage space

Cons

  • Some found the water bottle a bit stiff
Dimensions:21 x 24 x 14cm
Pockets:2
Weight:140g
Machine washable:N/A
  • 1 x water bottle
  • 1 x pencil case
  • 1 x lunch cooler bag
  • 1 x school bag

Best vintage back-to-school backpacks

Made from showerproof recycled polyester, the Backpack Vintage Little Flowers has an adjustable chest and shoulder strap and is even machine washable. It's a lovely floral pattern and has inner sections for your little ones' water bottle and artwork.

Pros

  • Inner sections for artwork and water bottles
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • No onsite reviews
Dimensions:26 x 20 x 10cm
Pockets:1
Weight:
Machine washable:Wash at 30 degrees
  • 1 x front pocket
  • Adjustable straps
  • Inner sections

Best Bluey back-to-school backpacks

For the Bluey fans, your little one will love this backpack! The adorable Bluey backpack is the perfect size for young children and has plenty of storage so that there's enough space for spare clothes, their water bottle and lunch box.

One review said: "Bought this bag for my granddaughter. She’s starting school in September and we were told she needed a bag that could hold an A4-sized folder. The bag is good quality, the perfect size for her folder and lunch box. She loves it."

Pros

  • Plenty of storage
  • Comfortable to wear

Cons

  • Mesh side pockets can rip if caught on something sharp
Dimensions:33 x 26 x 11cm
Pockets:3
Weight:270g
Machine washable:Hand wash only
  • 2 x mesh water bottle side pockets
  • 1 x circular front pocket

Best Marvel back-to-school backpacks

This Marvel Backpack has a side mesh pocket for water bottles and a large front pocket. It has a rubber zip puller to make it easier for little hands to open, and the zip itself is durable.

One review said: "Needed to replace a smaller backpack as they tend to have more stuff to take to school. It’s strong enough to hold a couple of small reading books, drinks bottle, coat and lunchbox so that’s a win for us."

Pros

  • Strong zipper
  • Comfortable padding

Cons

  • Some found the zip to be a bit stiff sometimes
Dimension:40 x 11 x 31cm
Pockets:3
Weight:N/A
Machine washable:Hand wash only
  • Strong zip
  • 1 x mesh pocket
  • 1 x large front pocket

Best back-to-school backpacks Pokémon 4-piece set

Best back to school backpacks Pokémon Kids 4 Piece Set
Price: $35.99

With all the essentials your child needs for school, the Pokémon 4 Piece Set comes with a water bottle, matching pencil case and lunch bag. It has plenty of space to store the extras inside the bag and has an external mesh pocket for the water bottle.

One review said: "Great quality, perfect for all my son's school items really good size fits an a4 work book with plenty of room spare, would defo recommend."

Pros

  • Matching accessories
  • Zip closure bag
  • Adjustable straps

Cons

  • Might want a larger capacity water bottle
Dimensions:11 x 29 x 39cm
Pockets:2
Weight:460g
Machine washable:Wipe clean
  • 1 x large bag
  • 1 x lunch bag
  • 1 x pencil case
  • 1 x 500ml water bottle

Best unicorn back-to-school backpacks

A magical yet practical design, the Unicorn-Print School Backpack has plenty of room for all the essentials your child will need. It has two side pockets as well as a large front pocket and an additional one on the inside of the bag. It also has adjustable straps and a carry handle.

Pros

  • Easy to carry
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Multiple pockets

Cons

  • No onsite reviews
Dimensions:20 x 23cm
Pockets:4
Weight:N/A
Machine washable:Wipe clean
  • Carry handle
  • Adjustable straps
  • Pockets for organisation

Best durable back-to-school backpacks

This beautiful Smash Daisy Backpack not only looks incredibly sweet but it's designed to last. It has a large front pocket and also an elasticated pocket on the inside. It's comfortable to wear and has a padded back panel and adjustable shoulder straps.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Comfortable to wear and carry
  • Pretty design

Cons

  • No onsite reviews
Dimensions:35.5 x 25.5 x 13.5cm
Pockets:3
Weight:270g
Machine washable:
  • 1 x internal pocket
  • 1 x external pocket
  • Adjustable and padded shoulder strap
  • Top grab handle
  • Padded

Best back-to-school backpacks

All your child's favourite PAW Patrol characters on one bag! This fun PAW Patrol Backpack design features Chase, Marshall and Rubble with the phrase "Pups rule" on the front pocket. It has a mesh side pocket for water bottles too. It's lightweight but durable, with zipper fastenings.

One review said: "My son is obsessed with paw patrol this bag is just the right size for him for his PE kit he loves it"

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable
  • Zipper fastenings

Cons

  • Have to be mindful of the zip to make sure it doesn't get caught on the bag material
Dimensions:37 x 29cm
Pockets:2
Weight:500g
Machine washable:Hand wash only
  • Mesh water bottle pocket
  • 1 x front pocket
  • Large storage compartment

Best pink Pokémon back to school backpacks

With adjustable shoulder straps that come with padded support, the Pokémon Besties Backpack makes for an adorable back-to-school bag. It has a large zipped compartment, with a side water bottle pocket. It even has a large front pocket for storing any smaller items.

One review said: "My daughter loved the design and its spacious for pack lunchboxes, bottle, books etc."

Pros

  • Large main compartment and front pocket
  • Zipper fastenings
  • Adjustable and padded shoulder straps

Cons

  • Hand wash only
Dimensions:35.5 x 28 x 10cm
Pocket:2
Weight:300g
Machine washable:Hand wash only
  • Large front pocket
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Padded shoulder straps

Best back-to-school backpacks with glow-in-the-dark feature

With a mini-dinosaur print and a large white glow-in-the-dark dinosaur, this WERNNSAI Backpack is perfect for dinosaur fans. It's a large capacity so it will fit all the essentials your child needs for going back to school. It has plenty of compartments too, so you can help your child to organise what they take easily.

One review said: "My daughter loves this bag. It has a separate part inside to put books, leaving plenty of room for a lunch box etc.. also pockets at the sides fit a decent-sized water bottle in, which is great to prevent the drinks leaking in the bag."

Pros

  • Large compartments
  • Glow in the dark dinosaur feature
  • Adjustable chest support

Cons

  • Some mentioned the material doesn't feel as durable for heavy items
Dimensions:42 x 30.5 x 12.7cm
Pockets:3
Weight:N/A
Machine washable:Yes
  • 2 x large compartments
  • 1 x side pocket
  • 1 x front pocket
  • 1 x glow in the dark dinosaur
  • Adjustable chest straps

Best back-to-school backpacks with 3D feature

The DC Comics Boys Batman Backpack has a Batman cape that your little one can have out, or you can fold it neatly away into a zipped compartment. It's a large enough size to fit everything they need for school too. They'll love feeling like a little superhero on the school runs.

One review said: "My son uses this for his school bag. It fits his school stuff (a folder, water and snack ) in nicely. It’s durable (it gets thrown and flung about and not a mark on it). The straps are nice and comfortable. Easy to clean, just wipe it down. Waterproof both inside (he tends to leave lids off his drinks) and outside. Plenty of space for a child’s belongings. The cape is easily folded into its little pocket at the top of the bag and easy to bring out when wanting it out."

Pros

  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • 3D foldable cape

Cons

  • You might have to explain that your child won't be able to fly with the cape
Dimensions:25 x 30 x 8cm
Pockets:None
Weight:290g
Machine washable:N/A
  • 3D cape
  • Batman logo
  • Adjustable straps
  • 1 x large compartment

Best back-to-school backpacks pump bag

Add a touch of personalisation to your little ones' pump bag. The Black Alphabet School Pump Bag features a letter on the front, which you could pick as your child's first or last name initial. It features a drawstring opening with rope handles.

Pros

  • Drawstring opening
  • Personalised initial

Cons

  • No onsite reviews
Dimensions:43 x 33cm
Material:Polyester
Pockets:0
Machine washable:Wipe clean only
  • Drawstring opening

Best soft back-to-school backpack

This super-soft backpack doubles up as a little companion for your little one starting nursery. The Lilliputiens Stella Backpack keeps all your child's belongings safe. It's an adorable design, with the 3D elements bringing the bags to life.

Pros

  • Adorable design
  • Stores all your child's essentials
  • Soft material

Cons

  • No onsite reviews
Dimensions:27 x 4 x 26cm
Pockets:None
Weight:259g
Machine washable:Wash at 30 degrees
  • Made from 100 per cent recycled polyester
  • Soft material
  • Machine washable

Why does my child need a backpack?

There are many reasons why you will need to send a backpack to school with your child. Some schools require young children to bring a spare pair of clothes or uniform, so they'll need a bag to carry them in.

If your child is a little bit older too, they might be keen to take their own stationary sets. A backpack is also handy for popping their packed lunches in and school water bottle.

If you only need to send their lunchbox, however, you could just buy a lunchbox bag for them instead.

What makes a good back-to-school backpack?

Ideally, you would like the bag to be something your child likes and will be happy to carry to school. A style they can easily recognise is also helpful for spotting their bag in the cloakroom.

The main part of the bag needs to have room for what your child needs to take to school. Pockets are also handy if you like to send pocket money for school snacks or a place to put tissues or hand sanitiser.

Samantha Ball is a Product & Lifestyle Writer for Mother&Baby and freelanced for the website for two years before joining the team full time. She's a mum of two and loves browsing for the best products and cute outfits.

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