Skip Hop Zoo Pack
Skip Hop Zoo Pack

Best toddler backpack

The Skip Hop Zoo Pack comes in 16 bright, animal-shaped designs. They're just the right size for a toddler or preschooler, with an exterior cup pocket that gets raves from moms and their kids. Reviewers say they're durable enough to last for multiple siblings, and look like new after a run through the washing machine.
See our full review

JanSport SuperBreak
JanSport SuperBreak

Best kids' school backpack

Reviewers say the JanSport SuperBreak backpack is a great choice for kids from kindergarten and elementary school age through middle school -- and even into high school. It's attractive, durable and holds a surprising amount of school supplies without bulking up. It comes in a wide range of stylish colors and patterns and may be the only backpack your child ever needs.
See our full review

JanSport Big Student
JanSport Big Student

Best high school backpack

The JanSport Big Student gets top marks from reviewers when it comes to packing and organizing a large quantity of gear; holding enough books, electronics and accessories for the busiest high school student. Ergonomic shoulder straps help distribute the load for maximum comfort. It comes in a variety of cool colors and designs, as well as carrying a lifetime warranty.
See our full review

The North Face Jester
The North Face Jester

Best college backpack

The North Face Jester easily packs in a long day's worth of college gear without looking stuffed. Reviewers say it's super comfortable, thanks to ergonomic shoulder straps and a removable waist belt. It gets raves for its indestructible construction, and its range of stylish colors and patterns, making it a favorite with men and women. It comes with a lifetime warranty.
See our full review

Est. $65 Estimated Price
L.L.Bean Rolling Deluxe Book Pack
L.L.Bean Rolling Deluxe Book Pack

Best rolling backpack

The L.L.Bean Rolling Deluxe Book Pack gets raves from reviewers for being comfortable to walk with and sturdy enough to carry everything your child needs. It gets high marks for durability, and many adults say they love it for travel. It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns for a stylish, versatile wheeled bag.
See our full review

Est. $90 Estimated Price
COMPARE PRODUCTS
See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Young or old, there's a backpack to suit your needs

Although backpacks are most often used to haul school supplies, a good-quality pack can be pressed into service as anything from a diaper bag to a daypack for hiking or travel. But with so many choices, how do you choose the best backpack for your needs? Experts say you should keep the following factors when shopping for a backpack:

Price isn't always the best indicator of quality. Our Best Reviewed models range from $20 to $100, with some highly durable, lifetime warranty bags coming in at about $50. That said, an expensive backpack will have more features: internal organizers, reflective detailing for better visibility, extra padding and sometimes a built-in laptop sleeve. All those extras add weight to the pack, so consider whether you really need a lot of pockets and zippered pouches.

Capacity is key. When choosing a child's pack, first look for one that's big enough to hold everything he needs for school, then work backward from there. It should fit him comfortably now but still leave room to grow. Weight also matters; experts recommend that children carry no more than 10 to 20 percent of their bodyweight in a backpack.

What do you want to use the backpack for? The best packs will serve you well in everything from bike commuting to traveling and hiking. We have separate reports on purpose-built hiking packs and laptop bags, but many of the bags in this report can do double duty.

If you have orthopedic problems or frequently haul a heavy load, you might prefer a wheeled backpack. Most have tuck-away straps so you can wear the pack on your back while navigating crowded areas; smooth-rolling wheels and telescoping handles let you pull the pack behind you when terrain and crowds allow. Some are specially sized for children.

ConsumerSearch evaluated dozens of reviews from both experts and owners to guide you in choosing the best backpack, from preschoolers to college students to businesspeople. We take into account performance, comfort and durability to find a backpack that will be a good fit for any life stage or activity.

Elsewhere in this report

Backpacks for Toddlers and Older Kids
What's the best backpack for your toddler or preschooler? Editors say Skip Hop Zoo Packs and Stephen Joseph Quilted are best. JanSport SuperBreak and Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie are the best kids' school backpacks.

High School and College Backpacks
What's the best backpack for high school or college? Editors say JanSport Big Student and North Face Borealis are the best high school backpacks; North Face is ideal for college.

Best Rolling Backpacks
What's the best rolling backpack? Editors say L.L.Bean Rolling Deluxe and JanSport Wheeled SuperBreak are top of the line.

Buying Guide
What should you look for in a backpack? Editors suggest what features reviewers say are most important when shopping for a backpack.

Our Sources
Links to the expert and user reviews we used to select the top backpacks, along with our assessment of each reviewer's expertise, credibility and helpfulness.

image
Trans by JanSport Maxxter Skull and Cross Bone Backpack
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $25.85
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
Jansport Big Student Backpack (Black)
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $55.00 $26.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
Jansport Superbreak Wheeled Backpack
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $100.00   
Average Customer Review:  
image
Skip Hop Zoo Pack Little Kid Backpack, Dog
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $20.00 $13.98   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
Ads related to Backpacks

Back to top