Reviewers say the L.L.Bean Original Junior backpack is a simple but durable pack for kids in kindergarten or first grade. It's designed for children ages 4 and older and has a capacity of 954 cubic inches.
Basic, well-designed functionality. The L.L. Bean Original Junior backpack has one large compartment, a smaller front pocket and a small zip-close stash pocket. One reviewer describes the Original Junior as roomy for "those early elementary years when mostly artwork, library books and a few notebooks are all that is carried home."
Organizers help your child keep pens and other small items neat, and a reflective stripe on the front is great for visibility -- but parents say it attracts smudges and fingerprints. While most parents praise the L.L.Bean Original Junior, a few wish it had a side pocket for water bottles. We also saw a number of complaints on L.L.Bean's website that the zipper gets stuck easily.
It fits kindergarteners and first-graders well. Reviewers don't say much about this pack's comfort – they're primarily interested in its durability -- but we did find a few comments that children like the L.L Bean Original Junior's padded straps. Some parents also say the pack is sized appropriately for small bodies, but they like that the straps extend long enough for Mom or Dad to help carry the pack or use it as a minibackpack or diaper bag.
Draws high praise for its durability. Owners on LLBean.com consistently praise the L.L. Bean Original Junior's durability. One mother reports that the Original Junior she purchased for her son in preschool has survived three years of everyday school use and still "looks as good as new." Another says three children have outgrown the one pack she purchased, which is now being used to carry toys on family outings.
Owners also like that you can empty this pack out and toss it in the washing machine. The biggest complaint we found was that the zipper sometimes sticks in a flap of material meant to cover it and can eventually break.
The universal consensus on the L.L. Bean Original Junior is that it's roomy enough for the early school years, and it's durable enough for several kids to outgrow it. Some reviewers say they've been buying this backpack for their kids or grandkids for decades. There's not enough feedback to make this a top pick, but what we did find makes it a strong runner up.
Very good More than 375 parents leave feedback on the Original Junior backpack on the L.L.Bean website, rating it an average of 4.7 stars out of 5. The pack gets high marks, especially for durability -- multiple owners say you can use this backpack for years. There are a few complaints that the zipper can get stuck easily, but most parents say they are very satisfied.
Review: Original Junior Backpack, Contributors to L.L.Bean, As of Sept. 2012
Fair They author states that she's bought this type of pack for her children since 1985. She says her eldest son's book pack lasted until he outgrew it. She evaluates newer versions of the Original Junior Book Pack for her grandson, finding that they're still roomy and comfortable for small children.
Review: Review: LL Bean Junior Original Book Pack, Shirley M., Aug. 20, 2009