Backpacks: Ratings of Sources
Total of 14 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org tests six backpacks in its review, rating each model on construction, durability, rain resistance, convenience, comfort and safety features. Only one backpack is recommended, but two others perform the best within their categories. Full details are available to subscribers.
Best Kids' Backpacks
by Editors of Good Housekeeping
Our AssessmentIn its backpack review, Good Housekeeping tests 32 packs and evaluates each one on comfort, practicality and durability. Only six packs score the highest rank given in this roundup, an A. Analysis is balanced and includes tester feedback, but the backpacks aren't rated or compared to each other; commentary is very limited for those models that don't receive an A ranking. Reviews of the A-ranked models were conducted in 2010, except for the JanSport Thundervolt, which was reviewed in 2007.
Best Kids' Backpacks
by Good Housekeeping
Our AssessmentGood Housekeeping evaluates 48 backpacks with a series of hands-on tests to simulate real-world wear and tear, and to test the backpacks' advertised capacity. They also ask children to judge the packs for comfort and convenience. They select six backpacks as the best models, although there's no discussion of packs that didn't make the top ranked list.
by Contributors to eBags.com
Our AssessmentThis huge retail site claims to be the biggest retailer of bags of all kinds, and it has a respectable number of reviews for most backpacks listed. Each pack is rated for appearance, organization and value, and the site also tells how many owners say they'd buy it again. The backpack ratings aren't displayed on the main page, so you have to click through to each detail page to see ratings and reviews. There are two different rating systems, a possible 5 stars or a possible total ranking of 10; different backpacks have different rating systems.
by Contributors to LuggageOnline.com
Our AssessmentThis luggage retailer allows consumers to post reviews and rate products. Hundreds of items are included in the backpack category, but narrowing a search to a specific group like wheeled backpacks makes the results easier to navigate (many packs are listed in more than one category). Although most backpacks receive at least a few reviews, a small group stands out with a 4.5-star or better rating from 20 or more reviews.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com cross-lists backpacks in multiple categories; the easiest way to sort through them is by selecting the casual daypacks category. Many packs listed here garner at least a few dozen user reviews; standout models have a 4.5-star or better rating after 30 or more reviews. The two major exceptions are the JanSport Big Student Classics Series Daypack (which has nearly 400 reviews and a 4.6-star average rating), and the North Face Recon backpack, which has only about 18 reviews but a 4.9-star average rating (this pack receives no negative reviews).
by Contributors to Altrec.com
Our AssessmentContributors to Altrec.com assign each backpack an overall star rating (out of 5), with separate scores for durability, quality, carrying capacity and weight. They also offer brief comments and lists of pros and cons for each pack. Standout models have 30 or more reviews and a 4.5-star or better average score, except for the JanSport Wheeled Superbreak. It has only 14 reviews but receives a near-unanimous perfect rating, with its cost as the only downside. (The nonwheeled version is very popular as well).
by Contributors to DicksSportingGoods.com
Our AssessmentDick's Sporting Goods doesn't sell as many backpacks as Amazon.com, but they're still a usable and much easier to navigate source of user reviews. Although most models have just a few reviews, some draw more than 10 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars or better. A few backpacks, like the Under Armour Protego backpack, are sold exclusively here.
by Contributors to SportsAuthority.com
Our AssessmentMost of the backpacks listed on SportsAuthority.com (conveniently separated into a general backpack category to distinguish them from hiking packs) only get one or two reviews. Two models -- both from JanSport -- stand out with a couple dozen reviews and a 4.5-star rating (out of 5 possible).
Heavy Load? Best Backpacks for Kids (of All Ages)
by Paul Hochman
Our AssessmentThis useful buyer's guide provides shopping advice and safety tips for packing and carrying backpacks in the safest way for the back. Packs are recommended in four age categories and include the REI Satellite, Kelty Redtail, Ortlieb Velocity and Burton iPod Amp.
Backpacks & Lunch Boxes
by Contributors to Diapers.com
Our AssessmentDiapers.com sells backpacks and lunch boxes for the preschool/kindergarten set. Diapers.com offers a number of brands, but Skip Hop dominates the customer reviews with about six customer reviews for several animal-themed models (and a 5-star rating). Although this is fewer reviews than you'd find on retail sites that offer adult backpacks, it's the best source we've found of user opinions for kids' backpacks.
The 4 Best Kids' Backpacks for School
by Contributors to Cozi.com
Our AssessmentThe editors of Cozi.com ask their Facebook followers to chime in about which kids' backpacks are most durable. The fans choose four backpack brands (L.L.Bean, Land's End, JanSport and The Children's Place), and Cozi.com editors include quotes from parents saying how many years their kids' packs have lasted. It's unclear exactly how many people responded to the survey, but the Cozi.com Facebook page has more than 65,000 likes.
by Contributors to Target.com
Our AssessmentOnly a few school backpacks earn customer reviews on this retail website. Just one of them -- the Skip Hop Zoo Pack (Dog) -- earns at least a dozen reviews and a near-perfect average rating from reviewers.
by Contributors to Buzzillions.com
Our AssessmentBuzzillions.com compiles owner reviews from a variety of online sources and retailers, including Amazon.com, Cabela's and Dick's Sporting Goods. Because we've already evaluated most of these reviews directly through the retailers, we don't put much weight on Buzzillions.com reviews (they'd be duplicates); however, this is still a good resource for judging overall consumer opinion about a single backpack at a glance.