Tips for Choosing a Child’s Backpack

We have some great tips for choosing a child’s backpack that will allow you to consider all the factors that go into finding the perfect school bag.

When it comes to buying a backpack for your child to carry to school, sometimes we just look at the ones that are cute and trendy and appealing to our kids. But there is more to it than just visual appeal. Your child’s back is going to be supporting this bag and it’s important to take that into consideration as well.

Tips for Choosing a Child's Backpack

Tips for Choosing a Child’s Backpack

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1 – Choose the right size.

As much as it might seem practical, it’s not a great idea to choose a larger sized backpack for your child to grow into. They need the right size for their body as it currently is. And from another standpoint, I can tell you that often the bag that appeals to them this year will no longer be their favorite next year.

Also, if your kids are anything like mine and my grandkids, the bags are usually in poor condition after a year of use. They…well to be honest, they smell. There’s just this odor about them that no amount of cleaning can seem to get rid of.

So, buy them one that fits their body. A good quick guideline to remember is that the backpack should never be larger than your child’s back. According to Mountain Equipment Company, “If you’re shopping in store, this is easy to gauge: the bottom of the pack should rest near the top of the pelvis, while the top should sit about 2–5cm below the tops of their shoulders.”

2 – Look for durability.

Thin nylon backpacks are not likely to hold up to the wear and tear of putting things in and out of it again and again. Nor will they support the weight of items being carried, particularly if your child will be bringing home textbooks. You need a fabric that will stand up to the weight and use.

You also want something that can hold up in all weather. Obviously, many of them are not waterproof, but you at least want something that is water resistant in case your child has to carry it in the rain or snow.

3 – Check out the straps.

Thinner straps can hurt their shoulders. Wider, padded straps help distribute the weight more evenly and make it more comfortable to wear. Again, look for durability, not just of the straps themselves, but of the clips and other hardware on the straps.

Bonus: a chest strap is a great idea particularly if your child will be carrying heavy items. Once again, it helps to keep the backpack in place and distribute the weight better.

4 – Consider helpful additions like pockets.

We especially like backpacks that have separate pockets for things like their lunch and their water bottles. These can help keep the other sections of the bag clean and dry and any leaks are contained within their own pockets.

Tip: In younger grades, kids are often given “communication bags”. These are generally a Ziploc bag with their name on it to hold important notes going to and from school, keeping them safe and dry. If your child isn’t provided with one of these, get them one yourself! I suggest a plastic pouch that’s more durable than a Ziploc. Label it with their name and teach them that this is where all important notes, their planner or agenda, and other such items belong.

This one from Staples Canada is actually our favorite but I can’t find a comparable link for it anywhere else, unfortunately. Here are some other options below:

5 – Find out the school rules for backpacks.

In any of the schools I taught at, we really didn’t have any rules for kids’ backpacks. Obviously, if they showed up with something inappropriate on the bags, we would reach out to parents about that, but other than that, no rules.

I have heard of a number of rules in American schools including having to use a clear backpack or not being allowed to use backpacks on wheels. Be sure to check for any rules at your child’s school before purchasing a backpack.

Having a comfortable and yet appealing backpack can be essential for your child’s new school year. This is something they will carry all year long, so it’s important to get the right one. We hope these tips help. you in picking out a backpack for the next school year.

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