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12 Best Backpacks for Back to School

We've rounded up the best back to school backpacks in every category. Find out how these backpacks go above and beyond.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

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Best Backpack for Preschoolers

This 12-inch Skip Hop character backpack is the perfect size for your preschooler. It comes in 10 animal shapes so your little one has choices that include bumblebee, dog, dinosaur and cat. We love the insulated front pouch for snacks, and the canvas material is easy to wipe clean — a must-have feature with backpacks for preschoolers.

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Best Backpack for Teens

Teens will love the minimalist style of the durable Himawari backpack. It comes in 16 trendy patterns and is big enough to hold a 15-inch laptop plus heavy textbooks. It also comes with a USB port to charge a phone and other electronics, but you’ll have to connect your own power bank.

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Best Large-Capacity Backpack

For high schoolers or college kids lugging lots of stuff, try the High Sierra Jarvis backpack. It’s substantial (20 inches tall) with space for a laptop, a large pocket for books, and a zippered front accessory pocket for small items like pens and keys. We especially like the padded back panel and padded shoulder straps for extra comfort.

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Best Backpack for Your Athlete

The Adidas Five-Star Team backpack has plenty of room for school books and sports gear, and one of the 10 available colors will likely match their school’s. Your athlete will appreciate the padded laptop pocket that holds up to a 17-inch screen, as well as the ventilated laundry/shoe pocket.

One happy Amazon reviewer said, “My freshman son plays multiple sports. This bag is perfect for football gear, gym class, baseball, and for quick out-of-town trips. [It’s] very well-made, [with] lots of space and compartments.”

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Best Backpack to Stay Organized

Pockets, pockets, pockets! That’s what you get with the ultra-organizer CAMTOP vintage-style backpack. Everything your student needs will stay nice and tidy thanks to the five exterior front pockets (with zipper closures or magnetic flaps), two side pockets and even more pockets inside, as well as a laptop sleeve.

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Best Tech-Friendly Backpack

If your kid is always looking for his or her multiple chargers and electronics, the AMBOR computer backpack might be the right fit. We love this tech-friendly backpack because it has a separate laptop compartment, as well as a USB port and a headphone port on the outside. To keep everything safe, there’s an anti-theft lock that requires a code to unlock the zippers.

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Best Deal Backpack

If you want a basic, reliable backpack at a great price, check out the VASCHY Casual Daypack. This simple backpack costs just $21 and includes a large main compartment, a front zipper pocket and water bottle side pockets. Plus, we love the water-resistant fabric to keep books and gear safe. It comes in 12 colors and earned more than 500 five-star reviews on Amazon.

“This backpack is actually great for the price!” said one reviewer. “I didn’t expect much to be honest but it’s very big and sturdy. It has a big pocket inside to hold a small laptop or tablet and it’s a nice vivid color.”

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Best Backpack for Durability

If your kid is tough on stuff, you’ll need a durable backpack that can take a beating. The Carhartt Legacy Standard pack is made with heavy-duty, water-repellent polyester with a reinforced base, durable zippers and triple-needle sticking. Carhartt is a rugged workwear brand, and their classic products have become popular with teens.

One reviewer had this to say: “Last semester the weight of my books killed my shoulders and the straps eventually started tearing. With a similar load this semester, my shoulders barely notice the weight. The zippers are heavy duty, it’s well constructed and I’m counting on this backpack to last. Another bonus is that it’s not enormous on my back. I wouldn’t call it ‘minimalist’ but it’s also not bulky or tacky.”

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Best Fashion Backpack

The Createy canvas backpack is the perfect bag for your fashion-obsessed student. The cute stripe design and six color options coordinate with any outfit. Plus, it comes with a matching lunchbox and pencil bag. Stripes, bold colors and matching accessories — what else could a fashionista need?

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Best Backpack With Wheels

With about 1,000 four- and five-star reviews, the J World New York rolling backpack is one of Amazon’s top-rated backpacks with wheels. It’s perfect if you’re worried about your child hurting their back carrying heavy books.

“The backpack is very durable and the zippers, T-bar handle, and wheels are still working great,” one happy reviewer wrote. “This is not a particularly light backpack to carry, but the rolling aspect makes up for it. My boy is able to pack several textbooks, binder, notebooks, lunch, and other various items with room to spare.”

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Best All-Around Backpack

The perfect backpack for back to school needs to be roomy, durable and comfortable to carry, with plenty of pockets. Our favorite all-around backpack is the Jansport Big Student backpack. It delivers on every category and is affordably priced at less than $50. And, of course, the perfect backpack can never be boring, so we love that it comes in 15 fun patterns and colors.

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Erica Young
Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.