I did a deep dive into backpacks in advance of the new school year. There are so many cute options out there. This year, I needed to find something of a sufficient size, with a pocket for a water bottle, for mini, as she will actually need to start carrying things to and from school. (In preschool, her backpack was exclusively used for lunchbox and random incidentals.) Below, all my finds!
Backpacks for K-4.
My top picks for K-4 students are either State Bags Kane Kids (not the mini size) — I especially like the rainbow heart pattern this year, and you can get a matching lunchbox! — and Crate and Barrel’s medium size backpack (not the large). I showed mini the options and she picked C&B’s style in the tiger print, along with the matching lunchbox. I had mini’s backpack monogrammed but I also love the idea of adding a little laminated bag tag if you prefer to go that route. And how CUTE are these teddy bear keychains to personalize the bag further?
Backpacks for Preschoolers.
For preschoolers, I have loved Paravel’s folding backpack, which weighs nothing and is the absolute perfect size for a tiny tot. It’s just big enough to fit one of those gumdrop lunchboxes, which both of my children have used for the past few years, a water bottle, and a spare sweater. It can also fit a folder if bent a bit at the top. It’s truly perfect for the tiniest kiddos. My other top picks for that age group would be State’s mini size bag — everything we’ve owned from State has held up really nicely over the years — or Minnow’s quilted backpack. I might give Minnow a slight bump in the rank because it has a water bottle holder built into the side. It occurs to me that it might be a good baby travel bag, too, because you could keep bottles in the sides. Budget buy: this rainbow tie-dye Target steal. Stoney Clover-esque, but under $20. You can personalize with these patches!
Lunchboxes for Children.
I did come across a few cute lunchbox options this year, in case you don’t buy one that matches your backpack and aren’t a big fan of the monogrammed gumdrop style. This inexpensive tie-dye reminds me of Stoney Clover and you could again personalize with patches. New-to-me brand Fluf has some darling whimsical prints worth a look. I also liked this roomy colorblocked style, which can fit a water bottle and has a compartment for fork/knife.
For inside the lunchbox, I love these Yumboxes (somehow leak-proof) and these inexpensive divided lunchboxes — the latter fits absolutely perfectly inside a gumdrop lunchbox and has the perfect shaped compartments for a sandwich, fruit, and something crunchy. I’ve also heard good things about the brand Bentgo, but they really are pricey!, as well as Ekobo. Don’t forget the lunchbox notes!
More Cute Backpacks for Littles.
Below, a mix of some more cute backpacks/lunch bags. Be sure to check dimensions! The smaller sizes are great for travel / shorter outings / preschoolers.
BRIGHT RED EXTRA LIGHTWEIGHT DAILY BACKPACK FROM PARAVEL…I AM STILL AMAZED AT HOW SMALL THIS BAG CAN FOLD INTO
LIGHT BLUE MINI-SIZED BACKPACK WITH FLYING DRAGON PRINT WITH ENOUGH SPACE TO FIT A LUNCH BOX AND 11″ LAPTOP
SURFING THEMED COTTON-CANVAS DURABLE BACKPACK WITH FOREST GREEN ACCENTS
BLUE GINGHAM ADVENTURE-FRIENDLY QUILTED BACKPACK WITH SIDE POCKETS — THIS PIECE CAN ALSO BE MONOGRAMMED
CLASSIC ZIP-UP BACKPACK WITH MESH POCKETS IN A COLORFUL DINOSAUR PRINT
STONEY CLOVER LN NYLON BACKPACK WITH CONTRASTING GOLD ZIPPER…TONS OF SOLID COLORS AND CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS TO MAKE THIS YOUR LITTLE ONE’S FAVORITE
INSULATED QUILTED LUNCH COOLER IN A NEUTRAL FLORAL PRINT
EXPERTLY-DESIGNED DURABLE PINK BACKPACK WITH ADORABLE LITTLE RED STAR PATTERN — THIS KNAPSACK IS ALSO MADE OUT OF RECYCLED WATER BOTTLES
ROOMY FJALLRAVEN-STYLE RECTANGULAR BACKPACK IN A VIBRANT RAINBOW TIE-DYE PRINT
BLACK AND WHITE ALL-OVER DINOSAUR LINE DRAWING BACKPACK FOR THE ASPIRING PALEONTOLOGIST IN YOUR LIFE
LUNCHBOX ACCESSORY: I AM OBSESSED WITH THESE SUPER CONVENIENT AND COLORFUL DINOSAUR-SHAPED REUSABLE ICE PACKS THAT COME IN A SET OF FOUR
LEAK-PROOF AND EXTRA-INSULATED PASTEL TWO-TONED CLASSIC LUNCH BOX
SAILOR STRIPED ZIP-TOP LUNCH TOTE WITH DURABLE CANVAS HANDLES AND OUTSIDE ZIP POCKET FOR MORE ORGANIZATION
BABY-SIZED QUILTED COLOR-BLOCKED PASTEL BACKPACK
P.S. Family daytrip gear.
P.P.S. Motherhood is a surfeit.
P.P.P.S. Avoid the why.