We’ve already shared our picks for this year’s coolest preschool backpacks in our Back to School Guide, but now we’ve got you covered for backpacks for big kids too. Older kids, tweens and teens, as you probably know, have slightly more sophisticated taste (aw, we’ll miss those cute penguins and bunnies), plus they need more room, more pockets, and maybe a sleeve for a laptop or tablet. You might even spend a little more on a great quality backpack for older kids, since it won’t be outgrown quite so quickly. But hey, we’ve got options for every budget. Hope you love them!

Related: Click here for our 2019 back to school guide: 23 cool backpacks for teens and big kids


Coolest backpacks for big kids, tweens + teens | back to school guide 2015

All items have been chosen by our editorial team; there has been no compensation in exchange for any picks. CMP is an rstyle and Amazon affiliate.



MadPax Minecraft style predator backpack | coolest backpacks for back to school

MadPax Predator Backpack ($65, Journey’s)

This is definitely the hot ticket from their collection. The field of photo-real pixels on a Minecraft inspired color scheme definitely caught our kids’ eyes — and maybe yours. In fact it’s waitlisted on the MadPax site right now but we tracked it down at Journeys. Act fast! Or find it at indie kids’ boutiques near you.


MadPax flower bubble backpack for kids | back to school shopping

MadPax Flower Power Bubble Pack ($85, Zappos)

Also from MadPax, we can’t resist this new floral print on their bubble packs. It just pops with happy color, and would keep us smiling through a snowstorm.

Related: The coolest backpacks for preschool and little kids


Fjallraven Kanken Big Backpack | back to school shopping 2015

Fjallraven Kanken Big Backpack ($110 at Zappos, with more styles at the Fjallraven US site.)

We are evangelical about Fjallraven backpacks (also at very top) for good reason — the fabric can take a beating, they’re waterproof, and the classic Kanken style still looks on trend, even while it hasn’t changed since 1978. Plus? Colors! Yes it’s pricy (very) but this is the kind of backpack that survives multiple school years and multiple kids.



Herschel Supply Co backpack in a very cool red plaid | back to school shopping
Herschel Supply Co red plaid Settlement backpack $49.99, Nordstrom

We are drooling over this plaid which is fantastic for boys and girls. It’s  a throwback to that hip red plaid schoolgirl/boy trend in the 80’s, especially if your kid sports this with a pair of Docs or Vans.


Herschel Supply Co backpack in new ruby khaki floral pattern
Herschel Supply Co Classic Backpack ($39.99, Herschel Supply Co)

If your kids don’t need a massive backpack, we love this floral ruby khaki print at a great price. It’s 12″ x 18″ so ample enough for a tablet, folders, and a few books, but not so big that it weighs down a kid with a smaller frame.


Moji boombox speaker backpack | back to school shopping 2015


Mojo boombox speaker backpack ($60, Nordstrom)

Be still our retro-loving hearts. Although what’s with the description, He’ll look superfly with this old school boombox backpack slung over his shoulder…? We think girls will totally dig this too.

Dadqvist Stig backpack from Poketo is amazing for big kids or adults

Sandqvist Stig Laptop Backpack ($188, Poketo)

This sturdy cotton canvas bag with leather straps is so handsome, with plenty of padding to protect a 13″ laptop or tablet, and whatever else may find its way in there. We’ll take one for us, please.


Hogwarts Rucksack at Think Geek: Warranty voided if carrying the Monster Book of Monsters

Hogwarts Backpack ($49.99, Think Geek)

Just know that the warranty is voided if you use it to carry The Monster Book of Monsters.


Floral No 5 backpack from Proper Assembly helps support entrepreneurs in developing countries


Proper Assembly Microstripe Backpack: Every purchase helps support entrepreneurs in developing countries

No. 5 Laptop Backpack in Umbria ($150 on sale, Proper Assembly)  Microstripe ($215)
It’s a splurge for sure, because this sturdy, fashionable padded laptop backpack is built to last. It’s fantastic that it weighs less than 1.5 pounds, especially if your kid has to tote around tech, too. And we love that for every bag sold, Proper Assembly makes a donation covering the cost of a tote for an entrepreneur in developing countries through the Adventure Project.

Related: The coolest lunch boxes and bags for kids of all ages


TOMS new line of backpacks for kids helps to give back | back to school 2015

TOMS STANDUP backpacks for kids ($39, TOMS)

In patterns from chevrons to solids with colorful tribal print straps, it’s not just a good, simple, affordable backpack, it’s a great lesson in giving back.


MacKenzie Rainbow backpack at PBK can be personalized too | back to school shopping guide

Mackenzie large rainbow backpack ($49.50, Pottery Barn Kids; also in navy)

Can anyone ever be too old for rainbows? No way. Think about Kermit, and he’s like 50 now.


Star Wars Rebel Alliance Backpack | back to school shopping guide

Star Wars Rebel Alliance Backpack ($54.67, Amazon)

If you have a Star Wars fan at home, they might have outgrown the cute characters, but this Rebel Alliance backpack by Bioworld is pretty hip, and a little more subtle than a fuzzy Chewbacca backpack.


Planetbox Backpack with zippered compartment at bottom to fit a Planetbox Bento set

JetPack backpack by Planet Box ($60, PlanetBox)

You probably know Planet Box as the beloved brand of sturdy bentos and water bottles that our editors recommend all the time. But new to us is their line of JetPack backpacks, complete with a handy zippered compartment at the bottom they call a “docking station,” for easy access to that bento lunch box. Which is sold separately of course.



Esperos backpacks provide an education to a child in need for every bag sold

Esperos classic backpack ($89.99, Esperos Bags)

Esperos Bags has such a wonderful mission, providing an education to a child in need with every bag sold. This classic backpack comes in so many great new colors, and is built to last with military-grade, water-resistant canvas and a padded laptop sleeve.


Jansport donut backpack for big kids. Love!

Jansport Big Student Backpack ($45.99 on sale, Kohl’s)

This backpack gets high marks from parents for style, sturdiness and smart price. With more than two dozen prints and solids to choose from, we bet your kid can pick a fave but we have to go with these awesome donuts. (And that Red Tape Knit Plaid is pretty hot too.)




The Backpack of Holding from Think Geek: Holds A LOT of stuff!

The Backpack of Holding ($49.99, Think Geek)

Consider us duly impressed with Think Geek’s own design for this clever backpack, built for those students who carry more stuff than seems reasonable. It’s bigger in all dimensions to pump up the volume it can hold, including a 5″ deep main compartment plus a separate padded tablet sleeve. The top flap even unfolds, should you need to pack a 17″ long book of some sort in there. Note: the chrome d20 badge has no actual function, but it does up the geeky-cool factor.

Back to School Guide 2015 posts:

12 awesome DIY back to school crafts your kids can actually do
The coolest lunch boxes and bags for kids of all ages
The coolest backpacks for preschool and little kids
The coolest backpacks for big kids
The coolest lunchbox accessories