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!
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 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 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 ($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 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 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.
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.
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 Backpack ($49.99, Think Geek)
Just know that the warranty is voided if you use it to carry The Monster Book of Monsters.
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 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 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 ($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.
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 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 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 ($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
Love the Esperos Classic backpack for its durability and padded sleeve, but mainly for the company’s education mission.
My favorite pick is the JetPack backpack by Planet Box, I love galaxy prints on everything – so pretty!
Lots of cool prints, but those Flip and Tumble packs are pretty cool.
Love the minecraft backpack! My 7 yr old is huge on mine craft.
The Minecraft bag, natch.
My favorite is the Jansport Big Student Backpack! We’ve had great luck with this brand, and the sweet treats are just the icing on top, so to speak.
Here’s my tweet: http://twitter.com/MrsMChappell/status/634897957796638720
Shared on instagram: https://instagram.com/mrsmchappell/
I like the backpack of holding. It’s so versatile.
I would love the NO. 5 BACKPACK MICROSTRIPE for my 11 year old. It would be great for toting her tech to school without too much stress on her back.
I also love the look of the fjallraven (um, spelling?) bags. (Ok, auto correct changed it to foal leaven, ha!). Anyway, maybe mama needs a backpack…
Definitely the boombox backpack.
Wish there was one with sharks too!
Love the donut backpack …. And of course the mine craft for my 6th grader
As a teacher I keep trying to tell my kid the big student is the best jansport out there!!!
The Minecraft backpack is my kids’ favorite, but I love the Kanken myself.
Love the Fjallraven Kanken Big Backpack!
Esperos classic backpack
i love how every purchase you are giving back and how sturdy the materials are
Loving the pink Herschel with flowers and stripes! Hello Kitty may have to go away!
I love the Fjallraven packs because they are classic and kids can choose from so many colors.
I love all the backpack colors and styles! So many great options to choose from.
Love the TOMS standup backpacks. The open top with fold over closure would make it easy to take books in and out.
Fjallraven for sure! I think mommy needs a backpack.
i love the styling of the Sandqvist Stig Laptop Backpack!
Love the sanqvist stig laptop & the fjallraven book bags!! They look great and sturdy!
I love the Minecraft themed backpack !
I like the Sandqvest backpack with the straps, very nice.
I like the Fjallraven backpacks because they are classic and durable.
love the herschel red plaid. super classic & feels very “back-to-school”
and not crazy expensive!
My son would love the Star Wars Rebel Alliance backpack!
I love the Fjallraven Kanken Big Backpack – sounds like it could take a beating and last- as a mom of 4 boys that is fantastic!
Love the Hogwarts backpack– we’re big into Harry Potter right now!
The Planet Box backpack is my favorite! Who doesn’t love galaxy print?!?! Especially since they make awesome bento boxes!
I like quite a few of these backpack, but if I had to pick one it would be the Fjallraven Kanken. Just love the timeless design, the durability and the great choices of color. They just make me happy! ?
Thank you for doing all the searching and sharing these great backpacks with us!
The Backpack of Holding is my favorite!
Love, love, love the Hogwarts backpack for my HP obsessed daughter!
Oh, I do like that Sandqvist. That just looks *good*.
Mojo boombox speaker backpack is so cool
The TOMS backpacks are super cute. e’re reusing last year’s backpack this year though.
I asked the kids and all 3 voted for MadPax Predator Backpack ($65, Journey’s). They said it was a MindCraft backpack.
My daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan – I’m sure she’d love to tote that to school to showcase the fandom 🙂
Love the Pottery Barn Kids Rainbow Backpack, but then again everything is about rainbows nowadays! We’ve had Pottery Barn Kids backpacks before and love the fact that they’re pretty sturdy and will easily be handed down to another sibling. We’re going to need a bigger size soon, and this little kid friendly design makes the rainbow an easy choice.
Love the big kid Star Wars pick!
I need that Jansport Big Student Donut Backpack in my life!
I like the JetPack backpack by Planet Box. Love the print!
Follow on twitter and tweeted!
Shared on FB: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.alvarado17/posts/954156654643470
My kids would love the minecraft backpack!
The donut backpack looks so tasty!
Follow you on Twitter as Stacies_Place and tweeted https://twitter.com/Stacies_Place/status/636057116470439936
The donut pack is so fun!!
Definitely Fjallraven is my favorite. Such a classic!
That bubble flower one is growing on me. I also love the Jedi one. Yay orange.
Love the one with the puffy flowers! So unique.
The minecraft pack because my grandson is a fan.
My son would love the madpax minecraft inspired backpack. I better not let him see it!
The minecraft-looking predator one is awesome! My son would love it!
This modern and stylish Herschel backpack is a student’s best friend. The well-padded back and shoulder straps make it comfortable, while the sleek facade makes sure your kid doesn’t look like he’s carrying his life on his back, even if he is. A drawstring and magnetic straps allow for easy access while still keeping the contents safe.
We like the Fjallraven Kanken Big Backpack, because it’s waterproof and cool looking. 🙂
There’s something about plaid that I just love! Apparently I need to head over to Nordstrom to do some shopping! 😉
We’re not to this age yet, but I do love the The Backpack of Holding. 🙂
FB post: https://www.facebook.com/stearns003/posts/10153551424361788
The Esperos bag is coolest with its mission.
Love, love, love (!) the Kanken!!
I love the Mackenzie large rainbow backpack (Pottery Barn Kids), a great choice for a very bubbly and energetic daughter.
I love the Hogwart’s backpack. We’re big HP geeks in our house.
Love the Jansport Big Student Backpack for my 8 year kid.