Our back to school 2018 shopping guide continues, with our picks for super cool backpacks for tweens, teens and older kids. Whether they want to make a style statement or stand out with a backpack that’s minimally chic, we’ve got an incredible assortment of backpacks for big kids in every price range.
(There are some great bargains here! But some of these definitely cost more, because when your kid isn’t outgrowing a trend every minute, you are more likely to buy school gear that’s built to last more than one school year.)
Be sure to check the sizes — especially if your kid carries a laptop to school — and details like lined interiors, water bottle pouches, and zippered pockets. Oh, and be sure to buy these with your kid by your side. Guaranteed they’ll have some very strong opinions about the backpack that best represents them.
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Top image: State Backpacks
There’s no compensation in exchange for inclusion in our guide — just the stuff our editors love!
Statement Backpacks for Tweens, Teens and Big Kids
Madpax Full Scale Metallic Backpack $59.50-105
This gorgeous new metallic style is so hot, we’re seeing adults carrying it!
Herschel Supply MLB Heritage Collection Backpacks $79.99, Nordstrom
Astros, Phillies, Padres, Expos, Blue Jays, Cubs fans…you and a few others are in luck!
Wu Tang Clan Backpack $24.99 on sale, Spencer’s
It’s the 25th anniversary of 36 Chambers, and some kids are discovering it for the first time.
(Cue: “I’m feeling old” jokes.)
DIckie’s DIY Color-Your-Own Mandala Backpack $24.99 on sale, Spencer’s
Your art-loving kid will go nuts for this!
I Can Do Anything Backpack $34.95 and up, Blended Designs
Designed specifically to empower kids of color, 10 different backpack designs from this company each feature the same empowering phrase.
Moon Phases Backpack $39.50 on sale, Pottery Barn Teen
STEM-loving, star-gazing tweens and teens: This is the backpack for you.
Blue Dragon Print Vintage Backpack $39.99, Parkland
I’m so in love with this gorgeous new fantasy print, also available in grey and white.
Artone Blue Wave 14″ Backpack $20.99 on sale, Amazon
Love everything about this print and the price is amazing.
Gear Up Ombre Backpack for Big Kids $39.50 on sale, Pottery Barn Teen
Cool backpack for a tween or teen who’s outgrown rainbows…but not color.
(Then again, can you ever outgrow rainbows? Hope not.)
Fuzzy Moppet Spiketus Rex Madpax Full Pack Backpack $85, MadPax
This is the new backpack style our own tweens and teens are clamoring for! Check out the other colors too.
Star Wars Darth Vader Extra-Large Laptop Backpack $159, Kipling
Kipling bags are so sturdy and well-built and I love their new Star Wars collab!
Le Sportsac Essential Backpack in Roving Floral $95, Le Sportsac
Love this gorgeous new print which is so on-trend for fall…and beyond.
Spiketus Rex Madpax Full Pack Backpack $68, Madpax
We featured the half-pack in our guide to backpacks for little kids, but as a full-pack backpack for teens and tweens? Amazing.
Galaxy Bob Ross Backpack $34.99, Spencer’s
It’s a happy little backpack!
Cool Big Kid Backpacks with Miminalist Style
You don’t always have to go big to make a statement. These gorgeous, versatile, very sophisticated bags are perfect for older kids who are hooked on neutrals, unisex colors, or one favorite hue.
Bonus: They go with everything.
Herschel Retreat Backpack $69.05 on sale, Nordstrom
Tough construction, cool vintage look, and can handle a 15″ laptop
Danskin Quilted Backpack $60, Kohl’s
Way more affordable than the “designer” backpacks with the same styling. 3 different cool colors.
Parkland Meadow Plus Lined Laptop Backpack in Blue Stone $59.99, Parkland
Reminds me of vintage team colors — great look for a solid backpack at a great price.
State Colby Rolltop Coated Canvas Backpack $165 State Bags
A decidedly adult backpack with a cool urban edge, this is another give-back backpack we love.
Fjallraven Kanken Big Kid Backpack $110, ebags
These bags are so hot every single year for good reason — they’re sturdy, they’re durable, and they really last forever. Especially if you go with a darker color. This 17×13″ size is nice for teens and big kids, but also check out the 15×11″ Fjallrvel Laptop Backpack ($110-115, Nordstrom)
Metallic Silver State Bags Backpack with Waist Strap $140, State Bags
Metallic is totally a neutral, and this bag is deceptively solid and smart.
Plus, each purchase donates a backpack to a child in need.
Also check out their new tri-toned metallic Kane backpacks (shown at very top), $80
Kipling Arya Large Laptop backpack $109.99 on sale, Kipling
I own this bag in black and my teen has coopted it so. Yes, it’s teen approved.
Mokuyobi Nilson Coated Nylon Two-Toned Nilson Backpack $138, Nordstrom
From the rad SoCal design shop known for their amazing colors and their lifetime warranty. Yep, it’s a splurge. But these durable USA-made bags in four different shades are are just stellar.
Air Jordan Big Boys Skyline Backpack $56.25 on sale, Macy’s
This one will go with his new sneakers — which he also swears will stay white.
Vans Realm Skateboard Backpacks $36, Nordstrom
Like I said, the 90s are back.
JanSport Cool Student Backpack in Letterman Grey $54.99 on sale, JCPenney
The classic, trustworthy, practical, mom-approved JanSport bag doesn’t have to be boring at all.
Especially in this handsome color combo, which will never get tired.