As kids head to middle school or high school—some of them for the first time, after a whole year at home—they need bigger, sturdier backpacks and better shoulder straps than their elementary bags. We also think about laptop protection, and of course…totally cool exteriors.
Tall order? Perhaps. But we love the backpacks for teens we’re seeing this year.
Today’s trendy backpacks for teenagers reflect every kind of taste, from sporty to sophisticated, silly to chic, and everything in between.
Also be sure to check out some of our favorite backpacks for little kids, which might include some styles teens would want to wear ironically too.
Pro tip: Be sure to check the sizes; we didn’t include toddler sizes, but some teens are toting more books to and from school than others, and you want to make sure that a backpack is big enough for all their needs.
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Basquiat Citypack Backpack ($89.99, Herschel Supply Co)
Wow, we want one for us, too.
Herschel 15″ NBA Settlement Laptop Backpack ($51 on sale, Herschel Supply Co)
Grab your own favorite team.
Comfort Carry backpack ($70, LL Bean at Nordstrom)
If your teen wants a backpack that’s simple, no-fuss, and really durable, this is a winner.
Blended Designs backpacks 1954 Collection ($30+, Blended Designs)
Named for the year that Brown v. Board of Education was decided, these dozen or so styles are all beautifully illustrated with kids in whole range of brown and black skin tones.
Riverdale backpack ($31, Hot Topic)
#Bughead forever, sniff.
Kipling 15” Seoul Go laptop backpack ($89.99 on sale, Kipling)
Love the contrast of the rainbow logo over the minimalist black and white. These bags hold up forever, too.
Mondrian #38 backpack ($47 on sale, Society 6)
By Rockett Graphics, the perfect backpack for any teen pursuing fine art.
Fjällräven Laptop Backpack ($80, Kånken at Nordstrom)
The classic Swedish school bag is so durable, it will probably outlast the 13″ laptop inside. It comes in every color imaginable, including this style with the rainbow straps too.
Dragonball Z Kakarot backpack ($31 on sale, Hot Topic)
Cool in that ironic kinda way.
“Off the Wall” Checkerboard backpack ($36, Vans at Journeys)
The classic checkerboard pattern … with a cool rainbow update.
Jumpman Air Jordan backpack ($45, Nordstrom)
Since teens are raiding their Gen X parents’ closets these days, we think this retro 90s Jumpman Logo bag will be a hit with sports fans.
Tie Dye Kane Kids bag ($90, State)
Perfectly on trend this year.
Star Wars Classic XL Backpack ($80, Herschel Supply Co at Nordstrom)
If binging on The Mandalorian got you through the quarantine, this bag from one of our very favorite brands is the one.
Hunter x Hunter Gon backpack ($40, Hot Topic)
Superfans…or kids with an ironic sense of humor…can have Gon’s very own backpack for this school year.
Adaptive Backpack for Wheelchairs ($40, Target)
Yay, yay, yay! Finding adaptive gear for teens can be tricky, but this bag looks cool and is highly functional for kids who need to strap their bags to their chairs instead of their shoulders.
Basketball Kane Kids backpack ($85, State Bags)
For the ultimate baller.
Pastel Ombre Backpack ($40, Jansport)
These bags last so long, we still have our own from high school. And this pastel ombre pattern is exactly on trend this year.
Naruto Shippuden Kakashi sling bag ($39, Hot Topic)
This unusual sling style bag is big enough for notebooks and an iPad, so if your kid travels light it’s a good fit. But they’ll have to make do with last year’s bag for a little while, because this one is on preorder at the moment.
Adidas Trefoil Backpack ($50, Journeys)
This classic sporty-look bag has plenty of room for books, tech, water bottles, and a uniform for practice after school.
Deadpool Built-Up Backpack ($60, Hot Topic)
This bag is killer.
Fuzzy Kane Kids backpack ($90, State Bags)
If you’re looking for Boho chic, we found it.
My Hero Academia backpack ($39, Hot Topic)
For the kid who wishes they were enrolled at U.A. High School this year.