When we put together our picks for the coolest backpacks for preschool and kindergarten each year, we think about how exciting it is for little ones to pick what may likely be their very first school gear ever. They seriously geek out overall  school supplies of course, but there’s something extra-special about that backpack — the one piece of gear that really epitomizes “I’m a big kid now.”

For those kids who are headed to preschool or kindergarten for the first time this year, their first backpack is really special. So we’ve worked hard to seek out more than a dozen of the coolest backpacks for preschool and kindergarten  — all mall in size, but big on the wow factor.

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Updated for 2022


Related: Which lunch boxes and bags hold up the best? Here’s our five picks.

15 cool backpacks for preschool, kindergarten, and little kids | back to School guide 2022


15 cool backpacks for preschool and kindergarten that we love

Cool backpack and lunchbox sets: graffiti styling by SoYoung

Cool backpacks for preschool and kindergarten: Graffiti backpack at SoYoung

Graffiti toddler backpack ($28 on sale, soyoung)
Long one of our favorite back-to-school brands for making sturdy, incredibly well-made, beautifully designed coated canvas bags and backpacks, this print is perfect for the kid who’s destined for skateboarding fame.

PS you can find a selection of SoYoung lunchboxes right on Amazon — we’ve named them one our 5 top, more durable lunchboxes of all time. 


chibi style Marvel Avengers Loungefly Mini Backpack: Best backpacks for preschool, kindergarten and little kids

Chibi Marvel backpack ($44.90, Hot Topic)
This is such a new style it’s just starting to ship so order quickly!  secretly want this Marvel backpack for myself — the cute chibi illustrations of all their favorite Avengers is wonderful. But the fact that it wipes down so easily makes it perfect for your messy littlest kid too.

Cool backpacks for preschool and kindergarten: How to Train Your dragon backpack is the coolest we've seen!

How to Train Your Dragon mini backpack (544.90, Hot Topic)
How can this backpack for preschool not make you smile? If you have a How to Train Your Dragon fan at home (as do we all), this split backpack is wonderful.

Related: The coolest lunch box accessories, water bottles, and other goodies to make school lunch more fun

Best preschool and kindergarten backpacks: Dabawalla neoprene bags include styles like this adorable kitty Best preschool and kindergarten backpacks: Dabawalla neoprene bags include styles like this cool shark

Dabbawalla neoprene backpacks
(Each $40, Maisonette)

Dabbawalla makes some of our favorite backpacks for preschool and kindergarten — they’re one of our top rated brands of all the backpacks and lunch boxes we try each year. The size is perfect, and the neoprene can take a beating and then clean up beautifully in the wash. They have lots of fun styles beyond what’s here!

The brand new Wakanda Forever backpack for little Black Panther fans: Back to School 2022

Official Wakanda Forever Black Panther backpack ($29.99, Disney Store)
With this week’s San Diego ComicCon release of the first Wakanda Forever trailer, I imagine this Wakanda Forever backpack is going to be one hot ticket. You want a legit one instead of a knock-off? I’d say grab this stat.

Cool backpacks for preschool and kindergarten: Mini wings bag by 7AM Enfant

Mini Wings Backpack ($40 on sale,  by 7AM Enfant on Amazon)
This cool backpack for preschool and kindergarten is so popular with our team, it’s even one of our list of cool birthday gifts for 4-year-olds.

This comic strip Star Wars backpack is a favorite for little kids in preschool or kindergarten

Star Wars Comic Art Backpack ($29.99, Disney Store)
We’ve seen our share of Star Wars backpacks for little kids over the year, but I think Little Jedis are perfectly suited to this comic art Star Wars backpack for preschool, kindergarten and early grades. Even Darth Vader seems…kind of supportive?

Related: Free printables for kindergarten to help them get started on site words





Cool backpacks for preschool and kindergarten: Gray camo monogrammed backpack from Pottery Barn Kids

Small reflective gray camo backpack  ($54.50+, Pottery Barn Kids with optional personalization)
Another pick for durability plus coolness, the small backpacks are perfect for kids who need to bring a small lunch, water bottle, maybe a change of shorts. As long as they can find it each morning. (Ha, get it? It’s camouflage!)

Related: 12 smart personalized label ideas for back to school, from a label-obsessed mom


Camp canvas duffel - best backpacks for preschool, kindergarten and little kids

CAMP Core Canvas Backpack ($34.95, Camp)
If you’ve ever spent some time in one of CAMP’s fun little stores, you know how great their products are — and how much our kids love them. This brand new duffel-style canvas bag is durable with loads of retro-fun. What great colors!


Cool backpacks for preschool and kindergarten: Mint Metallic mini bag at State

Metallic Mini Kane backpacks ($95, State)
I wasted way too much time clicking through all the cool backpacks at State, but ultimately the metallic versions were one of my top choices. Yes it’s expensive, but for stylish kids, it’s a winner and built to last. The mismatched straps are just so fun.

Be sure to poke around for dinosaurs, tie-dye, rainbow hearts and more.

State Bags new wiggly puffer backpack is perfect from PreK through 3rd grade

State Bags Wiggly Puffer Backpack ($95, State)
Oh okay, one more from State. I think this modern take on the puffer bag is wonderful — and so will your kids. in Pre-K through third grade.

Checkered shark backpack: One of the coolest backpacks for preschool or kindergarten this year

Kids Shark Checkered Backpack ($60, OMG Accessories at Nordstrom)
If you need backpacks for preschool or kindergarten that get a little bigger than the minis, this style can pack a lot of bite…in the best way. If your kids say not to baby sharks (doo doo doo doo) or baby kittens, this might be more their style.

Related: 7 great books to help your child transition to kindergarten


Cool backpacks for preschool and kindergarten: The Koala big kid backpack from Skip Hop

Skip*Hop Koala Big Kid Backpack ($27.99, Amazon)
We have loved the teensy Skip Hop preschool backpacks for years, but it can be hard to fit in the notebooks and binders a kindergartener may need. This “big kid” version is the perfect size for smaller kids who bringing more than just a tiny water bottle and bag of goldfish to school each day.

These color block backpacks in over a dozen color combos are cool for preschool and kindergarten

Hawlander Little Kids Color Block Backpacks ($25 Amazon)
In 9 super fun color combos — and another 12 combos here in the “girls” section (though of course all colors are gender neutral, sigh) these 12″ and 15″ backpacks offer great, versatile style at a very nice price, especially if you’re holding off on the licensed characters.