Best back-to-school backpacks for 2022

Back-to-school options for preschoolers, big kids, tweens, and teens ranging from easy to athletic.

The countdown to back to school is on and it’s time to start thinking about the essentials, starting with an everyday backpack.

When choosing a bag that should ideally last at least one school season, there are a few things to consider. First of all, will the child be excited to take them to school? Soliciting their opinions on choices (like sporty, retro, or colour-block basics) will help ensure they don’t turn them down in September.

Since there’s obviously a big difference between what a preschooler and a tween needs, utility, durability, and roominess are also considerations. And for Canadians, we know warm late summer weather won’t last forever, and when fall comes this pack needs to be able to withstand wet weather.

Backpacks for preschoolers and kindergarten

pug backpack

SkipHop has the most adorable backpacks with animals (real and made up) made especially for toddlers. The design is simple and made for small hands. There’s an insulated front pocket for snacks, a side pocket for a water bottle, and an internal name tag. Because these are designed for little ones, they won’t fit in a large book or file folder. It’s hard not to coo too much about the cartoonish Koala, Unicorn ($25.90), Pug ($25 at Amazon, $30 at Indigo), and Dinosaur bags. Price varies by style on Amazon.

Backpacks for children of all ages

For kids who want a classic backpack that doesn’t lack style, we’ve focused on three brands that are commonly seen on adults but also fit into a student’s busy (and book-filled) schedule.

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LL Bean backpack

LL Bean’s normcore design and spaciousness stand out, with three compartments, reinforced stitching and super durable zippers, mesh and fabric. This is a durable backpack that has been carefully designed and rigorously tested. It is ideal for older children and perfect for someone who needs to carry multiple textbooks and binders. $89 at LL Bean.


Jansport has been around since the 1960s, with ups and downs in popularity. Right now, it’s definitely having a resurgence among cool adults and even cooler teens. When choosing a Jansport bag, pay attention to the price: it varies depending on the size, color and print. From $50 at Amazon, and Staples.

Herschel backpack heritage

It’s not a list of “best-of” backpacks without this Vancouver staple. The Herschel Heritage Backpack stands out from the basic options with its geometric design and is specially designed for children from eight to 12 years. $54.99 at Herschel.

Sporty backpacks for all ages

Nike Ya Bag

Puma backpack

Adidas backpack

Bigger kids, tweens and teens who want a sportier look have plenty of branded options. We went with the big three: Nike Kids Ya Classic Printed School Backpack ($35 at Sportchek), a colorful Puma print ($43.09 at Amazon), and Adicolor ($45 at Adidas).

Backpacks that cost under $25

Roblox backpack

For a kid who prefers a pop culture backpack, there’s the Heys Star Wars Deluxe ($21.97 at Walmart), Roblox ($22.69 at Amazon), and Minecraft ($24.97 at Walmart).

Color black backpack

There are also simple and inexpensive options; These color block backpacks are only $12.99 on Amazon.

Amazon Essentials backpack

​Amazon Essentials has its own line of backpacks in primary colors made from high-quality canvas. The design doesn’t reinvent the wheel: it’s simple and gets the job done. Starting at $21, depending on color, at Amazon.

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Roblox backpack

Joe Fresh’s kids’ backpack options are a little thin this season, with a blue dino bag and a pink unicorn bag. These styles lack zing, but for the price you get the standards: adjustable straps, front pocket, and fabric that can be spot cleaned. $19 at Joe Fresh.

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