Choosing the right school backpacks for boys of all ages can be a serious undertaking. With all of the pressure on his literal shoulders, and your emotional equivalent (check out this recent study suggesting heavy backpacks can seriously damage posture), you’ll want to put the effort into finding the perfect fit.
“A well-made backpack will better distribute the weight that little, growing bodies have to lug around,” explains Sheryl Wilson, a personal trainer, mom of two, and founder of Fitnotic. “Poorly-designed bags can cause real strain and cause long-term postural damage.”
After much research (ahem, moms know best, amirite?), we’ve uncovered all of the best boys’ backpacks that are both kid-approved and properly made to support growing muscles, bones, and minds, so you can binge on Netflix tonight with all the time you’ve saved. 😉 Our top picks are functional and cute as sh*t… but don’t worry, still manly enough for your little stud. From dinosaur patterns to backpacks on wheels, it’s all here.
On the dinometer, just how fab is this reptilian-inspired backpack? We can’t wait to hear your little boy roar once he catches a glimpse of the small dino print accented by a bright green exterior pocket. The classic silhouette makes this a great first backpack for any kiddo (recommended for kids 2-years or older). Pictures on the front steps documenting the special moment or it didn’t happen—capiche? On the inside, you’ll find a name tag and a spacious zippered pocket to hold all of his ish (a lunch bag, a tablet, activity books, you name it). For extra support, there’s a chest buckle and adjustable padded shoulder straps to keep ’em from teetering over. If he’s anything like his mom and likes to tote around ALL the things, there’s also an elastic pocket for little extras like a water bottle or compact umbrella. Be prepared to let their imagination run wild… the possibilities are truly endless with this backpack calling all the shots.
If their love for Legos and building sh*t is any indication, then they’ll be instant fans of this trendy block print backpack. The vibrant Crayola hues are sure to turn heads (when waiting for the bus, of course) and rack up the compliments from fellow kindergarteners during show and tell time. When shopping for backpacks, one of the biggest struggles you’ll be faced with is determining the correct size. But this one—at the risk of sounding like Goldilocks and the Three Bears—is just right. It’s big enough for the pre-teens in your household, yet still manageable for li’l elementary schoolers. In addition to cozy shoulder straps, the interior compartment is super spacious (fits a 15.4-inch laptop). Take it from this Amazon customer, “My 8-year-old loves the lego-like design. He liked finding the ‘secret’ zippered pocket on the inside. It is big enough to carry his 3 ring binder and lunchbox inside the main compartment. His snack fits in the outside zipper pouch.”
They grow up so fast. Too fast. One moment you’re dropping them off at preschool, the next they’re trying out for a junior varsity team. Whether they play soccer or run track, this PUMA backpack is practically made for rising young athletes. The vibrant blue PUMA logo pops against the black exterior. True to PUMA’s founding mission, this high-performance backpack will empower your boy to be quicker, smarter, and more hard-working on the field (and in the classroom). This Amazon customer raves, “I’d call this backpack a ‘middle’ size between the small ones preschoolers may have/use and a regular size that would be more appropriate for a 5th grader to carry. The straps are very adjustable for all children around this age/height and varying weights. It has just enough pockets/spaces for everything you need to carry and is not complicated or overdone.”
Do we really need to explain why this is one of the best backpacks for boys under the don’t-kiss-me-in-public-Mom age? Dinosaurs. Visual spikes. Bright colors. Pockets. Comfortable straps. It’s really the whole package if you’re four and prone to watching Nick Jr. as you eat finger foods (dino-shaped chicken nuggets FTW). Equal parts comical and functional, this neoprene backpack is guaranteed to get your silly boy’s approval. It’s SUPER lightweight with adjustable padded straps that make long commutes more bearable. Although, let’s be honest, odds are he’ll just be toting it from the bus stop to school (give or take a pitstop at the monkey bars). Ashley from Amazon says,”My little fella loves his new backpack for preschool. He’s been obsessing over dinosaurs so this was the perfect new backpack for him. He never wants to leave the house without it and he even loves to wear it around the house. He puts it on then stomps his feet around and makes roaring sounds like a dinosaur.”
Movin’ on up, we see! When in doubt, add wheels to help lighten his load. An overwhelming amount of books should be his biggest weight to carry in life, right? Especially because you can help with that. A Tilami rolling backpack offers all the usual form and function elements found in classic backpacks, but with the added pleasure of luggage-style rolling wheels for when the homework situation is just a little too extra. One thing that your little guy will never run out of is extra space. In addition to a main pocket (including a special compartment for a laptop), there’s a medium pocket for books, a medium front pocket for a smartphone or other personal belongings. Because he’s a kid, we know that he’ll love the prismatic plaid print that looks like something you’d find in an art history textbook. Not just limited to school, this backpack is great for travel—the size makes it easy-peasy to maneuver around airports.
If your little one revels in your tales of yesteryear, phones that had cords, a life without high-speed modems, the complete lack of Netflix in the world, and a time before calories were posted on menus, that’s cool. Let Clarissa explain the value of vintage styling and the indestructible quality of JanSport. This OG backpack (check out that artsy-fartsy cash money graffiti print) will not only last the test of time, but it’s the perfect size for all ages. Made for everyday use, it’s constructed from water-repellent fabrics so that you don’t have to worry about spot-cleaning. Did we mention there’s a lifetime guarantee? If your JanSport bag breaks, they’ll happily replace it or fix it up to make it good as new. According to this mom, customization is key. “My son loves it. I bought iron/sew on patches for him so he can rock whatever he likes on it with the changing of his tastes and not be stuck with the same backpack every year.” Winner-winner!
This super durable rolling backpack might be lightweight but it definitely puts in the work so that you don’t have to. It features wide, sturdy straps for when it needs to be converted to a backpack, unidirectional wheels, and a cover to prevent the wheels from getting dirty. Also, it comes with a rust-resistant aluminum alloy rod so bad weather days won’t ever get in the way. If your little guy is beyond cartoon monkey backpacks (been there, done that), then this travel backpack might as well be the equivalent of adulting. The pared-down style and navy hue means business… your future CEO-in-the-making will feel so grown-up lugging his textbooks to class with this bad boy. Space will never be an issue. We checked the specs, and you’ll be delighted to know that it’s big enough to fit a 14-inch laptop. International travel (with parents supervising, of course)? No problem.
He’ll run from school straight to practice with everything he needs in this giant-seeming backpack. This Weekend Convertible Bag from eBags comes in a bevy of colorways (from sage green to garnet to eggplant). Padded shoulder straps help distribute the crazy amount of weight he carries every day, while the internal laptop compartment can fit up to a 19″ laptop and even charge his favorite unnecessary device. He’ll be left without an excuse to actually take the healthy lunch you packed for him, but that’s a free bonus with purchase. Meant for kids on the go, this pièce de résistance can double as a suitcase and no one would be the wiser. If you’re tired of having to shop for a new backpack at the beginning of each school year, then it’s time to purchase a backpack that grows with your child. From the tail end of elementary school to junior high to high school (and maybe even college if they don’t ditch it before then), this one-and-done weekender is ready to go the distance.
Gearing up for a new adventure? We’ve got you covered with the best mom-approved kid gear recs!