So you have a middle schooler! Perhaps your child is new to middle school, or perhaps your child is finishing up. Either way, you need a good middle school backpack to carry your child through the year. Backpacks are critical components of any school year. They receive the most use and the most injury of any school supply. What makes a "good backpack?" Most answers vary a little, but some considerations apply to every middle schooler. Check out this list of tips to help you choose the best backpack for your middle schooler.
Durability is possibly the most important aspect of a backpack. If a backpack can't last the school year, it is not a good backpack, no matter how cute it looks. Take a long look at the backpack you are thinking about buying. Feel the fabric. Does the material seem thinner or thicker? Pull at the edges a bit, especially at the bottom of the bag, and see how much the stitches give. Could it rip unexpectedly? Check where the straps connect. Do they seem secure? Think through some of these questions before making your middle school backpack choice.
Your child may be in middle school, but they are still a child. Not every lunch box will get zipped up perfectly, and not every water bottle lid will be tightly fastened. If your backpack of choice is waterproof, these problems are easy to fix. Your little student can save whatever books and homework possible, then go to the bathroom and empty the bag into the sink. If it was the spaghetti and sauce that was supposed to be for lunch, your child can even scrub the bag clean before drying it and replacing all the books, homework, pencils, etc. This not only keeps your little one's bag clean but also keeps whatever spill occurred from soaking into your child's clothes. A waterproof backpack means you won't have a stained backpack for the rest of the year, nor will you have a ruined school uniform or school outfit.
This is something that will vary from child to child. Are there lockers available at your child's school? If not, your child will be carrying around quite a few books every day. Everyone wants a smaller lightweight backpack, but sometimes, you have to prioritize space. It's easier to carry school books and notebooks in a bag than to lug them about in your arms. Take the time to check and plan so that your chosen backpack works for your middle schooler's needs.
This is related to a school bag's capacity in that multiple larger compartments mean more space for school supplies. However, this element of a bag also relates closely to organization. Pencil pockets in a backpack are helpful if your middle schooler doesn't carry a pencil case around. Does your middle schooler have a water bottle? Look for side pockets that can carry a decent-sized bottle. Some bags even have pockets for phones and USB charging ports. See what combination of pockets will serve your young student the best.
If your child doesn't have a locker and is bound to be carrying a lot of weight around every day at school, you'll want to take some time to consider the straps on the backpack you are thinking of buying. Padding on the straps can ease some of the discomfort of carting books around from class to class. Larger straps distribute the weight on the shoulders more evenly. Keep in mind the number of straps and their advantages and disadvantages. A single strap on a messenger bag creates an uneven distribution of weight, but your child can switch the bag to the other shoulder when one shoulder gets tired. Two straps on a backpack balance the weight of the bag on the back. However, as your child gets tired, removing the bag is the only way to rest. Think about it and choose the design and the size, and the padding of the straps that are best for your little one.
The final consideration is design. You want your child's personal style to come through, and you would like the bag you are buying to be difficult to lose. Brighter colors are easier to see. Unique prints or patterns are unlikely to be confused with someone else's backpack. A matching backpack and lunch box combination could also be helpful, as would a personalized backpack. You can even decorate your middle schooler's bag together in a fun DIY project, which will make your school bag one of a kind.
Now that you know what to pay attention to, take your child shopping and see what awesome backpacks you can find!