Send your kids back to school with a backpack that's suited to their age and grade. There are backpacks for preschoolers all the way up to college students, so it's easy to find one that fits your child.
The first and most important factor to consider when backpack shopping is to choose the right size. It's imperative that your child carries a backpack that's not too big, both for comfort and ergonomics. However, you want one that has enough room for everything they need to carry. Here are some handy guidelines you can refer to:
Small: This size is likely the right one for preschoolers and kindergarteners up to 4'.
Medium: For older elementary-school students between 4' and 4'3" in height, the medium size should fit well.
Large: Older kids and those taller than 4'3" may want to carry a large-size backpack.
X-Large: Kids over 4'6" tall and older students who need plenty of storage can carry the x-large.
These are just guidelines, not rules; if you try a size and find it's too small or large for your child, try the next one up or step down a size.
Now that we've talked about backpack sizes, let's talk about features. Although older kids may need a more feature-laden backpack than younger kids, there are some universal features to look for. In addition to the main compartment, some backpacks have an additional compartment for added storage. For example, a student could carry books in one section and gym clothes in another. There are also laptop backpacks with padded sleeves for safely carrying technology—a feature likely to appeal to high-school and college students.
Students of all ages can benefit from a backpack with mesh side pockets for carrying water bottles. Our ClassMate backpacks have these mesh pockets. There's also a spot on the front of these backpacks for attaching a matching lunch bag. Plus, both items can be personalized with your child's name for an additional cost.
A durable zipper closure is a must-have for all backpacks. Reflective trim to enhance visibility is another feature geared towards all ages. Even adults can benefit from a backpack with reflective trim for safety after dark or on cloudy days. You'll likely also want to choose a backpack with plenty of pockets and compartments for safely carrying small items. Kids can use the front zippered pocket on their backpack to hold important items they need to keep easily accessible, such as identification and house keys. A top grab handle is a handy backpack feature, as it allows for hanging storage.
When it comes to choosing the most durable backpack material, you can't go wrong with polyester. It's also a good fabric for any kids' bags, including duffels and overnight bags. However, not all polyester is created equal. When shopping for a polyester backpack or apparel—such as shirts or a swimsuit —you may come across the term denier (D). This term refers to the weight and strength of the polyester fabric, and the higher the number, the stronger the fabric. Choose a backpack made from 600D or higher polyester for excellent resistance to wear and tear.
Polyester is a water-resistant material, so a polyester backpack is fine to carry on a rainy day. It's also machine-washable, although you need to wash a polyester backpack in cold water and air-dry instead of tumble drying. Often, spills can be wiped clean with a damp cloth without any stains being left behind.
As mentioned, choosing the right size backpack is imperative to comfort. Another feature to look for is a padded back. Padded straps are another must-have, and you'll also want to make sure they're adjustable. Diamond-mesh padding on the shoulder straps allows for plenty of airflow so that moisture or perspiration doesn't accumulate underneath. Make sure your child's straps are properly adjusted and that they carry their bag with one strap on each shoulder, rather than slinging it over one shoulder.
The lunch boxes mentioned above come in colors and prints to match or coordinate with ClassMate backpacks. There are also pencil cases and homework folders in coordinating prints to keep your child organized and stylish at school. When choosing a color or print for backpacks and accessories, consider your child's sense of style. There are black, gray, and navy backpacks for kids who want a bag that goes with all their outfits, along with bold colors and prints for those who prefer a vibrant look.
Now that you know more about backpack sizes and features, you're ready to shop. The right backpack—along with a fall capsule wardrobe of versatile tops, bottoms, and kids' shoes —can help get the school year off to a good start.