Buying Back to School Bags and What to Look for When Shopping

Back to School Backpacks

When it comes to back to school shopping, a backpack usually always comes to mind first. Besides all the clothes that you will buy along with essential school supplies, buying back to school backpacks are normally on the top of the list for most parents.

This is the item that your child will carry throughout the day from class to class, from morning until they come home in the afternoon. 

A school backpack that complements the weight, height and distinct nature of your child is going to prove very handy throughout the school year. You definitely don't want a backpack that tears easily and feels heavy on your child’s back. If either of those does happen then it will make for a miserable, long, day. That is something you certainly do not want.

While your child will naturally gravitate towards a backpack of their favorite character or color, it's equally important to check the practicality of the bag. A backpack in the shape of Disney character or animal will seem like a great idea, will it last the school year or have enough room for their stuff? This is where you will need to have a good balance of design and functionality.

Here are just some of the things to consider when buying back to school backpacks for your child that will ultimately promote comfort, convenience, and fun.


What Size Should It Be

It is important for you to look for a backpack that goes with the weight and height of your child. A big backpack will be extremely uncomfortable for your child as they will have trouble handling it.

The right backpack should sit no more than four inches below their torso, so having adjustable straps becomes even more important.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, anything that sits lower than that will cause your child to begin to lean forward. This leaning will put some unnecessary stress on their back.

Another consideration when speaking about size is weight. If the backpack is more than 10% of their body weight according to the American Chiropractic Association, then this will also make them start to lean forward as well. Choosing the correct size and being conscious of the weight will ensure that your child is as comfortable as they can be.

What Material Should You Look For

Another important thing to keep in mind is the material the backpack is made out of as some will naturally hold up longer than others. Canvas is one of the most popular fabrics that backpacks are made out of and for a reason, it's strong and durable.

It's also the reason why canvas is used in things like aprons worn at restaurants, it holds up fairly well.

Besides canvas, there are other good fabrics such as polyester and even vinyl. These are strong fabrics simply because polyester is made from plastic that is spun into yarn.

Plastic, unlike a natural yarn like cotton which is used to make canvas, can withstand a lot. Stains cannot set into plastic, it holds its color longer, and it typically has far fewer wrinkles. This makes them fairly easy to clean, very sturdy, and therefore last longer.

One other thing to think about when trying to make sure you choose the right material is the weather. If your child is walking to school or if they have periods where they could be outside for a while either going or coming home from school, then having a water-resistant backpack should be considered.

The one fabric you should avoid is something made of 100% cotton. Cotton will not only absorb and retain any moisture, but it will not help to keep any water out at all.

You should aim for something that has some polyester in it or has some waterproofing treatment. Polyester, being made of plastic, cannot absorb any moisture which makes it work really nice. So keep an eye out for that polyester content, vinyl, or if the fabric has been treated.

School Paint and Pencils

How Much Space is Enough

What is a good backpack if your child cannot carry what they need? Exactly. Having the right amount of space is one of the most important considerations when buying a backpack.

If the bag is too small, or even way too big, then it obviously creates a problem. It defeats the entire purpose!

A backpack with only one compartment will do your child no good. A backpack must have different compartments for placing different supplies like books, stationery, pens, and even electronics.

Many bags will have a smaller front pocket that we see typically for easy access items, and some even have some pockets on the inside. There are pockets on the inside that are great for valuables or that even come with padded sleeves for extra protection.

Also, having side pockets on the outside is important as well. While they create room for other items that you need quick access too, many side pockets are perfect for that drink or water bottle.

The last thing you want is to put that drink in your bag and have it spill all over everything. That would be such a nightmare. So keeping that drink on the outside of the bag is just the best thing to do.

Be sure to look for or consider the amount of space or compartments the backpack has when making that purchase.


How To Look for Durability

A backpack should be durable enough to carry all the essentials without tearing throughout the year. Backpacks go through a lot, from carrying heavy books and supplies to getting dragged on the playground.

Therefore durability plays a big role especially if you don't want to buy a few backpacks per year.

One thing to look for is the stitching, and in particular, the stitching at the stress points. These would be areas where the straps would connect to the bag or even on the straps themselves.

If the stitching appears to be run over and over again in that area, or appear to be a square with an x through the center, this is called bar tacking.

Bar tacking is when you place extra stitches or reinforced stitches in areas that will endure the most. This method is used on many types of garments and they should be prevalent when looking at how the straps are attached to the bag. 

Lastly, be sure to test out the zippers when buying your back to school backpack. While some zippers will wear in a bit after some uses, they should flow smoothly and easily.

If any of the teeth look damaged or out of place, steer clear and look for another bag. Save yourself a headache down the line.

Where Should you look for Comfort

One thing to not overlook is comfort, for very obvious reasons. This is the bag your loved will be carrying around every day when they go to school, so you want to make sure it doesn't ruin their day.

When out on the backpack hunt look for options that have some padded straps and that can be adjusted to fit your child.

If the bag ends up getting a little heavy, those padded straps will be a lifesaver. It will keep them from possibly digging into their shoulders and actually let them carry it longer, which is important if they walk to school.

Besides padded straps, having a backpack with some padding on the back or even the inside will also help. It is never fun to be walking around with a book corner stabbing you in the back. Having this extra layer helps to minimize that potential issue.

Lastly, as mentioned before, adjustable straps. Not only will this feature let the bag be fitted properly to your child, but it's just a necessity when talking about comfort.

If the backpack you're looking at is missing this most simple and widely used feature, just run away.

Are the Design and Color Important

Whether your child is a boy or a girl, he or she will definitely want to have a backpack that displays their favorite color, design, or even character.

You should definitely pay heed to your child’s preference in this regard, or else you will probably never hear the end of it. Literally.

If the best backpack that you find checks all the boxes in terms of size, material, space, durability, and comfort, but is some super boring, plain, unfriendly looking bag, then it may not be the right one.

While all the points above are important, let's not forget the fun factor. A unique backpack that is designed with fun, color, and adventure is going to the bag that they and their friends will love.

That is so important.

Kids Waiting for School to Start

When they love their backpack, it will do much more than just carry books and supplies. It will help lift and carry their confidence and self-esteem.

They will feel good to wear it, maybe their friends will talk about it, and it will just make them feel good inside.

A backpack hunt is going to be an adventure for you since you will have to strike a balance between what your child wants, and what you know they need. 

A perfect backpack will cater to all your needs while being stylish, comfortable, and durable at the same time.


“Finding the perfect balance between what you need and what backpack your child wants is a delicate dance.”

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