When I was a kid, the coolest thing to do was wear a backpack — always a Jansport or a Invicta — super-loose on your back with one strap hanging off your shoulder. But these are different days. My son, who is seven, wears his shit high and tight. Still rocks a Jansport though. But that’s not to say he isn’t looking for an upgrade. The schoolyard is full of Star Wars, TMNT, Avengers, and D.C. superhero merch and my little dude’s eyes go wide and mouth slack with jealousy. So I promised him an upgrade. After perusing all the offerings our eyes could take, he (and I) settled on seven backpacks he thought were awesome — and I thought offered him the functionality he needed (ample space, comfortable straps, etc.). He’ll only be receiving one. But, for the sake of sharing his taste (none contained a single Superhero) — and genuinely funny takes — here are his picks for the best children’s backpacks on Amazon.
WOMJIA Children’s Shiny Nylon Soft School Backpack
We were both drawn to this because it’s shiny and we are not that far removed from crows. I also like that it has two mesh pockets on either side, perfect for his water bottle, and that the straps are cushioned. Something I’ve quickly realized is that if a backpack is uncomfortable, it’s not that your kid suffers. It’s that you do because you’ll end up carrying it. That said, with a backpack as dope-looking as this, that’d be mighty fine by me.
My Son’s Take: “This backpack is nice because it’s shiny. It looks like it would feel nice on my back and also, if my water bottle opened I wouldn’t get wet.” NOTE: The backpack’s interior is not waterproof.
Runningtiger Unique Unicorn Print Children’s Backpack
Naturally, I was stoked that my son would be into unicorns and rainbows. As a father to two boys, I frequently worry that I’ve somehow imprinted upon them, despite my best efforts, certain gendered aesthetics. So when my kid picked this one, I lit up with enthusiasm. Also, it’s got padded shoulder straps which mitigates the chances of my carrying the backpack.
My Son’s Take: “At first I really liked it because it looked like that pattern that soldiers wear. But it’s actually unicorns.”
PUMA Little Cyclone Backpack
Me, I’m a Jacksonville Jaguars and Air Jordan 8 fan so this bag had me at black and teal Besides that, it doesn’t quite break out of the pack but it has the side-pockets that I like and roomy dimensions of 15.5: high and 11″ wide, adequate to fit the infuriatingly heavy coursework for a first grader but not turtle-shell big.
My Son’s Take: “I like that this is black and the cheetah on it. I think I could fit all my Pokémon cards in it.”
PUMA Camouflage Boy’s Backpack
I actually think this one is hideous. But it has the same dimensions and ample pockets — 5 slip and 4 exterior — and size as every other PUMA boy’s backpacks (see above) so, look, if my kid wants it, that’s fine by me.
My Son’s Take: “Oh, I like this one a lot, like A LOT. It has a cheetah on it and that pattern on it that I like.”
YISIBO 3D Cartoon Kids Backpack
At this point my 4-year-old son wanders over and wants to get in on the shopping. He immediately selects this one which is….awesome. I like that it’s lightweight (only 250g!) and made of Neoprene. I love the see-through pocket — the astronaut’s helmet — where you can stash things you want other people to see. Though I don’t use them myself, I appreciate the leash and the sheer number of straps available to secure the thing onto your kid.
My Four-Year-Old Son’s Take: “I like this one because it’s electric.”
NOTE: This backpack is not electric.
Premium Mermaid Sequin Backpack
The only thing I hate about this backpack is the name “Premium Mermaid Sequin Backpack | Children’s School Backpack for Girls.” What about this beautiful sequined object makes it a) mermaidenly or b) for girls? To quote Zoolander, “MerMAN!” Everything else about is dope.
My Son’s Take: “This backpack is really cool. It is sparkly, not shiny, but that’s okay. At least it’s not purple.”
MKP Collection Casual Backpack
I’m of two minds sending my child to school with a backpack that looks like a cross between bondage wear and Louboutins. This is a very cool bag but it might be a lot for a seven-year-old. Long and narrow, the straps are not that comfortable-seeming but I do like that there are two top zippers and a bunch of interior pockets.
My Son’s Take: “I love this one because it’s really really fancy. You can tell because there are jewels on it. I bet it’s like infinity dollars.”