This round up is just one in Fatherly’s exhaustive Back To School Product Guide. Click here for everything your kid needs, from winning math to standing at a bus stop in the rain (which is what you used to do, only uphill both ways).
Just as surely as your child will fall down on the grass the moment they put on white pants, they will request a new backpack at the start of every school year. Should you choose to abide, here are some of the slickest, most surprisingly high-tech, and of course cutest options on the market for all age ranges. There are even a few suggestions for you, just in case you’re toting your lunch to work in a pack from your own back-to-school days.
Little Kids (<5)
Little Life Animal DaysackThanks to this aerodynamic-looking bag, there is officially no excuse to send your little ladybug to preschool looking like anything other than a ladybug. Well, unless your little ladybug is actually your little butterfly. Or bumblebee.
Little Life Animal Daysack, Lady Bug ($30)
Fjallraven Kanken Mini DaypackNot much has changed about this icon of functional Swedish design since 1978, which is probably why it remains an icon of “vintage” hipster style in 2015. The Kanken isn’t just about looks, though. It eases the burden on the back by distributing weight equally across both shoulders — because all those snacks can get pretty heavy.
Fjallraven Kanken Mini Daypack ($50)
J. Crew Max The Monster BackpackIf kids can get a mini version of a 40-year-old go-to for ergonomically conscious European adults, it seems only right that grownups should be able to buy a full-size version of a backpack with glow-in-the-dark googly monster eyes. And yet, somehow, true equality still eludes us.
J.Crew Max The Monster Backpack ($60)
Big Kids (>5)
Deuter Kikki BakpackThese packs are spacious, sturdy, and more deserving of a “technical” descriptor than pretty much any other backpack designed for a first-grader. As in, “It’s by far the cutest thing anyone in the class will ever wear, but technically it’s a backpack.”
Deuter Kikki Backpack ($45)
Patagonia Kids’ Refugio 15L BackpackIf after looking over Patagonia’s high tech, tot-sized day pack you still haven’t noticed the pattern developing here, it’s this: kids have way cooler backpacks these days than leather-bottom Jansports. Theirs even have built-in organizers, so they also don’t have to lug around Trapper Keepers these days.
Patagonia Kids’ Refugio 15L Backpack
Herschel Supply Co. Settlement Kids’ BackpackSee the Fjallraven and raise it a few years (and inches). Keep your kid marching confidently down the path to hipsterdom by having them carry their schoolbooks in a medium-sized version of the bag your IT guy uses to carry his laptop while biking to work.
Herschel Supply Co. Settlement Kids Backpack ($40)
Topo Designs Mountain BriefcaseTake all the best features of a classic hiking pack — strap loops, brown leather bottom/accents, heavy duty nylon construction — apply them to a satchel-style briefcase with optional backpack straps, and voila. You can go from the office to traveling the world in a snap. (Preferably the latter.)
Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase ($150)
The Rapha BackpackNo, this isn’t how the King Of Clay carries his racquet to the court. It’s simply a low-profile, cycling-specific jack-of-all-packs with plenty of storage compartments, ample reflectivity, and even a rain fly.
The Rapha Backpack ($230)
Ernest Alexander Andy BriefcaseBefore you get confused, this is in fact one classic leather, handle-held briefcase called the “Andy” made by NYC men’s outfitter, Ernest Alexander. The Italian leather and water-repellant lining can be trusted to protect your technology, even if it does have 3 first names.
Ernest Alexander Andy Briefcase ($325)