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With students across the country heading back to the classroom, time is running out to tackle your back to school shopping list. Whether you're heading to high school or university or sending your kids off to elementary school or pre-K, there are a few important things to keep in mind when shopping for a backpack.
What to look for in a school backpack
Comfort and support
Finding a comfortable and supportive backpack should be at the top of your list, along with size. Look for a bag with wide shoulder straps and a padded back panel with proper ventilation. For those carrying heavy loads, it helps to have a sternum strap to relieve stress from your shoulders.
From workouts to school, this adidas backpack has you covered. The backpack features several pockets and compartments to keep you organized throughout your day. Plus, you can feel good about your purchase as the bag is made in part with recycled materials.
While it may seem obvious, it's important to keep in mind what items you'll be hauling around in your backpack. If you plan on carrying a laptop, how large is it? While most standard backpacks can fit 13-to-15-inch computers, if your laptop is larger than 17 inches or more, you'll want to double-check the measurements of your bag before you buy.
What about textbooks, lunch boxes and other on-the-go essentials? For students heading to university, some labs or classes will require you to keep a textbook on hand, which can be a cumbersome thing to carry in addition to your other supplies.
A larger weekend-style backpack may be suited to your needs if you plan on carrying your laptop, textbooks and notebooks with you to class. Look for roomier styles between 30 and 50 litres to ensure you have enough room for the essentials, plus other things you'll need throughout the day, like snacks and a water bottle.
This cute Lululemon backpack features plenty of pockets and compartments to keep you organized during your day. It has a padded pocket that fits a 16-inch laptop, several interior pockets and is designed using water-repellant fabric. Like what you see? Check out more Lululemon backpacks here.
Organization and features
Organization is known as the key to success for a good reason. While it's an imperative skill to learn for school, a good backpack should contain several interior and exterior pockets to keep your belongings organized.
When shopping for a bag, make sure it includes features like zippered pockets, a laptop sleeve and interior sections to keep your essentials, like your wallet and keys, separate from the rest of your belongings.
To help make your life easier as you head back to school this fall, we've rounded up 16 highly rated and reviewed backpacks that are perfect for students from elementary school to university. With all kinds of needs and budgets in mind, these are the best backpacks for students in 2022.
The best backpacks for elementary school
Get your little ones excited for school with this cute monogrammed set from Etsy. Parents can't stop raving about the personalized backpack, writing, "My 2.5 year old [...] won't stop wearing it around the house since school hasn't started yet."
Designed for children between 8-12, this backpack is a stylish playground staple with functional storage features. Not a fan of leopard print? The backpack is available in 16 colours and prints, including snakes, racing checks and classic black.
Get your little one back-to-school-ready with this personalized backpack. With near-perfect ratings, moms call the dinosaur backpack "perfect" for children.
This 20-litre kids backpack is made of durable, water-resistant fabric and has a padded back and adjustable shoulder straps for comfort. The kid-friendly book bag is available in 20 colours and prints, including unicorn, rockets and a fun galaxy print.
With an average rating of 4.6 out of five stars, shoppers call the L.L.Bean Original Book Pack the "best backpack ever!" According to one parent, the famous L.L.Bean quality provides for "years of wear and tear! These backpacks hold up! Lots of space and compartments for all your school necessities."
The best backpacks for middle and high school
This classic Fjällräven backpack is designed with durable, dirt and water-resistant fabric and features a spacious main compartment with two flat side pockets and a zipped pocket on the front. The VSCO-inspired backpack is available in a handful of cool colours and prints, including these intricate designs.
This classic knapsack features two zip pockets to help keep everything organized, a side zip pocket for quick-grab items and a cool graphic print. Plus, the 25-litre backpack is made using sustainable materials.
This top-rated backpack has earned an average rating of 4.5 stars from over 5,100 reviews. Crafted from high-quality water-resistant fabric, the Vaschy backpack features several interior and exterior pockets to keep all of your belongings safe.
This roomy 22-litre backpack from Lululemon comes with dedicated compartments for your laptop, workout gear and water bottle. The water-repellent bag is available in six colours: teal, caramel, black, copper, beige and white.
The best backpacks for college and university
With nearly 36,000 reviews backing it, this budget-friendly backpack features a USB charging port and an innovative anti-theft design via a fixed password lock and durable metal zippers. The backpack's laptop compartment holds devices up to 15.6 inches and is available in five colours.
This sleek waterproof backpack is a modern and stylish alternative to traditional backpack styles. The Rains backpack fits most 13-inch laptops and has plenty of room for all of your documents and must-haves.
Perfect for commuter students or those with a lot to carry, this extra-large backpack comfortably fits a 16-inch laptop and has more than enough room for all of your books, snacks and stationary. The bag is available in three colours and is crafted from water-repellent fabric.
With an average customer rating of 88 per cent, shoppers say The North Face backpack is a "great backpack for all occasions." The bag has a separate section for a 15-inch laptop and several pockets for everything you need.
Perfect students who need to pack everything and more, this jumbo backpack fits a 17-inch laptop and has more than enough room for everything else you need to tag along. The bag conveniently features a USB port and charging cable and is backed by more than 23,000 reviews.