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Most school supplies are disposable. Notebooks, pens and pencils will have served their purpose before the first term is up. A backpack, on the other hand, is an investment. You want something sturdy, durable and age-appropriate, something that will last more than one semester. But don't forget to have a little fun, too. A backpack is a great way for your kid to express their unique personality.
Here are our 10 favorite backpacks for every age.
Skip Hop Backpacks
You've seen it a million times: some poor kid dragging an oversized backpack to kindergarten. They're practically doubled over with the size and weight.
But these fun animal backpacks from Skip Hop are the perfect size for your little guys. They come in a variety of animal shapes, so your kid can pick their favorite. (We love the clever upside-down bat backpack.) Starting at $20, they're pretty affordable, and you can even pair them up with a matching water bottle.
Everest Junior Backpack
This is a great, basic backpack for your child's first day of school. It's super compact and lightweight, so your kid won't be tipping over with the weight. It comes in a variety of solid colors, and has two compartments, one for books and papers and one for smaller items.
Jansport Digital Student Laptop Backpack
Jansport is known for making tough backpacks. And now that kids in grade school are taking tablets and other devices to school, a durable backpack has to protect more than just text books and homework. This model comes with a removable laptop sleeve that slides into its own compartment inside the backpack. It also come in dozens of fun designs.
Bioworld Han Solo-Inspired Backpack
If your kid absolutely must have a backpack that reflects some pop-culture trend, try a more subtle route. If your kid is a Star Wars fan, for instance, try this understated Han Solo-inspired backpack with the rebel insignia. It's still very cool without being to flashy, and it's more likely to last until the next Star Wars movie.
Herschel Supply Co. Backpack
For classic back-to-school cool, check out Heritage Supply Co.'s extensive line of standard and kid-sized backpacks. They feature a timeless, retro-inspired shape with signature striped fabric liner and leather trimmed zippers. Some bags feature additional bells and whistles, such as an interior laptop sleeve pocket. This one is water-resistant, which is great for rainy days.
L.L. Bean Backpack
The undisputed champ of kids' backpacks is made by L.L. Bean. Their products are rugged and durable. That means that if the backpack ever breaks, they'll replace it at no charge. The bags also include safety features like a reflective strip, and fun touches like monograms. They also carry backpacks with wheels in case your child's books become too heavy to carry, and the variety of colors and designs means your child is bound to find one he loves.
High Sierra Rolling Backpack
As your child heads toward middle school, their homework load may get heavier. Consider a wheeled backpack. With its padded computer sleeve, headphone port and large, corner-mounted wheels for easy use, this bag will help lighten the load for your older elementary school student or middle schooler.
The North Face Backpack
The North Face has taken their expertise in making clothes and gear for extreme outdoor conditions and applied it to one of nature's most rough-and-tumble environments: the school yard. This backpack is designed for kids 6 to 10, and has compartments for folders, binders and even a lunchbox.
Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack
If you have a kid in high school, or one going off to college soon, you're probably looking for something a little more sophisticated and tech-savvy. This vintage-style backpack has space for a laptop and even comes with a usb charging port. Just hook up a portable charger inside the backpack, and your child is good to go!
Like most of the companies on this list, Timbuk2 makes good-looking, tough backpacks and messenger bags. They also allow you to build your own bag on their website: Customize your bag by size, fabric, and color options.
Okay, now you've got the backpack figured out. Now what kind of lunch are you going to put in there?