The Best Travel Backpacks for Kids: Ultimate Guide for Parents

Whether you’re packing for a week or two in Europe or a few weeks of camping in the Outback, loading correctly is the most important thing you can do.

Packing correctly will help you arrive at your destination relaxed and comfortable, not stressed out and tired.

During our testing, we pack one bag for ourselves, another for my husband and kids, the third for our stuff at camp, and the fourth for tents, sleeping bags, cooking gear, and other camping supplies.

In our review of the seven best travel backpacks for kids, you’ll learn what we consider the essential features of a travel backpack.

We’ll also discuss what to look for in a travel backpack and what to avoid.


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7 Best Travel Backpacks for Kids

7 Best Travel Backpacks for Kids
BackpackFeaturesReasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
High Sierra Loop BackpackLightweight, multiple pockets and built-in key fob, available in different designsLids can be tucked away, has multiple pockets for organization, and have durable and water-resistant material.It does not include a water bottle pocket or side pockets
Deuter Junior BackpackMesh side pockets, two front zip pockets, D-rings on lid, comfortable fabric, supportive back panelComfortable padding, easy-to-reach zippers, good sizeNo straps or strap loops, non-adjustable shoulder straps
JanSport Big Student BackpackAvailable in different colors and patterns, sturdy and lightweight, two spacious main compartments, mesh side pockets, and laptop sleeves availableClassic and stylish, well-constructed, durableLaptop sleeves are sold separately
Osprey Daylite BackpackMade of durable and water-resistant material, side pockets, a front pocket with a mesh organizer, padded shoulder straps, and a back panelAffordable, comfortable, lightweightNo rain cover included
The North Face Jester BackpackMade of durable and water-resistant material, side pockets, padded shoulder straps and back panel, laptop sleeveAffordable, comfortable, stylishThe laptop sleeve is not padded

1) High Sierra Loop Backpack

No products found.

When it comes to finding the perfect backpack for my kids, I want something comfortable for them to wear, made from high-quality materials, and can be used for various activities.

That’s why I love the High Sierra Loop-Backpack.

This backpack is perfect for travel, school, or work. It’s available in 33 different designs, so your child can find the perfect one to match their personality.

Plus, it’s lightweight and offers comfortable shoulder straps and a padded back panel.

But what I love most about this backpack is its organizational features. It has a large main compartment, multiple pockets, and a built-in key fob.

This makes it easy to pack and keep everything organized.

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2) THE NORTH FACE Jester School Laptop Backpack

THE NORTH FACE Jester Laptop Backpack, TNF Black, One Size

When finding the best travel backpack for kids, I turned to Jester School Laptop Backpack. I know their products are always of the highest quality, and I wasn’t disappointed this time.

The Jester School Laptop Backpack is perfect for both classroom and outdoor activities.

It’s roomy enough to hold textbooks, a laptop, and other necessary school supplies, but it’s also lightweight and comfortable.

The material is water-resistant and tough enough to withstand any terrain, making it perfect for outdoor adventures.

But the best part of this backpack is the organizational features.

There are multiple pockets and compartments to keep everything neatly arranged, which is a lifesaver when you’re trying to find something in a hurry.

Plus, the back panel is specifically designed for ventilation and comfort, which is essential when kids carry a lot of weight.

The Jester School Laptop Backpack is an excellent option for kids who need a versatile backpack that can handle school and travel requirements.

THE NORTH FACE Jester Laptop Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
  • CAMPUS READY. Our much-loved Jester pack has received a modern update: we’ve increased recycled content, simplified internal organization and it can now stand…
  • FLEX VENT TECHNOLOGY. The FlexVent suspension system features a flexible yoke built from custom injection-molded and flexible shoulder straps, a padded mesh…
  • TOTAL ORGANIZATION. The front compartment has an extra padded tablet sleeve and zip pockets for additional protection. Two mesh water bottle pockets double as…

Last update on 2023-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3) Deuter Junior Backpack

Deuter Junior Kid's Backpack for School and Hiking

The Deuter Junior Kid’s Backpack is perfect for up to-coming athletes aged five and up.

It has mesh side pockets, two front zip pockets to store your child’s supplies, and D-rings on the lid for added storage.

Plus, it’s made with comfortable fabric and a supportive back panel to keep your child happy and healthy on the go.

Deuter Junior Kid’s Backpack for School and Hiking
  • DESIGNED FOR COMFORT: Adjustable S-shaped Soft-Edge shoulder straps are ergonomically designed to relieve neck strain; Chest strap helps kids manage load;…
  • AIRSTRIPES BACK SYSTEM: Deuter’s Airstripes System is secure and snug, while offering effective ventilation; 2 contoured, air-channeled foam profiles are…
  • STORAGE OPTIONS: Mesh side pockets and 2 front zip pockets are perfect for snacks or classroom essentials like pens and pencils; D-Rings on the lid make it easy…

Last update on 2023-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4) JanSport Big Student Backpack

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If you’re looking for an iconic travel backpack for your kid, the JanSport Big Student Backpack is the perfect solution.

It comes in over 35 colors, prints, and patterns, so your child can express their unique style. It is incredibly sturdy and lightweight.

The exterior shell is made of polyester.

The backpack also offers a surprising number of organizational features.

There are two spacious main compartments, one huge zip opening, and several mesh side pockets that are excellent for packing drinks or snacks.

If your child wants to take a laptop with them on their travels, then unique laptop sleeves are also available (sold separately).

Finally, the JanSport Big Student Backpack weighs just 1 pound 2 ounces – making it an excellent option for kids who want something light and comfortable to carry around with them on their adventures.

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5) Osprey Jet 18 Kids’ Backpack

Jet 18 Kid's Hiking Backpack, Wave Blue

The Osprey Jet 18 Kids’ Backpack is perfect for kids who love to explore. It has a sizeable bucket-style opening for easy access on the trail, two side pockets for water bottles, and small item pockets where you can store snacks or other essentials.

This backpack comes with an adjustable harness that grows with your child, and the carrying capacity is 18 liters, with plenty of space to hold all of the necessities.

Plus, it’s incredibly lightweight, so your little one won’t strain their back while carrying heavy items.

The material also offers excellent durability and protection from the elements. You don’t have to worry about your child’s belongings getting wet or damaged while they’re out on their journey.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a kid-friendly travel backpack, then the Osprey Jet 18 Kids’ Backpack should be on your list.

Its features make it an excellent choice for any parent wanting a reliable and comfortable bag for their child’s next adventure.

Jet 18 Kid’s Hiking Backpack, Wave Blue
  • Top load access to main compartment with external reservoir sleeve (reservoir sold separately)
  • Dual stretch mesh side pockets and large front pocket
  • Small external zippered pocket for small items

Last update on 2023-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

6) REI Co-op Trail 25 Kids’ Backpack

If you’re looking for a pack geared toward a comfortable and efficient organization, the REI Co-op Trail 25 Kids’ Backpack is your best bet.

It has plenty of pockets for organizing all their gear, including two main compartments, two water bottle pockets, two front pockets with zipper closure, and a bottom pocket for snacks.

It also has a mesh harness back panel and adjustable shoulder straps to keep your child comfortable on the trails.

The REI Co-op Trail 25 Kids’ Backpack also includes an integrated rain cover in case of unexpected showers during your journey.

And as a bonus, it transitions smoothly from the trail to the streets – meaning it can take your little one from school to weekend hikes and back in style.

You can pick it up curbside with a minimum purchase of $50 or more!

7) Land’s End ClassMate Backpack

The Land’s End ClassMate Backpack is an excellent option for parents looking for a reliable and affordable travel backpack for kids.

It has a relatively large capacity, coming in at 17″ x 13″, making it big enough to fit books and other essentials that kids need when traveling. It is lightweight, too, weighing in at only 1.5 pounds.

The bag is made from a tough and abrasion-resistant fabric, ensuring it can take plenty of wear and tear on the road.

To ensure the bag is comfortable to carry, it has adjustable shoulder straps so that you can adjust it depending on your child’s size or height.

There’s even a chest strap to help take the pressure off their shoulders when carrying heavier items. The reinforced grab handle makes it easy to pick up or move around when needed.

On the inside, there are plenty of organizational features like pocketed compartments and slots to help keep everything organized during long days of sightseeing and exploring.

Factors to consider when choosing a travel backpack for kids

When it comes to choosing a travel backpack for kids, there are a few factors to consider:

The size of the backpack is essential. It should be large enough to fit all the items your child will need but not too large or bulky that it becomes difficult to carry.

The height and age of your child are also important factors to consider. A backpack that is too large or too small for your child can be uncomfortable and unwieldy.

Another critical factor is the weight of the backpack itself.

You don’t want your child carrying a heavy load around all day. Ideally, the backpack’s weight should be evenly distributed, with padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel for comfort.

It’s also important to consider the weight capacity of the backpack. You’ll need a bag to handle the load if you’re packing a lot of gear.

Finally, consider the material and durability of the backpack. It needs to be able to withstand wear and tear, and it should be water-resistant in case of rain or unexpected spills.

Types of travel backpacks for kids

When finding the best travel backpack for kids, there are a few different types: traditional bags, rolling backpacks, and backpack carriers.

Each type has pros and cons, so it’s essential to consider which will work best for your family.

Traditional backpacks are the most common type, and they’re great for younger kids who can carry their gear.

The downside is that they can be heavy when loaded up, so they’re not ideal for extended trips or older kids.

Rolling backpacks are a good option for older kids or those with a lot of gear to carry, as they help take the weight off their shoulders.

The downside is that they can be bulky and difficult to fit into tight spaces.

Backpack carriers are perfect for toddlers and infants who can’t carry their gear. They’re very comfortable and versatile, but can be a bit expensive.

Special features to look for

When choosing the best travel backpack for your kids, there are certain features that you should specifically look for.

One of my absolute must-haves is a detachable lunch bag; it makes life so much easier when we’re out and about.

I also recommend looking for backpacks with reflective strips, especially if your kids are traveling early or late in the day. It’s a great way to ensure they stay visible no matter what time it is.

It’s also a good idea to look for backpacks with a built-in rain cover.

That way, your kids won’t have to worry about their belongings getting wet if it starts raining unexpectedly during the journey; it’s one less thing you have to lug around, too!

And if the backpack doesn’t come with it already, you can usually buy them separately.

Comparison to adult-sized backpacks

When deciding on the best backpack for your kids, consider the differences between adult backpacks and those designed specifically for kids.

For instance, adult backpacks like the Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack may have adjustable shoulder straps, but since it’s not designed for kids, in particular, those straps may not fit your child’s body comfortably.

On the other hand, backpacks specially designed for kids usually have adjustable straps and better weight distribution for more comfortable wear.

Kid-specific backpacks are also more durable, water-resistant, and versatile, great for plane trips and tour destinations.

The Wildkin backpack is ideal for travel and kindergarten/daycare/nursery use; it features thick polyester fabric that can take the wear and tear off everyday use.

So when you’re researching travel backpacks for your children, make sure to consider all of these points!

Budget options

I have nine budget options for backpacks if you’re looking for more affordable and high-quality options. I’ve found great deals on travel backpacks that cost less than $50, so it is possible to get quality gear without breaking the bank.

For instance, if you’re looking for a backpack for your child that is both stylish and durable, check out the Fortis Gear Wander bag. This lightweight travel backpack comes in several colors and features a waist strap and adjustable shoulder straps for added comfort.

If your child needs something waterproof and versatile enough to use during any weather condition, then the MEEPHIT Kids Waterproof Backpack is an excellent choice that won’t set you back too much.

It has a large main compartment with several smaller pockets, making it easy to organize items inside. Plus, it has reflective straps and accents, so your child will always be visible when they are out and about.

Personalized options

If you’re looking for a truly unique item, you can’t go wrong with a personalized backpack for your child. There are some great options available for kids of all ages.

For toddlers and pre-schoolers, you can find backpacks with patches, embroidery, and interchangeable panels for customizing.

If you’re looking for something more grown up, has some nice monogrammed backpacks that your child will love to show off to their friends.

I got my daughter the Munchkin Brica by My-Side Safety Harness Backpack, which she loves!

I recommend the Deuter Kikki Kid’s Backpack for slightly older kids since it’s lightweight but still features adjustable shoulder straps, plenty of compartments, and is easy to accessorize.

No matter what style backpack you choose, your kid will be delighted!

Top picks for the best travel backpacks for kids.

When it comes to finding the best travel backpacks for kids, there’s no shortage of options out there.

To help narrow down the choices, I have done a lot of research and come up with my top picks five backpacks that are comfortable, lightweight, and makes of quality materials.

The first one is a medium-sized backpack from Beverly Hills, which holds up to 35L and has a sturdy and adjustable shoulder strap for comfort.

It also has several pockets for organization, along with a padded laptop sleeve. This is perfect for long trips when you need heavier items.

The second is the Herschel Supply Co.’s Chapter Kids Backpack in classic black. This backpack is lightweight yet durable and has air-mesh shoulder straps.

The internal pockets provide lots of accessible access storage space, while the external zip pocket ensures your child’s most important items stay secure during your travels.

These are just two great backpacks for kids; many more are out there!

Check out all the features before deciding which is the best for your family’s needs.


Choosing the right travel bag for your kid is a big decision that should not be taken lightly.

As you can see, there are several factors to consider, from durability to storage capacity. Ultimately, the best backpack for your kid depends on their needs and preferences.

To recap, look out for backpacks that are lightweight yet durable, and have adjustable straps and plenty of pockets.

Consider bags with water-resistant features if your kids will be going on outdoor adventures, and opt for backpacks with reflective elements if they’ll be walking at night.

Finally, pick a backpack that fits properly so your child can easily carry all their belongings.

Overall, I hope this guide has provided you with valuable information and insight into finding the best travel bag for your kid – so they can enjoy their trips in comfort and style!

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