You can’t be too picky when choosing a backpack. Do not let yourself be tricked into buying a cheap low-quality backpack with a large picture of a popular cartoon character. There are lots of things to check over before letting go of your hard-earned money.

School regulations

First of all, you should carefully study your kid’s school policy on bags. Although some people think that messenger style bags that have only one strap look trendy, such bags are considered to be bad for the spine and therefore might not be allowed in your school. In some schools children are not permitted to carry rolling backpacks, and there are schools that only allow specific backpack styles and colors.

children with colorful backpacks

Shoulder straps

Backpacks with a pair of wide padded straps are always the right choice as they prevent muscle strain and evenly distribute weight. Do not choose straps that are too narrow as they are prone to put excessive pressure on a small body area. If your child has spine problems, you might decide on a bag with a waist or chest strap for extra support. Only decide on packs with adjustable straps. The pack should fit snugly and sit some two inches above your kid’s waist: backpacks that sway around or sit too low might cause back pain. A padded back that adds additional comfort is not a luxury but a necessity. Foam-padded packs are the best when it comes to durability and support.

The right size

Although you might prefer to buy a roomy backpack, do not choose the bag that is too large for your kid. Ideally, the foam pack should only cover the torso of the child and not come to the back of the neck. Remember that the maximum weight of a fully loaded pack should not exceed 20% of your kid’s body weight. The heaviest items should be stored closest to the back.

pupils running with backpacks

Pouches and compartments

It is reasonable to decide on a bag that has numerous compartments and pockets of varying sizes so that your kid will have easy access to her pens and pencils, ID cards, cell phone and other things. A sealed compartment for a lunch box will be an obvious advantage, and the same goes for a water bottle holder.

How to choose a backpack infographics

Fabrics, Zippers, Reflectors and Wheels

Such materials as nylon and canvas offer the best durability. If you are looking for water-resistant fabrics, polyester and nylon will be the best choice. On the other hand, hemp fibers are more environmentally friendly than synthetic products.

Although Velcro fasteners are undoubtedly convenient, they are not as durable as zippers. Metal zippers offer greater longevity than plastic ones; check that zippers on your backpack move smoothly and do not catch on fabric. You might also decide on double-headed zippers that offer easiest access.

Reflectors are excellent safety features. If your backpack is not equipped with reflective paneling, buy several clip-on reflectors and attach them to the bag.

Wheeled backpacks are often not as convenient as advertised. First, they are usually heavier than regular bags. Second, they might be difficult to roll in crowded areas and through the snow. Third, if there are no ramps in the building, your kid will still have to carry a wheeled backpack up a flight of stairs. Thus, if you want to buy a wheeled backpack, decide on lightweight bags with two in-line skate wheels as they are less bulky and easier to control.