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The Hottest Backpacks for Grade Schoolers, Tweens & Teens | Back-To-School Guide 2016

The Hottest Backpacks for Grade Schoolers, Tweens <span class="amp">&</span> Teens | Back-To-School Guide 2016

So we got you covered for your little guy heading off to Preschool in our Preschool Back-to-School Guide, but now it’s time for the big league. Your grade schooler, tween or teen has very different needs. Gone are the days of the cutesy animals, princesses and super heroes – your big kid craves cool styling and tons of storage for the plethora of supplies they lug to and fro. And as they won’t be out-growing their pack as quickly, it’s important to get a well-constructed bag that can last for years, and perhaps even head off with them to college (eek!).

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Herschel Little America Backpack Mid-Volume

This pack from Herschel is perfect for your high-schooler (or discerning middle-schooler) looking for a stylish yet “rugged” look. It comes fully-loaded with features like magnetic strap closures, internal media pocket, and air mesh back padding. Available in a large variety of different colors and patterns, the hardest part will be deciding on the one they love best.


PBTeen Cat Backpack

OK, we know we said that big kids probably don’t want the cutesy animals on their backpacks anymore, but this one is different. The subtle kitty design is playfully glamourous and designed by hotshot fashion stylists Current & Elliott. Your daughter will think it’s totally purrrr-fect.


Mokuyobi Big Pocket Backpack

Despite it’s Japanese name, Mokuyobi is actually a rad LA-based company who makes all their products in the US. Their aim to “make the world a little less serious” holds true with this awesome kids’ pack splashed with color blocking or fun prints. It features a large front pocket with 2 zipper compartments, and a main section with a cool laptop pouch. Add one of Mokuyobi’s fun patches to kick up the rad-ness even more.


Chooze Double-Sided Backpack

Sometimes your child just can’t decide between 2 good things - like donuts and cupcakes, or plaid and camo. Luckily, with a Chooze backpack, they don’t have to. Simply flip the straps from one side to the other, and they’ve got an entirely new design to flaunt down the hallway.


MadPax Backpacks

If your kid likes to stand out in a crowd, they’ve gotta get a Madpax. These rockin’ 3D packs are a bold statement of individuality and style. Whether they go for the punk-inspired Gator Luxe, the playful “I Scream You Scream” or the more “demure” Blok, they are bound to get noticed.


toms High Road Backpack

We’ve been fans of TOMS shoes for years, and we’re delighted to report that they’ve carried the same high-quality construction and “One for One” philosophy through to their backpacks. Their fun prints are highlighted with contrasting webbing, and for every pack purchased, they donate towards anti-bullying efforts. A cool pack + a cool cause = total cool-ness.


Zara Terez Neoprene Backpacks

You may look at these Zara Terez neoprene packs and think “holy color explosion”, but that’s just what attracts kids to these like fruit flies to a banana peel. After getting rave reviews from some tough-to-please tweens, we’re convinced your kids will go ga-ga over the super fun rainbow Emoji or Donut packs too.


Vineyard Vines Digi Camo

Kids’ who love Minecraft will love this fun digi camo print as it alludes to the popular game, without turning into a bright green creeper. It’s also totally functional with a laptop sleeve and pocket organizer, plus back and strap padding for a comfortable fit.


Target minecraft backpack

Speaking of Minecraft-lovers, another fun option is this Miner Gray backpack from Target. And for a “novelty” themed bag, it is surprisingly packed with features like an internal organizer, laptop pocket and reinforced bottom.


State Kane Coney Island Backpack

We are crushin’ hard on this one from STATE. Not only do they majorly deliver on an awesome looking and functional pack (7 pockets!), but for every STATE bag purchased, they hand-deliver a backpack full of supplies to an American child in need. Talk about a double whammy.


Under Armour Storm Scrimmage Backpack

The popularity of Under Armour has skyrocketed in the past few years, and kids seem to be drawn to anything with the UA logo on it. So the Storm backpack is a winner right off the bat. Add on the “extras” like water repellent fabric, HeatGear shoulder straps and 2 main compartments, and your kids will be holding onto this one for the long haul.


Nintendo Entertainment System Backpack

This old school Nintendo pack brings back happy memories from our childhood of playing Mario Bros (before they were Super), Tetris and Donkey Kong. Whether or not your kids appreciate the realistic details like the power/reset buttons, controller sockets and controller zipper pulls, they will agree that vintage-styling is totally cool. Although I don’t think they’ll be trading in their iPads or Wii for one of these “antiques” anytime soon, they can carry around a hip homage to where it all began.


L.L.Bean Digital Organizer Pack

For the student who wants to organize and protect their gear, this pack from L.L.Bean has it all: a dual main compartment with padded laptop sleeve and tons of pockets for all the wires and accessories that go with their beloved devices.


Garnett Hill messenger bag 

The messenger bag is a fun option for those kids who are “over” the backpack. It offers a sleek look, bold design and puts your child’s lunch money, pencils and other supplies at their finger-tips. They may never go back to a traditional pack again.

Check out all of our 2016 Back-To-School Guides:

Everything Your Pre-Schooler Needs For Back-to-School, In Just The Right Size

Cool Lunch Bags & Lunch Boxes For Keeping Your Kids' Lunch Cool

Lunch Box Containers, Accessories & Tools To Take Your Kids' School Lunch From Boring To Blast-Off!

The Coolest Star Wars Back-to-School Supplies For Your Jedi-in-Training

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About The Author


  1. Wow backpacks have come along way I guess…my favorite is the cat one!

    • Me toooooo!!

  2. My kids all want underarmor this year. They are boys and it’s their fave. Great products shown!!

    • My son is obsessed (as are all the other kids in our area), it’s crazy! Thanks for swinging by 🙂

  3. Love them all.But the PB teen Cat backpack my be my favorite.Thanks for sharing.


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