How to choose the right backpack for Kindergarten

August 18, 2022
Backpack for kindergarten

Maybe it’s because I’m waiting for baby number 2 to arrive, or a little anxious about my LO entering JK this fall. I spent the last few days thinking about if the backpack I purchased for him will fit what he needs, do I have the right lunch bag, can he open his lunchboxes?

Admittedly I purchased a Hershel Heritage Backpack for him back in April when they had a sale. Overall I loved the sturdy material, the bright yellow colour we chose, and the reflective pocket. Some of the downsides of it was the stiffer shoulder straps and the back was very structured – which is not so forgiving depending on what you want to put in it.

So today I’ll share some things that I learnt and thought about.

Must have room to fit standard size lunch bag

I think the goal is to find a size that fits your child now while it can carry the essentials. The problem with carrying your lunch bag separately is that it becomes an extra thing your child has to carry and keep inventory of. Try not to go with a bag that they will “grow into” – I remember when looking for a bag for myself, the fit on my petite frame was also important for proper support and weight distribution.

So the first thing that triggered me into finding a new bag was that fact that our SoYoung lunch bag barely fits into our backpack. It would require an adult to push it in, and probably to take it out. Once the bag was in, there wasn’t room for anything else. I gave my LO a chance to try to take the lunch bag out and we both struggled. Now even if I went with another lunch bag, I knew it was the size and structure of our existing bag that had it’s limitations.

So yea, if you already have your lunch bag I would try to place it in to see if this the right backpack to keep. I’m not why I didn’t think of that earlier!

Don’t go oversized

It might be tempting to go with something they will go into, but it’s best to stick to something their frame can support. Try to balance the largest size you can get that fits what they need + fits their body.

Padded Straps & Shoulder straps

Both will help weight distribution and comfort. As an adult, I even went for a bag with a hip strap! But that’s overkill for most kids, and probably uncool.

Go Bright

Well, any colour will do. We try to stick to our children’s favourite colours – but if possible try to choose a bright colour or bags with a lot of reflective pieces to help with extra visibility. I think it’s good for safety.

Don’t go too mainsteam?

Just a food for thought, if you go with a very popular style bag it might be easy to get mixed up at school. Ideally it’s something that it’s between where it’s popular due to quality yet has a number of patterns and colours to choose from. You can try to avoid the mix up by finding ways to customize/accessorize the bag and teach your little one how to recognize their bag.

Reconsider monograming

This one is super tempting. I love how cute it would be to have their names directly on their bags, especially if you’ve checked out the Pottery Barn options.

A few things to keep in mind when making your decision

  1. Difficult to resell
  2. Can’t hand me down
  3. Random strangers will know their names
  4. It’s final sale

The first two points basically highlights the fact that this bag is probably only going to be used by your kid. It would be nice to have the option to re-sell after you’ve outgrown it or hand it down to a family or friend.

Third, maybe I’m very paranoid, but I don’t like the idea that any random stranger can approach them with their name.

Lastly, any monograming will render the item as final sale. So if you’re shopping online and the fit isn’t great, you’re kind of suck with it. If these are enough reasons to opt-out of monograming, it does save you some money!

Try out what you have first

So technically I could’ve sent the little guy with the Hershel bag to school and see how the first week goes. If you have a bag already or something that you can’t return, just try it out to figure out what your needs are. Also there are so many fast shipping options online now too.

What we ended up going with

If you’re curious what we ended up purchasing for JK – we landed on the Land’s End Classmate backpack in small. Based on my research, many moms recommended Land’s End, Pottery Barn and Roots. It seemed like many moms opted straight for the medium size one for their kindergartener, but I felt like a small was more appropriately sized. Plus the price was very forgiving. They offer free shipping to Canada and there seems to many promo codes available for you to save. I ended up paying $27 all in.

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