What Are the Best Backpacks for Preschoolers? 

 June 17, 2023

By  Diane Wuthrich

Backpacks are the safest and most convenient way for preschoolers to carry all their belongings to and from campus. However, there are so many choices out there: how do you choose the best ones for preschoolers?

Toddlers are still growing, so care must be taken in choosing the right backpack for their health. Backpacks should fit your child’s current size, be lightweight, and have enough storage. They should also be durable, have padded straps, and come in a fun design.

Read on below to learn more about choosing the best preschool backpacks for your toddler

Choosing the Best Preschool Backpack for Your Toddler

Preschool is an exciting time for any parent as well as it is for kids.  

School activities will keep them busy, so toddlers always need a comfortable and reliable backpack. It should be able to carry preschool essentials such as folders, notebooks, lunch and snacks, pens, and other essentials. So, how do you go about choosing the best backpack for them?

Below is a guide to help parents out.

Correct Size and Dimensions

Since children grow at an incredibly quick rate, many parents often purchase items that they can grow into. When it comes to clothes, this isn’t really a problem.

Now when it comes to toddler backpacks, this can be a serious health concern. Far too many parents make the mistake of buying preschool backpacks that are too large, with the thought that toddlers will eventually grow into them.

Young children are prone to back pains and strains when wearing backpacks that fit incorrectly or are too large. It can also increase the risk of falls and spine problems, especially when a backpack is too heavy, forcing them to lean forward to compensate for the pack’s weight.

Always go for a backpack that fits your child’s current size. It’s better to invest in their health and change their backpack as they grow.

What You’ll Need:

You’ll need a measuring tape to obtain an accurate measurement of the backpack your child should be carrying. Below are some examples you can find on Amazon.

-  A hard or soft measuring tape will help you get the best backpack size.


Follow the steps below to get the measurements for your preschooler’s backpack:

  1. Stand in front of your child, and measure the length from their shoulders down to their belly button. Add two inches to get the ideal backpack length.
  2. Measure the width between your child’s shoulder blades. Add a maximum of two inches to get the correct backpack width.

Keep in mind that some schools will require students to carry A4-sized documents and papers. If your child’s preschool is one of them, it’s recommended to use a backpack that is at least 15 inches in length and 10 inches wide. These dimensions are adequate for storing plastic A4 folders without bending their edges.


Some kids’ backpacks are heavy even when empty. Always remember to choose the lightest possible backpack, one no more than 1 pound if possible. This is because kids shouldn’t carry a full backpack that makes up more than 10 to 15% of their own body weight for their health.

While on the topic of weight, preschool kids should only carry the absolutely necessary items within their backpack. Kids that need to bring heavy school supplies such as textbooks, resulting in a backpack that weighs over 10% of their body weight, are recommended to use rolling backpacks. This way, they can save their backs and convert the pack to wheeled luggage whenever it’s too heavy.


Generally speaking, 15 liters is adequate storage to fit everything a student needs for a day in preschool.

However, depending on their size and what they need to carry, it can range from 12 up to 20 liters. When choosing the right storage, it’s more important to base it on your child’s current size and the essentials they need to carry with them.


Backpacks should always be comfortable to wear. Given the fragility and growing nature of toddlers’ bodies, extra attention should be paid when choosing a backpack for its comfort. Look for the following details:

  • Wide, padded shoulder straps: The best preschool backpacks are broad and padded. It protects the shoulders from pressure, especially when they are carrying a heavy load. Remind the child to always wear the backpack with both straps on, since this is vital to distribute the load.
  • Adjustable straps: Some kids’ backpacks are equipped with chest or hip straps that are efficient in distributing weight. Chest straps should enable your child’s arms to freely move, while hip belts should fit comfortably on their hips. Adjustable buckles will enable the child to make it as snug or loose as they need.
  • Padded back: A breathable and padded back panel will add a level of comfort when carrying heavy loads.


Preschool and kindergarten backpacks will be subject to lots of wear and tear: they will get tossed and dragged on the floor, kicked in playgrounds, and much more. It will be a real nuisance for your child if their backpack breaks and they lose belongings because of ripped fabric or broken seams.

This is why it’s crucial to get your child a backpack that is durable enough and made with thick material to handle all the activities it will be exposed to in and out of campus.

  • Seams: Check the seams; the stitching should be so dense that it’s difficult to count how many stitches there are in each inch. On the other hand, if you can easily count the stitches, this is an indicator that it can easily break. Any fraying or raw edges is a red flag, and should be returned.
  • Fabric: Nylon and polyester, as well as various iterations of the two, are popular fabrics used in kids’ backpacks. They are renowned for their durability, reliability, and longevity. When analyzing the fabrics used, look out for their denier rating. Denier is a metric that tells you how thick the fibers are in the fabric.

Nylon or polyester backpacks with a denier rating of at least 500 are sure to be durable.

  • Zipper: Zippers are often one of the most underrated features of a good backpack. You can have a high-quality and expensive preschool backpack, but if its zippers break easily, it will undermine the usability of the entire pack.

Look for backpacks that use metal YKK zippers. This brand is known worldwide for its high quality, giving you peace of mind that it won’t break or get stuck easily. Molded plastic zippers made from quality resins are also durable.

Kid-friendly Design

Preschool children will be using their backpacks to and from school each day. While there are many factors to consider before buying one such as those mentioned earlier, it’s still important to choose one in a style that appeals to the child.

Go for patterns, prints, characters, and designs that they like without sacrificing fit, comfort, and size. The good news is that there are so many preschool backpacks available that it shouldn’t be hard to find one that ticks all the boxes and that your child likes. Get your child involved and ask for their input when buying a preschool backpack for them.

There is also the option of customizing a backpack to the child’s liking, such as with the use of accessories, a name tag, key chains, and iron-on patches. Kid-friendly designs will also help you locate them in a sea of backpacks in school or at daycare.

Easy To Clean

Dusty and muddy playgrounds, wet cafeteria floors, and dirty corridors are just some of the things a preschool backpack will be exposed to. It will get dirty quite often, so it’s always best to get a backpack that’s machine washable – or at least easy to clean with a soak and a few wipe-downs.

Check the manufacturer’s washing instructions before you buy a preschool backpack. It will give you an idea of how simple (or difficult) it will be for you to keep the backpack clean. Most nylon and polyester backpacks are generally simple to clean.

Other Considerations

There are other factors that may come in handy when choosing a preschool backpack:

  • Exterior side pockets, for storing water bottles
  • Padded sleeves, for protecting tablets and laptops inside the backpack
  • Key clips, for easily attaching keys
  • Pockets inside and outside to help your child organize their smaller belongings easily
  • Warranty from the manufacturer that they will replace or repair defective bags, free of charge
  • Waterproof interior and/or exterior, so that you can easily clean spills and stains from food such as fruits and vegetables
  • Price should also be considered; parents should choose a pack they are comfortable spending on but don’t get too attached to it. Since kids grow so fast, it’s likely they’ll need a bigger backpack to fit them properly for the next school year

Our Recommendations for the Best Backpacks for Preschool

Finding the best preschool backpacks for your child may seem daunting. However, that doesn’t have to be the case; here are some recommendations that may come in handy.

Pottery Barn Mackenzie Backpack: Available in two sizes with a wheeled option, the Pottery Barn Mackenzie Backpack is a common sight in kindergarten and preschool campuses for good reason. Available in dozens of playful patterns and colors, there’s definitely a Mackenzie for every personality.

The bag is made from water-resistant 600-denier polyester, sure to hold up to the wear and tear of school activities and commuting. There is the option of purchasing a matching Mackenzie lunchbox which can be attached to the backpack through exterior straps. Each side also has a mesh water bottle pocket.

Kids will be comfortable wearing this backpack thanks to the padded back panel and padded, contoured straps. Additionally, Pottery Barn offers the option of personalizing the pack with the child’s name.

It’s good to know that the Pottery Barn Mackenzie Backpack, like all their other products, has also been tested by accredited 3rd party laboratories that are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This way, your family can have peace of mind that the materials used are of the highest safety standards.

Skip Hop Zoo Harness Toddler Backpack: This adorable preschool backpack is undeniably cute – no wonder it’s so popular among preschool kids. Skip Hop’s Zoo series comes with friendly animal faces, but it also has many other practical features.

This backpack is equipped with a safety harness for extra security. In addition, it comes with a detachable tether which makes it easy for both parent and child when walking through busy crowds or destinations. Inside, you’ll find a nametag where you can write the child’s name in case the bag gets lost.

The Skip Hop Zoo Harness Toddler Backpack is at the smaller end of the preschool backpack spectrum. Its dimensions are 7.5 x 3.25 x 9 inches, which means that it won’t fit any A4 folders or documents. However, if your child’s preschool doesn’t require them to bring documents to and from school, this backpack is perfect for holding other belongings such as notebooks, snacks, crayons, and pencils.

It’s got other nifty features too, such as mesh side pockets for holding a small water bottle to ensure they’re always hydrated. The adjustable chest strap will also help stabilize the pack as it’s worn.

J World New York Kids’ Rolling Backpack: Preschool kids who have to carry a significant load to and from school will appreciate the features of the J World Kids’ Rolling Backpack. The extra-spacious main compartment can hold binders, documents, notebooks, a lunch box, and a sweater with room for more essentials. It also comes with its own matching insulated and washable lunchbox.

One of the many cool features of this wheeled backpack is that its wheels are equipped with LED lights, which light up whenever they turn. Another is how well it stands up to abuse, making it among the most durable preschool backpacks out there. The scrape shield at the bag’s bottom provides extra protection from scratches and damage caused by rough curbs and streets.

That’s not all: the wrap-around bumper is resistant to dragging, and the 600D polyester fabric is abrasion-resistant. Not only is it an excellent preschool backpack, but it also doubles as a travel backpack. This is, after all, a J World product: they are well-known for creating high-quality, versatile products.

Herschel Heritage Mid-Volume Backpack: Herschel’s timeless backpacks also come in smaller sizes just for preschool toddlers. The mid-volume backpack, with 14.5 liters of capacity, has enough space for a lunchbox, school supplies, a sweater, books, and everyday school gear. This pack comes in several fun designs and colors that are perfect for both boys and girls.

The Herschel Heritage Mid-Volume Backpack features an internal media pocket as well as a headphone port. Kids can easily organize their smaller belongings thanks to the spacious front pocket and the single front pocket that comes with a key clip. The interior sleeve pocket can store a 15” laptop as well as A4 folders and documents.

Herschel is a world-famous backpack brand, so you can rest easy knowing that your kid is in good hands with this pack. All of their products come with a limited warranty that ensures all backpacks are free from manufacturing and material defects, so they can certainly stand up to use and abuse in preschool.

JanSport Half Pint Mini Backpack: Don’t be fooled by the small size of the JanSport Half Pint Mini Backpack: it certainly holds so much more than it looks. With a capacity of 10.2L and a 7 oz. weight, this is the ideal miniature backpack for young preschoolers. Made from durable materials, this preschool backpack looks cool but will also last.

School supplies can be neatly packed into the roomy main compartment. Meanwhile, the front utility pocket is perfect for smaller items, including pens, pencils, and snacks. The classic JanSport silhouette and extremely functional design make this a handy pack for preschoolers – they can take it from the campus to after-school activities with ease and comfort.

It’s also really simple to clean up when the pack gets dirty. Just give it a good wipe-down with a soft cloth dampened in cool water.

Trail Maker Girls 6 in 1 Backpack: Both parents and kids will appreciate the thoughtful and comprehensive features offered by the Trail Maker backpack. It’s complete with a matching reusable water bottle, insulated lunch bag, pencil case, ID tag, carabiner, and keychain. The products come in vibrant and playful patterns that girls will love.

The backpack dimensions are 16 x 12 inches, with a 5.25-inch depth – more than enough space for preschool plus extra-curricular activities, daycare, and even travel. A front zippered pocket is a great place for storing snacks, pencils, phones, and wallets. Kids can take this backpack anywhere: the soft yet lightweight fabric is durable and long-lasting.

Whether your little preschooler is into clouds, rainbows, unicorns, or flowers, there’s a Trail Maker design that they’ll love.


There are dozens of terrific preschooler backpacks out there that are built exactly for the job. With this guide, you and your child can choose the best backpack that will support their entire school year.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

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