How to Choose a Rolling Backpack

A girl in a colorful dress standing on the sidewalk next to her red rolling backpack.

With so many kids backpacks on the market, how do you know which rolling backpack is best for your child?

Back-to-school time for us is quite scripted. We have a list of school supplies that we need, a series of uniform pieces that are required, and a never-ending list of books to purchase.

In fact, when it comes down to it, the only big decision that the boys have to make is what backpack to choose!

Five elementary school students sitting on a concrete bench with their backpacks next to them or on their backs.
It can be overwhelming to choose a backpack for your child. Ask yourself: Which features are must-haves for your child? Which backpacks are sturdy – and will hopefully last all year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BIG BACKPACK CHOICE

The older boys aren’t as picky as my 8-year-old. He is a shopper! {I love that!}

Typically, he has in his head what he wants.

And he is very opinionated.

He will not settle.

In other words, the backpack he chooses has to be perfect.

I have learned that it saves a lot of legwork to go straight to the internet on decisions as big as this. After all, a backpack is a school-year-long commitment.

After searching several websites including Amazon, Walmart, and Target, it seemed that the wheeled backpack option was going to work best for my sons. I like roller backpacks because they usually have larger packs and can accommodate each of my son’s books, yet the wheels give his young back a break!

A young girl wearing a blue uniform and placing her arms and hands on the handle of a pink rolling bacpack.
Wheeled backpacks are great for carrying work and supplies back and forth to school. But don’t overlook how helpful they can be when traveling, too!

TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE BEST ROLLING BACKPACK

I now have 9 years of wheeled backpack shopping experience! Here are a few things I have learned over the years:

  • Hide the Straps – My boys have never used the straps on the backpack AS a backpack. The designs that have a compartment in the back to hold the straps help keep the straps from always dragging on the ground or getting caught on things while rolling by.
  • Easy Handle Retraction – Choose a backpack whose pull handle easily retracts. I know this sounds obvious, but several years ago, we ended up with a pack that was permanently in the extended position because it was too difficult to push in.
  • Vinyl Shield – If your school has steps out front, the kids will bump the backpacks up the stairs which rips up the bottom 1/3rd of the bag’s backside. For less than $20, most shoe repair shops will add a vinyl patch over this area which will keep the canvas fabric from the daily shredding.
  • Big Pocket – The big pocket is the most important space. I have found that the boys rarely use any of the other pockets – and when they do, they forget that they put something there. The large section needs to be big enough to place everything in it that they take back and forth.
  • Sturdy, Sturdy, Sturdy – If it isn’t sturdy, it won’t last.

THE {ONE} BACKPACK FOR MY SON

So, what was Rhett’s choice after much pondering?

He chose a navy blue Jansport rolling backpack  – that actually can be converted from a roller to a backpack if needed. There were some wheeled travel bags that had brighter colors or ornate patterns, but this was THE one. It was a very big deal.

I love that it has a compartment to store the straps and is made of very sturdy material, which appears to be tough enough to stand up to a year of third grade. (I just learned that Jansport backpacks come with a lifetime warranty – how great is that?!) It even has a 15-inch laptop sleeve and a side water bottle pocket. Plus, I’m excited that we can use this rolling backpack when we travel on vacation.

What type of rolling backpack will your child be sporting this fall?

GET READY FOR BACK TO SCHOOL:

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