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Packing for a family trip can be a daunting task, especially when you have young children in tow.

In addition to clothes and toys, you also have to make sure you have all the necessary gear to keep your little ones safe and comfortable while on the go.

One of the most important items on your packing list should be the best travel backpack for kids.

Not only will a backpack free up your hands for carrying other things, but it will also allow your child to carry their own belongings and feel like a big kid.

When choosing a travel backpack for your child, there are several factors you'll need to take into consideration, such as size, weight, comfort, and durability.

To help make the process easier, we've put together a comprehensive guide to the best travel backpacks for kids of all ages.

best travel backpack for kids

Size and Weight Matters

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best backpack for travel with kids, you'll want to consider size.

The backpack should be large enough to fit all the essential items your child will need while on the go, but not so big that it becomes cumbersome or difficult for them to carry.

As a general rule of thumb, the backpack should be no bigger than their torso and no heavier than 10% of their body weight.

If you're unsure about what size backpack to choose, err on the side of caution and go with a larger size – they will grow into it soon!

Comfort is Key

Another important factor to consider when choosing the best travel backpack for kids is comfort.

A poorly fitting backpack can cause serious back and shoulder pain, especially in young children who are still developing.

To ensure maximum comfort, look for backpacks with padded, adjustable straps.

Additionally, many backpacks now come equipped with padded back panels and chest clips that help distribute weight more evenly across the body.

Choose Durable Materials

When purchasing the best travel backpack for kids, you'll want to choose one made from high-quality materials that can withstand years of heavy use.

Avoid cheap plastic backpacks—they are more likely to tear or break after just a few uses.

Instead, opt for backpacks made from durable polyester or canvas fabrics that are built to last.

Backpacks with water-resistant coatings will help protect against stains and spills that are bound to happen with little ones.

For even more peace of mind, look for a warranty – many of the big brands stand behind their product!

Selecting the Best Travel Backpack for Kids

Picking out the perfect travel backpack for your child doesn't have to be difficult—just keep these key factors in mind and you're sure to find one that's perfect for your family's needs!

But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to know where to start.

Don't worry, we're here to introduce you to the best travel backpacks for kids of all ages, from toddlers to tweens.

If you're still not sure where to start, check out our top picks below.

best travel backpack for kids

Best Travel Backpack for Toddlers (Ages 2-4)

When it comes to toddlers, lightweight and comfortable are key.

Look for a backpack with padded straps and a chest clip, which will help distribute the weight evenly.

Avoid cheaper character backpacks as they will not last long – no matter how cute they are.

Make sure to check the dimensions of the backpack to be sure it is not too large for your child's size.

Lastly, be sure to choose a brightly colored backpack so that your child will be easy to spot in a crowd.

Simple Modern Toddler Backpack

  • Price: $
  • Size: 14″ x 11.75″ x 4″
  • Features: front zip pocket, tablet sleeve, two water bottle pockets

The Simple Modern Toddler Backpack is a small, durable backpack perfect for a first-time wearer. It comes in adorable prints – even some characters like Minnie Mouse and Spiderman! Made from wipe-clean water-resistant material this backpack includes a limited lifetime warranty.

Mountaintop Kids Backpack

  • Price: $
  • Size: 14.6″ x 8.7″ x 4.3″
  • Features: padded shoulder straps, two mesh water bottle pockets, lightweight

The Mountaintop is the perfect size for toddlers as well as being super lightweight. It has a great amount of padding on the straps and back so you can load it up with all of their gear. Available in several colors, your little one will love this toddler-size backpack.

mibasies Toddler Backpack

  • Price: $
  • Size: 12″ x 8.5″ x 4″
  • Features: insulated lunch pocket, water-resistant fabric, dual water bottle pockets

The mibasies toddler backpack is the smallest on our list. If you have a 2-year-old, this will be your best bet! With adorable prints and all the features of brand name backpacks, this one is sure to please your toddler! We love the insulated front pocket for snacks and virtually waterproof exterior.

Best Travel Backpack for School-Age Kids (Ages 5-8)

As kids get older, they'll be able to carry more weight—but that doesn't mean you should skimp on the padding!

Look for a backpack with well-padded straps and a comfortable chest clip.

Additionally, choose a backpack with enough room for all their clothes, toys, and electronics.

And if your child likes to bring along snacks or a tablet, look for travel backpacks with built-in pockets or compartments specifically designed for those items. 

Bentgo Kids 2-in-1 Backpack & Insulated Lunch Bag

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 16.5” x 11” x 7.5”
  • Features: built-in insulated space, front organizing compartment, padded straps

While on the larger side for the younger ones of this age group, we love Bentgo boxes and had to include their backpack on our list. With a specific space for your Bentgo kids or Bentgo fresh box, it's perfect for hauling your gear and prioritizing your snacks. With one mesh water bottle pocket, a wipeable exterior, and a 2-year warranty, the Bentgo backpack is a great choice for your school ager.

The Simple Modern Kids Backpack

  • Price: $
  • Size: 15.25″ x 12.5″ x 5.25″
  • Features: front zip pocket, tablet sleeve, two water bottle pockets

The Simple Modern Kids Backpack is a larger version of the toddler size. It has all the same great features like a wipeable exterior and prints sure to please your school ager. The lifetime warranty gives you peace of mind that you're choosing a quality product.

Dakine Grom 13 Liter Backpack with Safety Features

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 16″ x 9.5″ x 6″
  • Features: reflective details, safety whistle, external bungee strap

Dakine makes a great backpack and this is the perfect kid's version. It includes a sunglass pocket, front pocket and mesh side pockets in addition to the main compartment. Made from recycled polyester or nylon – depending on the color – each backpack had a water-repellent finish.

Best Travel Backpack for Tweens (age 9-12)

As your child gets older, they'll probably want a backpack that looks more grown-up.

But that doesn't mean you should sacrifice function for style.

Look for a backpack with plenty of compartments and pockets to keep their electronics organized, as well as straps that are adjustable so that it can be customized for a comfortable fit. 

While the price may increase, longevity should be considered as well.

Invest in a high-quality backpack for your tween to use regularly for school and travel.

JanSport Big Student Backpack

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 17.5″ x 13″ x 10″
  • Features: two large main compartments and several more pockets, 15″ laptop sleeve, side water bottle compartment

The JanSport Big Student Backpack is perfect for kids who need to carry lots of gear and separate it into various pockets. It's made from durable materials and a lifetime promise to fix or replace the bag, no questions asked. It includes plenty of zippered compartments so that everything has its own place inside the bag. Plus, it comes in tons of several colors and designs so that your child can find their perfect match! 

High Sierra Loop-Backpack

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 19″ x 13.5″ x 8.5″
  • Features: Multiple organizing pockets, compression straps to attach more gear, suspension system to lighten heavy loads

The High Sierra Loop Backpack offers several compartments for organizing your child's gear. It has a huge capacity and is the largest bag on our list. With a built-in “tech spot,” (tablet sleeve,) this backpack comes in solids as well as fun prints. This backpack feels sporty while still being completely functional for travel!

Herschel Little America Backpack (mid-volume)

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 16″ x 10.75″ x 5″
  • Features: Timeless design, 15″ padded laptop sleeve, drawstring and buckle closures

For something slightly different, try the Herschel Little America Backpack. This backpack boasts classic style with modern functionality—perfect for fashion-savvy kids who want something different than everyone else! It includes handy features like a headphone port and front storage pocket so that kids can easily access their belongings while on the go.  We love the upscale look while still having functional features like well-padded straps and back support.

Best Backpack for Travel With Kids

Choosing the best travel backpack for kids is essential when traveling with little ones.

With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know where to start.

In this comprehensive guide, we've introduced you to the best travel backpack for kids, toddlers, and tweens.

We've also provided some tips on what to look for when choosing a backpack.

By following these guidelines, you'll be sure to find the perfect travel backpack for your next family adventure!

Don't forget to see exactly how to pack your child's backpack using packing cubes!

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