1. Joanna says...

    My 5 year old son has the dinosaur lunchbox from the raw linen collection that Toby is holding! He LOVES that lunchbox! Good quality, too!

  2. Rebecca says...

    Garnet Hill backpacks are nice and durable, and on sale right now. We just bought new ones for our girls after 3 years, but only because they really wanted new styles — they were still in good shape.

  3. Nice design! But I think grownup kids will like these backpacks. For little kids, they love the backpacks with cartoons printed. But yeah elder kids need backpacks more. So these are very useful.

  4. Capucine says...

    Don’t buy these little cute ones, buy a ‘tote’ – the oversize near-adult size backpacks like LL Bean and Jansport. This is a key step toward teaching your child to put all their daily papers, jackets, and water bottles in their pack to bring home. Papers are at least 8 x 11, jackets are big. When you go out with all that, you bring a tote no? Giving credit to Neli, a firstgrader I drove who never ONCE forgot his water bottle in a whole schoolyear, inspiring me to figure out why? How?

  5. Selina says...

    I picked this bag up at Hanna Andersson on a whim the day before school started because they were half off and still are! http://www.hannaandersson.com/boys-accessories-backpacks-bags/48365.html?cgid=boys-accessories-backpacks-bags&dwvar_48365_color=20E&dwvar_48365_size=OS#start=3
    It has the all-important water bottle pocket on the side- no more days of zero water intake and wet library books! We like simple, classic designs that will mix in with the assorted styles and trends the kids will have over the years. An American Apparel bag got us through ages 3-6 for our boy, and we added patches a few times to personalize. Started our girl with a mini Fjallraven from age 2 for toddler school and diapers. Now she’s carrying extra clothes, a water bottle and a toy or two to preschool with it.

  6. Kate says...

    Gotta add to the chorus of LLBean love! My parents got me a green, monogrammed LLBean backpack when I was in 3rd grade (upgradinging from the slightly smaller version I had in K-2). I’m now in my second year of graduate school and I still use the SAME backpack! It’s fairly easy to wash so I can keep it from looking dingy, and thanks to LLBean’s repair policy, I was able to get a replacement zipper tug after the old one fell off.

    An added bonus of having the same backpack for years is that I’ll occasionally find little mementos from the past stuffed in the small front pockets—my elementary school library card, my 9th grade class schedule, a boarding pass from my flight for a semester abroad etc. It’s like a backpack and a scrapbook all in one :)

  7. Martine says...

    Is it weird that I want to buy the Wonder Woman backpack for myself? (I’m 27 and this is happening!)

  8. liz says...

    Toby, you are stylin my man! Thanks for letting us see your back to school look.

  9. Beth says...

    Just fallen in love with these. For every one sold, they provide a bag for kids in foster care after the founder heard about kids moving their stuff in garbage bags. Love!

    https://www.madlug.com

  10. Ali says...

    We went classic this year, too, and my son started first grade with a llbean backpack and couldn’t be more stoked. I love seeing it on him because it’s so nostalgic for me.

  11. Celeste says...

    I swear by lands end backpacks. Lasts longer than a year with no bottom holes.

  12. Stasha says...

    Too pricey for kids, but awesome for adults and spoiled teenagers: Topo Design backpacks from Colorado

  13. Laura says...

    I’m in the LLBean backpack fan group as well. They really do last. While they might cost a little more than the ones you would find at Target, we’ve found those backpacks break or rip in some way within 6 or 8 months of having them. So it’s worth paying a bit more up front. Plus, we have sent back things to LLBean that have broken, and they live up to their refund policy. My family also lives in Maine, so we are able to hit up their outlet store and find really good deals there.

  14. Aw, I miss backpacks and the freshness of a new school year! Society6 (which features independent artists who create designs on various products) just came out with backpacks. Lots of them are super cute. I think a little pricey to be honest, though they often have sitewide sales and free shipping. Not to toot my own horn but I’m tempted to order some of my own designs of playful mythical creatures… unicorns ( https://society6.com/product/unicorn-in-a-starry-sky-vnx_backpack#s6-4682447p63a209v733 ) and jackalopes (https://society6.com/product/jackalope-ii3_backpack#s6-4498810p63a209v733 )!

  15. Erin says...

    My daughter had an LL Bean for years but this year (first grade) she wanted a tie-dye back pack she saw at PB Teen. A teen bag? For real? But, it had a good coupon code and was on-sale so, we got it. She LOVES it and it really doesn’t look too mature for her. (Thank goodness)

  16. Lane says...

    L.L. Bean – they will monogram them for you, and they last FOREVER! I’ve bought them in the small size when my oldest was in pre-K and Kindergarten, and have graduated to the full sized one now. As a bonus, if anything ever happens to it, they’ll replace it for free!

  17. NM says...

    Puma! My soccer-obsessed kindergartener insists on sporty gear from top to bottom. I’m kind of envious/impressed that (it seems like) many of your kids let you choose these trendy/hipster styles for them!

  18. Katie says...

    Got my Jansport in 7th grade.. used it through middle school, high school, 10 years of college (had it stolen from my car.. cried.. and it was magically found and returned by a kind soul over a month later!), and it still works great.. 18 years+

    • Talia says...

      I love this!

    • DIANA says...

      I also swear by Jansport! They have cool new designs and color-combos now. This is mine:
      http://amzn.to/2xv5hc2

  19. Picking out a new backpack was always such a fun part of the back to school preparations, but I always hope that my children will use one for at least a few years. In high school, I was lucky to do a semester exchange in Germany and, at the school, which went from elementary through high school, I was shocked to see nearly every child had the same style of leather satchel backpack. You can add backpack-style straps when the children are younger and use a messenger strap when they are in high school. The kids use the same bag all throughout their school years and after years of use they are so beautifully soft and broken in. Talk about sustainability! I was there in the mid-90’s but I read that now many families choose something more ergonomic, so that has changed: http://www.ergobag.com/home/history-german-schulranzen

  20. Jeanne says...

    Both my girls, ages 10 and 7 (so 5th and 2nd grades respectively) have new Jansport backpacks. They are more expensive but they are well-made and should hold up for more than one school year. We got ours at Target (and Grandpa gave us “school money” so that helped a lot!). My 10 year old’s has pineapples on hers and my 7 year old’s has a pretty blue pattern.

  21. My son has the fjallraven one. I might have bought a too small size but it still works for him as he’s small. I sometimes use it too as its handy for school run. Fits one book and my mobilephone =)

  22. Alice says...

    Oh, The Eyes. Swoon. That’d be for me!!! Jansport bags are tough old critters, I’ve had one since 1997 and it’s still going strong.
    My 3 year old has a cool random bag we bought up in a market that has some neon on which is so good for winter evenings/dim days. My 18 month old has this sweet London bus backpack which he loves and is fairly noticeable in the gloom too :).

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mountain-Warehouse-Kids-Red-Bus/dp/B01BU2SMZ6

  23. Tess says...

    Thanks for the picture of your little sweetie! So many were clambering for a picture of him… so fun to watch your little ones grow up!

    And again, kudos to this website. I am swept away to other worlds with your fabulous ‘Mothering Abroad’ …ooops! Parenting abroad. Please do not stop those fabulous reports. They are such fun ‘armchair travel- family share-food shares’.

    And, as so many others have commented, this site is a warm, friendly place to meet up with such fabulous women. The comments are always fun to read after your wonderful articles.

    Keep the good stuff coming!! Big high fives all around the office- or computer connections!

  24. Anne says...

    LL Bean, all the way. Incredibly durable and functional, and just a classic. Lots of colors and sizes and configurations to suit whatever their current needs are. My older daughter has a Patagonia backpack that has held up very well, but the pockets aren’t sized as well for school. We also have a couple Fjällräven bags that we use outside of school, and I vastly prefer this model: http://m.zappos.com/p/fjallraven-raven-20l-navy/product/8734325/color/9.
    The one thing I consider for any backpack is that I would never, ever buy one that didn’t have pockets for water bottles on the sides! Non-negotiable. Why should you have to unzip your pack and hunt around for the water bottle when it could just be hanging out right there in the side? I honestly don’t understand why any backpacks aren’t made like that.

    • Anu says...

      Agree with you 100% on the water bottle pockets.

    • Yes! We just swapped a 5 year old LL Bean one for a new one because they’ve added a water bottle pocket to the design.

  25. Nathalie says...

    These are so cute! In Germany kids use the same backpack from grade 1 to grade 4, often from the brand Scout or Ergobag. The grade 1’s look like they’ll fall over backwards because the bag is so big and on the grade 4s the bags look so tiny.
    After having so many zippers break, we got an Eastpak for my daughter in grade 7. They have a 30 year warranty and self-repairing zippers and it’s still holding up after a year of hard use . . . fingers crossed.

  26. Laura C. says...

    Yes, thank you Joana, my girls were happy to aee their friends again, my eldest has started 1st grade and has a new teacher, and she came home very happy!
    I ADORE the Vespa Backpack. Lucky Toby!

  27. Franziska says...

    Everyone in Europe (or Germany at least but I heard they’re popular in France and the Netherlands as well) is wearing Fjällräven backpacks – and I’m not talking about kids here! I have a yellow one that I take everywhere, they’re so practical and cute!

  28. Malia says...

    I was planning to let my kindergartner use his adorable little kid bag, but school told us just before school began that we needed a bag big enough for a folder. Options are limited here, so I let him pick what he wanted at Marshalls. I really hope his taste improves in a year or the damn thing falls apart. At least it was only $10.

  29. Shira says...

    I bought backpacks from Lands End last year. They have amazing sales – I think they were under $20. And then I got them monogrammed. Such great quality and customer service, too.

  30. Lands End all the way. My oldest passed his Lands End backpack down to my youngest when he outgrew it. It’s now been used for 8 years and is still going strong. And if it fails, we just have to bring it back and we’ll get a new one.

  31. We use the mini Fjallraven as a diaper bag for my 19 month old. When he starts school, he’s going to use it as his own and then I will ball my eyes out.

  32. CLD says...

    Got my Jansport in high school and still use it every single day…. 15 years later!

    • Abesha1 says...

      I just sent my first child to school, carrying my old Jansport. Quality lasts! And he loves knowing it was mine.

  33. Christine says...

    My brother and sister in law got this one for my 4 year old. She has loved dinosaurs since she was 2.5. But it also has pink and sparkles, which she also loves. So perfect for her! She doesn’t need a backpack for school yet, but loves packing it for sleepovers at Grandma’s and for trips.

    https://www.lisaangel.co.uk/house-of-disaster-dinomite-backpack

  34. jules says...

    The Cat & Jack backpacks are pretty amazing overall. Just saw a big display at Target and kind of wanted a few for myself.

  35. Joanna says...

    Good old reliable llbean backpacks last forever. I am talking years and years and years.

    • Monica says...

      Yes!! Love L.L.Bean. We got the junior backpack for our son which lasted K-2 grades. And the monogramming is the way to go. We upgraded only because his binders and books didn’t fit anymore. Now the old one is for sports and sleepovers!

    • Deb says...

      Yup! Ditto!

      Also I can’t stomach paying more than $40 for a fancy one like fjallraven bc my kid is likely to lose it or draw on it with marker!

    • Cynthia says...

      Yes, LL Bean backpacks are durable, as my daughters had theirs through 4 years of high school and into college.

    • Susan says...

      My son is a HS Senior and I believe we’ve bought a total of 4 L.L. Bean backpacks starting with nursery school. Never worn out, always outgrown!

  36. I’m back to Jansport for my 3rd-grader after zippers kept separating off Land’s End packs — fingers crossed! The new designs are really fun! It was hard for my son to settle on one!

  37. Nora Strauch says...

    Ergobags! They are the best. A bit pricey, but my daughter can easily use it for a few years. The features are so fun and such good quality. http://www.ergobag.com/us/

    • Karen says...

      Ergobags are really popular here in Switzerland. My son just started Kindergarten and we bought him the Ergobag mini. It came with a three year guarantee. Pricey as well but I think worth the investment so he doesn’t look weighed down.