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Back to School: Choosing the best kids’ backpacks

With the mania that is the summer holidays, it can be easy to forget the back to school essentials, ready for the start of term. You can guarantee that the kids have obliterated their uniforms during the year (how do they manage to rip holes in a shirt collar?) and their school bags won’t be exempt from this trail of destruction. So, we’ve created a guide to choosing the best kids’ backpacks to start the school year off right.

Finding the right backpack

Finding the right backpack is more than just choosing a colour that the kids have ‘decided’ is in this year. As backpacks get heavy with books, P.E. kits and other indistinguishable items, the strain of the weight is placed on the straps of the bag.If the bag isn’t designed to cope with this, the pressure is passed on to the wearer, and may result in back pain or muscle strain. As kids carry their bags for most of the day, you should make sure that whichever backpack you choose is comfortable to wear, fits well and distributes this weight evenly.

How to choose a backpack for school

1. Capacity
The capacity of a backpack is measured in litres – so you should take this into consideration when you’re searching for a backpack for your child. How much will they be carrying with them?The younger your child is, the less likely they are to be lugging textbooks around with them. If your child only needs a smaller bag, daypacks are a great choice. Usually from about 10L capacity, they’re spacious enough for your child to accumulate their (random) bits and bobs.
Alternatively, if you know that your child will be using the bag for lots of bulky items – sports kits for example, then a larger capacity would be ideal. Look for bags between 15L and 20L capacity. Put into perspective, 15L is usually big enough for a laptop, books and water bottle whereas 35L is big enough for a weekend trip away.

2. Durability
We all want the things we buy to last for as long as possible, so you should definitely consider the durability of the backpack. The most durable kids’ backpacks should be able to withstand reasonable force as well as the general wear and tear.
Look out for the fabric and technology used on the backpack. For example, polyester fabrics are tough, but some backpacks incorporate specialised technologyto increase the life of the bag. Many bags also have mesh material on the reverse to allow ventilated airflow, avoiding sweaty backs and irritable, sticky children.
Kids’ backpacks for school should have strong seams to account for being roughly-handled andremember loose threads or weak seams are a sign of poor manufacturing or design. A proven way to make sure that you’re buying a durable kids’ backpack is to buy a bag designed for outdoor use. These bags are tough enough to take on mountains and will easily withstand the challenges of school life.

3. Water-resistance
The great British weather isn’t the only reason you’ll need to think about buying a water-resistant backpack. Spills, drinks, mud and the occasional end-of-term water fight can take their toll on a bag. Many of the best kids’ backpacks are waterproof, so you know that homework, books and planners are safely protected on their way home from school. Waterproof or water-resistant bags are often easier to wipe clean and tend to dry faster than their counterparts. Make sure to check for this feature – usually on labels as a water or liquid symbol – when you’re researching school backpacks.
To protect your little one from the rain too, shop kids’ waterproof coats.

4. Straps
The backpack straps are an important factor too. Some backpacks have an additional chest harness to help distribute the weight of the bag evenly and give tired shoulders a break. Particularly useful if your child is off on a school trip or camping stay, the additional strap is usually a standard feature of outdoor backpacks.
Padded straps add an extra layer of comfort and both straps should be adjustable to help you fit the backpack to your child. As a rule of thumb, the backpack should be no longer than your child’s back and should fit snugly to their body.

5. Pockets and extras
Kids’ backpacks often have lots of additional features too. From handy pockets to reflective panels for visibility, each has a benefit for school life. Easy grip zip pullers are a great bonus for younger children who are new to organising their bags, while additional internal compartments are useful for the super-organised teen.

6. Style
Last, but not least, we have style. No matter how functional the backpack is, your child will still want a stylish bag to be proud of. Luckily, our range of kids’ backpacks includes lots of modern designs to choose from.

Find the best kids’ backpacks at Hawkshead

With backpacks from a range of brands such as Dare 2B, Craghoppers and Regatta, you’ll find the right bag for your child here at Hawkshead. Got the backpack? Finish the look with our range of kids’ outdoor clothing.

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