12 Best Toddler Backpacks in 2017

While it’s true that toddlers won’t be using their backpack for very long (they’ll outgrow it before you can count to 10), that still doesn’t mean that you should just settle for any old backpack that looks cute and costs very little.

It’s hard to balance function and comfort when you have a little one who is begging you for the latest superhero backpack, but stay strong and try to compromise!

In our guide below, you’ll be able to compare products side by side in order to find the best toddler backpack for your budget and your little one.

Remember that most of these come in different colors and patterns, so if you don’t see one you like, check them out individually!

Top 12 Toddler Backpacks Ultimate Table

Design Name Material Use Rating (1-5)
   1. Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid and Toddler Backpack  Not Specified  School  4.7
   2. YISIBO Kids Backpack 3D Cute Zoo Cartoon School Toddler Sidesick Boys Girls Bags  Neoprene  School  4.6
   3. Stephen Joseph Girls’ Mini Sidekick Backpack  Polyester  School  4.6
   4. X-Sports Decathlon QUECHUA Kids Adults Outdoor Backpack Daypack  Nylon  Travel  4.5
   5. Disney Cars Shaped 12 Inch Toddler Backpack  Not Specified  School  4.5
   6. Olive Kids Pirates Pack ‘n Snack  Not Specified  School, Travel  4.5
   7. Stephen Joseph Quilted Backpack  Cotton  School  4.5
   8. Lassig Kids Backpack for Kindergarten or Pre-School with chest strap  Polyester  School  4.3
   9. Everest Junior Backpack  Polyester  School, Travel  4.2
   10. Ropper Lightweight Canvas Cute Pattern Kids School Backpack  Canvas  School, Travel  4.2
   11. Rockland Jr. My First Backpack  Microfiber  School  4.1
 12. The North Face Youth Sprout Backpack  Polyester  School, Travel  4.0

Pay Attention to These Details

When deciding which is going to be the best toddler backpack for your little one, here are a few useful tips that will help you choose.

  • Straps – The straps should have plenty of padding in order to keep your little one comfortable as they wear it. Most manufacturers will add a mesh lining under the strap in order to allow more airflow, which is great no matter the season or weather outside.
  • Zippers – Apart from quality zipper construction, you should also look for a bag that has large zippers. These are easier for your toddler’s little hands to grasp and handle, but if the bag’s zipper is a bit on the small side, consider adding a carabineer to give them something a little larger to grasp.
  • Storage – Apart from the main storage pocket – which should be large, especially for preschoolers – make sure that there are also some side pockets on the outside of the bag that can hold drink bottles or other items.

A front zipper pocket is useful, too, for smaller items, but not a deal breaker if there isn’t one.

  • Materials and Washing – Chances are these backpacks are going to get dirty, so find out if the material is machine washable. Always check the care label before you attempt to wash the backpack.

If you’re worried about the backpack getting ruined in (or ruining) the washing machine, get a laundry bag if you don’t already have one. You can just throw the backpack inside and close it in order to prevent the straps from wrapping around the machine parts or banging into the sides.

And while we’re on the subject, you should also check out the lining material of the backpack. Some of them are lined with waterproof material, which means that they will also be easy to wipe clean if you can’t machine-wash them.

What About a Safety Hook?

Backpacks aren’t always worn at school; they come in handy in many situations. Traveling, theme parks, or even a trip to the local mall and your little one’s backpack can come in extra handy to store snacks, extra clothes and a drink.

In busy places like these, some parents enjoy the security of having a safety hook attached to the bottom of the backpack that allow them to hook a tether to the bag to keep their kids close.

The argument against them is that “Kids aren’t dogs!” but they could potentially prevent your child from being lost or abducted, and it only takes a second for them to disappear once you turn your head.

It’s not an important feature for every parent, but it’s something to consider.

Top 4 Best Toddler Backpack Reviews

1. Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Backpack

Those of you who can’t resist a cute backpack but still want a functional one will be satisfied with this little backpack from Skip Hop.

The main compartment is spacious with one slip pocket inside and an extra zip pocket on the exterior for storing small items (pencils, snacks, etc.)

We like that the zippers have large handles to grasp, which makes it so much easier for little ones to open and close, and the shoulder straps are definitely comfortable thanks to the padding. There is also a mesh pocket for bottles and the lining inside is easy to clean.

The material appears to be nylon or polyester, but the only info we found on the manufacturer’s website is that the backpack is phthalate-free.

It measures 11 inches (L) x 5 inches (W) x 12 inches (H). This would work well for little ones starting preschool but is definitely suitable for older toddlers, too.

2. Yisibo Kid’s Backpack

Yisbo’s elephant backpack is just one of many cute characters they make. There’s a monkey, shark, dinosaur, butterfly, crab, rabbit, penguin and whale, so let your toddler choose which one they like while you’re shopping!

You, as the parent, will appreciate the large main compartment that will fit in books and school supplies, along with a mesh bottle pocket on the outside to hold drinks. Some of these backpacks have two mesh pockets on the outside while others just have one. It depends on the character you choose, so you’ll have to look at them closely in order to find out.

We really like the big zipper handles on these and they seem much sturdier than the cute ones attached to the Skip Hop backpack.

It’s definitely washing machine-friendly (this bag is made of neoprene) and super cute to boot!

Great for girls and boys ages 2-8.

3. Stephen Joseph Little Girls’ Sidekick Backpack

This is another great toddler backpack that just happens to be cute. We like that they have moved the extra pocket on the exterior to the side (it is a small zipper pouch) with a handy mesh bottle pouch on the other side.

The shoulder straps have plenty of cushioning and they are adjustable and the main compartment is large. Great for holding books, notebooks and folders.

This particular Stephen Joseph backpack is targeted for girls, but you’ll find some great options for boys, too, if you check out number 7 in our table.

4. Quechua Arpenaz 10L Kids Backpack

Those of you in need of a more functional backpack for travel will like this one from Quechua.

It features two main compartments (one accessible from the top and the other from the front on the side) that help you keep personal items separate and organized. There’s even enough room for a tablet or e-reader if your child needs somewhere to store it when it’s not in use.

This is the 10-liter backpack, and while Quechua does offer a 5-liter version, this one seemed to be a better fit for travel.

We would recommend it for older toddlers since it might be a bit large for younger/smaller toddlers. Probably great for older preschoolers or those heading off to Kindergarten soon.