CNN —  

After an abrupt end to normal school days in the spring due to Covid-19, back-to-school has taken on a whole new meaning. Many parents have their fingers crossed that kids will be heading out the door this fall. Regardless of what going back to school will look like, school shopping is bound to help kids get excited about the new academic year.

The necessary gear may look different this year; which is definitely something to keep in mind when shopping for a new backpack. Whatever your student’s age, they’ll likely want a pack with easy-access pockets to keep hand sanitizer and an extra face mask at the ready.

From trendy floral backpacks to sporty options to our best budget picks (we’re looking at you, AmazonBasics), we’ve sourced our favorite backpacks for kids at every age from preschool to college.

Cute first backpacks for preschoolers

Zoo Little Kid Backpack, Fox ($21.99; amazon.com)

Zoo Little Kid Backpack, Fox
Zoo Little Kid Backpack, Fox

SkipHop’s best-selling pint-size backpack is available in over a dozen designs from butterfly to narwhal. There’s an adjustable side mesh pocket for a water bottle or sippy cup, an easy-to-clean internal lining and an insulated zippered pouch for snacks. The Skiphop website has even more characters and availability.

_____________________________________________________________________

Herschel Supply Co. Kids Heritage Backpack, Orient Blue ($55.62; amazon.com)

Herschel Supply Co. Kids Heritage Backpack, Orient Blue
Herschel Supply Co. Kids Heritage Backpack, Orient Blue

This mini-me Herschel backpack, which comes in over 20 patterns (including polka dots, floral and even plaid), includes the company’s signature red and white striped lining, a front storage pocket with key clip, and a chest clip for a comfortable fit.

______________________________________________________________________

Lone Cone 15-Inch Little Learner Backpack ($25; amazon.com)

Lone Cone 15-Inch Little Learner Backpack
Lone Cone 15-Inch Little Learner Backpack

Perfect for daycare or preschool, the Lone Cone Little Learners pack can fit school folders, a lunch box, snacks and more. While the 15” is sized for preschoolers, there’s also a 17” version with a padded sleeve for elementary school kids who need to bring a tablet to school.

______________________________________________________________________

Puma Little Backpack ($22.86; amazon.com)

Puma Little Backpack
Puma Little Backpack

This sporty pack can hold all the preschool essentials in its multiple pockets, and isn’t so babyish that they’ll outgrow it when they’re a line leader in kindergarten.

______________________________________________________________________

Stephen Joseph Sidekick Backpack & Lunch Pal ($42; nordstrom.com)

Stephen Joseph Sidekick Backpack & Lunch Pal
Stephen Joseph Sidekick Backpack & Lunch Pal

The 14-inch size of this ready-for-preschool backpack and its matching lunch carrier means that you may even get some mileage into kindergarten. Like the company’s signature rain gear, the pack comes in a range of whimsical designs including airplane and bear. You can also get a 16-inch Stephen Joseph All Over Print Backpack on Amazon for $28.99.

Backpacks for elementary school kids

Lands End Kids ClassMate Large Backpack ($49.95; landsend.com)

Kids ClassMate Large Backpack
Kids ClassMate Large Backpack

Lands End ClassMate backpacks, available in four sizes and dozens of colorways (solids and patterns including rainbows, camo and tie-dye), can last a few seasons so consider choosing an option your kid can live with for a while. (Tall order — we get it.). Multiple exterior and interior pockets help keep kids organized and the padded straps with chest clip ensure a comfortable fit.

______________________________________________________________________

AmazonBasics Classic School Backpack ($10.36, originally $12; amazon.com)

AmazonBasics Classic School Backpack
AmazonBasics Classic School Backpack

Just want a budget backpack without a lot of fuss? This AmazonBasics classic-style option can hold lunch and books (and even a laptop for older kids) in the roomy inner pocket and smaller items in the outer one. It’s available in solids and color blocks as well as a clear option for schools that require see-through bags.

______________________________________________________________________

Lego Minifigure Heritage Classic Backpack ($55; zappos.com)

LEGO Minifigure Heritage Classic Backpack
LEGO Minifigure Heritage Classic Backpack

Sure, you could go classic for brick-loving kids, but it won’t have a Lego head for each one of their moods. With a laptop compartment, water bottle pocket and padded straps with an adjustable chest strap, this pack is a good option for older Lego superfans, too.

______________________________________________________________________

Adidas Kids Young Creator Backpack (starting at $28.99; amazon.com)

adidas Kids Young Creator Backpack
adidas Kids Young Creator Backpack

This sporty-cool Adidas pack (available in three additional colorways) features three external zip pockets and two water bottle pockets, making it ideal for taking kids through the day to whatever after-school activities their schedule may hold.

______________________________________________________________________

Isaac Morris Pusheen Backpack ($27.99; amazon.com)

Isaac Morris Ltd Pusheen Cat Face Backpack Standard
Isaac Morris Ltd Pusheen Cat Face Backpack Standard

The only thing missing from this zippered canvas backpack with multiple zippered pockets is a Pusheen-approved snack backpack clip like this plush donut.

Backpacks for middle schoolers

Roxy Winter Waves Backpack ($45; zappos.com)

Roxy Winter Waves Backpack
Roxy Winter Waves Backpack

Soft girls are no doubt loving the floral backpack trend and it’s hard to pick just one from Quicksilver’s Roxy brand. We love the contrasting stripes on this one, but there’s a pretty black floral option, too, among others. All of the bags have a streamlined internal design with an outer pocket.

______________________________________________________________________

Herschel Supply Co. Classic X-Large Backpack ($60; nordstrom.com)

Classic X-Large Backpack
Classic X-Large Backpack

The oversize version of Herschel’s classic pack, the XL features padded straps, a top carry handle and an interior padded laptop pocket. Rainbow tie-dye too bold for middle school? The pack is available in over 50 other colorways on the Hershel website and is a great option for students of any age.

______________________________________________________________________

Under Armour Hustle 4.0 Backpack (starting at $41.25; amazon.com)

Under Armour Adult Hustle 4.0 Backpack
Under Armour Adult Hustle 4.0 Backpack

Fans of Under Armour’s Hustle 4.0 backpack are legion — it even made the cut in Gabrielle Union’s Amazon celebrity store — and with over 20 colorways to choose from, it’s easy to make this style your own. With a front pocket organizer for phones and supplies, a laptop sleeve and a laundry/shoe compartment at the bottom, the bag can go from class to the court, field or pool.

______________________________________________________________________

Adidas Floral Print Backpack ($45; nordstrom.com)

Floral Print Backpack
Floral Print Backpack

A sporty take on the floral backpack trend, this sleek Adidas backpack has an interior wall pocket and padded straps.

______________________________________________________________________

AmazonBasics Sports Backpack (starting at $14.49; amazon.com)

AmazonBasics Sports Backpack
AmazonBasics Sports Backpack

Want a sports backpack that won’t break the bank? This AmazonBasics option is tricked out with detailing including an organizational panel, laptop sleeve, bottom shoe pocket, two water bottle holders and multiple pockets.

Backpacks for high schoolers

Sprayground Torpedo Shark Fuzzy Camo Backpack ($70; nordstrom.com)

Torpedo Shark Fuzzy Camo Backpack
Torpedo Shark Fuzzy Camo Backpack

The camo-print canvas pack from cult-favorite brand Sprayground includes exterior slip and zip pockets as well as a laptop sleeve and, like most Sprayground bags, is a limited-edition style.

______________________________________________________________________

L.L. Bean Super Deluxe Book Pack ($59.95; llbean.com)

L.L. Bean Super Deluxe Book Pack
L.L. Bean Super Deluxe Book Pack

The Volvo of backpacks, there probably isn’t anything more reliable than a bag from L.L. Bean. With sizes and styles for every age — from the Junior Original Book Pack to the Portable Locker in a range of colors and prints — there’s one for every kid’s and adult’s needs. Designed specifically for high school and college students, the Super Deluxe Book Pack has an ergonomic design (with a waist belt that can be tucked in when not in use), ripstop nylon material and organizational detailing.

______________________________________________________________________

Fjällräven Kånken ($79.95; zappos.com)

Fjällräven Kånken
Fjällräven Kånken

You don’t have to be a VSCO girl to love Fjällräven’s signature Kånken pack, originally designed for Swedish school kids and now beloved by all. If this perfect-for-fall neutral combo isn’t your style, the pack comes in over 30 additional colorways.

______________________________________________________________________

State Women’s Kane Backpack, Gold ($59.90, originally $85; amazon.com)

State Women's Kane Backpack, Gold
State Women's Kane Backpack, Gold

With metallics still big for fall, State’s classic Kane bag is on trend as ever. The lined interior features multiple organizational pockets, slip pockets, pen holders as well as a water bottle pocket that’s just the right size for a S’well. The Kane Kids version of this pack is also available in 35 other colorways on the State site.

______________________________________________________________________

Vans Old Skool III Backpack ($36; zappos.com)

Vans Old Skool III Backpack
Vans Old Skool III Backpack

It might seem repetitive to label anything by Vans as old-school, but this nylon pack hits the mark with a classic silhouette and color options from floral to the classic check. All backpack fabrics have coordinating kicks, of course.

Backpacks for college students

The North Face Jester ($69; thenorthface.com)

The North Face Jester
The North Face Jester

The new Jester pack from The North Face has been updated to “meet the needs of the modern user.” Translation: In addition to a padded laptop sleeve, water bottle pockets, molded shoulder straps and a bungee system for extra storage, the pack, which comes in 14 different colorways, is also designed to stay balanced when open for easy access to essentials.

______________________________________________________________________

JanSport Main Campus Backpack (starting at $47.99; amazon.com, jansport.com)

MAIN CAMPUS
MAIN CAMPUS

This subtle floral pattern from classic backpack maker JanSport channels Vera Bradley at a lower price point. Detailing includes a padded laptop sleeve as well as an organizer panel with a key fob.

______________________________________________________________________

Baboon Backpack ($89; baboontothemoon.com)

Baboon Backpack
Baboon Backpack

Like all bags from adventure luggage brand Baboon, the Baboon backpack is made of self-proclaimed machete-proof ballistic nylon that resists dirt and water. The classic style, available in nine colors, includes two external pockets and an internal laptop sleeve and can do double duty as both a school bag and travel bag.

______________________________________________________________________

eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack ($69.99 with coupon, originally $99.99; amazon.com)

eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack
eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack

With multiple internal and external pockets, padded laptop sleeve, a next-level front pocket organizational panel and more, this eBags backpack is a reliable workhorse. The heathered gray adds a level of professionalism which can take it past college and into the real world.

______________________________________________________________________

Carhartt Legacy Work Backpack ($52.59, originally $69.98; amazon.com)

Carhartt Legacy Work Backpack
Carhartt Legacy Work Backpack

The Carhartt Legacy Work Backpack may be designed for the grown-up world, but it’s also a great option for college students with multiple exterior pockets, contoured straps, an organizational front panel for phone and keys, as well as both an interior laptop sleeve and tablet storage. The polyester material has a Rain Defender water repellent to help keep gear dry while the bag also features an abrasion-resistant base.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed prices at the time of publication.