Backpack Jack

Backpacks for School: What You Really Need to Know

See that cute little guy over there? That is the venerable  Backpack Jack and every year he is asked to survey, inspect and rate a number of backpacks designed especially for your kids.

This is his website and he doesn’t allow any messing around up in here – “just the facts,” as he likes to say. So, we publish the facts that Jack gathers from his own personal observations and the insight of others from around the Internet.

Discover which backpack is best – Check out Jack’s Backpack Reviews for the latest on specific backpacks.

Jack’s mission is simple – to help you find the best, most reliable, quality made and durable backpacks for school. After all, Jack was a student himself many years ago.


What Makes Me a “Backpack Expert?”

That’s a great question and one you should ask of any person or website offering advice on backpacks. Well, to start, I grew up in the Rocky Mountain high country with a group of friends who regularly backpacked into the back country in and around Colorado. I remember buying my first backpack form am Army Surplus store. Since that time, I have taught myself a great deal about backpacks. I knew the importance of good, solid equipment when I got caught up in a few tight spots through the years.

So how do those 30+ years of high country backpacking make you an expert in school backpacks? First, I know a solid backpack when I see it 0- school or otherwise. Second, I’ve taught kids and have my own kids, I have seen a lot of backpacks over the years – both cheap and well-made. I have also seen what a cheap backpack can do to a kid’s back and to their school day. It may seem unimportant to us, as parents, but to those kids, it IS important to have a good, quality, reliable and pain-free backpack for school.      

      – Jack


Don’t Fall for the Marketing Blitz

So many of these so-called backpack specialist companies design the cheapest possible backpacks, using the cheapest possible materials. The one thing they don’t “cheap out” on is the marketing.

A backpack company may spend as much as half its budget to purchase the licensing rights to use a particular image of some cartoon character, pop singer or other “popular” image. The resulting backpack is usually something that resembles an actual pack or bookbag, but will likely only last  few weeks if your kids somehow manage to keep it from getting wet.


Click on These Links for More Info on the Best Backpacks for High School:

• Wheeled Backpacks Review

• Best Backpacks for School

• JanSport: Best Backpacks for High School

• Top-Rated, Best Backpacks for High School


School Backpacks are an Investment

Backpacks for school are like anything else you buy – you’re either going to spend as little as possible and get what you pay for. Buying cheap means you get a backpack that falls apart before Thanksgiving break. Now, if you want to get a backpack that will last through all the years of high school, middle school, etc., then you need to buy a quality pack.

Sure, it’s going to cost you a bit more but it will definitely be worth the investment. I have a JanSport backpack that I’ve had for more than 25 years. This great little pack has been with me through trips, hiking in the high country, school – wherever. It’s still in great shape and ready for another 25 years I would guess.

Kids Always Want Something New

Yeah, so? Look, if you’re going to give in to that, so be it – go ahead and buy the cheap backpack. I think there is a better way. We buy a backpack that is going to stay with my kids for many years because I don’t want to buy a new backpack every fall with the latest cartoon character poorly printed on it.

If you’ve decided to buy quality, don’t buy the latest and greatest trendy backpacks. What you’re looking for here is solid colors or simple, subdued patterns that will go with anything. Solids, floral patterns, plaids and stripes never go out of style. If your kids want something new every year, let them get a new keychain, hanging toy or some other trinket that gives their backpack a stylish edge.

School Backpack Comfort is Critical

Look for wide, well-constructed, thickly-padded shoulder straps. Remember, your child will likely be carrying this back pack all day long. The one strap messenger bags and packs are not recommended because they are not ergonomic and may cause problems with your child’s posture, back, shoulders or neck.

Wheeled backpacks are wonderful, especially for kids who carry a big load of books and a laptop computer. If your child attends a large school with a spread out campus, consider a wheeled backpack.

Look for Durability

The worst, cheaply constructed backpacks will typically have zippers that come off the track or seams that start to fray and tear loose – all of which make for a seriously terrible backpack. Also, pictures, decals and other popular additions can chip, crack or wear off completely. Consider a name brand backpack that is made to last. Be sure to purchase from a retailer that has a good return policy.

Backpack Size Does Matter

This particular subject really torques my jaw. I swear, some of these backpack manufacturers are just not thinking when they are designing these packs. Some of the backpacks for pre-school kids are so tiny that you have to fold a notebook of folder in half just to get it into the main compartment – ridiculous!

The same goes for some messenger bags and laptop backpacks. I really think they just throw these backpacks together without giving any though to what they are going to be used for. That’s one of the reasons for this website – I want people to know how to get the best, most useful backpack for their kids.

Backpack Features That Are Helpful, and Not Helpful

One of the other things that really gets me angry is useless features on a backpack. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some really cool and very useful features on a lot of the better quality backpacks. But again, I have to wonder why someone would put a pocket on a backpack into which absolutely nothing will fit.

Also, features that your kids will never use are also useless – I got the meaning of that word correct, yes? Useless means your kids won’t ever use it. I mean, really, is it necessary to have more than half a dozen pockets on a backpack? Some of these designers must be competent to see just how many pockets will fit in and on a backpack.

Useful pockets and pouches are for keys, lunch boxes or bags, water bottles, an extra pair of shoes, a cell phone, etc. Here’s the litmus test for too many pockets on a kid’s school backpack: If it takes them more than 3 minutes to find their school lunch money, then there are just too many pockets.


Click on These Links for More Info on the Best Backpacks for High School:

• Wheeled Backpacks Review

• Best Backpacks for School

• JanSport: Best Backpacks for High School

• Top-Rated, Best Backpacks for High School


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