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Best Toddler Backpacks
Updated on
September 14, 2023

Best Toddler Backpacks

By Babylist Team
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Best Toddler Backpacks.
Best Toddler Backpacks

Whether you’re sending your little one to school or daycare, heading off on a family adventure or just looking for a spot to store all those tiny treasures, a toddler backpack is a helpful (and cute) accessory. There are plenty of toddler backpacks to choose from—but you’ll want to pay close attention to size and a few other important features before you buy.

Babylist’s Top Picks for the Best Toddler Backpacks

Read full reviews of the best backpacks for toddlers below.

How We Chose Our Best Toddler Backpacks

  • We utilized insight from the Babylist editorial team, including Gear Editor Jen LaBracio, an expert in the baby space for over six years and a mom of two who has written hundreds of baby gear guides and personally researched and tested hundreds of baby products, including many toddler backpacks.
  • We consulted the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) backpack safety guidelines, keeping in mind features such as backpack size and weight, strap and back padding and the inclusion of a waist or chest strap. We also considered things like durability, washability and functionality.

Features to Look for When Buying a Toddler Backpack

Even if you don’t love to shop, picking out a toddler backpack can be fun—there are so many prints, patterns and designs available, and there’s something particularly delightful about sorting through pint-sized backpacks for your tiny toddler. You should keep a few things in mind while shopping, though.

Size and Weight

Size and weight are the two most important things to pay attention to when choosing a backpack, especially when you’re shopping for a toddler—and bigger isn’t better. According to the AAP, look for a backpack that goes from your toddler’s waist up to about one to two inches below their shoulders. This means the backpack you choose likely won’t hold a ton, but it will be appropriately sized for your small child. (Most toddler backpacks are between 10-12 inches tall.)

When packed, a backpack shouldn’t weigh more than fifteen percent of your toddler’s body weight. Have a thirty-pound toddler? Their backpack shouldn’t weigh more than four and a half pounds.

Some preschools and daycares have specific backpack size requirements in place, so check for guidelines before you buy.

Comfort and Support

Look for a toddler backpack with broad, padded and adjustable shoulder straps that distribute weight evenly across your child’s back. Other features like a padded back and a waist belt or chest/sternum strap can also help provide increased comfort.

Durability

Toddlers are rough on…well, everything. Your toddler’s backpack should be made from a durable material that can stand up to lots of wear and tear. If you live in a rainy climate, look for a water-resistant or even completely waterproof backpack.

Washability

Make sure the backpack you choose is either machine washable or easy to wipe or spot clean. Some toddler backpacks have waterproof or wipe-clean linings, a nice bonus, especially if your toddler will be toting around food or anything wet like a bathing suit.

Functionality

A large interior pocket, outside zippered pockets and pouches and a side pocket for a water bottle are all nice-to-have features in a toddler backpack.

The Best Backpacks for Toddlers

Most Durable Toddler Backpack

Pottery Barn makes some of the best kid backpacks around, and their toddler version—dubbed the “mini” size by the brand—certainly doesn’t disappoint. The Mackenzie Backpack is the perfect combination of form and function. It’s available in lots of fun designs, so even the most discerning of toddlers will find something they like. The material, a water-resistant polyester, feels both sturdy and durable and stands up well to toddler wear and tear. And there are lots of features to love like adjustable, padded shoulder straps, a padded back panel and lots of pockets both inside and out, including one specifically sized to hold a water bottle.

The mini size doesn’t hold a ton (think a snack, a change of clothes and a small toy), but that’s exactly the point—a huge backpack can easily overwhelm your tiny toddler and be too tough for them to carry independently. You can personalize the Mackenzie with a name or initials and add a matching lunch box or water bottle.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 12.5”H x 10”W x 4.5”D

Most Stylish Toddler Backpack

The first thing that stands out about this backpack is the style, one of the things we love most about it. Designed more like a trendy adult backpack than something for the three-and-under set, the color block look of Mini Kane gives off big-time toddler cool vibes. The padded straps are easy to adjust for a comfortable, secure fit and there’s a smaller outside front zippered pocket for toddler treasures in addition to the backpack’s roomy interior space.

Note that this backpack doesn’t have a side pocket for a water bottle. (Or any side pockets, for that matter.) It does feature a luggage slip sleeve on the back panel, however, which comes in handy if you’re traveling.

Additional Specs
Weight 1 lb
Dimensions 12.6”H x 9.45”W x 3.54”D

Best Toddler Backpack with Safety Harness

Skip Hop offers a few different-sized kid backpacks, all in bright, fun animal-themed designs. This one, the brand’s mini size, makes the ideal first toddler backpack. There are adjustable shoulder straps and a mesh side pocket for a water bottle, a chest clip for extra comfort and a toddler-sized main compartment that’s the perfect size for snacks, toys and anything else your little one deems important enough for carrying around.

This toddler backpack has one more important feature: a safety harness. The tether attaches to the bottom of the backpack and features a wrist strap for you to wear if you’re headed to a crowded space and your little one likes to run off.

Additional Specs
Weight 0.9 oz
Dimensions 9”H x 7.5”W x 3.25”D

Best Eco-Friendly Toddler Backpack

If you’ve yet to try a pair of Ten Little sneakers for your kiddo, run, don’t walk (see what we did there?)—and toss this backpack into your cart while you’re shopping. It’s packed with thoughtful details that both you and your toddler will appreciate. It’s also made from 100% recycled materials, making it one of the most eco-friendly choices on our list.

Like many of our favorite toddler backpacks, this one has adjustable straps, a padded foam back and an adjustable chest strap. There’s a mesh pocket on either side for water bottles (or anything else) and extra pockets in the front and inside the bag. Another big plus: the backpack’s interior lining is waterproof, so spills are easy to wipe up. And if you’ve ever met a toddler, you recognize just how important that feature is.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 12”H x 10”W x 4”D

Best Customizable Toddler Backpack

Does your toddler love rainbows one day and construction vehicles the next? You’re in luck. Becco backpacks are endlessly customizable—and highly delightful. The patent-pending hook-and-loop design system creates a blank canvas where your little one can stick (and unstick) a host of interchangeable patches whenever their heart desires. Add a monogram, a cupcake, a narwhal or a dinosaur and change them up whenever you’d like. (The patches don’t even leave any pulls or pilling behind—we tried.) Becco bags are perfectly sized for toddlers and also feature an adjustable shoulder strap, two-way zippers, interior zip and front/side pockets and a top handle.

Best Toddler Backpack You'll Want to Borrow

Scandinavian style, miniaturized. What could be better? If you love the full-size version of this iconic backpack, you’ll be pleased to know the toddler-friendly pack is just as great. It’s made from water-resistant, durable fabric and comes in a rainbow of cool colors. There’s also a front zippered pocket, snap-together top carry handles, two side pockets and a removable foam back pad for added comfort.

Our favorite part, though? Buy this backpack for your toddler and “borrow” it anytime just for you!

Additional Specs
Weight 0.9 oz
Dimensions 11”H x 7.5”W x 4”D

Best Washable Toddler Backpack

If there’s one universal truth about toddlers it’s that most of them are pretty messy. That’s why this toddler backpack from Dabbawalla, a Seattle-based company specializing in sustainable, functional packs for the preschool and early elementary set, is so genius. It’s completely machine washable, so it’s really easy to keep clean. The fabric has a foam-like feel and is degradable, recyclable and free of toxic chemicals. Other features to love include padded, adjustable shoulder straps, one exterior pocket and three interior mesh pockets.

And the prints and patterns? There are SO many great ones, like this truck design for construction lovers, a whimsical kitty, an adorable panda and so many more. Each design comes in a traditional backpack style or a backpack + toddler harness.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 12”H x 11.5”W x 6”D

Most Unique Toddler Backpack

Danish style gives Swedish cool a run for its money with this satchel-style toddler backpack that stands out from the crowd. This sustainable bag is made from 100 percent recycled (and completely waterproof) nylon. The top part can be rolled up or down, and there are taped seams to keep any moisture from finding its way in.

The shoulder straps are adjustable, but they’re not padded, and there’s no back padding, either. There also aren’t any side pockets for stashing a water bottle. There is an adjustable chest clip for added support, though.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 13.4”H x 9.8”W x 3.9”D

Best Affordable Toddler Backpack

This pint-sized backpack has a lot going for it at under twenty bucks. It’s made from water-resistant neoprene so it’s lightweight, durable and soft. There are plenty of pockets (a large main pocket, one interior pocket, two mesh side pockets and a zippered outer pocket, to be exact) along with padded, adjustable shoulder straps and a padded back. And there are over twenty characters and designs for your little one to choose from—the perfect option for any (every?) picky toddler.

Additional Specs
Weight 0.56 oz
Dimensions 10.2”H x 8.3”W x 3.9”D

Best Toddler Backpack for Camping

Heading into the great outdoors with your toddler in tow? If you’re camping or hiking, look for a backpack like this one that’s lightweight, easy to clean and has good back and shoulder support. It’s made from durable, water-resistant polyester, and the main compartment is completely waterproof, perfect for storing a small towel or a wet bathing suit apart from everything else. The padded shoulder straps are adjustable and there’s a chest clip for added support if your toddler wants to carry their backpack while hiking. There’s also a front elastic loop with an adjustable toggle for attaching a jacket or even a stuffy.

Just note that this backpack is a larger size when compared to most on our list (15 inches tall, like many preschooler backpacks, rather than 10-12 inches tall like most toddler backpacks), so it may be better suited for an older or larger toddler.

Additional Specs
Weight 11.6 oz
Dimensions 15”H x 8.7”W x 5.9”D

Toddler Backpack with the Best Prints

Whether your toddler is into cute designs like sharks or dinosaurs or prefers solid color combos like pinks and purples, there’s something for everyone here. The Heritage is styled just like the brand’s adult backpacks (including the striped interior lining) but sized down for smaller wearers. There are two compartments, a main interior and a zippered exterior pouch, along with adjustable padded shoulder straps and a removable sternum strap. The kids’ version is sized for little ones ages three to seven, but the backpack is also available in youth and youth XL sizes. Just note there’s no water bottle pocket.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 13”H x 9”W x 3.5”D

Most Whimsical Toddler Backpack

Who doesn’t love a good floral? This whimsical print is both playful and stylish, but this toddler backpack is also super functional. It’s made from polyester sourced from recycled water bottles and is roomy enough to hold lots of stuff. The small size features a water-resistant shell, a zippered front pouch, two side pockets, adjustable padded shoulder straps and a padded grab handle. You can add a monogram or other personalization, too.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 13”H x 10”W x 4.5”D
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