Raleigh, NC — We are approaching the start of school for Wake County Public Schoolsand that means one thing above all for parents and students: back-to-school shopping.
Each year, students receive lists of materials they need to have a successful school year. In addition to pens, pencils, note cards and handkerchiefs, many students need a new backpack.
We’re here to introduce Raleigh families to the best backpacks for teens at different price points. If you have followed ours consumer reports, They know that inflation is high and smart shopping is a must.
Read on for our guide to shopping for backpacks for teenagers and how to find the best in your price range.
How to choose a backpack for teenagers
First, let’s talk about what to look for in a backpack for teenagers. You may think only of fashion, but you know there are other considerations to be made. Ultimately, the backpack is useless if it’s not the right size, doesn’t have the right compartments, or isn’t built to last.
Think about what you need
What will your teen wear to and from school every day? When we were students, backpacks had to carry a few textbooks and notebooks and maybe a pencil case or accordion wallet. Now many students have to bring all of that and a laptop or tablet.
They may also need to pack a packed lunch, water bottle, and supplies for after-school activities. Before you start shopping, make a list of how much needs to fit in a single bag.
Look for sturdy and adjustable straps
If your teen is lugging around a heavy backpack all day, you want to make sure it’s as comfortable as possible. That means avoiding things like drawstring straps that cut into your shoulders or flimsy straps that can snap after a few uses. It’s also ideal to find a backpack that has adjustable straps so the backpack doesn’t sit too low or too high on your back.
The best backpack straps are easy to adjust and adequately padded. Companies like JanSport and LL Bean are among the leading providers of comfortable, user-friendly harnesses.
Consider your school supplies budget
Parents across the country have a big increase the cost of their children’s schooling. Tight district budgets and an increase in extracurricular activities both contribute to a greater burden on parents. Budgeting your groceries isn’t always fun, but it’s often necessary, and it might be time your teens learned that lesson.
Bonus Tip: If you’re shopping for a backpack on a tight budget, ask your teen about a few different acceptable color options. Even inexpensive backpacks tend to come in a variety of colors, meaning you and your teen can look to fashion as well as function.
Best backpacks for teenagers: buy on a budget
If you’re looking for a backpack that costs $50 or less, we have a few tips. One is to keep an eye on the sales of brands like JanSport, Nike, and Eastpak, all of which are high-quality companies that fall more in the moderate price bracket. If you’re looking at brands like Herschel Supply Company, make sure you double check the dimensions; HSC sells a lot of mini backpacks for under $50, but these mini backpacks really are mini.
If you are looking for high quality at a great price our favorite is the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack. It features a laptop compartment and USB charging port, as well as water-resistant fabric to keep your teen’s school supplies safe. Color options are absent, but you can choose from red, black, and some shades of gray.
When fashion is a must, the stylish yet affordable Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack also features a laptop compartment, a USB charging port and plenty of pockets for pens, pencils and other small essentials. The faux leather buckles on the front are for show rather than practicality, but they certainly look good.
Best Backpacks for Teens: More expensive (but still reasonable) options
When you pay more for a backpack, you don’t just have different brands and designs open to you. It also means your teen’s backpack will last longer. As long as they’re willing to use it again next year, you can consider a higher-priced backpack as an investment.
You’ll find a ton of great options from all the brands we’ve already mentioned. From the Herschel Classic XL to the JanSport Main Campus, these brands really know what they’re doing when it comes to backpacks.
What if you are looking for something out of the ordinary?
If there’s an affordable backpack that never seems to go out of style, it’s the Fjällräven Kånken Water Resistant Backpack. Find it online to access all 40 colors or at Nordstrom. Your teenager will love the minimalistic, Scandinavian look and you’ll love how well the water-resistant material protects a 13″ laptop and many other school supplies.
Another option is the Gootium Canvas backpack, perfect for teens who have a more rugged outdoor vibe. This backpack (more like a backpack) has one large pocket perfect for books and electronics, and three external pockets for smaller items. The best part is that this backpack often seems to be on sale, meaning that if you can find it at the right time, it could even fit into a tight budget.