Raleigh, NC – We are getting closer to the back to school date Wake County Public Schoolsand that means one thing for parents and students: back-to-school shopping.
Each year, students are sent lists of supplies they need to get through a successful school year. In addition to pens, pencils, note cards and bean bags, many students will need a new backpack.
We’re here to give Raleigh families the best backpacks for teens at a variety of prices. If you followed our consumer reports, you know we are seeing high inflation rates and smart shopping is a must.
Read on for our guide to buying backpacks for teenagers and how to find the best ones in your price range.
How to choose a backpack for teenagers
First, let’s talk about what you should look for in a backpack for teenagers. They may just be thinking about fashion, but you know there are other considerations to be made. After all, a backpack is no good if it’s not the right size, doesn’t have the right compartments, or isn’t built to last.
Think about what they need
What will your teen take to and from school each day? When we were students, backpacks were needed to hold a few textbooks and notebooks and maybe a pencil case or accordion folder. Now, many students are required to bring all of this and a laptop or tablet.
They may also need to pack a sack lunch, a water bottle and supplies for extracurricular activities. Before you start shopping, make a list of how much should fit in a single bag.
Look for strong, adjustable straps
If your teen is lugging around a heavy backpack all day, you’ll want to make sure it’s as comfortable as possible. This means avoiding things like drawstring straps, which will cut into their shoulders, or flimsy straps, which may break after a few uses. It is also ideal to find a backpack with adjustable straps so that the backpack is not too low or too high on the back.
The best backpacks are easy to adjust and have plenty of padding. Companies like JanSport and LL Bean have been some of the leaders in comfortable, wearable bras.
Consider your school supply budget
Parents across the country have reported a great growth in the cost of sending their children to school. Lack of district budget and increased extracurricular activities contribute to a heavier burden on parents. Basing your shopping around a budget isn’t always fun, but it’s often necessary, and it might be time for your teens to learn 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 consider fashion in addition to function.
Best Backpacks for Teens: Shopping on a Budget
If you’re looking for a backpack that costs $50 or less, we have some tips. One is to keep an eye out for sales hosted by name brands like JanSport, Nike and Eastpak, all high-quality companies that tend to fall in the moderate price range. When looking at brands like Herschel Supply Company, make sure you’re double-checking the dimensions; HSC sells a ton of mini backpacks for under $50, but these mini backpacks really are mini.
If you’re looking for high quality at a low price, our favorite is the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack. It comes equipped with a laptop sleeve and a USB charging port, plus water-resistant fabric to keep your teen’s school supplies safe. Color options are missing, but you can choose from red, black, and some shades of gray.
If fashion is a must, the stylish yet affordable Modoker Vintage laptop backpack also comes with a laptop sleeve, USB charging port and plenty of pockets for pens, pencils and other small accessories. The faux leather buckles on the front are more for show than practical, but they sure look good.
Best backpacks for teenagers: More expensive (but still reasonable) options.
Paying more for a backpack doesn’t just open up your options to different brands and models. It also tends to mean 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 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 flagship JanSport Campus, these brands really know what they’re doing when it comes to backpacks.
What if you’re looking for something outside the box?
If there’s one moderately priced 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 teen will love the minimalist, Scandinavian look, and you’ll love how well the water-resistant material protects a 13″ laptop and plenty of other school supplies.
Another option is the Gootium Canvas Backpack, perfect for teenagers who have a more rough and tumble vibe. This backpack (which is more like a backpack) has one large pocket perfect for books and electronics and three exterior pockets for smaller items. The best part is that this backpack seems to go on sale often, which means if you find it at the right time, it can fit even a tight budget.