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2017’s Best Backpacks for Elementary-Middle Schoolers

Parents and parenting experts agree that one of the most important back-to-school purchases is the right backpack. According to Parenting magazine, to be sure you’re getting the right backpack it should include:

Two-Straps: Your child’s pack should have at least 2 straps. With kids‘ backpacks becoming more and more loaded with books and laptops, equal distribution of weight is key. There are also a lot of wheeled backpack options if that is what you and/or your child prefers.

Reflective: If your kids will be walking to and from school in lower-light situations, they absolutely need to have a backpack that has strips of reflective material. That way, they will be much more likely to be spotted by car headlights, bikers, etc.

Fit: Making sure the pack fits your child properly is very important. You want to be sure that the backpack is easily adjustable, enabling you to customize the fit, and easily change it as your child grows. Consumer reports say that the bottom of the bag should hit the child at the lower back. Additionally, it it shouldn’t be positioned more than 4 inches below their waistline, and the point on their body at which the bag and straps meet should be 1 to 2 inches below the top of their shoulders.

Weight: With so much attention on avoiding having kids lug overly heavy backpacks, most of today’s backpacks are fairly lightweight. But, it kind of defeats the purpose of “lightening their load” when you or your child overloads it with stuff. The Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that your child’s backpack not exceed 15 to 20 percent of a child’s body weight. But, the American Academy of Pediatrics is more conservative and recommends not exceeding 10 percent.

So, with all of this in mind, here are a few that experts consistently listed as top picks of 2017.

The JanSport SuperBreak (approx. $35)

This one’s been around for decades. Its hot selling point for elementary school kids is that it comes in over 50 different colors and prints, so there are plenty of ways they can express their individual style and personality. It’s also a very durable, simply built pack, featuring just one large compartment and one smaller front compartment. Parents and kids that prefer more pockets for better organization might need to pass on this one because of the lack of pockets, but it’s surprisingly roomy, with plenty of space to fit a three-ring binder, notebooks, textbooks, school supplies and a lunch bag. Kids seem to love how light the SuperBreak is, and often comment on how comfortable and supportive the straps are.

Get the JanSport SuperBreak from Jansport.com. Be sure to use these Jansport coupons, discounts and offers.

L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack (approx. $40)

The L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack is a good fit for your middle schooler. The L.L. Bean Deluxe features dual main compartments to hold several binders, notebooks or a lunch box, and a generous front pocket with an organization panel. It also comes in lots of colors and prints. It’s built from very durable, weatherproof material, and has a reflective strip.

You can buy the L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack on Llbean.com. Be sure to use these L.L. Bean coupons, discounts and offers.

Pottery Barns Kids Mackenzie Collection (approx. $25 and up)

If your child is a younger elementary school student, they will probably love Pottery Barns Kids Mackenzie Collection. This collection features four sizes to choose from. The have mini, small, large, and wheeled, so you can find the fit that’s right for your child. Kids and parents alike love the stylish designs and colors, and the organizational capacity is also a big selling point. The Mackenzie features three interior and one exterior pocket, two exterior water bottle holders, and an MP3 player holder with openings for headphones (the mini doesn’t include that last feature). It has ergonomic straps that are well padded, and outer loops for a lunch box, so that their lunch doesn’t get smashed inside the pack.

Go to Potterybarnkids.com to purchase the Kids Mackenzie Collection, and be sure to use these Pottery Barn Kids coupons, discounts and offers.

Now that you’ve got a little more info on buying the right backpacks, as well as some coupons to save, you might want to take a serious look at the old backpacks your little ones have been lugging around since last year and consider an upgrade. It’s not much money, and well worth the investment.