How to choose a new school backpack

5 mins

It’s that time of year again – another school year is upon us, and before you know it, the summer holidays will be a distant memory. Whether it’s your little adventurer’s first year in the schoolyard, or they’re well-accustomed to lugging around a load of books, choosing the right school backpack to keep them organised will really set the tone for a successful year in the classroom.

When looking for the perfect school backpack – you’re sure to have plenty of choice, but buying a new school bag isn’t an exercise you’re going to want to repeat several times a year. The school playground can be a rough and tumble place, and school books can be fairly heavy too, so it’s definitely worth investing in the right backpack that will last for the whole year – and beyond. Apart from durability, there are a number of features you should look for – it’s these little things that will really keep your little adventurer organised, comfortable, and ready to learn.

1. Durability

A good, sturdy school backpack doesn’t come cheap, so it’s not something you’re going to want to fork out for more than once a year. Look for a pack that will go the distance. Strong synthetic fabrics like nylon are a great weather-resistant choice. Well-made polyester packs also provide a good balance between durability and affordability. An even more hard-wearing option is canvas – our AzTec® canvas, for example, is made from a unique blend of long staple cottons and polyester which is then coated with waterproof resins and waxes making it (almost) bulletproof.

2. Comfort

School students carry some heavy loads – multiple books for multiple subjects, sports gear, extra clothing, packed lunches… the list goes on. The most comfortable pack for school is one with two shoulder straps. These packs are better for your child’s posture as the weight is more evenly distributed, instead of putting pressure on their spine and neck. Look for a school bag with a padded harness or wide straps – this will soften the load on growing shoulders. The straps should also be adjustable in order to give the most comfortable, customised fit.

3. Size

If your child has been at school for a few years now, you’ll already know that school bags are often deceptively heavy – and not big enough. Carefully consider how large their school bag needs to be – do they take a packed lunch? Do their books stay at school, or come home each day? Do they take a laptop or tablet to school? How much homework will they need to carry home? Do they need separate sports gear? The space quickly gets filled up – so make sure you choose a pack that’s big enough. Likewise, it’s important not to choose a pack that’s too large. If you can, it’s best to take your child into a store to try backpacks on before making your purchase.

4. Organisation

Pockets, pockets, pockets! It’s all well and good having a pack that fits the bill in terms of size, but if it only has a sole compartment, items can be frustratingly hard to find. Look for a school bag that has a separate drink bottle pocket, small front compartments for holding stationary and important notices, and if necessary, a special padded compartment to keep their electronic devices safe.

5. Appearance

Appearance is always going to be a factor for school kids, and you want them to feel good about the bag that they’ll be using most days of the year. Get them to help choose a colour or pattern that appeals to them – school won’t seem like such a chore if they’re excited about the gear they get to take with them each day.

Macpac School Backpack Guide

Recycled daypack range

Piko+ 14L

Made for everyday adventures, the Polyester Piko is the smallest in our new daypack range. Its shape is based on the classic style of the Pursuit, and has all the features kids need for school (or after-school hikes!). A top zip opening keeps tablets safe in its sleeve, and a bike light loop ensures kids can ride safely. The front pocket is an easy-access sleeve to maxmise space. It’s perfect for stashing glasses and go-to items when out and about.

Litealp+ 22L

Just like the classic Litealp, but now made from 100% recycled materials, the new Litealp+ takes everything we love about the AzTec® version and puts it back together with recycled materials and environmentally friendlier foam. Its separate main compartment and laptop sleeve keeps electronics away from other items, while the side bottle pocket keeps fluids outside the pack. Perfect for school, and short trips outside, we’ve also added a bike light loop to ensure your kids make it there and back safely.

Atlas+ 24L

The largest in the new daypack range, the Atlas+ is a school-friendly, commute-ready backpack made using recycled materials and environmentally friendlier foam. It has a separate main compartment and laptop sleeve to keep electronics away from other items, two side bottle pockets to keep fluids away from anything inside, plus a handy bike light loop.

Other versatile daypacks to consider

The Kahuna 18L

The Kahuna 18 is a lightweight, strong and weather resistant pack, making it perfect for the kids’ rough and tumble adventures. Designed for optimal organisation, there’s a space for A4 folders, and plenty of room for a 17″ laptop. An internal mesh sleeve is perfect for keeping homework safe and sound, or getting notes home safely. The Kahuna 18 includes our T-Bone™ harness with Spacer Mesh, which means your younguns will enjoy a combination of breathability and stability. Available in 5 funky colours, you’ll have no troubles finding the design that your kids love!

The Litealp 23L

The Litealp 23 has carried thousand of books and folders to school in the last 20 years. It’s a real staple of the Macpac range – and with good reason! Our legendary AzTec® fabric helps keep your kid’s school gear dry, and will age without deteriorating. The Litealp’s convenient teardrop shape makes it easy to slide textbooks, lunch and a drink bottle inside, while the highly functional angled front pocket makes accessing belongings much easier. Perfect for high school students, the Litealp is a pack that will see your kids through their years in the school yard and beyond.

The Kudos 23L

A school day commuter-come-weekend adventure bag, the Kudos can carry a full day’s kit with a 23 litre capacity. Fitted with an internal laptop sleeve, drink bottle pockets, key clip and bike light attachment, this multi-purpose bag is made from a tough polyester fabric with a padded mesh back panel and harness. The dual zip compartments help to separate out and organise belongings — and when packed and on the move, the sternum strap helps to keep this pack in a comfortable place on your kid’s back.

Atlas AzTec® 24L

The Atlas is ideal for carrying all your kids’ books and stationery, including A4 folders, and features a padded laptop sleeve to ensure electronics remain safe within. Double front pockets offer internal organisers for pens, keys, phone, and snacks, and the Atlas also features a reflective patch with an attachment loop for a bike light. AzTec® fabric offers outstanding durability and protects against the elements, ensuring that this pack should last the distance!

A little insight into the design of the Pursuit pack. A climbing pack engineered for performance and durability.