Buying A School Bag – What You Should Look For…

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Buying a school bag what you should look for

Buying A School Bag – What You Should Look For…

Your little one might be just about to start school like my eldest is. Or you may have pulled the kids’ bags out of the cupboard and released they are looking a bit worse for wear and an upgrade is in order.

Choosing a backpack can be fun and most kids will want to have some input into the style and design that reflects their personality. But as a parent, we might need to consider steering them in a certain direction to ensure fit and functionality are considered.

A poor quality backpack full to the brim with book, lunches and sports gear can cause damage to your child’s spine over time.

When you are buying a school bag this year, here are a few things that you should look for.

Choose a bag with two adjustable shoulder straps

Using a back with only one strap can cause alignment problems for the back and spine. As well as potentially causing shoulder and neck injuries.

A non-negotiable when choosing a bag should be that it has two shoulder straps. The straps should be adjustable so that you can make the bag sit firmly against the strongest part of your child’s back. Padded shoulder straps are also recommended, and if the bag comes with a waist strap encourage your child to use this as it will help bring weight closer to the body, making the bag easier to carry.

I know as a kid I used to have my bag floating around near my backside, but this can cause problems if the bag is too heavy.

So you want to encourage your kids to have their backpack sit about 5cms above their waist.

Buy the right size bag

Rather than buying an overly large bag in the hope it will last your child for a long time, you should consider purchasing a bag that is the appropriate size for your child. You want a backpack that is no wider than their chest.

The best bags have a moulded frame and padded back, with canvas bags weighing less than leather bags.

Durability and fabric choice

A great quality backpack can last for years, but as your child grows their bag will need to be replaced to maintain a good fit. So while you want bags that are high quality, you don’t want to be spending a fortune when they will be replaced regularly. And don’t forget your kid’s trends will change over time they so will likely want to update even when in their teenage years.

Given this, the best thing to consider is what fabric the backpack will be made out of. As this will determine not only its durability but its weight and breathability.

Synthetics last longer and are lightweight compared to leather which is much heavier but it does age with more character.

Synthetic fabrics are also more water-resistant than someone like cotton or hemp. However the natural fibre fabrics are more eco-friendly.

So you need to weigh up what is most important to you.

buying the right backpack for back to school
Make sure your child’s bag is not overloaded with unnecessary items

Think about compartments, pockets and zippers

Have a think about the size of the objects that need to be included in the bag on a regular basis. It is a good idea to have a place for a water bottle and a separate area for small items like pens. And as the kids get older you may need to consider a compartment for a laptop.

Determine whether their lunch bag will be a separate bag they carry or whether it can fit in their bag.

Look closely at the zippers to make sure they are sturdy and will be easy enough for your little one to open and close by themselves. There is nothing worse than a backpack that has a zipper that breaks within a few weeks of getting it.

Pack the bag correctly

Besides the compartments mentioned above which can help you with packing, you want to position the heaviest items next to the child’s back. If you can slot book and lunchboxes in place to reduce the chance of them moving in transit that can help.

Don’t overload the bag

The general rule is that a backpack should weigh less than 10% of your child’s weight. If your child is in Prep this can equate to only a few books and a lunchbox, so most kids are usually carrying more than is healthy.

Make sure only essential items are carried and if there is anything they don’t need that day or they can leave at school, this can help reduce the weight.


Katie -


Katie is the Managing Director and Editor of Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking copious amounts of coffee, cuddling her kids and trying not to step barefoot on lego. Katie lives in Beautiful Brisbane with her husband and four gorgeous children.