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THE BEST TRAVEL BACKPACKS FOR TODDLERS & KIDS

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THE BEST TRAVEL BACKPACKS FOR KIDS AND TODDLERS BUYING GUIDE

When traveling with toddlers or any kids, its best to use a backpack. Trust us, you would rather have a backpack than a suitcase. That is why we created this buying guide to help you find the best kids travel backpack.

If there is one thing we have learned by traveling the last year and a half, it is less is more. It is best to pack as little as possible to not only save money but to keep your sanity, especially when traveling with kids.

Disclosure: "Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. Click here for the full disclosure statement."

This buying guide will also provide the best small backpacks for toddlers. We'll provide everything you need to make the perfect decision for your next family vacation.

Like all of our buying guides, we like to provide affordable options for parents looking for the best travel gear for their kids. We don't believe you need to spend a ton of money to get what you need.

The best travel backpacks for kids will be comfortable, functional, lightweight, durable, and affordable. That is why we always try to offer the products that provide the most value at a reasonable price.

BEST TRAVEL BACKPACKS FOR TODDLERS

When we are looking for anything for our toddler, the most important thing for us is practicality. Since we are nomads, we are on a tight budget, and every purchase must serve a purpose.

We purchased a small travel backpack for our toddler, so he can be responsible for carrying his snack, diapers, and toys. So far, that plan has backfired, and we have been lugging around his backpack, but I am anxiously awaiting the day he can carry his things.

With his 2nd birthday quickly approaching, I have spent the last few months researching the best travel backpacks for toddlers for when that day arrives. Based on months of research, here are the best backpacks for toddlers.

BEST TODDLER TRAVEL BACKPACK COMPARISON TABLE

We consider toddlers are kids under the age of 5-years-old. The best travel backpacks for toddlers are small, functional, comfortable, durable, and affordable.

These small backpacks for toddlers will allow your little one to carry all of their favorite things. It's big enough to make them feel like a big kid but small enough for their little bodies to handle.

Image
Best Overall Value
Mountaintop Kids Toddler Backpack,8.7 x 3.7 x 12.2 in
Our Favorite for Young Toddlers
Skip Hop Toddler Backpack, 12" School Bag, Bee
Our Favorite for Older Toddlers
The North Face Youth Sprout Backpack - TNF Black & High Rise Grey - OS
ZHUANNIAN Kids Toddlers Dinosaur Backpack with Safety Leash for Boys Girls
Toddler Backpack, 3D Cute Cartoon Neoprene Animal Waterproof Preschool Backpack for Boys for 1-6 Years Boys , Tiger
Measurements
9.45" x 3.74" x 12.2"
11" x 5" x 12"
11" x 3" x 12"
8'' x 4" x 10"
8.3" x 3.9" x 10.2"
Closure
Zipper
Zipper
Zipper
Zipper
Zipper
Material
Polyester
Polyester
Polyester
Nylon
Neoprene
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Price Rating
$
$
$$
$
$
Age Recommendation
2+
2+
3+
2+
2+
Customer Rating
Best Overall Value
Image
Mountaintop Kids Toddler Backpack,8.7 x 3.7 x 12.2 in
Measurements
9.45" x 3.74" x 12.2"
Closure
Zipper
Material
Polyester
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Price Rating
$
Age Recommendation
2+
Customer Rating
Our Favorite for Young Toddlers
Image
Skip Hop Toddler Backpack, 12" School Bag, Bee
Measurements
11" x 5" x 12"
Closure
Zipper
Material
Polyester
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Price Rating
$
Age Recommendation
2+
Customer Rating
Details
Our Favorite for Older Toddlers
Image
The North Face Youth Sprout Backpack - TNF Black & High Rise Grey - OS
Measurements
11" x 3" x 12"
Closure
Zipper
Material
Polyester
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Price Rating
$$
Age Recommendation
3+
Customer Rating
Image
ZHUANNIAN Kids Toddlers Dinosaur Backpack with Safety Leash for Boys Girls
Measurements
8'' x 4" x 10"
Closure
Zipper
Material
Nylon
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Price Rating
$
Age Recommendation
2+
Customer Rating
Details
Image
Toddler Backpack, 3D Cute Cartoon Neoprene Animal Waterproof Preschool Backpack for Boys for 1-6 Years Boys , Tiger
Measurements
8.3" x 3.9" x 10.2"
Closure
Zipper
Material
Neoprene
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Price Rating
$
Age Recommendation
2+
Customer Rating
Details

Mountaintop Toddler Backpack

Mountaintop Toddler Backpack

The Mountaintop Toddler Backpack is the most versatile backpack on our list. It is the only backpack on our list that looks like a big kids' backpack. There are over 20 designs to choose from to express your toddler's personality

This can not only be used as a travel backpack for your toddler, but can be used to take to daycare, sleepovers, and visits to grandparents.

The mesh padded back and shoulder pads make this backpack comfortable for toddlers. One of the best features of this toddler backpack is the separate wet/dry compartments to keep clothes, just in case, your little one has an accident. 

Based on the thousands of reviews on Amazon, the main complaint with this backpack is the size. If your little one is heading to kindergarten, this backpack will not work for you because it does not fit many of the folders and notebooks needed.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable
  • Wet/Dry compartment
  • Padded back
  • Different designs available

Cons

  • Small
  • Capacity

Related Post: Best Travel Toys for Toddlers

Skip Hop Toddler Backpack

Skip Hop Toddler Backpack

The Skip Hop Toddler Backpack is the most popular and best-selling toddler backpack on our list. The different characters are cute and perfect for a toddler. There are so many designs to choose from ranging from zebras to unicorns.

It's big enough to fit snacks, toys, a change of clothes, and a tablet. Just keep in mind this backpack is meant for toddlers, so it will not fit books if your little one is in kindergarten.

There is an insulated pocket to keep snacks, but there is also another pocket to store small items such as chargers or crayons.

The only thing that would make this bag perfect is if there was an additional water bottle holder on the side. I like the side pocket, but we need another one because we always have 2 sippy cups, just in case we can't find one.

Also, there are some complaints that his toddler travel backpack does not fit taller toddlers. If your little one is on the tall side, you may want to consider a different backpack.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to clean
  • Insulated pouch

Cons

  • 1 cup holder
  • Doesn't for tall toddlers
  • Doesn't fit folder

The North Face Sprout

The North Face Sprout

The North Face Sprout is the most expensive toddler travel backpack on our list. I am sure because the brand is very well known, so there is a premium for its logo. Although I am not usually a fan of name brand items, if you are looking for a long-lasting travel backpack for your toddler, this may be for you.

The lifetime warranty should ease your mind if you run into any problems with this backpack. This backpack is perfect for going hiking, camping, fishing, or spring break. The multiple pockets make it easy for your toddler to store their toys and snacks where they want them.

Like many of the other toddler travel backpacks on our list, there are several complaints about the size. You have to keep in mind, this backpack is for toddlers, and is not large enough for school supplies. A drawback of this toddler travel backpack is the lack of padding. For the price, I think this backpack should have padding on the should pads and on the back.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Capacity

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Doesn't fit folder
  • No padding

Related Post: Best Headphones for Toddlers

ZHUANNIAN Toddlers Dinosaur Backpack

ZHUANNIAN Toddlers Dinosaur Backpack

The ZHUANNIAN Toddlers Dinosaur Backpack is the only small toddler backpack that doesn't have a water bottle holder, but it was too cute not to include. If your little one likes dinosaurs, this is the perfect travel backpack for your toddler.

The shoulders on this backpack are padded to make your little one more comfortable. This bag is made with nylon material making it easy for you to clean when needed. 

There is enough room to fit the toddler items needed, not folders, books, a blanket, or clothes. The separate compartment is perfect for extra diapers, wipes, and change of clothes. Remember, this is a small backpack meant for toddlers, so not much will fit inside.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Padded back
  • Leash included

Cons

  • Small
  • Capacity
  • Shoulder adjustments

KK Craft Toddler Backpack

KK Craft Toddler Backpack

I must admit I am a sucker for cute animal backpacks. The KK Craft Toddler Backpack dinosaur bag is my favorite design. This small toddler backpack is so cute. I want to get this toddler backpack for my little when he is old enough to carry it.

It is large enough to fit the things a toddler would need like toys, a tablet, snacks, and a few extra diapers or pull-ups. This small backpack is just too cute. If you need to store items like clothes, blankets, and toys, I recommend a larger bag.

I do have a few small complaints about this small backpack for toddlers. I'd prefer it if the shoulder straps had more cushion to make it more comfortable for young toddlers. Also, it would be nice if the front pocket was insulated, for snacks.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Two side pockets
  • Capacity
  • Different designs
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Small side pockets

Related Post: Toddler Travel Essentials

BEST TRAVEL BACKPACKS FOR KIDS

Much like the toddler travel backpacks listed above, our list of the best kids travel backpack is based on the same criteria. For this section of our buying guide, we have only included travel backpacks that would be suitable for kids over 5 years old.

Since these travel backpacks are for older kids, they have a higher capacity and are large enough to fit textbooks for school.

 

BEST KIDS TRAVEL BACKPACK COMPARISON TABLE

Image
Stephen Joseph Quilted Backpack, Construction
Fjallraven, Kanken Mini Classic Backpack for Everyday
Our Favorite for Older Kids
Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack
Best Overall Value
Osprey Daylite Kid's Backpack
Our Favorite for Younger Kids
Mountaintop Kids Backpack for Boys Girls School Camping Childrens Backpack
Measurements
11.81" x 4.33" x 13"
7.9" x 5.1" x 11.4"
13" x 7.5" x 20"
12" x 3" x 17"
9.4" x 6.6" x 14.3"
Closure
Drawstring
Zipper
Zipper
Zipper
Zipper
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Age Recommendation
4+
6+
6+
4+
5+
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$
$$$
$
$$
$
Image
Stephen Joseph Quilted Backpack, Construction
Measurements
11.81" x 4.33" x 13"
Closure
Drawstring
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Age Recommendation
4+
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$
Image
Fjallraven, Kanken Mini Classic Backpack for Everyday
Measurements
7.9" x 5.1" x 11.4"
Closure
Zipper
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Age Recommendation
6+
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$$
Our Favorite for Older Kids
Image
Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack
Measurements
13" x 7.5" x 20"
Closure
Zipper
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Age Recommendation
6+
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$
Best Overall Value
Image
Osprey Daylite Kid's Backpack
Measurements
12" x 3" x 17"
Closure
Zipper
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Age Recommendation
4+
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$$
Our Favorite for Younger Kids
Image
Mountaintop Kids Backpack for Boys Girls School Camping Childrens Backpack
Measurements
9.4" x 6.6" x 14.3"
Closure
Zipper
Water Resistant
Bottle Holder
Age Recommendation
5+
Customer Rating
Price Rating
$

Stephen Joseph Quilted Backpack

Stephen Joseph Quilted Backpack

The Stephen Joseph Quilted Backpack is the most unique, kids travel backpack on our list. We included it to offer some variety, for parents that are interested in a different type of travel backpack for their kids. 

Unlike all of the other backpacks on our list, the material is cotton, and the closing mechanism is a drawstring and magnet. Since the material is cotton, it is not water-resistant and does not include a bottle holder, so if you are looking for something like that, this is the backpack for your little one.

There is a small side pocket to store their favorite toy for quick access. 

The major drawback of this travel backpack for kids is the lack of padding. The shoulder straps are not padded, so it will get uncomfortable is worn for a long time. Also, the graphics are limited, so if you want a different design, you may have to look for another brand.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Capacity
  • Size

Cons

  • Few designs
  • Thin straps
  • Shoulder straps not adjustable
  • No padding for comfort

Fjallraven, Kanken Mini Classic Backpack

Fjallraven, Kanken Mini Classic Backpack

Pros

  • Reflective Logo
  • Dirt resistant
  • High capacity
  • Large main compartment
  • Lots of color options

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No padding/cushion

Osprey Daylite Kid's Backpack

Osprey Daylite Kid's Backpack

Osprey is one of the most popular and well-known backpack brands and is a popular choice for backpackers. If you are an active family that enjoys the outdoors, the Osprey Daylite Kid's Backpack is perfect travel backpack for your kids.

This kids travel backpack has a hydration bladder that can be used to keep your little one hydrated for long days outside. One of the best things about this kids backpack is the lifetime warranty. If you have any problems with this bag you can contact customer service and they will help replace your travel backpack.

The only negative for this back is the lack of reflective lining to make it easier to see at night. Since this is a travel backpack that is often used for outdoor activity the extra safety measure would be a good idea.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Lifetime warranty
  •  Interior sleeve for hydration
  • Two water bottle pockets
  • Customer service

Cons

  • No reflective lining

Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack

Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack

The Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack isn't a kids' backpack, but it is so lightweight and functional that I wanted to include it on the list. If you are looking for an adult backpack for your little ones that are durable, affordable, lightweight, and have a large capacity then this is the perfect travel backpack.

The shoulder straps are mesh, although they do not have padding they are lightweight breathable for comfort. Based on the reviews the latest improvements are a hit with active backpackers. You can take this travel bag hiking for the day without any problems.

This backpack folds into an inner pocket the can easily fit in your luggage if needed. How awesome is that?

If you believe your kids are ready for a grown-up travel backpack, then this is the bag to try. Plus it's affordable, so if you decided you do not like it you won't have to spend a fortune.

There are complaints in the reviews about the inside of the bag. Several people have reported the inside melting in extreme heat.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Strong zipper
  • Different color options
  • Compact
  • Large main compartment
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • No reflective lining
  • Interior issues

Mountaintop Kids Backpack

Mountaintop Kids Backpack

The Mountaintop Kids Backpack is our favorite overall pick for the best kids travel backpack. This backpack is perfect for not only travel but your little ones heading to school. Unlike the toddler travel backpacks, this one can fit everything they need for school. 

What I love about this backpack are its durability and size. An added plus is all of the different available color options.

Like the other backpacks on our list, there are complaints about the size. Keep in mind these backpacks are for smaller kids, not older children. If you are looking for a larger backpack, I recommend finding something full-size.

Pros

  • Different color options
  • Extra mesh pocket
  • Large main compartment
  • Several pockets
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Size

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING THE BEST TRAVEL BACKPACK FOR KIDS & TODDLERS

Size

We've always said the most important thing about kids travel gear is that it is portable, affordable, and durable. A lightweight travel backpack is important for not only kids but adults.

Kids travel backpacks need to be small enough to fit their bodies, but large enough to hold everything they need while traveling.

Comfort

I put comfort high on the list of considering when buying the best travel backpack for kids because it is one of the most important factors. What's the point of getting a backpack that your kids do not want to wear because it is uncomfortable?

That is why I believe you should always look for shoulder pads when considering the perfect backpack for your kids. Padded shoulders make it easier to wear a backpack for long periods.

We all know we do not want a cranky toddler on our hands because they do not want to carry their backpack or are in pain.

Capacity

Depending on the age of your kids, the importance of capacity will vary.

If you are looking for a travel backpack for a toddler, the capacity can be less because most of their items are lightweight. A backpack with a large compartment and a few pockets will due for toddlers under 4 years old.

On the contrary, if you are looking for a travel backpack for an older kid, I'd recommend a higher capacity they can carry comfortably. This will allow them to fit heavier items inside the backpack for longer trips or use as an everyday backpack for school.

A lot of pockets are necessary if the main compartment is large enough to fit everything they need.

Durability

Durability is important when it comes to buying anything for kids because they can be rough sometimes. We want our travel gear to last as long as possible.

You want to have a backpack that has strong material such as nylon with YKK-grade zippers. Honestly, I don't think I've seen a zipper that wasn't YKK is quite some time.

Water-Resistant

The weather is unpredictable, so you don't want to get caught outside in a downpour with a backpack that is not water-resistant. This means that the material will repel the water keeping your kid's clothes, toys, paper, and snacks dry.

Trust us, we've learned from personal experience that cute isn't always functional when our toddler's travel back got soaked with his tablet inside.

Drink Holder

I think a drink holder is a basic feature for not only travel backpacks for children, but for adults too. It just makes getting to your drink easier and doesn't take up additional space in your backpack.

Plus, if your toddler is anything like ours, he likes to have his drink close, so trying to get inside the bag will lead to an unnecessary tantrum. We try to have his drink ready to go when needed, especially while we are traveling.

If possible, two drink holders would be ideal for toddler backpacks. We like to have separate juice and water cups for our little one. If your toddler still drinks milk, it would be nice to have different holders for them while traveling.

Last update on 2021-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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