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Get the right backpack for school

Arguably the most essential non-tech item students need for back to school is a backpack and choosing the right one can make all the difference.

What types of backpacks for school are available?

There are plenty of functional and stylish backpacks for back to school. For older kids, you’ll find larger backpacks with laptop compartments while backpacks for school-aged kids are smaller, might feature pop culture designs relating to movies, TV shows, or video game characters, and sometimes even include a matching lunch bag.

Available from popular brands like High Sierra, WillLand, London City, Trochi, and Heys, there are day backpacks that hold a laptop and a few other necessities and larger school backpacks designed to carry loads of books, tech gadgets, and other gear needed to achieve educational success this year. Some have pockets both inside and out. You can even find models with built-in USB charging ports.

Materials range from canvas to nylon, cotton to leather, with styles you can use for school, travel, sleepovers, and beyond. Most have double straps for evenly distributing weight while others can be worn messenger-style, one of the latest trends, for those who prefer it when carrying a lighter load.

What features should you look for in backpacks for school?

The most important features in a backpack largely depend on what you plan to put inside. Laptops are common nowadays and school, so you’ll need a backpack with an amply padded laptop compartment that’s large enough to fit your computer.

Whatever the style, the backpack should sit nicely on your body and the straps should be adjustable for comfort, especially if you’ll be walking to and from school or from one class to the next every day. For material, waterproof canvas and nylon are durable while leather looks more elegant.

Make sure the spacious interior can accommodate everything you need, from a lunch bag to books, notebooks, chargers, and a smartphone. For smaller items like pens, pencils, stylus, mathematics tools, and packaged snacks, a backpack with interior pockets (even a separate exterior one) will be an organizer’s dream. A water bottle holder will encourage you to bring one along and stay hydrated throughout the day.

How to extend the life of a backpack

Whether you splurged on an expensive designer backpack or found one for a great deal, extend its use as long as possible by properly cleaning and maintaining it. Some backpacks are machine washable while others, like leather, can only be spot cleaned, so keep this in mind when choosing material.

Once ready to wash, empty it, including all pockets, and use a wet cloth or even small handheld vacuum to pull dirt or debris from the interior. For machine washing, instructions will likely advise to use a delicate or gentle cycle, then let it air dry. Spot clean stains right away with mild dish soap, warm water, and a small brush, even an unused toothbrush.

Prevent spillage by keeping food in a separate lunch bag so remnants don’t get inside. When possible, avoid placing the bag on the ground or dirty floor. Occasionally, go through the bag, toss what you don’t need, and reorganize so it’s always in tip-top condition.