When I volunteered to buy back-to-school backpacks for 2 teenage nieces and a 12 year old nephew, I was ready for a challenge. I’m on a budget, and I know the price of school supplies can be high. I also know what kind of a beating a backpack can take. Being thrifty (and a bit geeky), I decided to do a little field work first. I narrowed my choices down to 4 different backpacks that fit the criteria of being reasonably priced, attractive, practical and durable. Here they are in the order of my preference:
#1 – JanSport Superbreak Backpack, priced around $30
I really like this backpack, and I’m not alone. This is a very popular bag with thousands of favorable online reviews, but it’s the lifetime warranty that really sold me. My 15 year old niece loves the fact that it comes in more than 30 colors and patterns, and I like its strong polyester construction. The Superbreak is built with a padded back and straps and is fairly comfortable to carry. Measuring 13″ x 16.7″ x 8.5″, it easily holds all of my niece’s text books and notebooks. There is a large main compartment and a smaller zippered pocket on the front.
The classic and simple design gives this bag the appearance of a much more expensive item. We bought Superbreak in red plaid, and my niece uses it as a fashion accessory.Don’t worry though, there are plenty of cool colors and styles for boys too. The JanSport Superbreak is a high quality, reliable backpack. It’s perfect for the student who wants to carry the basics to school in style.
#2 – Eastport Outdoor Recreation Group Morph Backpack, priced under $20
If your funds are a little more limited, but you still need a large and sturdy bag, try this one. I bought the Eastport Outdoor Recreation backpack for my 12 year old nephew. He needs room for sports accessories as well as books, and since style isn’t as important to him as function, this seemed like a great option. The dimensions on this backpack are 15.5 x 19.5 x 2.0. That leaves plenty of space for books, sneakers, cell phone, video games, etc. This bag has a large main compartment, 2 pockets on the sides and another pocket on the front for the items my nephew uses most often. It also has reflective safety features, padded straps for comfort, a chest strap and the ability to take whatever abuse my nephew dishes out. This was a terrific find.
#3 – Case Logic 16″ Laptop Backpack, priced around $40
When it came time to buy a backpack for my older niece, I was forced to shell out a little extra for a bag that would accomodate a laptop. This one from Case Logic is an incredible deal, and it comes with a 25 year warranty. It is extremely durable. It’s only available in 3 colors, but one of them happens to be purple (my niece’s favorite). This backpack is designed for superior protection of your electronic equipment. There are neoprene compartments in the front to protect even the most sensitive devices. The bag measures 19.3″ x 14.6″ x 3.9″ and will hold a laptop measuring up to 15.2″ x 10.8″ x 1.8″ as well as books and other school supplies. This is not the most comfortable backpack, but none of the laptop backpacks I tried were very comfortable. The protection it offers for the price is more than enough to make up for a little discomfort.
#4 – Western Pack Day Tripper Backpack, priced under $20
I actually found this one by accident and bought it for myself. It’s my favorite backpack, very light weight and comfortable. It comes in a variety of colors and it’s even water resistant. It isn’t very large, only 17″ x 13″ x 8″, but it suits my needs. I think this thing could survive anything. I bring it with me when I go hiking with the dog or biking through the park. It’s a real gem. It would be perfect for a student who prefers carrying a sleeker backpack as well.
So I met the challenge and outfitted three kids for less than $100. I took my time, researched, and came up with solutions that could last a couple of years at least. I even managed to treat myself to a little something in the process, proving that it’s still possible to get high quality and good looks on a budget.