Back to School Prep: Finding a Backpack

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We’re smack dab in the middle of summer, but my daughter, so excited to be going to the fifth grade, has already presented me with her school supply list and started talking to me about what she’ll need. She’s used the same backpack for the past two school years, so this year, finding a new one is a priority. So when Walmart offered to send me a few backpacks to review, I was more than happy to oblige.

They offer a wide variety of backpacks at prices starting at less than $4. Here are my thoughts on the three I got to try.

No Boundaries Printed Canvas Buckle Flap Backpack

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As soon as I received the backpacks, my daughter claimed this one. It’s not hard to see why. It is super cute! The floral print is gorgeous and attention-grabbing. However, this is a soft canvas bag with cotton straps, so it’s not ideal for carrying heavy books. When we filled it with her typical school load: Large filled binder, a few books, a sweatshirt and a few other odds and ends, it became uncomfortable on her shoulders really quickly.

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Instead, she’s been using the backpack when she goes to gymnastics training to carry her extra clothes, snack and a few other small personal items. It has been perfect for that, and she says several of her teammates have asked where she got her bag. The snap on the main pocket did pop off after a few weeks, but the main compartment also has a pull-tie closure, so it’s still completely secure and usable. The price point is $18.88, and this one has been her favorite, by far.

Printed Backpack With Reinforced Bottom & Comfort Padding

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The second bag in the lineup is a more traditional style with a unique twist — the awesome printed fabric. If I had need for a backpack, the pattern alone would make this my pick. But the bag also has padded straps, which makes it a much better option for my daughter to use for school on an everyday basis. Packed with a typical school day load, the straps were still comfortable to wear and didn’t imprint in her shoulders like the softer canvas bag.

Her only complaint was that she wishes it had more pockets, both inside and out, to help her better organize her snack, water bottle, supplies, etc. There is one pocket on the inside, and one on the outside, but a few more would be welcome. The fabric is sturdy and seems like it would hold up well to daily use. The best part? This bags costs just $9.88. You really can’t beat that price.

Basic Front Pocket Backpack

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The final option is a small, 16″ basic backpack in solid gray with green trim — definitely function over form. Style wise, it would be my last choice, but it is clean and simple and still pretty nice to look at.

Priced at just $3.97, it is definitely more of an entry-level backpack. It is smaller than the other two bags, the fabric is thinner, and the straps were padded, but narrow. As a result, I think this would be better used for smaller kids who have less to carry each day, or used for recreational purposes. It has served us well to tote snacks, baby wipes and drinks when we go to the park. But it’s not so well-suited for anything much heavier than that. It appeared a bit strained when we filled it with all my daughters books, and I don’t think it would last more than a few weeks with daily use with a heavy load. However, it would be great for a child in preschool or kindergarten.

There are a ton of other backpack options available at Walmart — different sizes, price points and levels of quality. It shouldn’t be hard to find the right option for you or your child’s situation. My daughter is still looking for her perfect bag, but Walmart is the first place we’re going to look.

[wmtdisclosure]

By jennae

Hi! I'm Jennae Petersen and I'm the eco diva who had the bright idea to share my journey toward green living with the blogosphere. Some of you may know me as the founder of Green Your Decor, my blog about eco-friendly home decor, as a Walmart Mom, from Twitter or from my organic cotton t-shirt line Differently Clothing. Stick around for a while!

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