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A Complete Guide to the Top Kids Backpacks for Travel in 2023


Traveling with kids isn’t always smooth sailing, but the latest kids backpacks for travel purposes have some fantastic features built into them. Whether consumers are hopping on a plane or train, or simply planning a family road trip, backpacks are the perfect choice of luggage for kids as they allow them to carry around all of their own items handsfree and they eliminate the need to pull larger suitcases around with them.

Here’s a complete guide to the top backpacks for travel, which includes some tips on what consumers look for when purchasing backpacks as well as which options are most suitable for certain age groups.

Table of Contents
What to consider when purchasing backpacks for kids
Global market value of kids backpacks
Top kids backpacks for travel
Popularity of backpacks for kids when traveling

What to consider when purchasing backpacks for kids

Like all types of luggage, there are some important features that need to be taken into account before the consumer will purchase a backpack for their children. Smaller kids will require a less complicated backpack, and they may need one that’s made of a more durable material. 

Older kids, on the other hand, may tend to prefer a more sophisticated type of backpack for traveling with plenty of separate compartments available for their personal items. Here are some of the key things to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the right kids backpacks for travel.

Group of children at campsite wearing variety of backpacks


Durability plays a big role in the selection process. Consumers certainly don’t want their kid’s backpack breaking halfway through a journey so it’s important to have a strong material for not only the shell of the backpack but also the straps. Parents will often need to clean their children’s backpack when they’re of a younger age so it’s a good idea to use either a wipeable softshell backpack or a hardshell backpack – both can easily be cleaned.

Kids are notorious for accidentally breaking their personal possessions so having a hardy material that’s thick enough to endure a lot of wear and tear is also worth looking into as parents don’t want to keep purchasing a new backpack every few months.


After durability comes comfort. The top kids backpacks for travel are built for long hauls so there’s no need to worry about discomfort. Straps should have comfortable padding built into them and allow for easy adjustments so they can securely fit on the shoulders. For consumers who are traveling with only a backpack for convenience, it’s important to take into account that the backpack will be worn for an extended period of time so it should still be comfortable for the wearer after a few hours of it continuously being worn.

As well as the straps, the padding on the back of the backpack should also be just as comfortable. Many softshell backpacks are now being designed with breathability in mind so the extra padding allows for air to flow through the back to eliminate excessive sweating or overheating. Kids will sometimes take their backpack off and hand it over to their parents if they’re too tired or it’s uncomfortable to wear, so choosing a backpack with the right amount of comfort is key in the buying process.


Storage is a vital component to any backpack for kids, regardless of age. Younger kids will need space to not only back essentials such as clothing and toiletries, but also space to include toys that will keep them entertained during the journey. Many backpacks designed for younger kids will have a simple design to them with a large main compartment so that it’s easy to pack and easy for them to access their belongings without needing to deal with too many zippers.

For older kids backpacks will have more separated compartments added to them so that they can start to transition from kids backpacks to adult ones. Storage space can include, but isn’t limited to, a water bottle holder on the outside, space for electronics, a removable toiletry bag, and hidden compartments for valuables. 

Age appropriateness 

This is a big one because not all backpacks are built for kids of all ages. Older children won’t want to be traveling with childish designs on their backpacks and they’ll need more storage space and compartments inside the backpack compared to younger children. On the other hand too many features can be overwhelming for ages 3-10 so simplicity is key in this instance. 

Consumers will also want to make sure that the backpack isn’t too heavy in the event that it will be worn for a few hours at a time and that it’s small enough for the child in question to wear comfortably.

Global market value of kids backpacks

The backpack is one of the most widely used pieces of luggage globally, by both adults and kids. In recent years the market has seen a surge in demand for kids backpacks that are both durable and lightweight, and with the rise in ecommerce and online purchases being made through smartphones it’s never been easier to find a suitable backpack for any age group.

The global backpack market as a whole was worth USD 18.5 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6%, bringing its value up to USD 19.6 billion by the end of 2023. By 2027 the market value of backpacks is projected to reach USD 23.96 billion at a CAGR of 5.1%. This growth is down to an increase in travel and outdoor activities among consumers with kids backpacks making up a significant portion of these numbers. 

Young girl at airport holding passport and wearing comfortable backpack

Top kids backpacks for travel

With the increase in demand for kids backpacks in recent years the market has seen a surge in the variety of types of backpacks that consumers can choose from. There are no shortages of backpacks for all age groups, but the most popular today include the cartoon toddler bag, the waterproof backpack, the laptop backpack, the lightweight backpack, and the backpack on wheels. These will now be looked at in more detail.

Cartoon toddler bag

Having the correct size of backpack for a child is important not only for the level of comfort but also for the overall functionality of it. The cartoon toddler bag is a very popular type of kids backpack for travel and it can also be used for other activities such as going to school. This type of backpack is significantly smaller than a regular sized backpack and is designed to fit toddlers perfectly without much adjustment. 

The key feature of the toddler backpack is the amount of open space it has inside of it. There aren’t usually a lot of compartments inside this backpack, although there may be one attached to the front to add to the design element. The large amount of space inside the bag allows for the toddler to learn how to pack their own bag for a trip and it also gives them easy access to the contents inside. Consumers will often look for an easy to clean material for these backpacks, such as neoprene, since toddlers can be messy!

Toddler wearing an animal face backpack at the airport

Waterproof backpack

The waterproof backpack is designed with durability and functionality in mind and is catered towards pre-teens or older. This type of backpack is often advertised as a school backpack but recently the market is seeing more of a demand for the waterproof backpack for travel as well. The waterproof material is perfect for keeping valuables safe from water damage while on the go, especially if the consumer is traveling in the off season when rain is a higher probability. 

This handy backpack also boasts a number of other important features to take into account. The large main compartment of the backpack can hold multiple days worth of clothing inside it, and the alternative smaller storage compartments are ideal for holding valuables or items that should be kept separate from clothing – even food! Many kids now travel with their own laptop and this style of backpack also includes a useful laptop sleeve for easy transportation. 

Boy waiting to board yellow bus wearing waterproof backpack

Laptop backpack

Not to be confused with the waterproof backpack, the laptop backpack is designed with a more business approach to it and is not only used by adults but also kids who are trying to be more mature with their luggage choices. There are various sizes of this backpack available so there are options for smaller or larger backpacks depending on the size of the laptop that it needs to hold. 

The laptop backpack is a very popular choice of kids backpacks for travel purposes. They often come with a built-in anti-theft locking system as well as a USB charging port that allows the user to hook their portable charger up to it for easy smartphone charging capabilities. In some instances the consumer can also take advantage of a separate shoe compartment in the event that they need to change shoes quickly. Overall this is one backpack that’s certainly on the rise in terms of popularity and has a lot of important features not seen in other kids backpacks. 

Navy backpack with laptop and portable charger hanging out

Lightweight backpack

Consumers who travel regularly know the importance of having lightweight luggage and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to kids’ backpacks for travel. The lightweight backpack has grown in demand in the past few years, especially with parents who have very young kids who can’t carry a heavy backpack all day long. These backpacks vary in size but are generally large enough to hold a tablet or small laptop as well as a few items of clothing and other essentials.

The lightweight material used to create this backpack also gives it a flexibility that other, sturdier backpacks lack. This means that if the consumer is very tight for space they can probably squeeze something a little extra into the backpack. There are endless styles of the lightweight backpack to choose from so kids of all ages have plenty of options at their fingertips.

Young girl with pigtails wearing blue lightweight backpack

Backpack on wheels

The overall concept of a backpack is that it’s worn on the back. However the backpack on wheels is a very popular choice of luggage for children as it gives them the option of carrying it or wheeling it. Despite the addition of the frame and wheels, the rolling backpack is still extremely lightweight and easy to carry when the wheels aren’t in use. When the wheels aren’t needed they can also be disassembled.

This backpack is also designed with comfort in mind, with breathable back and shoulder straps as well as plenty of storage compartments that provide easy access for the consumer. Many parents opt for the backpack on wheels for younger children but it’s becoming increasingly popular with older kids too thanks to the more mature designs that are hitting the market. 

Two girls walking through park with one rolling a backpack

Popularity of backpacks for kids when traveling

This guide to the top kids backpacks for travel purposes has looked at a number of important points. The key factors to consider when consumers are choosing a backpack for their child include durability, comfort, the amount of storage it contains, and the overall age appropriateness of the backpack. Many of the latest backpack designs will have taken all of these points into account due to the most recent consumer demands.

Today’s market is bursting with backpack choices but the top kids backpacks for travel among consumers include the cartoon toddler bag, the waterproof backpack, the laptop backpack, the lightweight backpack, and the backpack on wheels. In the coming years the market is expecting more functional forms of backpacks to be available that also take eco-friendly materials into account in an attempt to appeal to a wider range of consumers. 

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