kids and toddlers carrying backpack on hiking trail

Parent-Approved: The 12 Best Travel Backpacks for Toddlers And Kids (2020 Guide)

Whether you’re a first-time traveler or a globetrotting veteran, there’s one thing for certain: the way you pack can make all the difference. Because no one wants to be stuck lugging an unwieldy suitcase around the airport or through a new, foreign city. Fortunately, a good set of functional luggage can save you from that fate, ensuring that your trip is as stress-free as possible.

Through our years of traveling, we’ve discovered that it’s easier to tote a backpack than drag roller bags through airports, on escalators, and down cobblestone streets. We love traveling with backpacks, and we think you will, too. If you have a toddler or infant then obviously you’ll have to tote a lot of their baggage. But if your child is older, there’s no reason why they can’t carry all their travel supplies on their own. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of the best travel backpacks for kids and toddlers.

Note: We’ve broken this list down into sections; one for toddlers and one for young kids ages 4+

What do we look for when choosing a travel backpack for kids?

  • Lightweight. Kids are small and it’s important not to over encumber their shoulders. When choosing a travel backpack, we prefer something that is lightweight.
  • Material and durability. We also look for backpacks that are durable. Heavy-duty packs are generally made of ultra-strong nylon material, nylon straps, and YKK-grade zippers.
  • Waterproof. Waterproof bags are the way to go because what good is a bag full of soaked clothes?
  • Capacity. Another thing to consider is the bag’s capacity. Obviously, you’re not going to load your kid down with a laptop, ten pairs of shoes, and your grandfather’s toupee, but you want something that can fit most of their travel essentials. On that note, a bag with several compartments is generally preferable. You don’t need a bag with like 15 compartments because, seriously, that’s overkill. But something with space for toys, clothes, and maybe a pocket for an iPad or something is pretty cool in our book.
  • Side bottle holder. Finally, we like bags with side bottle holders. If you’re out and about and get thirsty, you don’t want to scour the bottom of your bag for your bottle. Having it handy is always helpful.
  • Value for money. Do the features of the backpack justify its price?

So without further ado..let’s get to it!

At A Glance: Best Travel Backpacks for Toddlers

No. Backpack Name Weight Capacity/Dimensions  
1 Skip Hop Toddler Backpack 11 ounces Capacity unknown. Dimensions are 11 x 5 x 12 inches Check Price
2 Mountaintop Kids Toddler Backpack 9.9 ounces 5 liters Check Price
3 The North Face Youth Sprout Backpack 14.1 ounces 10 liters Check Price
4 Vaschy Little Kid Backpacks 12.3 ounces 11.5 liters Check Price
5 Wildkin Pack ‘n Snack Backpack 12 ounces Capacity unknown. Dimensions are 12.5 x 7.5 x 10.5 inches Check Price
6 Urban Packie Backpack 11.2 ounces Capacity unknown. Dimensions are 12.2 x 4.7 x 13.4 inches. Check Price

Best Travel Backpacks for Toddlers

1. Skip Hop Toddler Backpack

This bag is bound to be a hit with your little ones because its available in so many designs. There are unicorns, monkeys, dragons, butterflies, and several other cute options. The backpack features an insulated front pouch to keep snacks and drink chilled while the canvas exterior makes cleaning a breeze. On the side, you’ll find a mesh pocket perfect for water bottles and juice boxes. And the padded, adjustable straps will help your little ones travel in comfort and style.

One content parent wrote a review and updated it three years later saying, “My son still has the backpack, and it still works great! The zippers are still good and there are no tears or rips.” Skip Hop’s toddler backpack has over 3,000 reviews on Amazon and an average of five stars. But the common complaint? Its a little small. But then again, it is for a toddler, and we don’t want to over encumber their small shoulders.

Weight: 11 ounces
Material(s): Polyester
Capacity: Unknown, but dimensions are 11 x 5 x 12 inches
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 5 / 5

2. Mountaintop Kids Toddler Backpack

This five-liter backpack is ideal for toddlers between two and four years old. At only 9.9 ounces, it’s one of the lightest backpacks on this list. The water-resistant fabric is perfect if you happen to get caught in the rain while traveling or for those all too common spills. Durable YKK zippers open and close smoothly with each pull while the YKK sternum strap allows for maximum stability. Featuring mesh and padded straps, the backpack is comfortable and promotes circulation. Mountaintop’s toddler backpack has a “wet laundry” compartment as well as main compartment and two side mesh bottle holders.

One mom mentioned, “This is definitely a small backpack, and the picutres in the listing make it seem larger. However, it’s perfect for our three-year-old. We have him wear it when we’re going places so he can carry his own change of clothes (three pairs), toys, wipes, and sippy cup. Since it doesn’t fit too much stuff, it will never be too heavy for your toddler to carry around.”

Weight: 9.9 ounces
Material(s): Polyester
Capacity: 5 liters
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 5 / 5

3. The North Face Youth Sprout Backpack

A leading manufacturer of outdoor gear, The North Face’s Youth Sprout backpack is designed for children ages two to four. It’s available in several neutral tones and a few brighter colors. The pack is decked with youth-specific shoulder straps and a hook and loop sternum strap. This travel backpack has a large compartment and a smaller, zippered external pocket. Easily access your drink thanks to the mesh bottle holders on either side.

Though this pack is great quality from a trusted name, it is quite small. But we love it! It’s actually the bag that Aarav uses when we travel. We fill it with things that will keep him entertained and other essentials such as toys, a change of clothes, diapers, and maybe an iPad. When purchasing, though, keep in mind that while there is room for adjustment on the shoulder straps, the bag is not big enough for parents to sling the bag over their own shoulders.

Weight: 14.1 ounces
Material(s): Polyester
Capacity: 10 liters
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 4 / 5

4. Vaschy Little Kid Backpacks

This stylish backpack comes in a range of colors and designs. It features easy to open and close zippers, a large main compartment, two side pockets for water bottles, and top loops for storage. Made of waterproof polyester, it’s lightweight and easy to clean. Adjustable padded shoulder straps offer comfort and support while the sternum strap stabilizes the load for maximum comfort. The pack is recommended for children three-years-old and up and comes with a two-year warranty.

One parent on Amazon mentioned, “The colors and designs are perfect for preschoolers. I did a lot of searching for a backpack that was large enough to hold paper/folders but not so big that it would overwhelm the frame of my petite four-year-old. I’m pleased to say that this backpack not only met my needs, but my little one approves of it as well.” Despite mostly positive remarks, several parents have mentioned that the shoulder straps have a tendency to rip at the seams.

Weight: 12.3 ounces
Material(s): Polyester
Capacity: 11.5 liters
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 3 / 5

5. Wildkin Pack ‘n Snack Backpack

This backpack by Wildkin is the perfect size for your little one. It has two zippered compartments for easy organization. The front pocket is insulated and easy-to-clean, so you can pack snacks in it without having to worry about spills. Just stuff an ice pack in there, and your kid’s snacks will be chilled all day. Reflective tape along the front of the bookbag ensures that your child can be seen, even in the dark. Two padded, adjustable shoulder straps provide comfortable wear and the durable top loop is perfect for hanging in a cubby. The polyester is super durable and easy to clean. And best of all, you can also purchase matching lunch boxes, nap mats, duffel bags, water bottles, blankets, and more.

A pleased parent wrote, “We love the pattern, size, and quality of the backpack. It fits easily under most airline seats, and the zippers are heavy-duty, durable, and easy to pull.” The only recurring complaint is that the bag is too small to fit a standard sheet of paper, so it can’t be used for preschool purposes.

Weight: 12 ounces
Material(s): Polyester
Capacity: Unknown, but dimensions are 12.5 x 7.5 x 10.5 inches
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 3 / 5

6. Urban Packie Backpack

Made from laminated polyester, this bookbag is stylish and easy-to-clean. One of the best features of this pack is the side tube. You can roll up a coloring book to keep your kid entertained while dining. On the other side of the pack is a stretchable mesh pocket for water bottles. The backpack also features an interior zippered compartment and a “D” ring for attaching a toy.

Reviews on Amazon include words such as “lightweight, easy-to-clean, comfortable to wear, and durable.” Again, many parents complain about it being too small, but we think it’s perfect since toddlers tend to be small and can’t carry much weight anyway. But besides that, the Urban Infant pack delivers on style, weight, and value.

 Weight: 11.2 ounces
Material(s): Polyester
Capacity: Unknown, but dimensions are 12.2 x 4.7 x 13.4 inches
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 3 / 5

Our Ratings Guide For Best Toddler Backpacks

Backpack Name Weight Capacity/Dimensions Value for Money
Skip Hop Toddler Backpack 11 ounces Capacity unknown. Dimensions are 11 x 5 x 12 inches 5/5
Mountaintop Kids Toddler Backpack 9.9 ounces 5 liters 5/5
The North Face Youth Sprout Backpack 14.1 ounces 10 liters 4/5
Vaschy Little Kid Backpack 12.3 ounces 11.5 liters 3/5
Wildkin Pack ‘n Snack Backpack 12 ounces Capacity unknown. Dimensions are 12.5 x 7.5 x 10.5 inches 3/5
Urban Packie Backpack 11.2 ounces Capacity unknown. Dimensions are 12.2 x 4.7 x 13.4 inches. 3/5

Here are the best travel backpacks for kids that are no longer toddlers (ages 4+). These backpacks are meant for kids that are generally in pre-K or above and can potentially carry their own backpack around.

At A Glance: Best Travel Backpacks for Older Kids (Ages 4+)

No. Backpack Name Weight Capacity  
1 Bago Lightweight Foldable Daypack 11.2 ounces 25 liters Check price
2 Mountaintop Kids School Backpack Unknown 30 liters Check price
3 Osprey Jet 12 Kid’s Hiking Backpack 14 ounces 12 liters Check price
4 Quechua Kids Outdoor Backpack 5.6 ounces 10 liters Check price
5 CamelBak Kid’s Scout Hydration Pack 10 ounces 12.5 liters Check price
6 Ladyzone Lightweight Travel Backpack 22.6 ounces Capacity unknown. Dimensions are 17.3 x 11.8 x 5.9 inches Check price

Best Travel Backpacks for Older Kids (Ages 4+)

1. Bago 25L Lightweight Foldable Daypack

This foldable 25-liter travel backpack for kids comes in eight different colors. The honeycomb polyester fabric is waterproof, durable, and tear-resistant. This pack has several compartments including the large main compartment, a mesh front jacket pocket, an external medium pocket, and an inner zip pocket. Each side of the pack has a water bottle pocket, and the mesh straps are breathable, making this the perfect pack if you anticipate your little ones working up a sweat outdoors.

Super lightweight and foldable, the 25-liter Bago pack tops our list. It’s affordable, available in a variety of colors, and, in our opinion, the best travel backpack for kids. One mom raved, “The water bottle holder netting on each side is much deeper than most packs and even holds a decently-sized Nalgene bottle. Everything from the zippers to the design and arrangement of the pockets is awesome. The larger internal pocket serves as the pouch it folds into. This has much more durable material than most similar packs without sacrificing quality or weight.

Weight: 11.2 ounces
Material(s): Polyester, mesh
Capacity: 25 liters
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 5/5

2. Mountaintop Kids School Backpack

This bag by Mountaintop is definitely one of the best travel backpacks for kids. Durable YKK zippers open and close smoothly. The soft latching loop on the front of the bookbag allows you to easily carry jackets, stuffed animals, or other lightweight items. Elastic side pockets adjust to hold snacks, water bottles, and other items that your child may need to quickly access. For extra comfort, the adjustable shoulder straps are padded and feature breathable mesh. The back of the pack is also padded and covered with breathable mesh so that it’s comfortable on your child’s back. 

The Mountaintop pack has a large main compartment with an interior mesh pocket. The front of the pack has a smaller half compartment with a mesh compartment for safekeeping special items. Seventy-eight percent of almost 200 reviewers on Amazon gave the backpack five stars. Comments included things such as “bright and definitely childlike,” “nice and sturdy material,” and “well-made.”

Weight: Unknown
Material(s): Polyester
Capacity: 30 liters
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 5 / 5

3. Osprey Jet 12 Kid’s Hiking Backpack

Osprey is one of the most trusted names in the backpacking industry, and their Jet 12 Kid’s Hiking Backpack certainly doesn’t disappoint. This pack is just the right size for kids who are big enough to carry their gear. Featuring a mesh back panel and fleece-lined shoulder harness, your kids will be comfortable as they tote their belongings. The hip belt with mesh wings and sternum strap help keep the pack stable at all times.

The front panel access to the primary compartment allows for easy packing and unpacking. An external zippered compartment is ideal for snacks or small items while the internal zippered pocket is good for small items that require a bit more protection. Dual stretch mesh side pockets give your little ones a place to stash newly found treasures or keep their water bottle. The shoulder strap even has a small mesh pocket.

Weight: 14 ounces
Material(s): Nylon
Capacity: 12 liters
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 4 / 5

4. Quechua Kids Outdoor Backpack

A waterproof and tear-resistant backpack by Quechua, this pack is small and great for children of all ages. The bag features adjustable shoulder straps and two main compartments. It’s lightweight yet large enough to store a change of clothes, snacks, and a few bottles of water. The pack is available is several colors including mint, pink, light pink, charcoal, black, and several others.

This travel bookbag for kids has received excellent reviews on Amazon. When this article was written, there were 405 ratings. Seventy percent of raters gave the product five stars. One mother commented, “I was looking for a cute, low cost, small backpack for my kids to use while hiking the Smoky Mountains. I didn’t want to carry every treasure, snack, water bottle, and lunch, so I figured they’d do well with these small packs. They held up great and were comfortable enough for them to wear on a five-mile hike. They were the perfect size for my littles (8 and 5-years-old). Now we use them for day trips or anywhere else we may be packing a lunch.”

Weight: 5.6 ounces
Material(s): Nylon
Capacity: 10 liters
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: No
Value for Money: 4 / 5

5. CamelBak 2018 Kid’s Scout Hydration Pack, 50 oz.

The CamelBak Kid’s Scout Hydration Pack is one of the best travel backpacks for children, especially if you plan on doing a lot of walking or hiking. With a short torso length specifically designed for younger explorers, this pack is tailor-made for preschoolers and grade-school students. The pack features a large main compartment, a wicking mesh back panel, a 1.5-liter reservoir, and two side pockets. The sternum strap features a safety whistle and allows for maximum stability.

The CamelBak has very high ratings on Amazon. One grandmother commented, “Great pack. I bought it for my eight-year-old grandson. It’s lightweight and built for his small frame. He has plenty of room for a jacket and lunch or a few books or toys. Kids love having their own water supply. The novelty of the hose encourages them to drink water, and I don’t have to carry their stuff. Win, win!” We agree!

Weight: 10 ounces
Material(s): Nylon, mesh
Capacity: 12.5 liters
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 4 / 5

6. Ladyzone Lightweight Travel Backpack

Crafted from tear-resistant, splash-proof, and scratch-resistant nylon fabric, this backpack can hold up for many years. The Ladyzone backpack features a main compartment, a vice pocket, a front pocket, and a smaller pencil case pocket. For maximum comfort, the backpack features adjustable and padded sponge shoulder straps with a reflective stripe. Available in various colors and designs, older kids are sure to love traveling with this daypack.

One mom wrote, “When I purchased this bookbag, I wasn’t expecting much due to how inexpensive it was. But when I opened the package, I instantly realized this bookbag would be different. The material is very sturdy, and I absolutely loved the unique, bright design.” Just be sure to note that some styles come with pencil cases and some do not.

Weight: 22.6 ounces
Material(s): Nylon
Capacity: Unknown, but the dimensions are 17.3 x 11.8 x 5.9 inches
Waterproof?: Yes
Side bottle holder(s)?: Yes
Value for Money: 4 / 5

Our Ratings Guide For Best Kids Travel Backpacks (Ages 4+)

Backpack Name Weight Materials Capacity Value for Money
Bago 25L Lightweight Foldable Daypack 11.2 ounces Polyester, mesh 25 liters 5/5
Mountaintop Kids School Backpack Unknown Polyester 30 liters 5/5
Osprey Jet 12 Kid’s Hiking Backpack 14 ounces Nylon 12 liters 4/5
Quechua Kids Outdoor Backpack 5.6 ounces Nylon 10 liters 4/5
CamelBak 2018 Kid’s Scout Hydration Pack, 50 oz. 10 ounces Nylon, mesh 12.5 liters 4/5
Ladyzone Lightweight Travel Backpack 22.6 ounces Nylon Capacity unknown. Dimensions are 17.3 x 11.8 x 5.9 inches 4/5

When traveling with children, it’s easy for parents to overwhelm themselves. We want to make our littles as comfortable as possible so we carry their lunches, their drinks, and their toys (although they promised they’d hold their stuffed animal the whole time). Shoot, and if we didn’t pack a travel stroller, all too often we end up carrying the kid, too. But kids that travel often actually like carrying their own stuff. It makes them feel helpful and independent. And with these stylish and comfortable kid travel backpacks, they’ll probably want to carry some of your stuff, too!

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