Our Favorite Backpacks


August is the Sunday of summer: when the eighth month rolls around, you know the party is almost over.  At least one can look forward to buying school supplies.  Then again, these days school supplies seem to be more about cartons of Kleenex, so the pre-fall joy of shopping for a personal 64-crayon box has all but vanished.

Thank God for backpacks.  These crayola-colored book bags by Beatrix New York — stylized and light-hearted — help preserve the hope that children might remain innocent a little longer.

At $40 to $50, they are not inexpensive, but I believe that things that get a lot of use, like desk chairs, strollers and mattresses, warrant a heftier investment.

My daughter, Virginia, toted this lion backpack to kindergarten all year.  School bags proportioned for the preschool set are hard to find; the “little kid” size is a perfect fit for a two- to five-year-old.  When we realized she needed more space for papers in first grade, it got washed and put away, and now her little brother, Mark, uses it for preschool.

Sofia picked the shark (named “Nigel”) in the big-kid size for her second grade year at P.S. 183.  Now it is about to embark on year number two at Fayetteville Elementary here in Syracuse.

Chasing Fireflies, an extravagant children’s boutique, carries most of them, or you can see and order the whole line (which includes lunch boxes and diaper bags) directly from the Beatrix New York website.  Not that this would have any sway, but the brand is apparently a fave among today’s child-rearing celebs (like Liv Tyler, Katie Holmes, and Jennifer Garner).

An added plus:  the unisex design means they can be re-used by younger siblings.  If only they weren’t so dang durable, we would love to buy a new one every year.

What sturdy backpacks do you love?

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  • Cassie August 4, 2010, 9:18 pm

    I can’t rave enough about the Dante Beatrix bag. My son loves loves loves pigs and it has the best pig. Very pink, but still “manly” enough for a 3-year-old. As they get older, we go for the LLBean or Lands End bags, but the preschool set needs these tiny bags.

  • Ghi August 4, 2010, 8:44 am

    I bought a Dante Beatrix backpack for my daughter and so far it has held up well, and she loves it… I’m hoping it will get her through the next 2-3 years of school. On the other hand, my son is still using a 5$ backpack I bought from Ikea YEARS ago… I’m not sure how it has made it this far but it has another year or so in it…

  • Beth August 2, 2010, 9:24 pm

    We just bought a LLbean backpack. Aurelia was thrilled to get the monogram since her name is not common in the USA. (maybe it is in Italy?) The pack looks so sturdy that she’ll be using it for years to come! Glad to hear that you’re family is settled into the new-ness. Take care!

    • Amy August 27, 2010, 11:00 am

      Beth, Ghi and Cassie,

      Thanks so much for your comments and ideas about backpacks. I agree that the Dante Beatrix pig is adorable. And I’ve heard good things about LL Bean and Lands End. I like how they don’t have all the business and TV character promotions that you find so often.