Holy backpacks, I never knew there were so many fabulous flavors to choose from out there! I did some Smarty research for you to compare costs and designs for your shopping pleasure for the 2009 back-to-school season. Following are my top picks for backpacks this year:
Garnet Hill Signature Backpack Selection is top of my list this year, mainly because of the ponies theme since my kindergartner is obsessed with horses! I’m also loving the orange camo theme for boys. I would highly recommend the Backpack Junior ($29.50) for kindergartners since it fits a standard folder and you don’t want it too heavy on their backs. The Backpack collection for $39.50 is designed for ages 7 and up. Garnet Hill is offering a free lunch pack with the purchase of a backpack through July 28th, these retail for $16.50. Shipping is free right now too. Can’t beat that.
Pottery Barn Kids – wow, this is an impressive collection! That pink & green polka dot Mackenzie Collection is the CUTEST I have seen! I bought Ansley’s first backpack 3 years ago from PBK when she was in kindergarten and that bag is in perfect condition and still going strong. I would recommend the small backpack ($39) for kindergartners and the large backpack ($45) for 2nd grade and up. Don’t even bother with a preschool backpack because most preschools in Charlotte provide their own bags. FYI, their lunchbags are $19. PBK is also offering free shipping right now.
L.L.Bean has had super cool backpacks for as long as I can remember and their Junior Original Book Pack for $22.95 will not disappoint. This bag is perfect for K-2. The Original Book Pack for $27.95 is perfect for ages 7 and up and the Deluxe Book Pack for $39.95 is good for 10 and up.
Lands End has been the backpack headquarters for some time now too, rivaling that of L.L.Bean. Their ClassMate line is what I would look at for elementary school kids. The ClassMate SmallHaul backpack for $24.50 is perfect for K-2. You can promote your kids to the ClassMate StudyHaul backpack for grades 3 and up. By this age, your kids will want to throw everything they can in their backpacks so it’s important to have a little extra room. Lands End lunch boxes range from $14.50 to $19.50. I tend to think Lands End and L.L.Bean have a good boy backpack selection.
My super-hip sister-in-law in NYC recommends the School Mood collection on luggage.com. These backpacks are pretty pricey, but so well made they will last forever. They are German-designed and totally awesome with eight zillion compartments to store all the cool stuff your child needs!
One other item that I would HIGHLY recommend to go in your backpacks and lunchboxes are the new Crocodile Creek stainless steel drinking bottles for under $10 (yay, now we don’t have to pay $25 for our Sigg bottles!). You can find a huge selection of these locally (we should ALWAYS shop locally when we can:-) at Toys & Co. in Cotswold. These are the perfect size for lunch boxes and you’ll live better knowing that you are saving the environment!
One last Smarty tip. Don’t ever buy backpacks with wheels because most schools don’t allow them – they are heavy and bulky and dangerous in the halls of the schools.
Happy shopping, Smarties and please, please, share your back-to-school tips!
P.S. Ahoy, Smarties! Don’t forget to register for our latest giveaway from our friends at Discovery Place. Click here to find out more about your chance to win a Family 4-Pack to SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure. Hurry, this ends Sunday, July 19. Good luck!