Any backpack should be as lightweight and sturdy as possible because you certainly do not want the backpack itself to be heavy or overly burdensome. The zippers should be easily accessible and feature pull tabs; there should be a loop for hanging the backpack. Bargain backpacks are rarely a real deal because the zippers will fail, the fabric will wear and the overall construction and stitching may not be adequate. It is better to spend more on a backpack and get something worth the price. By the time your child is in high school or ready to head off to college, they may be set in their ways about what sort of backpack they want. Fashionable styles and trendy brands may or may not offer real value but it can be difficult to get kids to focus on functionality in the face of peer pressure and personal style. Try to focus on practical issues such as airline carry on restrictions, waterproof or water resistant features and laptop protection, all of which are important factors to consider when choosing a backpack.
For anyone with back issues, a wheeled backpack is an ideal solution because it takes the weight off your body and puts it on the ground. The High Sierra® AT-7 carry-on wheeled backpack with removable daypack is a classic example of a versatile backpack which should cover most of your toting and hauling needs.
No matter what backpack your child ends up with, the key issue is to limit what goes into the backpack because there is simply no need to lug heavy books and papers, especially when most kids have a smart phone anyway. Make it a practice to clean out the backpack at least once a week and discard anything that is not absolutely essential. Heavy items should be stored at the bottom of the backpack where the waist can bear most of the weight. Encourage kids to distribute weight by using a tote bag or gym bag in addition to a backpack – absolutely everything does not have to go into a backpack.
When shopping for anything from backpacks to dorm supplies and furniture it can be a struggle because as a parent, you want what is safest and best for your child while their concerns lie elsewhere. One good way to work together is by shopping online because you can share items and suggestions via social media and email in a non confrontational way; collaboration on purchases decisions can make some of the more difficult choices easier and you can compromise on the less important ones. Take a look online for high school and college prep checklists to get ideas on what makes sense for your child.