Best Backpack for Traveling with Kids
Traveling with your kids is something that most parents will relish, but finding the best backpack for traveling with kids is a decision that can befuddle many, especially new parents.
With the plethora of features and models that can dazzle or confuse you, it’s no wonder that many parents get it wrong or simply give up when trying to find a backpack to suit their family’s needs.
Choosing the right backpack will save you from fumbling in the airport, will help keep your valuables secure, and will withstand years of wear and tear as you embark on more adventures with your loved ones.
WWB writer, Maryam, is here to help you pick the best backpack for traveling with kids, no matter what your traveling style and budget are.
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What to look for when we evaluate best backpacks for traveling with kids
When buying a backpack, there are several factors that you should keep in mind to ensure practicality and comfort. Here are the top things you should consider when looking for the best backpack for traveling with kids.
Size & Shape
If you are using your backpack as a carry-on, it needs to adhere to cabin size regulations. If you are checking it in, you can think about a larger backpack.
Consider your body size to find a backpack that suits your frame. The bigger the pack, the heavier it will be, so make sure you can carry all that weight comfortably!
Women-specific backpacks have been designed to fit women’s bodies better, and some backpacks are adjustable so even your kids can use them
Your backpack capacity determines the amount of luggage you can pack. A backpack capacity of 30-40L is usually sufficient for a few days of travel, and are usually small enough to be used as carry-on luggage as well.
Larger 50-65L options are among the best backpacks for traveling with kids if you want to consolidate your packing – most parents will agree when I say kids gear takes up most of the space!
Some backpacks offer expandable capacities which allow great flexibility and usability.
Choosing a lightweight backpack will give you more space and weight allowance for essential packed items. There’s nothing worse than getting charged for overweight luggage at the check-in counter!
Some backpacks have built-in frames that help distribute the weight of the backpack better, lessening the strain on your back and shoulders. This is especially useful for parents of younger children – you may end up carrying your younger kids for some time, so the less weight your body bears over time, the better.
Durable, lightweight materials are the mark of a premium-make backpack, and will usually mean higher price points.
A good backpack can last you a lifetime. Some brands pride themselves on durability and even offer lifetime warranties.
Getting a high-quality backpack that is water-resistant, tearproof, and has durable material and finishing will be worth it in the long run. Bags that are easy to wash are great for the spills and messes your kids will undoubtedly make.
Photo by S&B Vonlanthen from Unsplash
The best backpack for traveling with kids will usually have features that highlight convenience and practicality.
Water bottle holders, easy-access pockets, large, separate compartments for wet/dry clothes, laptops, or valuables, strategic padding, and convertible carry methods are all features that will make your traveling life with kids easier.
Backpacks range from affordable to very pricey. Reputable brands that offer extensive warranties are usually the best bet, though their prices can be in the higher range.
If you’re buying for the whole family, backpacks can quickly rack up the bills, so getting mid-range or affordable options might be wise. Just remember that a good backpack is an investment if you’re planning on traveling for years to come.
Hiking backpacks are usually designed to be top-loading, while travel backpacks are often front-loading, similar to a traditional suitcase.
Front-loading designs are usually the best backpacks for traveling with kids as it makes finding your items so much easier since you don’t have to dig around your bag.
The best backpack for traveling with kids
Best carry-on backpack for traveling with kids
A crowd favourite and for good reason too! This lightweight backpack is a simple, fuss free high quality piece with just the right features to make your travels with kids easier. The 40L capacity is roomy enough for a weekend trip, and the backpack also comes with great padding and support to help distribute the weight.
Users love it’s ventilated back panel and it rates highly in comfort, practicality, and durability, making it one of the best backpacks for traveling with kids.
Photo by Simon Rae from Unsplash
Best hiking backpacks for traveling with kids
This best-selling hiking backpack is perfect for traveling with kids, with its unique versatile design. The hybrid U-zipper opening makes the backpack work as both a top loader and panel loader, so you can easily access the insides of the bag.
It is ultralight and flexible enough to take you from short day trips to longer travels due to its compressible design, while the internal aluminum frame gives it superior support.
Large zippered compartments on the top and sides of the bag are perfect for stashing kids jackets, shoes, and outdoor gear, while the main compartment is very roomy to accommodate up to a week’s worth of items. Overall, this is a great, simple, flexible, and affordable bag for families.
Another hybrid backpack design, the Osprey Fairview offers more organizational features compared to the Kelty Redwing, but at a higher price point.
If you often switch between urban adventures and hiking outdoors, the Fairview is the best backpack for traveling with kids to take you between the two with ease. Easy access hip belt pockets, roomy interior with wide front opening, and large water bottle pockets mean you can pack a ton into this sleek backpack.
The Fairview is a women-specific design, but you can also purchase the Farpoint trek 50 for men.
Best baby carrier Backpack
Carrying your kids while hiking can easily get tiring and dampen everyone’s moods. Getting the right carrier will help your whole family enjoy your hikes better, especially when your kids’ energy wears out! The Osprey Poco is our pick for the best baby carrier backpack.
With 20L of packing volume to stash your essentials, you can easily pack a day worth of clothing and baby gear in the zippered pocket. The shoulder straps adjust to accommodate different body sizes with ease and comfort so different members of your family can carry the backpack too.
The built-in sunshade keeps your little ones protected from the sun while still letting them enjoy the views.
The carrier seat is suitable for infants aged 6 months up to 4 years old, so your adventures don’t have to stop just because your family size has grown!.
Photo by Matthew Osborne from Unsplash
Best backpack for new parents
A bag that carries all your babies essentials AND doubles as a portable bassinet for your little one, this is the perfect backpack for traveling with infants. No more struggling to lay out a blanket on a bench or on the grass, just unzip and you have a safe, clean, and comfortable surface to lay your baby on while you change their nappies, have a meal, or let them nap.
The bag has compartments for dry and soiled clothes, insulated pockets for milk/food, built-in stroller and suitcase straps, and offers backpack, duffel or tote style carry. For new parents, this is definitely one of the best backpacks for traveling with kids.
Photo by Jeremy McKnight from Unsplash
Best travel backpack for kids
Kids will get a kick out of this backpack which includes a hydration pack too, perfect for outdoor adventures. The bright colors, reflective trim, and built-in whistle are great features to keep your little ones safe on the go.
The bag has two main compartments which offer plenty of room for a day out, and are great for keeping dry and wet/dirty items apart. The front compartment also has several handy pockets to keep snacks, toys, and electronics organized.
The design is stylish and vibrant enough for toddlers to love, yet modern enough for your older kids to transition into early school years
The best backpack for family day out
Incredibly lightweight and featuring 12 different compartments and pockets, this foldable backpack packs a punch for its affordable price.
Suitable as a light hiking pack with its mesh ventilation and separate wet pocket, the design is also suitable to be used as a daypack for a family day out as it features padded laptop compartments, handy water bottle holder, and has a sleek casual design.
For an amazing budget price tag, this backpack is loaded with features. It’s slim profile has a well ventilated and padded back panel, and the dedicated laptop sleeve and tablet pocket keeps your electronics safe.
The front compartment features organized pockets to keep smaller items neat. The side water bottle pockets zip up when not in use to further simplify the slim design. The backpack also has suitcase pass through handles.
Family Friendly hiking spots around the world
Now that you have your backpacks sorted, it’s time for a family-friendly adventure! There are numerous kid-friendly hikes around the world, here are a few of our favorites:
Photo by Alex Guillaume from Unsplash
Hasliberg Muggestutz Storybook Trail, Switzerland
Delight your kids with a fun adventure hike through the breathtaking Swiss countryside. Play stations located at various points on the route offer breaks for kids to play and refresh as they immerse themselves in the fairytale of dwarfs that live along the route. End with a cable car ride
Diamond Head Trail, Oahu Hawaii
If your kids love volcanoes, tunnels, mystery, and beautiful views, then the Oahu Diamond Head trail is the perfect hike for your family. A cool mix of nature, stairs, and old military bunkers keep this trail interesting especially for little kids who bore easily.
Sunshine Meadows, Banff Canada
Banff has numerous hiking trails for all levels. One of the most kid-friendly ones is from the Standish viewing deck down to Rock Isle Lake and on to Sunshine Meadows.
The chairlift ride from Sunshine village ski hill will delight most children, and the hike is mostly downhill so very easy for young children. Be prepared for beautiful mountain scenery all around!
Photo by Michael Blum from Unsplash
Whether you dread it or take it up with gusto, there’s no doubt that traveling with your kids is an experience your whole family will cherish for years to come. Choosing the best backpack for traveling with kids can be part of the adventure too!
Get your kids in on the action and let them choose their preferred backpacks (with guidance, of course!) What better way to bond with your kids than traipsing through exotic beaches, hiking up breathtaking mountains, exploring quaint medieval towns or ritzy metropolitan cities?
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