Best backpacks for your child's needs

August 16, 2012 11:27:20 AM PDT
According to a recent survey, the purchase of a backpack is one of the top back-to-school purchases for parents. So we had to find out exactly what you should look for before you make this very important purchase for your kids.

We teamed up with the experts from Consumer Reports, and they tell us you don't have to pay big bucks for a new backpack. But you have to know which one offers quality and value and we found a few that deliver on that promise.

Andrew Miller's favorite purchase of the year is his backpack. He has his eye on this one from Target priced at $24.99.

"That's a good deal, it will last all year," said his mom, Raquel Miller.

That's the hope. His mom had to replace his backpack last year before the school year ended.

"They take all their books home now and so they have to be pretty sturdy," she said.

It's the same request for other parents.

So we hooked up with Consumer Reports' Jamie Hirsh to find out the three things parents should look for when choosing a backpack.

Hirsh says first look at the stitching.

"You want to look at the stitching on the inside and the outside of the backpack, make sure that there are not loose threads make sure the stitching isn't sloppy or uneven," Hirsh said.

Secondly, be sure to check the edges of the backpack especially near the zippers.

"Watch out for frayed or ragged edges because those can get stuck in zippers and cause the fabric to unravel," Hirsh said.

Consumer Reports says the one thing you want to definitely look for when you are purchasing a backpack is to make sure you have a cover over your zipper, that way when it rains it protects the contents inside.

And finally, if your kids are lugging heavy books, be sure they have wide straps.

"You want wide, contoured shoulder straps that are nicely padded and those distribute the weight better," Hirsh said.

We checked around to find parent's favorite picks. The Jansport Big Student Classics Series Daypack is one of the best-selling and best-rated backpacks for its size and comfort. It retails for $44 but we found it for as little as $19 online.

Next the L.L.Bean Deluxe Book Pack is the most popular backpack on their website; it's priced at $39.95 and designed for ages 10 years and up. Parent's say it's built to take years of hard use.

And finally for students who need to carry a laptop to class, Wenger Swissgear Computer Backpack scored high marks for comfort and durability. It's pricey at around $62 but it's expected to last several years and has a lifetime guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship.

We found Jansport has a brand called Trans. The line is sold at discount stores like Target for $29.99 and it's very similar to the top-rated Jansport big student backpack.


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