August means hot days, the return of football season, and the Back to School Blues. We’ve always loved shopping for school supplies (slightly sick, I know), and new backpacks were part of the deal. However, my kids are getting to the age where they’re carrying heavier stuff, and the fun character backpacks are just not holding up anymore. When I was in college I carried a Jansport backpack, which was a bit expensive, but when the zipper broke and the college bookstore replaced it – no questions asked – I realized it was worth it. I bequeathed it to an underclassman when I graduated.
Cashing in on the warranty isn’t quite that easy any more, but several companies do offer lifetime warranties on their backpacks (be sure to read the fine print). And some very fun designs! Check out Jansport’s here, The North Face’s here, LL Bean’s here, and Lands’ End’s here. Here are my tips for choosing bags:
1. As with any piece of luggage, choose a lightweight piece when it’s empty. The stuff the kids carry is heavy enough, so you want to start as light as possible.
2. Choose one with padded straps, and encourage your kids to use BOTH straps. I’m terrible about carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, which causes sore muscles and a lopsided gait. Backpacks are designed to distribute the weight, so take advantage of that!
3. Whichever one you choose, I do recommend monogramming – just to deter “sticky fingers.”
Do you have a favorite brand of backpack? What other back-to-school equipment tips do you have?