8 Backpacks for school

Aug 7, 2009 at 7:46 p.m. ET

As summer is coming to an end, it's time to start thinking about a fashionable yet comfortable way to carry around school supplies and other necessities.

Children Wearing Backpacks

Full-size backpack trends change yearly -- when department stores are loaded with them prior to the back-to-school rush. Current trends in backpacks include:

  • Retro backpack styles and colors
  • Bright colors and patterns
  • Abstract patterns and black, red and white
  • Messenger style backpacks
  • Slings backpacks
  • Various colors of camouflage
  • Backpacks equipped with slots and pockets for the latest technology
  • Character backpacks
  • Cool neutrals such as gray and black

Whether you need durability, security or just another trendy accessory to add to your already fabulous back-to-school outfit -- there's a backpack with your (or your child's) name on it!

1. Eco-Friendly Backpacks

Being good to the environment is incorporated into many lesson plans this year, so why not complement the curriculum with an eco-friendly bag! Popular designs include the trendy ecogear Kid's Gorilla Eco-Pack Messenger made of 100% organic cotton canvas and is available in four different colors on eBags.com. At just $24.99, this earth-friendly gear is certain to be coveted this back to school season.

2. Character Backpacks

If your kids are young enough to sport a character this fall (or your kids just want to hold onto their childhood days for another year) don't miss out on the mad rush for the season's latest character-embellished backpacks and totes. This year's lineup includes Transformers, Batman, Dora the Explorer, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. The back to school season wouldn't be complete without the likes of the Twilight gang in backpack form! This $34 Cullen-Crest backpack is available exclusively from Hot Topic and can be used for school, as well as to pack the required gear when camping out for the New Moon release!

3. Three-way laptop bags

Make sure their gadgets are well-protected with the right laptop bag. Increasingly popular are 3-way bags that can quickly convert into a backpack, messenger bag or tote within a moment's notice. This JanSport Heritage model is available at most Kohlsstores. Although a bit pricier with leather versions starting at $120, the versatility of this bag makes it easy to hop on the bus or head off on a trip without worrying about damaging that (pricey) laptop.

4. Messenger bags

Messenger bags are the cross-functional carryall that are proving to be another top trend for both girls and guys this fall. Check out the Quicksilver Decoder Satchel Messenger available at Macys for $60 with padded sleeves and two colors to choose from. These types of bags take the stress off the shoulders and back, so they're a great fit for kids who usually have trouble carrying their books and accessories on those long walks home.

5. Rolling backpacks

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, thousands of children are treated in emergency rooms each year for injuries related to backpacks. Many physicians will tell parents to limit backpack weight to 20% of their body weight to prevent injuries. L.L.Bean responded to this in a very vivid way with many colors and patterns available in rolling backpacks, ranging in price from $59.95-$79.95.

6. Slings

The sling style backpack is oh-so-cool for tweens and up, most having a convenient cell phone pocket, front pocket for an organizer, and an internal hanging CD/MP3 pouch with exit port for headphones. Try Target for the J World Sling Teardrop Shoulder Backpack in navy. At $29.99, your texting tween will be happy to have the access to their electronic essentials!

7. Personalized

Monograms, full name or team name – personalized bags are not just for sports teams! Pottery Barn Kids and PBTeen offers monogramming on many styles of totes and bags. This $35 coffee and bright pink tote is perfect for the books or the beach! The added bonus is that mom doesn't have to get her hands messy from the black marker she usually uses to put names on items!

8. Fun for toddlers

Give your toddler the experience of being a "big kid" with fun, whimsical backpacks like the Skip Hop Zoo Backpacks available at Macys. For just $20, your "big kid" can choose from the blue dog, the black penguin or the purple bunny!

From traditional backpacks and laptop bags to stylish sling bags with their trendy colors and designs, there is something out there for every kind of student at any age.