Dear Boston Mamas: Awesome Backpacks

skip-hop-owl.jpgToday's Dear Boston Mamas question comes from @Rhoosting via Twitter:

Dear Christine, What are your recommendations for the best, hip backpacks for toddlers? I'm sure others would appreciate your thoughts, given that back to school season is upon us.
Dear @Rhoosting,

Thanks for writing in, great question. I adore hip and awesome school supplies!

The first thing I recommend before you shop for backpacks is to think about what is going inside the pack; for example, do you need something that can hold a standard sized folder (e.g., parent-teacher communication folder), or do you just need to stow a change of clothes and snacks? One of the things that troubles me about kids backpacks is some of them are ridiculously huge; if filled to capacity, it seems like the child is doomed to struggle against the weight and end up belly up, turtle style. So, resist the urge for bigger is better.

Now, on to some specific recommendations:

Dabbawalla. I adore the backpacks and lunch bags by Dabbawalla Bags. This indie operation out of Seattle makes a ridiculously cute collection of soft and flexible bags. In addition to the creative designs, I especially love that the backpacks truly are a reasonable size for toddlers. And the lunch bags are great; Laurel used the Holy Cow lunch bag all last year (and probably will use it this year as well) and we received compliments on it wherever we went.

Four Peas. Another option for backpacks is Four Peas. This bag outlet offers regular and toddler sized PVC-free backpacks that you can personalize. As a former musician and wife of a budding rock star, I love the Rocker backpack. Totally rad.

Land of Nod. Land of Nod carries a collection of really cute backpacks. There are small and adorable animal-themed backpacks by Skip Hop (these are phthalate-, PVC- and BPA-free; the absurdly adorable All-Nighter backpack is pictured here), and larger backpacks for older kids (by Beatrix). I think the Bookosaurus pack is a really cute pick for little bookworms.

Gap. I don't see measurements on the site, but the small collection of backpacks at Gap is cute. However, because of the unusual shapes of some of the bags, I recommend checking them out in person to see if they will fit what you need to stow.

Oompa. Finally, I decided to take a peek at Oompa because this retailer always has an awesome selection. They have a great collection of bags and backpacks, separated into preschool and kindergarten sections. They actually carry the Dabbawalla, Four Peas, Skip Hop, and Beatrix packs mentioned above, as well as cool styles from Pooki and Co, Fleurville, Dwell Studio, Crocodile Creek, and other vendors. I think this world flag backpack is particularly awesome and globally minded (it also comes in a messenger bag style for bigger kids).

I hope you find these recommendations helpful! I'd love to hear what you end up choosing.

+ + + + +

Image credit: Land of Nod

+ + + + +

Have a question for Christine? Drop her a line! And of course feel free to comment in if you have recommendations beyond those made above.