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#1 of 29 Old 07-19-2010, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to get some good quality backpacks because the ones I keep getting don't last long enough. I am looking specifically at Lands End www.landsend.com because I've heard they are good, plus I am in Canada and I know they ship to Canada. I would like some recommendations on which ones would be a good choice for each child.

Child # 1 is a boy, age 9.5 years and going into 4th grade. I would like the backpack to last at least a few years. He needs to be able to carry a lunch bag, a water bottle, homework and library books. Also in the winter it would need to fit any winter clothes he needs to take with him.

Child # 2 is a girl, age 7.5 years and going into 3rd grade. Pretty much the same description as above except she loves to read and will often cart around extra books. I don't think they add much weight or take up much space though.

Child # 3 is a girl, age 4.5 years and going into junior kindergarten. She needs to be able to carry her naptime towel, her lunch bag and library books. Also any winter clothes.

I do not want anything with characters. Child # 1 likes most colours, just not "girly" blues. Child # 2 usually goes for pink. Child # 3 is partial to purple but sometimes pink. She also likes prints. I'm also considering whether it would be worth getting their names embroidered so as to avoid backpack confusion (we had a problem with that last year).

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#2 of 29 Old 07-19-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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When my dd started K last year, I bought Lands End, because a lot of MDC mamas raved over it. To be honest, I was disappointed. The backpack that arrived was the perfect size (not too big), but the material looks thin and cheap. It did last the whole year without a problem, and we will continue to use it next year. However, the Jansport ones are much better quality. (I still have my high school and college back packs, and it has been two decades since I graduated from college. Jansport has a really liberal lifetime guarantee.) I later heard that Jansport makes a minibackpack, and I wish I'd known, because I would have seriously considered it. I think I saw Jansport at Office Max, so maybe you can find it at a local vendor.
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#3 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 02:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just checked and it appears LL Bean ships to Canada as well so if anyone has recommendations that they like from LL Bean as well I'm all ears!

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#4 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 02:17 AM
 
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I wanted to add another rave review for jansport. I carried mine all through highschool college... I think I could still dig it up at my parents. I used my husband's black one from college for business trips up till last year. Now it's our designated diaper bag. They last forever!

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#5 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 03:47 AM
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I have a Jansport backpack I bought my first or second year of college, and it's still going strong! Just starting to get some threads fraying inside a bit. That's like 11 years! Love it. Never would have guessed when I bought it that I'd take it to Italy and then carry my DD's dipes in it!

I'm going to replace it soon (or at least have two) b/c when we go someplace nice I want a nice bag, but I love having a diaper bag that's a backpack. I've been looking at Lassig products b/c they have no PVC, lead, etc. And they are purdy for going to a nice dinner or the fancy shops around here They do make a bunch of kids' sizes.
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#6 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 04:11 AM
 
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I've been happy with the LL Bean junior packs for my younger boys. They are just big enough to hold a standard size folder, yet still smaller and more ergonomic for little bodies (my DS's are 7, 5, and 3). DD (age 9), has a full-size jansport that has held up well - though, she rotates with a few other bags depending on her mood. Really, since they ship to Canada, I don't think you can go wrong with the Bean!

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#7 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 04:19 AM
 
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I just checked and it appears LL Bean ships to Canada as well so if anyone has recommendations that they like from LL Bean as well I'm all ears!
We're an LL Bean family. I got my first bag in 1990 and it's still in fantastic shape through college, travel back and forth across the country, camping, diaper bag and now is DH's gym bag. My DD got a "critter" back pack she used for 4 years only replaced when she needed a bigger bag. Same with DS. They left bananas rotting in it but a run through the wash and it was like new. DD's 2nd bag has taken her from 5th to 8th and she's taking it to high school. DS is getting a larger size too for 5th. The old bags are still used for sleep-overs, carry-on's ect. Plus, they have a lifetime guaruntee and they will replace and fix your bags for free if anything happens. The kids like the styles and the ability to monogram them. They are currently 20 percent off and less than 40 bucks for a book pack.

I will say that their matching lunch boxes don't hold up quite as well. They don't tear or rip but they lose their shape after a few years and lots of washing.

We do have a Jansport that has held up well. My only complaint is that the fabric tends to hold stains whereas our LL Bean bags come out clean.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#8 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 04:29 AM
 
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I second the LLBean recommendation. I've always had packs from them and they last FOREVER. Such great quality. Can't go wrong with them.

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#9 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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We got dd an LL Bean Original last year (3rd grade), and it looks new--just a little dirty . It is roomy enough for her books, folder, lunch bag, AND coat when necessary. I only wish it had an outside holder for a water bottle, but her water bottle fits nicely in an interior pocket inside the front zippered-section (separate from the main compartment). It is very reasonably priced, too, compared to bags in the store that are destroyed in a year.

I recommend the LL Bean! I know they have a junior size for little ones, too.
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#10 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So it sounds as if LL Bean would be a good choice. I was thinking these ones - http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/62852...19-tn&cat4=816 - for the older two but what for the youngest? She is 4.5 but big for her age. She's about the size of any average 5.5-6 year old. I don't know that the smallest pack - http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/62855...19-tn&cat4=816 - will be big enough to hold everything. She needs to fit a water bottle, lunch bag, in the winter there will be other clothes, and library books and such. Also I am really hoping I can get 4 years out of it and I don't know if the junior one would last through 2nd grade. Would this one - http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/62856...19-tn&cat4=816 - be too big for a 4.5 year old? Thanks for the help!

ETA: Monogramming? Yes? No? I was thinking yes but then I thought, what if I want to pass it on to someone, even my younger daughter? Obviously I can't pass an Eliana backpack to someone named Emma! LOL

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#11 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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I'd go with the "Critter pack" or the "origional" backpack before going with the "junior origional" size. Both my kids used the Critter Packs through 4th grade before they really needed to upgrade to a bag that could fit more. They are bigger than the "junior" but still work well on a small frame. Plus, they have nice side pockets which was nice when the kids were little and always had little toys and things they wanted to keep seperate. Of course, it's 10 bucks more which makes the origional attractive. I really don't think the origional would be too big for her to manage either.

My kids really like the monogram. We just do initials because I didn't want my kids names so openly displayed on it for safety reasons. Some of the initial styles look more like a logo than initials. There is also the option of just putting a big last name initial. It's handy when other kids have the same bag but I will say that we've never had a duplicate bag of theirs at school (only at activities.) If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have let DD pick out a pink back pack and then could have used her bag for DS too!

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#12 of 29 Old 07-20-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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I did the monogramming, and am glad I did - the boys' first names. I'm not really worried about passing them down, b/c een if they got new bags for school, they use them for car trips, etc.

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#13 of 29 Old 07-21-2010, 12:06 AM
 
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To decide which LL Bean pack, I measured a pack dd was already comfortable using and compared the measurements to the LL Bean packs (you can see the measurements if you click on "details" for each pack). I thought I'd get the deluxe until I measured and realized that the original was already a few inches larger and deeper than the pack she'd been using.

eta...wrt monogram, be cognizant of the bag color/monogram color. Some of the negative comments refer to the monogram being too close to some bag colors, and nearly invisible.
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#14 of 29 Old 07-21-2010, 03:52 PM
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You can always get a patch made with another name on it, and stitch it over the monogram, if you want to pass the bag down someday. I think you'd want to ID the bag in some wayy-- I've seen people use sharpies. I sewed a big bright flower patch onto my backpack in college and only had to restitch part of it once, back in college, and it's still on there! Or you could always monogram some other word on there, but it sounds like if you are getting a couple of similar bags, having their first names on there would be useful just for you all to keep them straight!
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#15 of 29 Old 07-22-2010, 02:27 AM
 
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I love the Pottery Barn backpacks! They are really cute!! And you can get them monogrammed

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#16 of 29 Old 07-22-2010, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think we are going to go with the LL Bean Deluxe packs for the older two and the Original for the younger one. I actually like the fact that it doesn't have the mesh water bottle holders on the outside because I've found they get wrecked first by the kids dragging them and it makes the backpack look old. There is only one real "girl" colour but my older girl has agreed to go with a nice turquoise blue. Little girl is getting pink and boy chose red. I think I am also going to go with the water bottle. They are going to a much bigger school this year (340 kids) so I don't want any backpack mix-ups. Thanks for all the tips!

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#17 of 29 Old 07-22-2010, 11:57 PM
 
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We just ordered bpacks from LL Bean too. Love them.

 
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#18 of 29 Old 07-25-2010, 12:30 AM
 
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I just got backpacks from Landsend. The quality is nice and if anything does go wrong they are warrentied up the hooha. BUT there is no way they will carry as much stuff as the catalouge says they will. My dadughter got the bioggest one without wheels (we are not allowed to have wheels) and her binder will not fit in it., granted her binder is huge but it is not even close to fitting. it has a lap top sleeve but nothing bigger than a netbook is fitting in there. I expected them to be much bigger.

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#19 of 29 Old 07-25-2010, 03:14 AM
 
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Anyone have thoughts on the wheeled backpacks? Yea or Nea?
My dd is so set on getting one for the new school year. I can see where it would be great to protect her back in high school or whatever when she is carrying TONS of heavy books...but 3rd grade? And if she gets one, then you know ds will want one too.
I just think they are bulky. I could see how it would be good when traveling though so they could wheel their stuff around. But we only travel about 1 time every two years!

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#20 of 29 Old 07-25-2010, 10:54 AM
 
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Are wheeled bags allowd at their school? Many districts prohibit them.

We have, and love, Lands End backpack. The quality is excellent and their return policy is terrific. My son's looks brand new even though he used it for a full year of kindergarten.
His has his name embroidered on it.
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#21 of 29 Old 07-27-2010, 01:44 AM
 
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I have a Lands End pack that I've used for a year and I love it. It carries a ton and is really heavy. I also have used LL Bean packs. I don't think you can go wrong with either one.

I would caution against getting one that's too big -- if they don't sit correctly, they're terrible for kids' backs. (My Lands End one fits my adult frame nicely -- but it's one of their bigger ones; it contains a padded laptop sleeve that I love.)

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#22 of 29 Old 07-27-2010, 02:41 AM
 
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The packs at MEC are great quality, and last forever, you may have a local store, and if not, they have cheap and free shipping.

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#23 of 29 Old 07-28-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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We love the Lands' End backpacks here! I ordered a Lands' End backpack for DS1 when he started kindergarten 2 years ago. It's survived kinder and Grade 1 beautifully and he'll be using it again here in September for Grade 2. It's in great shape, especially since it's used 10 months out of the year and DS1 has not been all that gentle with it. I'm hoping we can get through at least Grade 3 with it. We'll be ordering another Lands' End pack when it comes time to replace his current one.

I just ordered and received earlier this month this StudyHaul backpack for DD who's starting kinder this fall. It's a little smaller than DS's but it still has a lot of room. She used it last week for Y daycamp and it held her bathing suit, extra change of clothes, beach towel, bottles of sunscreen and bug spray, lunch kit, water bottle and morning and afternoon snacks with a ton of room to spare.

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#24 of 29 Old 07-29-2010, 01:56 PM
 
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I do NOT recommend the Hannah Anderson backpacks. Really cute, but didn't even last the year in Kindy.

I'm happy with our Lands End bag. It's going on year 2, including every day at summer camp.

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#25 of 29 Old 07-29-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Our lands end backpacks have lasted 2 years of school plus vacations/trips and still look great. I think what we got was similar to the classmate studyhall. This fit my daughter who was going into kindergarten without a problem, but she is tall for her age.

For my daughter who was 2.5 I got the small haul version, and it was a little big for her at the time. It fits her fine now that she is 4.5 and I plan on her using it for daycare this year and kindergarten the next year. She will probably need a bigger backpack for first or second grade though.

I got my backpack from LL Bean and it is well made as well. I honestly don't think you could go wrong with either company.
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#26 of 29 Old 07-30-2010, 10:39 PM
 
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Another vote for LL Bean. I purchased my dd at an outlet store for $20 last year, and it is GREAT. She will def. be using it again this year.
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#27 of 29 Old 07-31-2010, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to update: We order the deluxe LL Bean packs for the older two and the original for the youngest. They arrived yesterday (very quickly!) and they look wonderful. The kids are happy with them and they have TONS of room for everything they need.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#28 of 29 Old 08-01-2010, 12:06 AM
 
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I'm still debating what to order! (and I didn't even start this thread)

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#29 of 29 Old 08-02-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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I ordered Land's End packs last year - for DD (3rd grade) it worked great and still looks good. But for DS (4th) who had a wheeled one (which they recommed at that grade as they switch classes) it did not hold up well. I KNOW he pull and drags that thing but it had holes on the bottom by the end of the year.

I just ordered them both LL Bean rolling packs and am hoping they are better quality.

In our school they recommend roller packs starting in 4th grade when they are switching classrooms (no lockers)

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