If you’re shopping for back to school here is a selection of gear that you may not have seen before. All are kid safe and whether you’re looking for environmentally friendly or just plain cute or very cool, these are worth a look.
Very cute, these backpacks offer 8 designs from the Skip Hop Zoo collection that younger kids will love. All are BPA, phthalate and PVC Free, have an insulated pouch for snacks and an adjustable mesh bottle pocket plus they coordinate with the Zoo Lunchies (see Lunchbox Guide). They retail for $20.
This very cute little backpack is perfect for your littler back to schoolers and made from child safe & environmentally friendly materials. It’s small, but it’s got great f eatures, like a separate zippered front & bottom compartments, chest strap, side mesh pouch, write on name tag and a key hook. My three year old loves his Crocodile pack and can’t wait to take it to preschool. Available in 10 designs it retails for $29.99. (There are also 2 backpack styles available in the 4Teen line.)
An alternative to the usual backpack is this cute messenger from Fleurville is designed for 5 – 10 year olds. It can convert to a backpack and comes with a removable insulated lunch bag, has 2 outside side pockets, a pen organizer, reflective accents and a zippered mesh pocket inside. In addition to being super cool, it is, of course, free of lead, toxins and PVC, available in 3 designs ($49).
Made from 11 recycled plastic bottles and 8.5 oz of reused fabric, this tote has an adjustable strap that can convert it to a backpack, 2 water bottle pockets, zip top, 5 pockets, key ring, bright lining which makes it easier to find what’s inside and an attachment hook for a lunchbox. Available in solid black or with a peace world logo, these bags can also be monogrammed and are currently on sale for $39.95 (regularly $65 or $75 monogrammed).
For something a bit different, a lofty outer (just like your favorite parka) with a roomy interior, this backpack is handmade in water-resistant, high-density nylon, designed in NewZealand and available online at Serena & Lily. Its 8 gorgeous colors will make quite a statement as well ($118).
The GreenSmart backpacks and messenger bags are made from100% recycled plastic bottles. The Kea, shown and made from 26 recycled plastic bottles, is on a smaller scale and has an interior laptop bay inside the main compartment, a front organization pocket, airmesh shoulder straps and carrying handle. It is available in 3 colors and retails for 89.95. There are also 2 more styles of backpacks, as well as 3 messenger bags available as well.
This line of backpacks has an air bladder that helps lift the weight off your child’s upper back and shoulders and spreads it more evenly over the whole back, reducing discomfort of those way too heavy book loads. The Campus, pictured,(49.99) has a large main pocket, is made from lightweight nylon, has multi-zipper storage compartments and has a heavy duty air bladder to really lighten the load.
Burton makes Snowboards and related equipment, but their backpacks are also well suited to school, with lots of handy features like built in laptop sleeve and multiple external and internal pockets. The fleece lined “sound pocket” with a headphone cable port is a nice touch, so are the ergonomic shoulder harnesses and the front board carry straps. Even if you’re not toting a Snowboard (unlikely) or Skateboard (possible) to school, the straps are a great spot to stow your coat or sweatshirt. The Metalhead ($49.95), available in 10 colors, even has a built-in insulated cooler compartment.