Expert Advice

Hibbett How To: Pick Your Pack for Back to School

Hibbett How To: Pick Your Pack for Back to School

Jul 29, 2020

No matter if your classroom is in the kitchen or on campus this school year, finding the perfect backpack for back to school is still a must. Where else are you going to stash all your books and school work at the end of the day?

Whether you’re shopping for a cute and comfortable backpack for your preschooler or kindergartner, an overly opinionated teen or yourself, check out our tips and tricks for how to pick your perfect pack for back to school!

Types of Back-to-School Bags

Academic Backpacks

Padded straps, a large main compartment and two smaller accessory pockets often distinguish versatile academic backpacks from more fashion, less function-focused packs. To help determine how much storage your student will need in their backpack, consider what his or her workload will be. Your high schooler taking 8 periods of classes is likely going to need a more spacious bag than your third grader.

Is your student going to be working from a tablet or laptop? Look for an academic backpack with a specific space for such technology. Also, keep in mind your (or your child’s) height when selecting a backpack. Students with smaller statures require smaller backpacks to ensure a proper fit.

Sack Packs

Drawstring sack packs are ideal for slinging over your kids’ shoulders before a swim meet or track practice. Built with thinner and more flexible construction materials and light-load bearing string or rope straps, sack packs aren’t ideal for carrying around that heavy geometry books, but they are great for storing P.E. uniforms, practice attire and workout clothes.

Sport Backpacks

After school activities such as sports and cheer often come with a little extra baggage — literally. Protective equipment, bats, balls and cleats or special shoes can’t all be stored in your academic bags or sack packs, which is why sports packs exist. With roomy pockets, sports backpacks are crafted with sport-specific storage spaces, such as zippered pockets for storing shoes, slots for baseball pats, rounded compartments for balls, etc.

Features to Look for in a School Bag

Sure, a sparkly pink backpack may appeal to your first-grader, and while aesthetics are important, so too are the bag’s features. Consider these factors when shopping for a back to school back that is both fashionable AND functional:

Quality: With rows and rows of brightly colored backpacks at your big-box store, it’s tempting to pick something at a lower price point. But before you put that pack into your cart, inspect the quality of the materials used and the bag’s craftsmanship.

Are the seams well-sewn? Do you see any frayed edges that could lead to tearing/holes in the near future? Do the shoulder straps have a decent amount of padding? How well does the zipper(s) work?

A lower-priced option may not get as much mileage as a premium brand with a lifetime warranty and well-made materials.

Fit: It’s important to make sure your child’s backpack actually fits. A properly fitted backpack should sit no more than an inch or two below the waist or above the shoulders. Any other straps on the backpack — like those at the waist and chest — should rest at the right height (at the chest or waist). If the straps hang too low or are up too high even after adjusting, consider going with a different size.

Storage: While you want to make sure there’s enough room in the pack for easily stashing stuff — you know, like pencils, pens, calculators, folders, looseleaf, books –your backpack or your student’s backpack shouldn’t weigh more than about 15% of your/your child’s weight when packed.

Comfort: When we talk about fit, we also need to talk about comfort. Backpacks are hoisted onto the bus, through the school halls, on and off class after class, etc. Ensure your lugging your pack around in comfort by picking a pack with padded straps, a padded back and extra straps that allow you to more easily distribute weight on your body.

Hibbett | City Gear School Bag Options

Fashion Backpacks: Check out colorfully stylish statement backpacks from brands like Never Broke Again, Jordan and Sprayground.

Utility or Heavy-Duty Backpacks: For kids or teens who are tough on their bags and need extra storage space, but still want a trendy style, check out our The North Face, Under Armour, adidas and Nike options.

Traditional Backpacks: When you think of the always-versatile backpack, think Nike mesh backpacks and Champion bags.

Sack Packs: Track practice, PE class, after-care — throw your after school accessories and apparel into a sack pack from Nike, Jordan, adidas and Under Armour.

Sports Backpacks: When sports are in season, your kid will probably require some type of equipment bag, whether it’s to carry bats to the dugout, soccer balls to the field or football pads to the locker room. Check out our variety of options for every sport, from Mizuno wheeled bags to Franklin soccer sacks.


Once you’ve picked the perfect pack for back to school, be sure to check out Hibbett | City Gear’s best our guide to the Best Kids’ Shoes for Back to School, Back to School Styles You Don’t Want to Miss and our current back-to-school deals!

Shop the Story