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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Backpack Bonanza!

By Jen P, Charlotte Smarty Pants

Holy backpacks, I never knew there were so many fabulous flavors to choose from out there! I did some Smarty research for you to compare costs and designs for your shopping pleasure for the 2009 back-to-school season. Following are my top picks for backpacks this year:

Garnet Hill Signature Backpack Selection is top of my list this year, mainly because of the ponies theme since my kindergartner is obsessed with horses! I'm also loving the orange camo theme for boys. I would highly recommend the Backpack Junior ($29.50) for kindergartners since it fits a standard folder and you don't want it too heavy on their backs. The Backpack collection for $39.50 is designed for ages 7 and up. Garnet Hill is offering a free lunch pack with the purchase of a backpack through July 28th, these retail for $16.50. Shipping is free right now too. Can't beat that.

Pottery Barn Kids - wow, this is an impressive collection! That pink & green polka dot Mackenzie Collection is the CUTEST I have seen! I bought Ansley's first backpack 3 years ago from PBK when she was in kindergarten and that bag is in perfect condition and still going strong. I would recommend the small backpack ($39) for kindergartners and the large backpack ($45) for 2nd grade and up. Don't even bother with a preschool backpack because most preschools in Charlotte provide their own bags. FYI, their lunchbags are $19. PBK is also offering free shipping right now.

L.L.Bean has had super cool backpacks for as long as I can remember and their Junior Original Book Pack for $22.95 will not disappoint. This bag is perfect for K-2. The Original Book Pack for $27.95 is perfect for ages 7 and up and the Deluxe Book Pack for $39.95 is good for 10 and up.

Lands End has been the backpack headquarters for some time now too, rivaling that of L.L.Bean. Their ClassMate line is what I would look at for elementary school kids. The ClassMate SmallHaul backpack for $24.50 is perfect for K-2. You can promote your kids to the ClassMate StudyHaul backpack for grades 3 and up. By this age, your kids will want to throw everything they can in their backpacks so it's important to have a little extra room. Lands End lunch boxes range from $14.50 to $19.50. I tend to think Lands End and L.L.Bean have a good boy backpack selection.

My super-hip sister-in-law in NYC recommends the School Mood collection on These backpacks are pretty pricey, but so well made they will last forever. They are German-designed and totally awesome with eight zillion compartments to store all the cool stuff your child needs!

One other item that I would HIGHLY recommend to go in your backpacks and lunchboxes are the new Crocodile Creek stainless steel drinking bottles for under $10 (yay, now we don't have to pay $25 for our Sigg bottles!). You can find a huge selection of these locally (we should ALWAYS shop locally when we can:-) at Toys & Co. in Cotswold. These are the perfect size for lunch boxes and you'll live better knowing that you are saving the environment!

One last Smarty tip. Don't ever buy backpacks with wheels because most schools don't allow them - they are heavy and bulky and dangerous in the halls of the schools.

Happy shopping, Smarties and please, please, share your back-to-school tips!

Don't forget to register for your chance to win one Floor Nanny with a complimentary slip cover of your choice! All you have to do is click here to take a short survey and you’re registered. You must be a Triad Smarty Pants newsletter subscriber to enter, so be sure to sign up if you have yet to do so. This promotion ends at Noon on Thursday, August 13, and the winner will be announced on Sunday, August 16. Good luck!!


Anonymous said...

I love Garnet Hill, but they are usually a little too expensive for my budget. Glad to see their adorable backpacks are affordable!

Anonymous said...

Garnet Hill's packs are really cute, but if you are interested in them, choose fast. Most colors/patterns are already out of stock or backordered through October!

Kara said...

We have used a Pottery Barn backpack for my son for the past two years and it has really held up well.
We also have a Janspot for my older son and it has lastest about 3 years!

RLR said...

Just ordered from LL Bean with my free shipping code! I loved their packs all through college, and love their canvas bags, too. Thanks for the tip on the smaller size - I wasn't quite sure which one to order for my little girl.

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