Need a backpack for a girl who isn’t all that girly? Then this shopping guide is perfect for you!
Picking out a backpack can be THE most important part of back-to-school shopping. Kids want to find their favorite colors and something they absolutely love, love, love! Because they’ll carry it every single day. It’s one way they can express who they are and what they like.
If your girl is anything like my daughter, she is not interested in the sea of pink and lavender options found in the girls department. Or the ones adorned with flowers, hearts, butterflies, ponies, and the like. She prefers backpacks “without the girly” and we’ve found some great options for her. Not a touch of pink. Some with themes that break gender stereotypes. And some that are just plain cool.
On a side note, we were glad to see that many retailers moved away from labeling their backpacks for boys or girls, instead calling them “kids’ backpacks.” However, the overwhelming use of pink, as well as how the backpacks are grouped for display, still conveys very clear messages about which ones they think are for which gender. We just ignore all those explicit and implicit gender labels because we know girls like so many different things!
Here are our favorite backpacks “without the girly” from preschool through pre-teen. You can find even more choices on our “So Cool For School” Pinterest board, which has 40 backpacks (and counting!), many of which come in multiple colors and themes.
PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN CROWD
We love backpacks for little kids that boldly proclaim their passion for dinosaurs or cars or monkeys or some other super fun thing! These four brands consistently deliver great designs, sized primarily for the preschool and kindergarten crowd (dimensions around 11” W x 12-15” H x 5” D). If the specific theme your girl loves isn’t pictured here, you can find a ton more options on each of their websites.
THEMES FOR BIGGER KIDS
For older kids who want graphics of something they love, here are our top picks (some come in smaller sizes too). Our biggest surprise was finding this awesome skateboard design at Garnet Hill, a brand known for their girly-girl clothes (they don’t even sell boys clothes). Not sure whether they intended it to be for girls or for the brothers of girls who wear their clothes? But either way, we love it!
Skateboards, from Garnet Hill, $44.95 [two sizes]
Sharks (blue), from L.L. Bean, $34.95 [7+ only]
Shark (red), from L.L. Bean, $39.95 [6+ only; also lizard or dragonfly]
Mountain biker, from L.L. Bean, $39.95 [6+ only; also snowboarder or rock climber]
Baseball, from Pottery Barn Kids, $45.50 [four sizes]
Dinos, from Pottery Barn Kids, $45.50 [four sizes; also snakes, snakeskin, spiders, sharks, camo]
SPORTY AND OUTDOORSY
My daughter just turned 8, and this is the first year she no longer wants a theme on her backpack (she had baseball in kindergarten, and sharks the last two years). It makes me a little sad, because it’s yet another sign that my little girl is growing up fast. This year she wants something sporty and outdoorsy, which is no surprise to anyone who knows her. There are lots of brands and options in this category (and we looked through almost all of them!), but our top pick is definitely Under Armour. We both loved their bold colors, and this is just one of their many great styles.
MORE “BIG KID” OPTIONS
If themes and sporty are not your girl’s thing, here are some other great options. A few of them were actually found in the girls department! We highlighted two options from Pottery Barn Teen, but they have several other designs worth checking out – patterns, animal prints, camo, and even tie-dye. And you can surely find something to like among the 55 color and patterns available in the classic JanSport style.
Blue/Black Houndstooth, from Pottery Barn Teen, $45.50 | Tan Canvas, from Gap, $39.95
World Map, from SoYoung, $74.99 (on sale for $49.99) | Dots, from Pottery Barn Teen, $45.50
Stripes, from Roxy, $49.50 [comes with detachable lunchbox] | Bright Squares, from JanSport, $35
FUNKY AND FUN!
And last, but not least, we LOVE this super fun new BLOK design from the funky MadPax brand. Perfect for any girl who loves blocks and building! And we’ll always love their original Spiketus Rex packs. All of their designs come in an amazing range of bold, bright colors.
We hope you and your girl find the perfect backpack this year! If you liked our shopping guide, please share it with other parents you know who have girls that don’t like stereotypical “girly” styles (at least not all of the time!).
And we’d love to help you find clothes and accessories “without the girly” too! For shopping tips and recommendations, browse all 20 of our Pinterest boards, join our community on Facebook, and continue to visit our blog.
And if you haven’t checked out the Girls Will Be clothing line yet, visit us at www.girlswillbeHQ.com.