By peoplestaff225
August 21, 2008 05:00 AM

Cool Backpack from Allerhand

As summer gives way to fall it can be hard to get your children excited to go back to school, but Oompa Toys has just what you need. If you’re in the market for a fun, hip backpack, lunch bag or lunch box this e-tailer should be your first — and only — destination.

The Cool Backpack from Allerhand ($58) is, indeed, very, very cool. At 12x17x9" it’s a good sized backpack and it’s got all the features that an elementary school-aged child could hope for — like five zippered pockets, a thermal sleeve for hot/cool drinks, pouches for electronic equipment and even a reinforced handle for easy locker hanging.

There are flashier backpack options these days but if your little guy (or girl — it’s also available in Rouge and Sunflower) is more subdued, it makes a great pick. It’s also reliable for the long haul. Kids are fickle, and while your kindergartner might love fire trucks now, by the time they’re in first grade the same might not be said. Allerhand’s bags are durable enough to last year after year, something that is reflected in the purchase price, but in classic designs that will never go out of style.

Click Continue Reading for our other picks!

Fun doesn’t do the Little Kid backpack by Dante Beatrix ($36) justice. It’s perfect for toting art projects and other paperwork home from preschool, or for hauling some toys to grandmas.  There’s just one wide-open compartment with no pockets or pouches, making it easy for a toddler to navigate, and because it’s made of lightweight nylon your child won’t struggle to wear it.  The embroidered animals on the front are adorable, and because there are several (like bunny, polar bear, penguin and shark) you can even let your child pick out the animal they like the best.

Crocodile Creek is no slouch in the fun department, either. Bold colors, big decals and contrasting trim and mesh make these backpacks and lunch boxes sure to stand out in the crowd. At 14.5×12.5×4" the backpack ($26) is large enough to carry standard-sized notebooks and paperwork, making it ideal for a kindergartner, and the PE foam-lined arm straps help keep kids comfortable. The insulated lunch boxes ($15; shown at left) measure 7.5×10.5×3.5" and provide plenty of room for a sandwich, snacks and a drink.

The only problem with Skip Hop’s new lunch bag ($28) is that you’ll want to keep it for yourself, and let your kids brown bag it. Lined in padded thinsulate, it will keep foods cool for up to four hours. There are several dividers and pockets to keep things organized, and — in typical Skip Hop fashion — you can carry the bag in a number of ways, including as a backpack, a shoulder bag, or even a wrist bag. If you do manage to wrestle it away from your kids, it makes a great bag to use with baby; measuring in at 9.25×7.5×3", it fits three bottles and can even clip to your stroller.

Fleurville Kid’s Pack Lunch Bag ($32) is the bag of choice for James Wilkie Broderick, 5 ½, and it’s no wonder why. Depending on the age of your child or their needs, this bag can — and will — pretty much do it all. It’s a great preschooler backpack complete with project pocket for artwork or other papers, but the backpack straps easily unhook for older children (or even moms!) who want to carry it as a traditional lunch bag. PVC and Teflon-free, the Kid’s Pack also exceeds standards for lead and other toxins. The sleek design is exactly what I’d expect from a company like Fleurville, and it comes available in lots of primary colors, like navy blue, green and orange in addition to the ‘pink ogo’ print shown at left.

— Missy