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Best Toddler Backpacks for Travel

Sure toddlers aren’t going to school yet, heck they’ve barely even started walking! But this is exactly why getting them a little backpack that’s just for them can make such a big difference to their confidence and development.

Assigning them the small responsibility of packing their own stuff will help them develop a sense of ownership and independence early on. As a bonus, you won’t need to pack all your toddler travel toys in your own carry-on bag!

Even for those toddlers who love to bolt in the opposite direction, a toddler backpack with reins can help give your toddler that independence while still keeping your toddler safe. Though a toddler leash backpack may make you feel like it will come with some judgement, it’s about doing what’s best for your toddler! Keeping your toddler safe while traveling in a big city, like Rome with a toddler, is far more important than a few side-eye glances.

toddler running with backpack on

Whether you’re looking for a toddler travel backpack or one for fun outings to the zoo, our list of best toddler backpacks for travel will have you covered, with plenty of color and print options to spare!

Let your little one pick their favorite from the bunch, and you’ll be ready to visit some of the best places to travel with a toddler in no time. Hiking with toddlers, visiting crowded tourist destinations or even just the mall, you’ll be doing them all! 

toddlers wearing best toddler backpacks watching planes at airport

Do make note that while most of these bags work great for packing toddler travel essentials or for daycare, none are recommended for use once your toddler reaches school age. Kindergarteners need space in their bags for folders, artwork and papers, which only larger backpacks can provide!

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Best Toddler Travel Backpacks

Toddler Backpacks – Canada

While we don’t get quite as many options for toddler backpacks for travel, you’ll still be able to find some great options on Amazon Canada.

The Yodo Insulated Toddler Backpack (with safety harness) is available in 5 fun styles, including a dinosaur, owl, puppy and unicorn.

You’ll also find the Mountaintop Little Kid Backpack, which we think is one of the best toddler travel backpacks given the pockets for organization and so many color/pattern choices. You’ll be able to use this one for both traveling and as a hiking backpack for toddlers. While it won’t be the best for kindergarten (given it’s small size), you’ll get plenty of use out of it for toddlers 2 to 4 years old.

Probably one of the most popular toddler backpacks is the Skip Hop toddler backpack. On Amazon Canada, you can get find plenty of fun options for the Skip Hop toddler backpacks.

toddler wearing backpacks in an elevator

What to Look for When Buying a Toddler Backpack

Safety Harness on Toddler Backpacks

An adjustable harness that secures your toddler to a leash allows them to have fun in crowded places without you having to worry about losing them. It’s a win-win (ignore the naysayers)!

Size

Consider the age and weight of your child before making your purchase, as this will help you decide how big of a bag your toddler can carry. Whether it be toddler backpacks or toddler suitcases, you need to make sure your toddler is able to carry weight safely while at the same time accommodating their items in an optimal way.

The size of toddler backpacks range from 7-12 inches. We wouldn’t go any bigger than 12 inches for a toddler travel backpack.

toddler in luggage size checker at airport

Lightweight

Ensuring that the weight of the backpack itself does not add on too much to the weight of your toddler’s load is crucial, but is something parents often forget to check. Check for lightweight materials, as well as back and shoulder strap padding.

You’ll also want to make sure you don’t pack too much, just a few snacks and some small travel toys. If you pack too much, it’s likely you’ll end up carrying your toddlers backpack.

Durability

Keep an eye out for warranties and guarantees. The best quality toddler backpacks come with reinforced seams, finished edges and double or even triple layered backs. Make sure to check for adequate foam padding to ensure it doesn’t wear out too quickly.

For toddler backpacks with safety harnesses, check for metal clasps over plastic ones and sturdy straps. A durable backpack should last you no less than three years. 

Waterproof

Spills and leaks are the name of the game when it comes to toddlers, so having water-resistant accessories only makes sense. Look for materials like neoprene and coated fabrics.

Side Pockets

Water bottles are prone to leakage, and a side pocket can ensure that your toddler’s books or clothes don’t have to bear the brunt of it.

Use

What type of bag you choose for your toddler will be heavily influenced by its intended purpose. Younger toddlers might need a fuzzy companion to cuddle with while on the move, while older toddlers might need a more spacious backpack for all they want to pack.

For parents who want it to double as toddler hiking gear, opt for a ruggedly designed bag with features like wear and water-resistance. 

Color/Pattern Variations

From dinosaurs and spaceships to farm animals and mythical characters, the toddler backpacks on our list cover them all. Picking out a bag that your kid is excited to wear makes the process of getting them accustomed to it so much easier. 

Price

While brand certainly has a part to play in deciding how much a toddler backpack costs, the above mentioned factors hold just as much weight. By carefully weighing out which characteristics are most important to you, you might end up making some big savings with your purchase. Backpacks for toddlers can cost anywhere between $10 and $40. 

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Best Toddler Travel Backpacks