This past week, my niece and nephew excitedly showed me their backpacks full of school items in preparation for the upcoming school year. Upon looking at their bags full of supplies, I was shocked: the fully loaded bags weighted a ton. Even though both are still in grade school, the bags easily tipped the scale at over 15 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to be put on the backs of our children. According to a study conducted by Consumer Reports, the average American sixth grade student’s backpack weighs 18.4 pounds. That’s a big factor to consider when purchasing a new backpack for this upcoming school year.
There are plenty of reasons to purchase high quality packs over cheap bags, but to save time, I’ll cover the top three reasons:
1. Comfort. By far, this is the number one reason to spend a few more dollars on a well designed, quality backpack. As mentioned earlier, our children are carrying heavy loads, often for extended periods of time if they commute to school on foot. With anatomically designed straps, high density foam padding, dedicated lumbar support zones, and moisture wicking fabrics, bags from brands such as The North Face and Patagonia do a much better job at carrying heavy loads.
A Patagonia pack versus a lesser quality bag. Notice the lack of padding and anatomical straps.
Photo: Michael W
2. Quality. The old adage of “you pay for what you get” is never truer than when buying a backpack. High quality packs use nothing but the most robust materials: Cordura ripstop nylon, ballistic nylon, heavy duty zippers, etc. In comparison, cheap bags are almost always constructed of polyester, a material that is both thin and prone to premature wear. Seams that should be sewn with heavy duty threads are instead sewn with flimsy thread, and are often the first things to go with very little use. Other features nice packs have that poor quality bags don’t? A warranty! Most of our backpacks from The North Face and Patagonia have lifetime warranties. Further, most offer light rain protection, reflective safety features, and are produced by companies that promote fair labor with safe working conditions (for an example of this, click here –> http://www.patagonia.com/us/footprint)
3. Value. Value you say? How can a $80 backpack be a better value than one you can get from a big box store for $20. Simple. Spend $80 on that good quality bag and it’ll likely be the last bag you’ll need to buy for multiple school years. I recently sold an old North Face bag to my wife’s brother I purchased in the 1990’s and it’s still going strong. Alternatively, you can spend a minimum of $20 each school year, and hope you don’t have to buy a second midway though the year. You’ll be money ahead by purchasing the nicer bag, and you won’t have to spend extra on Ibuprofen nursing sore backs either.
We currently have a great selection of back to school bags to prepare your child for a happy and comfortable return to school this fall. Swing down and check them out today!