The Best School Bags for Girls & Boys

The Best School Bags for Girls & Boys

School bags have long been an important part of school life and one of the ways in which students can express their individuality. From the smart school satchels of the 1940s to the oversized sport-inspired school bags of the 1980s and today’s resurgence of the school rucksack, choosing the right one is an important part of feeling prepared for the new school year ahead.

Colourful and cute or understated and practical, Clarks’ school bags for girls and boys are varied and designed to suit pupils of all ages. Read on to find out more about the most popular types of school bags, including popular materials and colours, plus tips on what they should contain.

The best school bags for boys and girls

Backpacks

With a combination of fashion and function, backpacks have become one of the most popular styles of school bag for kids of any age. Thanks to the cushioned straps which allow the bag’s weight to spread evenly across the back, these are one of the most comfortable types of bag available but also, thanks to a combination of the rise in hiking chic and an influx of US high school style inspiration, they are the bag of choice for the majority of students today.

Excellent for everyday use, Clarks’ lightweight backpacks come in a range of colours and make great school bags for both boys and girls. The bags in our range have enough space for kids to carry all their classroom essentials, as well as their packed lunches. And extra pouches outside also give kids more room to carry their daily extras like water bottles and mobile phones. Check out the Hopper Strap, with reflective panels for extra visibility and safety, and the Hopper Zip, part of our collaboration with Disney.

Drawstring school bags

Spacious and convenient, drawstring school bags are ideal for PE kits as well as for days when your kids don’t have to carry any bulky books or folders. They typically have just one compartment, they’re easy to open and close, and they’re available in a range of colourways. Our Hopper Bag drawstring school bag is available in black, blue, pink and red, and has a dedicated space inside for your child’s name and class details.

Shoulder bags for school

Shoulder bags and satchels are a smart option as your child grows up, and they can often hold a surprising number of books and folders. The only downside is the weight distribution, and it’s important that your child alternates which shoulder they carry it on throughout the day to avoid any discomfort.

What materials are school bags made from?

School bags for girls and boys come in a range of materials, from nylon and leather to canvas and recycled plastic, and each fabric serves its own purpose.

Nylon is a popular material for school bags and is commonly used for backpacks. It is a synthetic fabric, highly durable and often easy to clean. Cotton canvas is regularly used for school rucksacks too. It can hold plenty and it’s fairly tear-resistant.

Leather is another popular material for school bags as it tends to be sturdy and long-lasting. Leather school bags look smart, too.

Sustainability is more important than ever before, and with that in mind we’ve created our Hopper Bag using recycled plastic – each bag is made from the equivalent of three recycled bottles!

What school bags are suitable for each year group?

Schools will usually give guidance regarding the types of school bags that are acceptable within the school uniform list each year.

Mini backpacks and drawstring bags are the best school bags for primary school children who have less to carry.

Secondary school students tend to have more to carry in the way of books, stationery and folders, so when it comes to school bags for year 7 and above, rucksacks are a firm favourite, with shoulder bags proving particularly popular with older kids. For days when they’re carrying less, students might prefer to opt for a tote bag or drawstring bag – particularly if they’re bringing in their PE kit.

What colour school bag should you choose?

As with the style of school bag, you should first check the school’s uniform policy to see which colours are permitted, as some schools will encourage plain black.

If your child is allowed to choose any colour or print, get them involved in the selection process so that their school bag is something they feel proud to carry. Picking a print or bright colour will help them to identify their bag if it gets left behind or placed in lost property – labelling your kid’s school bag is always a good idea too.

How long should a school bag last?

A school bag should last at least a full school year, but it really depends on how well your child looks after it. If it’s often packed full to the brim with heavy items or if it’s regularly thrown down on the playground floor, its lifespan could be shortened, but if it’s treated well, it could last them year after year.

What should you always have in your school bag?

This will vary from student to student and from school to school, but here’s a checklist of the basics that every student should have in their school bag:

  • Exercise books
  • Textbooks
  • Homework
  • Pencil case with pens, pencils, a ruler, a rubber, a pencil sharpener and anything else recommended by the school
  • Calculator
  • Lunch box
  • Water bottle

A school bag should last at least a full school year, but it really depends on how well your child looks after it. If it’s often packed full to the brim with heavy items or if it’s regularly thrown down on the playground floor, its lifespan could be shortened, but if it’s treated well, it could last them year after year.

Browse our full range of school bags for boys and girls to ensure they’re sorted for the next school year, or find out how to choose the best school shoes for your little – or not so little – ones.