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Best Back-to-School Gear

  • Clockwise from left:

    All Clear

    The Bobble water bottle comes in six colors, is made from recycled plastic (it can be used over and over, or even recycled again), and filters out chlorine and other impurities as your child sips. $9.95;

    Fare and Square

    The Yubo lunch box is not only dishwasher-safe, recyclable, and BPA-free, but it can also be personalized. Choose from dozens of cover designs, or create one with your kid's name. Lunch box, $21.95 to $29.95, faceplates, $6.95 to $12.95;

    Word on the Tweet

    An eco-conscious kid will dig a nature-themed, stainless-steel Earthlust water bottle, which saves you from buying pricey bottled water. $16;

    Power Lunch

    Keep her PB&J squish-proof in the sturdy Reusable Sandwich Container. $3; Old Navy stores

    Mega Bite

    For stashing bulky sides, like grapes, we love the colorful patterns and handy zipper closure of Snack Happened. $9.95;

    Lunch Spot

    Save money on plastic baggies and put those pretzels in a reusable LunchSkins snack bag. Bonus: It's dishwasher-safe. Also available in larger sizes for sammies¿even subs! $7.85;

    Love Notes

    What little kid wouldn't like a note from Mom in her lunch bag? Mini Lunch Notes do the job with cute designs and space to pen encouraging words about that spelling test. Comes complete with stickers to decorate plain brown bags. $9.95;


    Wearable Art

    The black-and-white design and edgy print (brass knuckles, roses, stars) of the Yak Pak Tattoo backpack give it a grown-up feel, just the thing for tweens who want the opposite of what their little sib is toting. Water-resistant fabric and reinforced straps and seams make this a bang-up budget bag. 

    Yak Pak Tattoo Backpack, available at, $19.99

  • Jon Whittle

    Haul Monitor

    The Keen Skyline backpack is a classic that'll last for years: perfect for holding an early reader when your kid is just starting out, yet big enough for all the binders she'll be lugging down the road. The crisscross bungee cord on the front is ideal for stashing jackets and hats, too. 

    Skyline Backpack, available at, $50

  • Back for Good

    The modern mesh-and-foam design guarantees that the Osprey Jet Day Pack will be comfy to carry, even when it's crammed with textbooks. There's a pouch for a water bottle, and the stretchy front pocket holds frequently used items, or just those little treasures he always seems to find. 

    Osprey Jet Day Pack, available at, $45


    Sunny Delight

    The psychedelic pattern on the Hadaki Santa Fe Cool Backpack will earn your young fashionista plenty of compliments at the bus stop. The soft, shiny vinyl is easy to wipe clean and made from earth-friendly, phthalate-free material. It has two net grab-all pockets on the sides, too. 

    Hadaki Santa Fe Cool Backpack, available at, $60


    Leader of the Pack

    With a wide, adjustable strap that fits snugly across the body, the Heatwave Messenger Bag is the ultimate in big-kid cool. The main compartment is huge; the front panel has slots for a calculator, pens, and more, so your guy will be organized this fall. Okay, more organized than he was last year. 

    Heatwave Messenger Bag, available at, $29.99

  • Jon Whittle

    Bag, You're It!

    Just the right size for the early-elementary crowd, this globally inspired Kid's Messenger Bag can be worn across the body, or on the back, with the attached straps. It also comes with a removable insulated lunch bag and reflective tape for extra visibility on those short, dark December days. 

    Kid's Messenger Bag, available at, $36