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Backpacks for small kids

Travel Forums Travel Gear Backpacks for small kids

1. Posted by amanad78 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi, I will be travelling for a month in Malaysia with 3 children and want them to all have their own backpacks. They are 5, 5 and 7 yrs old. I was thinking a daypack with back support and waist straps, and zips that open all around for easy access. The packs must be small enough to go on as 'carry-on' with Air Asia.

Any recommendations? The smallest child is only 100cm tall so will need a fairly short backpack. I have seen the High Sierra Cirque 30 recommended on a website as 'best daypack/small backpack'. Is 30L too big for a child?

We are in Australia so would prefer a brand available here to try for size before we buy.

Many thanks, Amanda

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

For children that young and small backpacks with 30 liters will be way too big and heavy, especially if you want them to carry their stuff.

A 30 liter pack will weigh around 10-15 kgs when fully packed - that is almost as heavy as the child itself. (It would be like an adult trying to carry a 120 liter bag weighing around 60 kgs.)

Children should never carry more than 10% of their body weight. There are some hiking backpacks for 5-8 year olds, these are typically around 10-15 liters - but they are not meant for travelling, just for carrying a jacket and some food and water. You could look at these, but only as extra bags for taking toys or such.

If you want to take as much as possible a much smarter solution would be some rolling uprights in child sizes. Children can handle much larger loads that way. Look at the Vaude Tuka 26 to get an idea of what you should get. You will have to help your kids lifting the bags over stairs and such, but this will be easier to do.

BTW, I strongly recommend that you as the adult carry 2 bags. One large rolling upright and a smaller carry-on sized backpack. You'll have to check the rolling upright, but I think that this is the only way you can take all the things you need with 3 small children. Children that age should be responsible for their toys and their toys only - their clothing should be their parents business, and yes that usually means carrying everything.

If you must arrange it so that every child nas to carry all his/her stuff give them one kid-sized rolling upright with 20-30 liters and one small backpack with around 5-10 liters. That is the only way I can think of that this will work. Unfortunately this will be two bags per child, but I think that for the health of your children you should bite the bullet and shell out for checked luggage with Air Asia.

3. Posted by amanad78 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the long and detailed reply.

It's not that I don't want to pay for the checked luggage on Air Asia, it's just that we don't want to take much stuff as we'll be on and off of buses, boats and planes during the 4 weeks. We're backpacking, not just going to one resort for the entire time. My husband and I are taking a large(ish) backpack each which will be checked baggage and we will carry some of the kids stuff if necessary (will have plenty of room). Don't want to use rolling uprights as we'll need hands-free for holding hands, crossing roads etc. Also, want to teach the kids about responsibility for their own stuff, plus they are excited about 'backpacking'.

So, planning to take the following for the children:
1x towel
1x washcloth
1x sarong
1x hat
1x swimmers
3x shorts
4x t-shirts
1x long sleeve shirt (wearing on plane)
1x long pants (wearing on plane)
1x trekking sandals (wearing on plane)

That's under 2kgs. We'll probably take some books, pens/paper and card games, not sure about toys though.

So, is there such a thing as a 10-15 litre daysack with back support & waist straps?

Thanks, Amanda
1x rain jacket
4x undies
1x socks
1x thongs/flip-flops

4. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Not that I am aware of. I can find backpacks meant for children much older than your kids (10,12 and 15-year olds.) The others are all daypacks without waiststraps. Out of this Deuter Junior, Jack Wolfskin Little Joe, Jack Wolfskin Kids Moab Jam, Tatonka Alpine Junior, Salewa Kiddies might be worth a look.

You can also look at some of the day packs meant for women and teens, I can imagine that some of them are good for kids.

The closest thing to what you want is probably the Meru Meruli, but that is only available from This is a big German online outdoor retailer, unfortunaltely it doesn't ship to Australia. If you are desperate enough: Since I am in Germany I could buy this and have it send to you and you give me the money, you'd be looking at approx. 20 EUR shipping.

5. Posted by amanad78 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for all the ideas, I will have a look at them all, and thanks for the offer re. the Meru Meruli. I wont take you up on the offer as I really want to try for size first. I've looked at the Deuter Junior but there's no waistbelt.

I have been looking at the Osprey Jet 18 which is aimed at 5-10 yr olds and also the REI Tarn 18 but that is recommended for 8-12yr olds so probably too big. It's possible I can get the Osprey pack locally.

Will let you know what I end up with!

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