Basic backpacks have given way to pieces that are high-function and higher-style.

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A backpack is just a pack for your back, right? Plain and simple.

Not anymore. While the backpacks we wore back in the day may have been basic, a lot more goes into the modern pack. And all backpacks are not created equal. Some serve specific purposes, meet different needs or express unique styles.

Before you buy just any old thing for your child, check out these cool back-to-school backpack styles.

B-Wap Recess Bag ($37 at Bootyland, Wallingford). More than just a cute pack, the B-Wap has comfy padded straps and a padded internal divider for keeping a small laptop or tablet safe. Carabiner loops and water-bottle pockets keep them organized. And for every one sold at Bootyland, the local kids’ shop will give two to Wellspring Family Services.

Kavu Pack It Backpack ($50 at Kavu, Ballard). They’ll always have their personal style on display with local company Kavu’s fun printed packs. A generous front pocket keeps electronics stowed but handy, and the straps and back panel are padded for comfort.

Fjallraven Kanken 17″ Laptop Backpack ($110 at Teens and college kids who are looking for something classic and stylish will love this update to the great Swedish Kanken bag. This one has room for a 17-inch laptop and padded straps for extra comfort, but manages to keep the same sleek styling of the original.

Fjallraven Kanken 17” Laptop Backpack, $110; Lands End Kids Global ClassMate Backpack, $59
Fjallraven Kanken 17” Laptop Backpack, $110; Lands End Kids Global ClassMate Backpack, $59

L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack ($30 at LL Bean’s classic pack has been a top-seller since 1989 (perhaps you owned one yourself!), and for good reason. It has tons of space for books and supplies, and it’s known for its extreme durability. It’s even lined with reflective material to make your kids more visible to cars.

Lands End Kids Global ClassMate Backpack ($59 at This pack has four exterior compartments, a laptop sleeve and a roomy interior. It also has great style, designed in collaboration with Peytie, a teenage designer from “Project Runway Junior.” And sales support the Let Girls Learn program championed by Michelle Obama. That’s quite a pack.

ShopNW staff contributed to this story.