Best For Older Kids: Eastport Durable Clear Top Loader Backpack

Let’s talk the best clear backpacks for school!

With more and more schools requiring transparent or see-through backpacks for security reasons, you have two basic choices here: clear plastic or mesh.

Mesh backpacks are great for their light weight but they have one major issue: if it rains, all your stuff gets wet. And pencils/pens can escape through the mesh lining. 

That’s why most folks like clear plastic backpacks as a solution.

That said, we should note an obvious caveat here: plastic isn’t as durable as regular canvas backpacks. 

Even though this article features better quality clear plastic backpacks with the best durability (as recommended by our readers), the reality is plastic can tear and crack over time . . . no matter how careful your kids are.

Many parents find themselves having to replace their kids clear plastic backpacks at least once during the school year.

Another key consideration: size. Some plastic backpacks are sized better for elementary (younger) kids and others are better for older kids in middle or high school.

For the latter category, we recommend this reader favorite: Eastport’s Durable Clear Top Loader Backpack. 

While a bit more pricey than other backpacks we researched for this article, this bag has many fans among our parent readers for its design and durability. Note the large front pocket plus two zippered pockets.

And yes, there are two mesh water bottles pockets, a feature that most parents and kids told us was super important.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Large size great for middle or high schoolers. This bag is 17.5″ by 12″ wide—that fits a large amount of stuff.

• Durable.

• Lots of pockets.

• Water bottle pockets.

• Nice variety of colors/patterns. Some have straps with a contrasting pattern design—very cute!

What Needs Work

• Top opening is too small for larger items.

• Pricey.

Best For Younger Kids: DALIX Small Clear Backpack Bag

Yes, even elementary school kids may be required to have transparent backpacks. And while there are good choices out there, many are sized for older kids or adults. 

In the smaller or mini clear backpack group, this one most impressed us: DALIX’s small clear backpack bag.

At 12″ by 15″, it is about two to three inches shorter than other typical clear backpacks . .  . but still big enough to hold notebooks or a binder. 

Also nice: it has two handles on top—we know that some younger kids prefer to carry it that way, instead of with the backpack straps.

What We Liked

 Cute!

• Durable PVC plastic.

• Lightweight at 14.4 ounces.

• Two fabric handles on top.

• Zippered pocket on side can hold water bottle.

• Wide variety of colors.

What Needs Work

• May be too small for some kids.

Best Budget-Friendly: Clear Backpack with Reinforced Straps

Sometimes, simple is better.

As the parent of two boys, we know that sometimes you just need something affordable without the frills to get the job done.

Case in point: this clear backpack from Trail Maker.

It is a reader favorite for its durability and comfy padded straps. No, it doesn’t have a water bottle pocket or other fancy features—but it might be just the ticket for folks who don’t need all that.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Easy to clean.

• Durable plastic.

• Decent size (17″ x 12″ x 5.5″ would work for bigger kids or adults).

• Variety of colors.

• Affordable.

What Needs Work

• No water bottle pocket (no side pockets at all).

Best Tried & True Brand: Adidas Linear Backpack

If you’d prefer a name brand for a clear backpack, we think Adidas Linear Backpack is the best bet.

Why?

Our readers told us this one has the best real-world durability. We tried it out and have to agree—the construction is a notch above others in the clear backpack arena.

Example: this backpack is PVC-free. Instead, it is made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).

Why is that good? TPU is more resistant to scratches and chemicals, compared to PVC (in our opinion).

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Thick material.

• Padded shoulder straps are comfy.

• Great for stadiums or other public venues that require transparent bags.

• Holds a good amount of stuff. The size, 17.87″ x 15.39″ x 3.39″, is somewhat larger than others we researched. That might be great for a high school student who needs to carry more school supplies.

• Made with TPU.

What Needs Work

• No side pockets.

• Pricey.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

About the Authors: Denise & Alan Fields

Denise & Alan Fields have made a career out of chronicling life’s milestones: getting married, buying a home and raising kids.

As best-selling authors, the Fields have written a series of best-selling consumer guides, including Baby Bargains (over two million copies in print).Baby Bargains 14e Best Selling Guide to Baby Gear
With detailed reviews and recommendations of cribs, strollers and car seats, Baby Bargains has helped multiple generations of parents pick out the best gear for baby since 1994

Inside, Baby Bargains, you’ll find:

CHEAT SHEETS for your baby registry―create a baby registry in minutes with our good, better, best ideas.

SEVEN THINGS no one tells you about baby gear, from nursery furniture to feeding baby.

• Dozens of SAFETY TIPS to keep baby safe and affordably
baby proof your home.

Co-author Denise Fields is one half of the team that wrote the beloved baby care series, Baby 411.

Baby 411 9e

Covering pregnancy, baby and toddler years, the Baby 411 series is both fun to read and informative—the inside scoop on your child’s growth, development and health.

Think of it as the ultimate FAQ for new parents:

• Sleep. The best way to get your baby to sleep through the night.

• First aid—when to worry, when not to . . . and what to do when baby gets sick. No-nonsense, down-to-earth advice you can trust.

Fussy baby 411. Is it colic? Acid reflux? Or something else? Discover  the secrets to soothing a fussy baby.

Detailed nutrition info with a step-by-step guide for successful breastfeeding, introducing solid food and the ‘‘new and improved’’ formulas. Plus: simple steps to avoid food allergies!

Denise Fields

Denise Fields

Raised in Loveland, Colorado, Denise Fields caught the writing bug early in life. She won awards for her essays at the tender age of 12, all while tending her family’s pet donkey at a farm in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.

Fields received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado before co-founding a publishing company in Austin, Texas in 1988.

As the co-author of 23 books, Fields has written extensively on consumer topics, including real estate, parenting and children’s products.

A frequent guest on television, radio and online, Fields has been cited as an expert source by the New York Times, who hailed her Baby Bargains book as “the Bible of baby gear.”

Fields also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and on TV shows like Good Morning America and the NBC Today Show.

Alan Fields

Alan Fields

Alan Fields grew up in Dallas, Texas before attending the University of Colorado and receiving a Bachelor of Science degree.

Fields worked both in newspapers and radio before launching a career as a book author.

Together with Denise, Fields moved to Austin, Texas where Fields received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Colorado.

Fields co-founded Windsor Peak Press, a boutique publishing company now based in Boulder, CO.

As a consumer advocate and money-saving expert, Fields has been quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times and even People Magazine.

Denise & Alan Fields with Katie Couric

Denise & Alan Fields talking money-saving tips with Katie Couric.

How We Come Up With Recommendations

Let’s talk about how we pick products to recommend.

In a world full of influencers paid to shill a product, you deserve unbiased recommendations based on solid research and testing.

That’s why we are here.

Here’s three reasons why folks trust our recommendations and advice when it comes to selecting products for your home and family:

  1. Experience.
  2. Independence.
  3. Expert.

Experience

We have been researching, reviewing and rating products for families and the home since 1994. (Yes, that long!). This is what we do—we obsess about gear so you don’t have to.

We have many fine competitors online but we challenge you to find one who has as much experience in the family category as Baby Bargains. Go ahead, we’ll wait right here.

We do hands-on research.

What does that mean?

How we research varies by the product category. For some products used in a home, we purchase them with our own money (no freebies) and test them in-house.

Example: for a review on the best vanilla bean paste (part of our series on baking products), we compare the thickness of several brands in our test kitchen:

Best Budget Friendly Vanilla Bean Paste Vanilla Bean Kings thickness

For other recommendations, we tap our vast readership (our books have 3 million copies in print) for their feedback. We look for real-world product reports from our readers to narrow down the vast field of choices in many categories.

To keep things fair, we also do blind taste tests when it comes to items like food. We’ll gather a panel of ramen enthusiasts, for example, and then have them chow down on mystery bowls to see which scores best.

To get insights beyond our own testing and reader feedback, we interview industry experts to get the inside scoop on what separates a quality product from an inferior choice.

Finally, we regularly meet one on one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. On a recent trip to a Ohio, we visited the factory that makes mattresses we review to watch the manufacturing process:

Factory Visit

The result of all this effort: you get the most reliable gear reviews you can find, online or off.

We aim to give you additional insight beyond what you can find yourself via online descriptions and reviews.

How do we get to do this? That brings us to reason number 2 . . .

Independence

Let’s do something you won’t hear from our competitors: we’re going to tell you exactly how we make money.

We make a living from sales of our print books and affiliate commissions. What does that mean? When you purchase a recommended product that is linked in an article, we may get a small commission.

Do you see anything missing? That’s right—we do NOT take money from the brands we review. No cash, no free samples, no gift baskets. When we fly to see a manufacturer’s factory, we pay ALL of our travel expenses. The result: we tell you how it really is.

Let’s talk about a dirty secret of influencers who “review” gear. Many take free product to give away in contests. Others accept samples in exchange for a review. Some insist on cash.

That compromises independence, in our opinion.

To keep it real, we insist on being independent from the brands we review.

Expert

Want to see something really scary? Take a look at this:

Luggage Scale

Yes, that my friends, is a luggage scale. It strikes fear and terror in the hearts of a certain group of people—baby stroller makers.

Why?

That’s because stroller makes often brag about how little their strollers weigh, knowing that’s a key feature consumers look for. Lightweight strollers are preferred over those that weigh more than 25 lbs.

So here’s our secret sauce: we carry a portable luggage scale with us when we evaluate new strollers. And wouldn’t you know it? The ACTUAL weight of strollers is often more than what marketers state. Surprised?

It’s that little bit of fact checking that separates Baby Bargains from other gear review sources. Most simply take the maker’s word on a stroller’s weight. We verify.

We take that same approach to all the products we review, aiming to produce thorough research that goes deeper than our competitors.

So there you have it—who we are, how we got here and how we come up with our recommendations. As always, we value your feedback, so drop us a line via our web page or social media channels. Thanks in advance for your support.