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Backpacks Unpacked

It’s an essential part of every kid’s school kit. Which unisex backpacks score style points, and which will hold every last book?

Burberry, $1,200
Chic wool pack comes with a drawstring closure, which reduces storage space up top. Best for show and light-homework days (9 E. 57th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-407-7100).

Ghurka, $395
Woven cotton twill with leather trim for the prep-school sophisticate. Rather small—when cramming for finals, expect to carry some books in hand (683 Madison Ave., nr. 62nd St.; 212-826-8300).

Coach, $298
Black nylon can easily be wiped down, and leather bottom dresses it up. Subtle style is complemented by top handle, back support, and ample pockets. (At Coach stores;

Go Go Gear, $125
If weight is a concern, this pack has luggage-style wheels. They’re not detachable, but there’s a shoulder strap, and the canvas is light. (At Infinity, 1116 Madison Ave., at 83rd St.; 212-517-4232.)

Viv Pickle, $70
Let the kids design their own pack from fifteen styles, 150 fabrics and linings, then add pockets, zippers, and trim. Five-week turnaround (238 W. 10th St., nr. Hudson St.; 212-924-0444).

Jansport, $65
The Airlift 1.1 has comfy jelly inserts in the shoulder straps and an interior flap that holds in overspill books. (At Morris Brothers, 2322 Broadway, at 84th St.; 212-724-9000.)

Victorinox, $59.95
The most comfortable pack, with squishy rubber shoulder straps and a flexible yet sturdy foam back. (At Paragon Sporting Goods, 867 Broadway, at 18th St.; 212-255-8036.)

L.L. Bean, $49
If the loud Hawaiian print isn’t visible enough, there’s a reflective stripe and piping that glows under battery power. A cord port gives easy headphone access (

Athletech, $14.99
Generic style jazzed up with a water bottle, detachable cell-phone case, CD holder, and school I.D. tag. (At Kmart, 770 Broadway, at Astor Pl.; 212-673-1540.)

See also:
The Everything Guide to Back to School