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BACKPACK REVIEW

PBK Mackenzie Backpack Aqua Panda.jpg

Top  Pick

Mackenzie (Small)

Pottery Barn Kids

A triple threat with exceptional comfort, organization, and quality. 

MSRP:  $39.50

Mfr. Recommended Age:  Kids 43-49"

Capacity:   Very Good

Organization:  Excellent

Comfort:  Excellent

Fit:  Excellent

Quality:  Excellent

Buying options:*

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THE SCOOP

The Fun​

  • Excellent comfort

  • Excellent quality

  • Excellent organization

The Frustration

  • Price

Comfort & Fit

The Specs  

 

Capacity: Very Good

 

12"W x 15"H x 6"D

The Mackenzie (small) has plenty of space for the younger set. It can handle a blanket, a change of clothes, and a couple toys without any problem. It meets our size threshold for first graders (fits a full-sized folder, small notebook, and a few children's books) as well. Though it zipped easily, like the other smaller models we looked at, there was not a ton of room to spare at the top.

 

Organization: Excellent

The Mackenzie has some of the best organizational features of any of the packs we tested. The main opening has a back pocket with a small velcro closure that can hold a change of clothes. The front pocket has an additional six compartments, including three pen / pencil holders. There's a pocket at the top of the bag as well for small items a kiddo might want to access quickly. The Mackenzie has two side pockets, either of which can hold a water bottle.  

Comfort & Fit

 

Comfort: Excellent

The Mackenzie is an extremely high performer when it comes to comfort. The shoulder straps and the back of the bag are both well padded and flexible. The front and top pockets help distribute the weight of the bag, and a front strap helps take some of that weight off the back and shoulders (although the clasp on the front strap occasionally sticks). The handle at the top of the bag is also nicely padded to keep it from digging into little fingers.

 

Fit: Excellent

This backpack worked well across the entire 42" to 48" spectrum. It was a manageable size for the smaller testers and still worked well for the taller ones.

 

A note on Mackenzie Small vs. Large: Pottery Barn Kids recommends the small Mackenzie for kiddos 43"-49" tall and the large Makenzie for those over 48". We found the 48" height to be a bit tricky for deciding on small versus large. You'll certainly get more room for growth if you buy the large for a 48" child, but the large pack size is a bit overwhelming for a child that size. We'd recommend sticking with the small at this height, even though the kiddo won't get as many years of use out of it.    

Quality: Excellent

The pack material is durable, the zippers work well, and the padding is first rate.

Conclusion

 

The Mackenzie is an excellent choice for a little kids backpack and our top pick for 2017. It's got all the key features we were looking for: exceptional comfort, great organizational capacity, and high quality. Plus kids will love the wide variety of prints to choose from. The only drawback as far as we're concerned is the occasional stickiness of the clasp on the front strap.

THE PRODUCTS

Mackenzie (Small)

Pottery Barn Kids

 

MSRP:  $39.50

Mfr. Recommended Age:  Kids 43-49"

 

Buying options: