Backpack for 7 year old for a 5 week trip?

I am traveling for 5 weeks with my 7 year old daughter and planning on traveling light. I am going to buy one of Rick's Classic travel backpacks. Any suggestions for what I should get for my daughter? Is there a great kids travel backpack out there?

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
2846 posts

We bought Rick's classic convertable bags for our kids (almost 20 years ago). They did not struggle with them at all. Just load them completely full. Or get her a small rolling bag.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7818 posts

Maxine, most 7 yr olds can't carry enough weight to make a backpack very practical, just their toys and a few things. I took an RS family tour once, and everyone HAS to handle their own luggage, and their was a 7 yr old on our tour. She had a small rolling bag and did fine with it, normally the tours suggests kids be a bit older but the parents knew she could handle the pace, and she most definitely did, and she could handle her own bag. She only needed help carrying it up stairs, so if you have a backpack you will have your hands free to help her.
Just make sure the bag you get her is not a junky kiddie type( you know sort of play suitcases with cartoon characters on them) , it has to have good wheels on it so get a decent one.. shouldn't cost much. My 11 yr olds suitcase cost me about 75 bucks and shes 16 now and still using it. Its small, about 21 inches but it was and is enough.

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

I'd suggest going with a decent quality very lightweight rolling carryon. AFAIK, there isn't a decent backpack for kids that young (unless your 7yo is closer in size to a typical 12yo). My then 8yo handled her own luggage when we traversed Italy last year. She even packed and unpacked at each city and carried it up and down stairs. It was a very lightweight and somewhat scaled down size carryon (ie not even close to the maximum size allowed). Luckily her shoes and clothes are small also.

Posted by Maxine
Louisville, CO, USA
8 posts

Thanks for the great suggestions. She is pretty tall for her age, closer to the size of a 9 year old and we are packing very light. I am assuming I would carry all the "heavy stuff" and we are each only bringing 2 pair of shoes. Perhaps I will buy the RS Classic for me and see if she can handle one herself before looking at the rolling suitcase. I can't help thinking that with the cobblestones and train travel that the roller bag would be hard for her.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7181 posts

When our kids were that age, we just used a largish school daypack. If you put the same items in as your pack-light list - some mix/match tops, bottoms, underwear, socks, swimsuit, pjs, warm layer, rain shell, and an extra pair of shoes - it's plenty of room and has straps for carrying, pockets for different items, really all you need.

Posted by Kim
San Francisco
110 posts

I am having my kids take the RS rolling carryon. We had them pack in a backpack last trip to Disneyland and we weren't that far into the airport when they were already complaining about carrying them. So I think we are just all doing rolling bags. Then they will have top manage their own, no excuses that it's too heavy (and we didn't even have heavy stuff in it). Kim

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7818 posts

Maxine, not sure if you have been to Europe before but its not all cobblestones, and much of what we call "cobblestone' is really more like paving brick, not difficult to roll a bag on..

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
397 posts

Don't forget the stairs - she should be able to pull a roller bag up the stairs - many train stations have many stairs.

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

The cobblestones are the reason why you need a decent quality rolled bag and not a cheap one. If it's lightweight, and you carry most of the weight, then I would think that would work for your daughter. I would not suggest a rolling backpack. Those things are much heavier than a regular backpack and more uncomfortable. Will you only have one bag for yourself? If so, if you get to an area with stairs your daughter can't handle the bag on, you could carry both.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2432 posts

I recommend a rolling bag - the cobblestones aren't as hard on the bag as they are on the feet and back of a child carrying a backpack, in my opinion. As another poster pointed out, there are lots of places that arent' cobblestones (near train/bus stations, for example, and on sidewalks). I prefer the rolling bag with the sturdiest wheels possible (the rolling backpack has these, but it is a little heavier than the rolling carryon).

Posted by Tania
Halton, Ontario, Canada
105 posts

Hello, we are travelling this summer with our girls. My daughter is currently 9 and on the small side. We bought her the Deuter Fox 30 backpack (Junior) It has a small internal frame and waist straps to distribute the weight well. We have filled it up to the brim and she has worn it around the house and outside for long periods of time, and she says she loves it and hardly notices it is on her back. It also has adjustable shoulder to torso height straps. It also just fits within our carry-on allowance for the airplane we are taking to Europe.
Good luck!

Posted by JB
Redding, CA, USA
1568 posts

Having a great-grand daughter that is 6-1/2 I would suggest you have several things in her bag that would entertain her. I travel several times a year to pick her up and bring her to my house and pack her a variety of items to keep her busy. Remember they do get bored after about 1/2 hour with one item. Enjoy!

Posted by Glenn
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, Canada
307 posts

Check out Rick's Appenzell Day Pack....very similar in concept to the Classic Carry On and a good size for younger travellers. I normally use Ricks Convertible Carry On for my trips ( longest was 6 weeks through 7 countries) and can easily manage with that bag, but I've also used the Appenzell for a week long trip with no problems at all.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1519 posts

Since you'll have your hands free, get her a small decent roller. You can still carry it upstairs when needed. Just make sure it's comfy for both of you to pull. Maybe get one with and adjustable handle. She should also carry a small backpack or messenger bag, just like adults, with her daily stuff. Jacket, water bottle, snacks, book, crayons, hand sanitizer, lotion, etc. Maybe a small blanket for train travel days. An extra shirt. Mom should not be the sherpa of the family. Also, my rule is that once that carry-on goes into the bin, it's locked and gone. No access until you're off the plane. She'll need a few items, and she should carry them.

Posted by Thomas
Snyder, Texas
503 posts

When our son was 9 we took a 4 week trip to Europe. He had a small rolling bag. It was about 18 inches tall with inline skate type rollers. He had all his stuff in that bag, and he handled it all by himself except for putting it up top on the plane and trains. A backpack would not have worked as well. We still use that bag from time to time.