heavy duty backpack

<p>My son has never really used a backpack much. Generally, he would go to school with it, put it in his locker and there it would stay most of the time. Next year, he will have to carry around tons of stuff and I don't want to have to buy a new backpack every year. What are some of the more rugged packs out there. Ideally, I would like something that would last all four years. Any suggestions from parents/current students?</p>

<p>For me personally, all of my backpacks last around 2 years. I usually just get a cheap $10 backpack at walmart. I don't think it would be worth it to pay a lot of money for a heavyduty one and then have something go wrong half way through the year. My advice would be to just look around at a local department store and find a decent one.</p>

<p>We got one from Eastern Mountain Sports -- held up very well.</p>

<p>My D has used the same LL Bean backpack for four years and will be taking it on to college. They aren't cheap, but you will get your money's worth and then some.</p>

<p>Luggage:</a> DEPARTMENTS at L.L.Bean</p>

<p>L.L. Bean. They're very sturdy and well designed. They also offer a repair service for many products.</p>

<p>There are a number of L.L. Bean outlet stores. Depending on your travels this summer, you might stop by an outlet. The outlet near us offers discounts on returned merchandise, especially monogrammed items. A monogram can be covered up with a patch.</p>

<p>Thanks for the suggestions all. I don't mind paying for quality. Son is not particular at all, but Mom is! The LL Bean packs are cheaper than I thought. The SwissGear one that I saw online was nearly twice Bean's. He doesn't really need the laptop sleeve since he'll likely not be lugging that around.</p>

<p>If he has a laptop, though, he'll want the option to carry it around, if only to bring it to a favorite study spot. Many of the Bean packs have padded backs, and--with notebooks & books--I wouldn't worry about the laptop getting banged up. </p>

<p>I've seen laptop sleeves at discount stores and such. If he needs a laptop sleeve at a later date, you can find one easily, especially if you're not picky about patterns. For teens, there's always the outside chance that someone may choose to jump on your backpack, or clumsily fall over it. In that case, a laptop sleeve wouldn't save your laptop. </p>

<p>Playing devil's advocate, I must note that the cost of a damaged laptop far exceeds the cost of a laptop sleeve. </p>

<p>I like backpacks which have pockets for the small stuff, such as thumb drives and room keys.</p>

<p>After only one year, my daughter's Swiss Gear backpack is being held together by duct tape. I'm going with L.L.Bean this year! The other nice thing about L.L.Bean is that they will replace it if it gets too worn. They give a lifetime guarantee on their products if I'm not mistaken. From what I understand, in Maine it's a tradition for the local kids to turn their packs in for a new one every year. If you happen to have an L.L.Bean credit card, shipping and monogramming are free.</p>

<p>This one has a laptop sleeve. <a href="http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/62115?parentCategory=506219&feat=506219-tn&cat4=816%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/62115?parentCategory=506219&feat=506219-tn&cat4=816&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I couldn't resist adding to this thread. My son bought the Quad Pack from LL Bean last year for school. When he came home for Christmas, I cleaned out his back pack and found a smashed blueberry muffin in plastic wrap. It still looked edible, however, he had no idea where it came from or how it got there :)</p>

<p>This is really helpful information. Even though we live in Maine, our son had been leaning towards a Swiss Gear backpack, but now we'll definitely go with the L.L.Bean one. Our experience with L.L.Bean on other things has been excellent. They really do stand behind everything they sell, with a no-questions-asked replacement policy. In his case, he does plan on routinely carrying his laptop, and he's chosen a 13" MacBook Pro largely because of its easy portability and relative ruggedness. The Bean backpack you referenced looks like it has a very nice padded compartment for a laptop. Thanks for the info!</p>

<p>Eh, I have a 6-year-old land's end backpack that's held up pretty well [granted, i've only used it for about 3 of those years, but still]. I switched back to it over winter break after my beloved canvas L.L. bean messenger bag broke :(</p>

<p>Ditto on LL Bean. Many credit cards with reward points programs have the LL Bean gift cards as rewards. I have gotten a couple of those from time to time, so the backpack was "free" (at least in terms of cash outflow).</p>

<p>Looks like LL Bean wins the CC consumer poll. :)</p>

<p>Izzy Busy Bee, have you talked with Bean's about your broken messenger bag? On the few occasions that we've sought replacements for things, we've found that it's adequate to just carry the broken product into any Bean's store, even one of their "factory" stores, and you'll be probably be quite pleasantly surprised by their immediate response.</p>

<p>Neato--thanks for the crazy thread---the backpack concept had crossed my mind, but then slipped out of my mind, d was home-schooled for 3 years.</p>

<p>jaharrison-thanks for the link, I need all the help I can get</p>

<p>We have not found anything better than LLBean yet, which are actually very reasonably priced. Get the biggest one.</p>

<p>An alternative to LL Bean backpacks are North Face ones. Sure, a lot of people have them (at least at my school), but they are so durable and comfortable and worth the price. My sister lugged around a Heckler style backpack for around four years and it still looks pretty much good as new. I got a Recon North Face backpack about a year ago (switching from an old, worn out LL Bean), and it is amazing! I cram so much stuff in there, but it manages to not look too bulky and still be completely comfortable. I like the LL Bean backpacks, but honestly I felt that my North Face one has better quality, and I know that it will last longer. </p>

<p>Here is the link to the website, where you can browse their styles: Daypacks</a>, Backpacks, Laptop Daypacks, Messenger Bags - The North Face</p>

<p>And you can head a lot of reviews here: The</a> North Face Heckler Laptop Backpack - FREE SHIPPING at Altrec.com, and here: The</a> North Face Recon Laptop Backpack - FREE SHIPPING at Altrec.com</p>

<p>I have used the Turbo Transit from LL Bean for 2 years now and nothing has happened to it. It has many compartments to put items such as shoes and small items like room keys and dorm cards. It's amazing and has withstanded alot of rainy weather and being pushed into a locker everyday. I'm not even going to buy a new one for Exeter and it's worth the price.</p>

<p>Yeah, I hear LL Bean is pretty good, and I know a couple of students at my school who use (or have used) them. I don't think they break easily at all. I use a Jansport one (the zipper's a bit broken, but it's fine) and it was a hand-me-down from my sister. I think she used it for... about 4 years before I started using it?</p>

<p>Just got an L.L.Bean e-mail: 20% off sale on all backpacks through September 6.</p>