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Looking for backpack options for a 5' Child.

I'm searching for the best backpack for my two nephews for Christmas. They are close to 5' tall. One is 11 and one is 13. Please advise, thank you!

1 Reply


Thanks for reaching out!

What a great gift for your two nephews! We have a couple of clarifying questions for you: are you looking for one backpack to fit both of your nephews or are you looking for one backpack for each of your nephews? Also, are you looking for a backpack for overnight trips or day trips? i.e. are they packing sleeping bags and tents?

For kids around the age of your nephews a pack in the 40-50 liter range can be a great size to introduce them to overnight backpacking without having too much backpack for them. These packs are the right size for a kid to carry an overnight pack along with an adult who is carrying the bulk of the load. Here are a couple of good options:

If your nephews are a bit more experienced or are at the age when they're ready to carry the bulk of their own gear, the 55-75 liter range could be a good choice. It's important to remember that these are the same volume as adult sized packs and are susceptible to being 'overpacked' and being too heavy (more on this later). Here are a couple of options in this size range:

All of these backpacks (in both size ranges) are going to be fully featured backpacks with the ability to be adjusted to different size torsos (if you wanted one backpack to be shared by your nephews). Generally speaking, you don't want a loaded backpack to weigh more than 10-20% of a child's total weight, so you'll want to take that in to consideration. As an example, if your younger nephew weighs 80 pounds, that's a loaded backpack weight in the 8-16 pound range. One of the bigger backpacks listed above, unloaded, will take up 1/2 to 1/4 of that total weight just on its own.

Additionally, all of these packs come in one size and will adjust to fit your nephews. Whichever pack you choose, we recommend taking a look at this Expert Advice article, How to Size and Fit a Backpack, for some tips to show them how to dial in their fit of their new backpack. You can also stop by your local REI store to talk with a pack fitter or set up a virtual outfitting appointment to talk with a friendly REI employee from the comfort of your own home.

Hopefully this helps, thanks!


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