REI Kids Backpack

REI Kids Tarn 12 Kids Backpack in purple pinkish color with gray accents hanging on hook on wall

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Pack It In, Pack It Out for Kids

REI Kids Tarn 12 Kids Backpack in purple pinkish color with gray accents hanging on hook on wall

  • What: REI Tarn 12 Pack Kids
  • When: 4 to 8 years old
  • Why: Durable, lightweight, huge capacity
  • Where: REI

Sick of buying a new backpack for your kid every fall? Want your kids’ backpack to log more miles than just the trek back and forth to school? Grab an REI Tarn 12 Kids’ Backpack for a super durable kid-sized pack that can go the extra miles.

REI Tarn 12 Kids Backpack unzipped open hanging on wall hook
These kid backpacks from REI offers loads of storage without overloading little backs.

These packs, which typically come in two colors each season, hold an amazing amount of stuff, yet don’t overload small backs. My daughter got her REI Tarn 12 two years ago, and it has traveled to and from school every day as well as on multiple field trips and family excursions. Despite some fading in the color, every other aspect has held up remarkably well, especially for a kid product and the amazing amount of abuse my kid bestows on her belongings.

Looking down into the hydration pack of REI Tarn 12 kids backpack hanging on hook
You can see both the interior slot for a hydration pack as well as the place where the water tube comes out.

Each pack has an exterior zippered pocket for quick access to things like sunscreen or bandaids, as well as two mesh side pockets perfect for water bottles (or toys or stuffed animals or found treasures). Inside, an open pocket al the back holds a hydration pack, complete with a path for the drinking tube. If you don’t want to carry their water in a bag, this pocket works great for spare clothes and extra layers for changing weather conditions. Best of all, each pack comes with a printed list of pictures to encourage your kid to pack themselves in preparation for the great outdoors.

REI Tarn 12 kids backpack packing list for hike
The convenient packing list comes with images printed on the lining of the bag.

The padded straps offer plenty of adjustment for my very petite five year old up to my tall eight year old. The backpack comes with a hip strap as well as chest buckle that prevents the shoulder straps from slipping off in transit. The extra buckle on the front of the bag means you or your kid can smush even more stuff into the bag beyond the packing capacity. Or you can use the buckle to attach things like lunch boxes and other bags or necessities.

Mesh back of REI kids tarn 12 backpack hanging on wall
The mesh on the back and straps helps keep young kids from getting so sweaty.

The mesh along the backside helps keep kids from overheating (and the bag from getting smelly, discounting any leftover lunch bits left undiscovered inside). At 13 x 9 x 5 inches, this lightweight pack can carry much more than its weight or size would imply. Don’t want to make the trek to REI or order through their website? Amazon offers a similar pack from Osprey.

Osprey Packs Jet Kids’ Hiking Backpack on Amazon

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