The Best Backpacks for Disney Vacations

Our number one choice is Herschel’s Small Nova Backpack.

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best backpacks for disney
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon; Dagne Dover

No matter how old you are, Disney is a truly enchanting destination. Whether it's your first time or your fifteenth, planning ahead is key to a successful, fulfilling trip. Besides walking shoes and comfy apparel, a nice backpack should be high up on your to-bring list.

Sunny skies, long lines, and extended hours on your feet are standard at both Disneyland and Disney World. As such, you'll be glad to have sunscreen, sunglasses, a water bottle, and emergency snacks at the ready next time you visit the Magic Kingdom.

From minis and mid-size carriers to Disney-themed designs and sleek slings for adults, we found backpacks that fit all the essentials while staying within Disney Parks guidelines for bag sizes. (The rules say you can't bring packs larger than 24 x 18 x 15 inches.)

Our number one pick is Herschel's Small Nova Backpack, a classically cool and compact carrier with dual water bottle pouches and multiple pockets. But to cover all the bases, we rounded up several of the best backpacks for Disney below.

These are the best backpacks for Disney.

T+L's Top Picks

Best Overall: Herschel Supply Co. Nova Backpack Small

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Zappos

Also available at Amazon and Herschel Supply Co.

Why We Love It: The Nova boasts a compact yet spacious design with dual water bottle holders, a front pouch, and a tablet sleeve.

What to Consider: It doesn't have a water-repellent coating (though polyester is slightly moisture-resistant as is).

If we could only recommend one backpack to take on a Disney vacation, we'd have to go with the Nova from Herschel Supply Co. It comes in three sizes (mini, small, and mid-volume), and while they're all within the parks' sizing limits, the small might be your best bet. Measuring 14 x 10 x 5 inches, this compact backpack has a 14-liter capacity — not so small that you won't be able to fit the essentials but not so large that it'll be a burden to carry around all day.

The Nova is made of thick, durable polyester. Though it's not waterproof, untreated polyester has some moisture resistance. Still, you might want to hand it off to a friend or family member while hitting up Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, or another water ride.

Available in various colors and prints ranging from blush to black to floral, it features the brand's signature red striped lining and exposed gold zippers. As for storage, there are two external water bottle pouches, a front zip pocket, and an internal tablet sleeve. The adjustable straps offer a comfy fit for adults and kids alike. You can also grab it by the sturdy top handles.

Size: 14 x 10 x 5 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Material: Polyester

Best Budget: Vaschy Classic Unisex Backpack

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Vaschy

Why We Love It: Available in 20 colors and prints, this mid-size carrier is water-resistant, spacious, and endlessly comfortable.

What to Consider: While it offers some water-resistance, it's not entirely waterproof.

Looking for something a little more wallet-friendly? The Vaschy Classic Backpack is a solid choice. Measuring 17 x 13 x 5.5 inches, it's a nice size with a generous 20-liter capacity. And at just 0.8 pounds, it's lighter than many mini carriers we found. This versatile backpack is made of polyester; again, while the durable material is water-resistant, bear in mind it's not completely waterproof. Some splashing is fine, but you'll want to avoid getting it soaked.

The Vaschy Classic is available in 20 colors and patterns ranging from kelly green to periwinkle to unicorn print. It's got a sizable main compartment with a tablet sleeve and a mesh zipper pocket. On the outside, there's a front zip-up pouch and a water bottle pocket on either side. And the padded, adjustable straps make for a comfy, customizable fit.

Size: 17 x 13 x 5.5 inches | Weight: 0.8 pounds | Material: Polyester

Best Splurge: Michael Kors Mason Varsity Stripe Sling Pack

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Macy's and Dillard's

Why We Love It: This chic sling has a padded back and a structural design that holds its shape.

What to Consider: It weighs 2 pounds when empty, and the accents are real leather.

If you're open to spending a little more on the perfect bag, consider the Mason Varsity Stripe Sling by Michael Kors. It's 13.5 inches tall, 8.5 inches wide, and 5 inches deep with a 9.5-liter capacity. Despite the compact size, you'll have plenty of room for a water bottle, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen in the main compartment. And you can keep your phone and keys in the outer zipper pouch.

Thanks to the padded back and adjustable strap, this sling-style pack is comfortable too. The Mason is made of the brand's signature coated canvas material, providing water resistance and a sturdy, structural feel. It's primarily black and charcoal with a colored stripe down the center. (The red and white one will go perfectly with Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears.) Just a heads up — it weighs 2 pounds when empty, and the accents are real leather, so it's not vegan-friendly.

Size: 13.5 x 8.5 x 5 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Material: Thermoplastic-coated polyester canvas, leather

Related: The Best Anti-theft Backpacks

Best Mini: Loungefly Disney Villains Mini Backpack

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart

Why We Love It: Boasting a structural quality and a high-end feel, this vegan leather pack is printed with all the classic Disney villains.

What to Consider: The price is a bit steep for the size, but it's really made for adults, not kids.

Loungefly makes our favorite mini backpack. This one is printed with all the classic Disney villains — we're talking Ursula, Maleficent, Cruella, the Evil Queen, and even the Queen of Hearts. The vegan leather has a structural quality and a high-end feel, plus it's wipeable and water-resistant.

Measuring 10.5 x 9 x 4.5 inches, it has a capacity of about 7 liters. You probably won't be able to carry an extra sweater, but you can definitely fit a water bottle in the main compartment or one of the side pouches. There's also a front zipper pouch for keys, earbuds, and other small items. The price is somewhat steep for the size, but this backpack is technically made for adults — hence the nostalgic characters from 20th-century Disney movies.

Size: 10.5 x 9 x 4.5 inches | Weight: 1.6 pounds | Material: Vegan leather

Best Large-capacity: Himawari Travel Backpack

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart and Himawari

Why We Love It: Available in 40 colors, this waterproof backpack has a spacious interior, a USB port, and various pockets throughout.

What to Consider: With more space, you'll sacrifice a low-profile design.

Need something bigger? Go with the Himawari Travel Backpack. It comes in two sizes, both of which are well within the Disney Parks sizing limits. The regular size is 16 x 11 x 6 inches with an 18-liter capacity, and the large is 18 x 12 x 8 inches with a 28-liter capacity. Though you'll sacrifice a low-profile design, it might be worth it for the spacious interior and ample features.

This backpack has a sizable main compartment, plus two internal pockets and a tablet sleeve with a built-in USB charging port. There's also a large front zipper pouch and dual water bottle holders on the sides. Even when it's packed full, the padded backing and adjustable shoulder straps make for comfortable carrying. What's more, it's completely waterproof and comes in a whopping 40 colors.

Size: 16 x 11 x 6 inches, 18 x 12 x 8 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds | Material: Waterproof canvas

Best Sling: Vera Bradley Reactive Sling Backpack

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Zappos and Dillard's

Why We Love It: Made of recycled plastic, this water-repellent pack has a cross-body design for hands-free convenience and comfort.

What to Consider: There's no water bottle sleeve, and it's not 100 percent waterproof.

The Vera Bradley Sling is ideal for rides and strolling through Disney attractions. It's made of the brand's Reactive material, a lightweight, tear-resistant polyester sourced from recycled plastic bottles. Though it has a water-repellent coating, keep in mind it's not 100 percent waterproof. From heather gray and raspberry pink to muted florals and boho medallions, this backpack comes in several colors and prints. At 19 inches long, 9 inches wide, and 3 inches deep, it's got a low profile and an 8.5-liter capacity. While this sling bag doesn't have a designated water bottle holder, there's plenty of room for one in the main compartment. There are also two zipper pouches on the outside, an internal slip pocket, and a D-ring strap for your keys. The cross-body design helps evenly distribute the weight across your back while offering hands-free convenience as you mosey around the parks.

Size: 19 x 9 x 3 inches | Weight: 0.7 pounds | Material: Water-repellent recycled polyester

Related: The Best Carry-on Backpacks

Best for Kids: Simple Modern Fletcher Kids Backpack

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart

Why We Love It: This kid-friendly pack has a waterproof coating, adjustable straps, and a buckle to keep it securely in place.

What to Consider: The larger size is recommended for ages 4 and up, and the smaller is designed for kids between 1 and 3.

Shopping for a kid? We suggest the Simple Modern Fletcher Backpack. This adorable carrier comes in over 30 designs, including several Disney prints. There's a Lion King option, one featuring various Pixar characters, Moana, Disney princesses, and classic Mickey Mouse — to name just a few. This polyester backpack features a waterproof coating, making it splash-friendly and easy to wipe clean.

The Fletcher comes in two sizes. Recommended for ages 4 and up, the larger option is 15 x 12.5 x 5 inches with a 12-liter capacity. The smaller one is designed for toddlers between 1 and 3 and measures 14 x 12 x 4 inches with a 7-liter capacity. This pack has padded adjustable straps, plus a buckle to keep it securely in place. The upper handle makes it easy to grab, and you can attach your own tether strap to prevent your child from wandering.

Size: 15 x 12.5 x 5 inches, 14 x 12 x 4 inches | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Material: Waterproof polyester

Best for Teens: Fjällräven Mini Kånken Backpack

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Zappos

Also available at Dillard's and REI

Why We Love It: The teen-approved Kånken Mini is made of water-resistant vinyl and comes in over 60 colors.

What to Consider: The capacity is somewhat small, and the straps aren't padded.

The best option for teens is Fjällräven's Kånken Mini. A smaller version of the brand's uber-popular Kånken, this boxy backpack measures 11 x 7.5 x 4 inches and weighs barely over a half a pound when empty. The 5.5-liter capacity is substantially smaller than the 13-liter standard size; however, it's big enough to hold most tablets and a bottle in the main compartment.

The Kånken Mini comes in over 60 colors, including classics, neutrals, and statement hues. It's made of Fjällräven's Vinylon F material, a water-resistant vinyl fabric. Since the material is relatively thin, it has a removable foam cushion backing to add shape and prevent your belongings from poking your back. This backpack has a front zipper pouch, two flat side pockets, and snap-together carrying handles. The straps are adjustable, but keep in mind they aren't padded.

Size: 11 x 7.5 x 4 inches | Weight: 0.6 pounds | Material: Water-resistant vinyl

Best Style: Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack Mini

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Lululemon

Why We Love It: Available in Lululemon's most sought-after colors, this compact carrier has spaces for things like keys, wallets, and phones.

What to Consider: The 6-inch-deep design isn't very low-profile, and the straps aren't padded.

Whether you're planning a child-free Disney vacation or are bringing kids along, you'll be glad to have the City Adventurer Mini Backpack. This compact carrier measures 13 x 10 x 6 inches. Although the 6-inch-deep design isn't very low-profile, the 11-liter capacity is more spacious than most mini backpacks.

The City Adventurer is made of polyester and features a water-repellent coating. While it's not machine-washable, it's Splash Mountain-friendly and easy to spot clean. There's a zipper pocket and a mesh pouch in the main compartment for a water bottle (or an umbrella if you hit a rainy day in Orlando). And you can stash your phone or hotel key in the quick-access exterior pocket. This backpack comes in several of Lululemon's most sought-after colors, including sandy-golden Artifact, silvery Seal Gray, and of course, black. One thing to note is that the straps are adjustable but not padded.

Size: 13 x 10 x 6 inches | Weight: Not specified | Material: Water-repellent polyester

Related: Mistakes to Avoid on Your Next Disney Vacation

Best Waterproof: Rains Backpack Mini

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Madewell

Why We Love It: The Rains Mini features a waterproof coating and a semi-flat silhouette that can fit all your essentials and even a tablet as large as 13 inches.

What to Consider: It doesn't have a designated water bottle pouch, and the straps aren't padded.

If your favorite Disney rides involve water, go with the Rains Mini. A smaller version of the brand's classic carrier, this backpack measures 16 x 11.5 x 4 inches and has a 9-liter capacity. More to the point, it's crafted from thermoplastic-coated polyester, making it not just splash-friendly but entirely waterproof. The Rains Mini boasts a water column pressure of 8,000 millimeters, meaning it could be 8 millimeters deep in liquid before any moisture seeps through.

This rucksack-inspired bag features a magnetic carabiner closure and a semi-flat silhouette. Though it doesn't have a designated water bottle holder, you can easily fit one in the main compartment. There's also an internal tablet sleeve that fits devices up to 13 inches and a concealed outer pocket for your phone. And while the shoulder straps aren't padded, they're adjustable.

Size: 16 x 11.5 x 4 inches | Weight: Not specified | Material: Thermoplastic-coated polyester

Best Print: Petunia Pickle Bottom Whimsical Belle Criss-Cross Sling Bag

Best Backpacks for Disney
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Dillard's and Nordstrom

Why We Love It: This whimsical Disney-inspired design can be worn like a backpack, as a front carrier, or slung over one shoulder.

What to Consider: While it's made primarily of vegan leather, the accents are genuine leather.

This small backpack is 11 inches long, 8 inches wide, and 4 inches deep with a capacity of about 6 liters. An adjustable strap offers a customizable fit, and you can even change the orientation from left to right. The cross-body design helps evenly distribute weight on your back. You can also slide it around to your front if you prefer to keep your belongings in sight or just sling it over one shoulder.

This versatile pack is made of a leatherette (faux leather) material. However, the zipper tabs are genuine leather, so it's not 100 percent vegan-friendly. The interior lining is water-resistant vinyl, and the entire thing is a breeze to wipe clean. We like the subtle princessy print of the Whimsical Belle design, but there are a few other Disney-inspired options, including Whinnie the Pooh, Little Mermaid, and Mickey Mouse.

Size: 11 x 8 x 4 inches | Weight: Not specified | Material: Vegan leather, vinyl, leather

Best Diaper Bag: Dagne Dover Small Indi Diaper Backpack

Also available at Nordstrom

Why We Love It: The Indi has an insulated bottle holder, stroller clips, a pacifier leash, a changing pad, and several pockets and pouches throughout.

What to Consider: Due to all the features and compartments, it weighs nearly 3 pounds when empty.

If you're traveling with a baby or toddler, Dagne Dover is the way to go. The brand's water-resistant Indi Diaper Backpack comes in three sizes, but the small is ideal for theme parks. Measuring 11 x 9.5 x 5 inches, it has a capacity of nearly 9 liters, plus various pockets and compartments for keeping everything organized.

Inside the main compartment are a tablet sleeve, a mesh pocket, an insulated bottle holder, and two removable pouches for wipes and other essentials, plus a dust bag for dirty clothes. There's another water bottle holder, a side pocket, and two zipper pockets on the exterior. Other notable features include stroller clips, a pacifier leash, and a changing pad for on-the-go diapering. Due to the feature-rich design, we should tell you this backpack weighs almost 3 pounds when empty.

Size: 11 x 9.5 x 5 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds | Material: Neoprene, recycled polyester

Tips for Buying a Backpack for Disney

Stay within the size limit

When buying a backpack for your trip, make sure it's within the size limit for Disney Parks. The rules say all luggage (including backpacks, suitcases, duffles, and coolers) brought into any theme park can't be bigger than 24 x 18 x 15 inches.

Prioritize comfort

Disney might be known as the Happiest Place on Earth, but maybe not if you've got an achy back and stiff shoulders. Like supportive footwear and breathable clothing, a comfortable backpack design is crucial. A smaller bag will generally be easier to carry for longer days, though it depends on what you put inside.

For heavier or mid-size backpacks, padded straps are ideal, as they'll take some of the pressure off your shoulders. Some people prefer sling-style bags, which can help evenly distribute the weight across your back.

Look for water resistance

Many Disney rides pose a risk of getting wet, like Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain, Kali River Rapids, and Frozen Ever After. If you like splash-prone attractions, you'll definitely want to get a backpack that's water-resistant — if not 100 percent waterproof.

Disneyland is in Anaheim, California, where it's mostly sunny and dry. However, it usually rains a couple days a week in Orlando, Florida, home of Disney World. Needless to say, those heading to Florida will definitely want a water-resistant backpack.

Think about insulation

Disney Parks don't allow you to bring in loose ice cubes or dry ice, but they recommend reusable ice packs. If you need to keep milk, baby formula, drinks, snacks, or medications cold, opt for a backpack with an insulated compartment and maybe an ice pack for good measure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring food into a Disney park?

Both Disneyland and Disney World let guests bring their own food and nonalcoholic drinks. There are a few specific rules, though. With the exception of baby food jars, glass containers aren't allowed. The parks also prohibit anything that requires reheating or has a "pungent odor." And you're supposed to let a security worker know when you enter with food.

What should I pack in my backpack for a Disney park?

We recommend bringing a refillable water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bandaids, a phone charger, a hat, and a couple of face masks. You may also want an extra t-shirt, a small umbrella, and a packable poncho in case it rains or you get soaked on a ride. Toss in a few dry snacks, and you're good to go.

What material is good for a backpack?

Most backpacks are made of polyester, nylon, or vinyl, all of which are generally durable with some level of water resistance. That said, many are coated with thermoplastic for an added layer of protection from rain, splashing, spills, and stains. Neoprene (the material used to make wetsuits) also stands up well to water. Another good option is vegan leather, which is super easy to wipe clean.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure writers are trip-planning experts who know how to navigate the world's best theme parks and make the most of family excursions. For this article, Theresa Holland researched the backpack guidelines for Disney Parks. After considering dozens of designs within the size limits, she narrowed it down to the most comfortable, convenient, stylish, and feature-rich options.

Up Next: The Best Umbrellas for Travel

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