Since the tender age of four, kids are required to schlep their own stuff. We have used a variety of travel gear, from rollers to backpacks. Currently we are using North Face Recon Squash backpack. This version isn't terribly large, which limits what my hoarding-tendency kids pack, however, the Recon Squash has some convenient features like outside pockets that make accessing water bottles, ear buds, and kleenex easy.
Each kid is color coded...sounds crazy and it is, but I hate packing and color coding makes everything easier. Adele is a consistent blue and Leo a reliable green, the other two kids, Flora and Hazel, get the leftover colors, although Hazel gets the pinks or reds and Flora's impending emo stage has recently settled on black.
What's In Their Backpack?
Here is what is in their backpacks:
1 Eeboo sketch pad.
1 Crayola colored pencils pack
1 fabric zip pencil pouch
2-3 kids' magazines, from Muse for the 11 year-old to Ranger Rick and National Geographic Kids for the 6 year-olds.
1 Sugar Booger Snack Bag with assorted snacks
1 ear buds or head phones
1 pack of kleenex
1 Monogrammed blanket, Lug Nug Nap Sac with an inflatable pillow. It's a bit fluffy but the kids like the softness.
1 water bottle
0-1 lovey, depending on the kid.
How We Roll (literally)
We finally moved to all Eagle Creek luggage. We prefer rolling with duffles, the biggest ones. Since the kids spend a month in Colorado, with a one to two week stint at camp, we decided the duffles doubled as light weight trunks but also can be shared between kids when traveling abroad.
We also like the Eagle Creek Packing cubes to organize their stuff. I typically use five to six cubes per kid and again color code them. If you can't find what you want on the Eagle Creek site, see Amazon.