Kids travel rucksack organiser LittleLife Penguin Playpack 02 ©Familymadventures

Gear testing

Kid’s backpack review: LittleLife’s travel organiser playpack

The power of the internet to side-track is phenomenal, would you agree?

I was browsing for good, functional rucksacks for the kids for hiking.  Instead I ended up looking at LittleLife’s Penguin Playpack. I love LittleLife and we have bought a couple of their products and loved them in the past.  As we were just about to embark on another long roadtrip, I decided to get it.

This is not the functional rucksack that I was looking for, well, not in the functional- hiking, outdoors, back support- sense I meant.  However, it really is functional!

The Penguin Play pack is the perfect travel organiser companion for kids!

The design is simple, streamlined and fun.  The play pack has some soft rigidity to it and with the whole front zipping open, it is easy to pack.  In fact, the trick is not to over-pack it so everything falls out when you open it.

Inside there are 4 different pockets to store papers, books, pens and games, even a zipped one for those special treasures or pocket money. In addition there are 5 elasticated pen loops (that can always double up as magic wand loops, for the little princesses and Harry Potters out there).

For our Scottish roadtrip we had a ream of A4 paper with us, couple of decks of cards from Reading Eggs and Dobble.

I love how this backpack helped keep the car tidy during the roadtrip!

The front, when zipped down, doubles as a rigid little writing table.

Kids travel rucksack organiser LittleLife Penguin Playpack 02 ©Familymadventures

On the outside of the playpack there are a further 3 pockets: 2 mesh side pockets with velcro closing flaps (Thank you for this practical design feature LittleLife!  I hate dropping things out of these on other bags.) and there is a large zipped section to fit books and more papers to the back support area.

The pack can hang on the headrest in front and then front folds down to be a table.  I’m not sure what sort of car and seating arrangement this would fit.  It certainly  doesn’t work in our small leg room Volvo (with more legroom it would work even less immo.)

However, it works well just balanced on legs and leaning gainst the seat in front.

The backpack comes with a fluffy penguin pencil case.  This is a very cute addition.  It actually helped us eliminate one extra toy that would’ve come on the journey, as it substituted the obligatory fluffy toy travel companion and worked twice as hard by doubling up as a pencil case.  A total win in my view.

How does it work as a rucksack though?  The playpack is designed to fit an unfolded 4 sheet of paper, so it is big. For carrying as a backpack I probably wouldn’t recommend it for under 5 year olds.  (As for younger travellers, mum and dad will need to carry it.)  The designers have thought about ergonomics: The shoulder strap is padded and slightly shaped.  It also has a chest strap. The back has some soft ridgity to it as well, so will distribute weight slightly better and allow for airflow.

Kids travel rucksack organiser LittleLife Penguin Playpack 02 ©Familymadventures

As I’ve mentioned it works very well as a travel organiser for toys and activities, but all gear need to work double hard for me.

Would it work as a daypack to carry around? Yes, it’s certainly big enough, but you need to add a light-weight stuffsack for the clothes and possible spare shoes you want to carry.  This way you can neatly take the stuffsack out when you stop and you child wants to capture the scenery in his artwork.

Overall, I highly recommend this bag.  It’s a clever design and will help keep your kids entertained and tidy(er) on long car/plane/train/boat journeys.  By the way, we use it at home too.

On a final thought, which struck me just as I’m writing up my thoughts on this backpack, this would actually make an excellent school bag… you can see the contents well, the paperwork is stored without it getting crinkled.   I know what Angelina is going back to school with after the half term!

Do you have any practical kids travel gear that you love?


Available on Amazon LittleLife Penguin Play Pack

Categories: Gear testing

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