He was beyond excited when I showed him the Trunki website and told him he could choose one of the beautiful Paddlepaks which come in a variety of aquatic designs including octopus, shark, dolphin and lobster.
He found it hard to choose between Sheldon the turtle, Ribbit the frog and Spike the blowfish but eventually settled on Chuckles the clown fish who has predictably been renamed Nemo!
The bags are water-resistant - it doesn't leak out when filled with wet kit and on rainy days it keeps what's inside dry. They have a lovely wide opening to allow the spacious sac to be stuffed with cuddly toys, drinks, picnics, swimming kit and in my son's case, half the pebbles and shells from Ryde beach.
The water resistant aspect was very useful after our day on the beach when we had to put both his and his sisters sea-soaked clothes into it! And because it works the other way too when he spilled his drink on it yesterday his school books inside stayed dry.
He had no hesitation in ditching his more traditional, fairly stiff and heavy nylon satchel-style school backpack in favour of his lightweight Paddlepak which is easy to get on with padded (but still flexible and soft) shoulder straps and mesh back.
The bag closes with a roll top, fastened with a breakaway safety buckle. My little man (just turned 6) did struggle with rolling up and clipping the top at first but he seems to be OK with it now.
The Paddlepaks range in price from £19.99-£24.99. This might seem expensive for a school or swimming bag but I thought that about Grumpy's Trunki suitcase which we have never regretted buying. We bought it for a special holiday and intended to sell it online immediately afterwards but he absolutely loved it so we kept it and he uses it as a sit and ride (even at 6!), playing packing games and for keeping his "best" toys in.
Already he has a similar attachment to his Paddlepak - by day it is a school bag, by night a treasure chest! We have used it for days out and picnics and he even involves "Nemo" in his imaginative games as a character alongside his cuddles and action figures. So although the initial outlay may seem high I think given the quality and its unique features it is rather a cut above other character backpacks. It's certainly a hit with Grumpy - and me.