As you say, he starts a new school in September. He wants to go in feeling confident. Let him go for what he wants but be clear if he makes a mistake he'll have to save up for a replacement. As a pp said, if you buy him the rucksack he'll probably just sling it over one shoulder anyway.
There is a very simple answer to this inevitable bag problem: I don't know why schools don't insist on a proper rucksack as part of school uniform. If everyone had the same bag there would be no coolness or uncoolness about it. Surely it's a health and safety issue which is so hot these days...?
My dd carries a load of heavy books each day; she does have a locker but doesn't always have time to put her books back after school. Luckily she's happy with a proper rucksack as do lots of girls at her school.
I agree with others though in this case - is there a rucksack he would be happy with?
My daughter started comp in 2012. She had two fashionable bags to start with, the first one the straps stretched and broke, the second wore at the bottom, both within the first term. In Dec 2012 she accepted my suggestion of a rucksack and I let her choose one from Animal - I'm glad to say it's still in good condition.
Perhaps, you could let him have what he wants to start with, but on the condition that if it doesn't last six months, you'd like him to give a rucksack (of his choice) a chance. I know quite a few kids at my daughter's school have reverted to rucksacks - some days my daughter's bag is so heavy I wouldn't want to carry it, so don't feel too bag if you have to revert to a rucksack.
There always isn't pressure at all schools to be cool. My daughter thought she should be looking cool to fit in, but having got to know some of her new friends, they are pretty much the same as her, just nice girls, experimenting with their own styles and accepting eachother as they are.
Yes YABU. It's important to fit in. You don't want him branded as a geek on the first day!! And they don't carry bags round ALL day. For most of the day they are sitting in lessons. They only carry bags between lessons. As a post above days, there's no guarantee he'll carry the bag correctly anyway.
Surely there must be a compromise somewhere? A decent quality backpack that is to his taste?
At the end of the day, he is the one who will be using it and kids can be teased/bullied for having the wrong items.
I know you are trying to do what you think is best for him, but what is best in one way, may not be in another.
I'm not one to pander to demands in general, but in this case, I'd be tempted to give his his budget and let him get on with it.
The way he wears it is probably more important the back pack type - i.e. if he slings it over one shoulder or has the straps loose so it drags at his backside, the best bag in the world wouldn't protect his back any. Even a cheap bag worn properly would be better. And when he is out the house, you have no control over how he chooses to carry it.
I think this is one of those points where you need to pick your battles.
Am I being unreasonable to expect my 11 year old son to have a rucksack designed to protect his back? DS1 starts secondary school in September and is nervous. I have been told by another mother with a son at the school that they carry their books around all day and to make sure he has a good quality bag. I have found a fairly nondescript black backsafe rucksack which I would like him to have but apparently it is not cool! To be honest it really pushes my buttons because I feel I can't do what is right for him. This is not an unusual situation with my son. He has so few clothes in his wardrobe because most clothes are apparently 'not cool' and we trawl the shops and come home with nothing. If I buy them online they invariably get sent back. Should I stand my ground and get him the bag anyway or go along with what he thinks is cool, usually because it has a footballers name on it! Am I being cruel if I don't listen to him or should I go ahead because I am looking after his health................