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Whether you need a backpack for everyday use for school or work, or you’re looking for an ideal solution to take along on your travels, it’s important to consider more than just looks when choosing the right backpack. Follow these tips to find the backpack that’s right for you.
A school-aged child has different needs in a backpack than a hiker who’s off to the Appalachian Trail. Know how you plan to use the pack and choose the right backpack accordingly. More rugged materials are suited for outdoor, vigorous use. Packs that offer less padding and fewer compartments are better suited for lighter use.
A backpack should never hang more than four inches below your waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing you to lean forward when walking. Select a backpack that has adjustable straps that will enable to you adjust the length of your backpack. Packs with waist straps also help distribute the load more evenly.
You can never have too many compartments. A backpack with multiple compartments helps position the contents most efficiently to distribute the load. Organize your backpack to use all of its compartments and make sure that bulky objects or those with strong edges (i.e. hardback textbooks) are packed away from the area that will rest on your back.
Utilize pouches that fit inside the backpack’s compartments to further organize pens and pencils, cosmetics, or other daily necessities. Pouches in bright colors make them easy to spot at the bottom of a large backpack.
The more room there is in a backpack, the more you will be tempted to carry and the heavier the backpack will be. A basic rule to follow: carry no more than 10 percent of your body weight. If you’re required to carry more, consider a wheeled option instead of one that is worn on your shoulders.
Carrying the backpack on one shoulder can cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as lower-back pain.
Wide, padded shoulder straps are very important for comfort. S-shaped straps offer additional comfort and are ideal for heavier loads. Make sure straps are snug, but not too tight. If they are too loose, your backpack will dangle uncomfortably and can cause back and muscle strain.