With your kids likely headed back to school this fall, the inevitable need for backpacks is fast approaching. But backpacks can be relevant year round, from camping and hiking packs to carrying a picnic to the park.
And backpacks aren’t just for kids. Adults carry backpacks for a variety of reasons too, and those who are headed back to work or back on airplanes need to be aware of the right kind of pack to wear and how to wear it.
The wrong fit with your backpack, not enough padding, too much weight, and many other factors not only make you uncomfortable, but can cause back and shoulder pain, and even permanent damage. This is especially important in young people whose bones and muscles are still developing.
Here are some tips on wearing and buying the right backpack to prevent pain, injury, and discomfort.
There are a variety of types of backpacks from cheap and simple nylon packs used to carry flyers and swag around a conference to full on, external frame backpacks designed for the most extreme hiking adventures. The type of pack you will choose depends largely on the purpose for that pack.
Unless you’re planning an adventure into the backcountry, it’s most likely that one of the first three types of packs will be what you are looking for. However, even if the logistics are slightly different for those who are backpacking, some of the same principles still apply.
So how do you wear a backpack properly, and why does it matter?
One of the most common injuries chiropractors see in young people can be tied directly to the way they wear their backpack and what they put inside. It’s even important to understand how to arrange heavy items to ensure the best balance. Here are some common tips everyone can follow.
While it is quite common to see kids running around school carrying a pack slung over one shoulder, this is extremely hard on their bodies. Backpacks have two straps for a reason, and letting all that weight dangle off of one arm is a sure path to discomfort and pain. Be sure to wear both straps, and make sure they are properly adjusted (more on that in a moment).
The other issue is to be sure the pack fits. Every body is different, and manufacturers make packs for people of all shapes and sizes. There are packs designed for women and children, big and tall men, and more. Be sure to purchase the right pack in the first place.
Also, if you are passing down a pack from child to child in your family as an older sibling outgrows it, be sure the fit is right before sending them off to school. As children experience growing spurts, it is important to monitor the fit of their pack even during the school year. When adjustments are not enough, it might even be a good idea to purchase a new one for them.
Here are some things to look for.
The weight and fit of your backpack can be exactly what you need, but unless you wear it properly, that won’t matter. So how do you wear a backpack properly so it sits on the right part of your back?
Ideally a backpack should sit so most of the weight of the contents are spread over your back. If it is too high, the straps will pull on your shoulders rather than evenly distributing the load. If it is too low, this can result in a forward lean, causing low back pain.
Your pack should be worn so it sits approximately two inches from your shoulders, and should ride around an inch above your hips. Higher is better than lower if you must wear it on one side or the other, so be sure to adjust the straps whenever you put on the pack, as they can loosen when you remove it.
If your pack has a waist strap, a chest strap, or both, you should use them. The waist strap helps keep the weight on your back and hips rather than on your shoulders, and the chest strap can keep the shoulder straps from slipping or the backpack from swaying. These straps also help keep the pack properly positioned on your back.
Follow these steps and your experience wearing your pack will be a much more positive one. What kind of backpack should you buy, and what features should you look for?
You will always get better results if you buy the right pack in the first place. But what makes the right pack for you? Here are a few factors to consider:
There are a lot of options out there, and if you want to reward your employees, show your team spirit, or even offer a unique gift for your family, a custom backpack with your logo or message printed on it can be very thoughtful. There are a lot of choices out there, so when ordering custom backpacks, consider all the factors listed here when making your selection.
Check out the custom backpacks offered by Promoleaf here, and if you don’t see something you want or you have questions, always feel free to reach out. We’re here to make sure you get exactly what you need.