Are you looking for the best backpacks for back pain? There are many of them. Perhaps with some ingenious ideas, you can also use the regular backpack in such a way that it offers a reprieve for a bad back.
Why buy an ergonomic backpack
With everything else gone ergonomic, the office chair, the car seats and many more, why not the backpack for hiking? Today, you can buy an ergonomic backpack on amazon.com.
Back pain has become a major health issue that seems to affect a large percent of the world’s population. In America alone, more than 14,000 cases of backpack injuries are reported every year.
Out of those cases, 5000 back pain patients end up in emergency rooms. Thanks to the long office hours, sitting has become the current smoking. Thus, many people suffering from back pain got it from sitting down on nasty chairs for many years.
As an outdoor enthusiast, you know you have to do all you can to stay fit. Here are a few ways to ensure that you are fit for the next hiking or backpacking adventure:
- Buy hiking poles and know how to use them
- Know how to pack light for backpacking
- Engage in the best exercises for hiking
- Learn about how to prevent knee pain when walking
People who travel, hike or backpack frequently tend to be at a higher risk of suffering back pain due to carrying heavy backpacks over long distances.
Most beginner hikers and backpackers stuff their backpack close to breaking point. Others carry their backpack in the wrong manner. At the same time, others do not know to distribute the weight properly. This causes a strain on the spine and if the pain is neglected it can result to serious back problems in future.
If you choose the wrong backpack and then pack it up with your camping gear, it will hurt your back.
To avoid these problems, use the following tips for choosing a hiking, traveling or backpacking backpack in order to avoid back pain.
It must have good back padding
The best backpacks for back pain must have a contoured and well padded back panel for maximum comfort.
Proper padding with foam materials helps in distributing the weight evenly all over your back. This puts less strain on your spine.
In addition, the foam padding not only provides cushioning but also improves breathability.
If you have packed some heavy stuff such as the best backpacking hatchet in the pack, the padding will prevent it from pressing against your back.
Buy a backpack with compartments where you can pack things like travel coffee mug, shoes and cooking items in different compartments.
Backpack shoulder straps
Strong, wide and properly padded shoulder straps are the best for alleviating backpack related back pain.
The best backpack shoulder straps should be at least 2 inches wide. They should be properly cushioned to provide the right support and comfort.
Well, if you can find wider, the better for you.
Such straps allow the weight to sit comfortably on your back while preventing any pinching or chafing.
The backpack shoulder straps must curve to conform to the shape of your body. This allows you to carry your pack more comfortably. It will feel as if the pack is part of you rather than an added burden.
The padding allows the weight of your load to sit comfortably on your back, putting less strain on your shoulders and lower back.
Make sure the shoulder straps are adjustable to allow for a more flexible and snug fit. Anyway, all ergonomic backpacks come with adjustable shoulder straps today. Just make sure they are padded.
Backpack with chest and waist strap
It is extremely important that an ergonomic backpack comes with strong, adjustable and well padded waist straps.
The reason is that most of your pack’s weight will be sitting on your hips. Thus, you want a waist strap that will be able to support that weight while keeping you comfortable.
The right waist straps are able to provide ample support as well as distribute the weight evenly between your back and hips causing less strain.
The straps are adjustable. You can tighten or loosen them for a customizable support. To be called a truly ergonomic backpack, it must have these straps.
Padded Chest straps
Chest straps are good for pulling your ergonomic backpack close to you and helping the weight stay intact inside.
The best backpacks for back pain should come with padded chest straps, which are also called sternum straps. These are added for more comfort.
The chest straps are usually attached to the shoulder straps. When properly fitted, they sit right across your chest.
They help in reducing the strain on your shoulders and they also keep the shoulder straps in place. This prevents your backpacking pack from swaying.
The chest strap should also be adjustable to allow for a perfect fit thereby improving the stability of your load.
Packing a backpack right
When backpacking, the best thing you can do when packing is being a minimalist. Pack only what you require to carry with you and leave the rest behind.
It may sound easy, but for first-timers, nothing is as hard as packing a backpack. Flashlight for camping, portable coffeemaker, food, first aid kit and many more are important. However, just how much do you need to carry?
Ideally, you are supposed to carry a weight that is 10 percent or less of your body weight. Therefore, after packing your load, consider putting your pack on a scale to determine its total weight. If it is more than 10 percent of your body weight, see if there are some things that you can do without.
Audit the pack load. If you will be wearing your warm boots for winter hiking for example, there is no need to carry extra shoes since it will be too cold to wear lighter shoes. You can use that space to carry a blanket, or a sleeping pad for camping.
When packing, always aim for balance. Avoid putting more weight on one side of the backpack as straining one side of your body is a major cause of back pain.
Overburdening one side of your body can cause your spine to curve resulting to pain. Therefore, ensure that you distribute the weight evenly while packing.
To manage the weight on the trails, make sure you bring your poles for hiking. They will help you pull yourself up the steep terrains where the backpack would pull you back.
Finally, to create some organization in your backpack, buy some dividers. That way, the portable chargers, tablet and other electronics go in their section.
Buy a gender-specific best backpack for back pain
There is a lot of difference between mens and womens backpacks. When choosing the best backpacks for back pain, it is important to consider your gender.
You want a good fit. There are reasons for insisting that you buy a gender-specific backpack for camping, hiking or traveling.
Here are just a few of them:
The torso sizing of men and women backpacks is different. Women’s packs are mostly designed with shorter torso lengths compared to men’s backpacks. In order to be certain of your torso sizing, consider measuring your torso length before choosing your pack.
The shoulder straps sizing in women’s pack is different from that of men’s packs. Women backpacks are usually designed with a slimmer shoulder base and narrower cushioning on the shoulder straps.
Women have a smaller upper body frame compared to men who have broader shoulders. Having a backpack with shoulder straps that do not fit properly can easily lead to bruising and chafing.
The waist belt sizing for both genders is different. Women are usually gifted with bigger hips than men. This means that a woman’s packs waist belt will not properly fit on a man’s hips and vice versa.
Choosing the wrong backpack can only cause discomfort and lack of proper support, which can easily trigger back pain.
Men and women backpacks come with a different load capacity or pack weight. Women’s backpacks have a smaller pack weight capacity as compared to men’s packs because of the difference in body anatomy.
Men’s backpacks are usually taller than women’s packs. Choosing the wrong pack can lead to discomfort and back aches especially over long treks.
Learn how to wear your backpack right
Wearing a backpack in the wrong manner is among the major causes of back pain for many backpackers. When wearing your backpack, avoid the following common mistakes:
Slinging your backpack with one strap over one shoulder
As stylish as this might look it is a wrong way of carrying your back. It puts all the load pressure on one shoulder, which can lead to neck, shoulder and back pains.
In addition, it can lead to development of a poor posture. Always make use of both shoulder straps when carrying your backpack.
Wearing your backpack too low on your back
This increases the strain on your shoulders. It can cause shoulder pain and will make your pack sway from side to side leading to discomfort.
This position can make you lean forward placing undue pressure on your lower back. To avoid this, adjust the straps to allow the backpack to sit high on your back.
Buy a backpack with internal frame
Buy a backpack with internal frame. This frame provides the backpack with a form of rigidity. It helps in distributing the packs weight between your back and hips reducing strain.
While many of the modern backpacks having internal frames, there are some that has external frames. Just look for the backpack with internal frame.
The external frames are usually big and bulky making the backpack look bloated. The exposed rods can also get caught easily on things while moving.
The internal frames on the other hand make the packs slimmer. This makes it easy for you when moving around. They are also lighter and more durable.
Besides, you do want to look good on the trails. A nice looking slim backpack helps you look nice.
Buy a backpack with wheels
A backpack with wheels has an added advantage of pulling over at airports, train and bus stations. It may not be the best for hiking but it is good for traveling. Pack your travel pillow, airplane eye mask and books.
However, note that you will still have to carry it on your shoulders. Thus, pack it just right. The wheels can help you to avoid back pains by allowing you to pull you luggage every time you feel like you are straining your back.
If you have a wheeled backpack, pull it behind you wherever you can to avoid straining your back.
Buy a compartmentalized backpack
The best backpacks for back pain should feature multiple compartments. Many compartments allow you to distribute the loads weight symmetrically throughout your backpack.
They minimize the chances of stuffing only one side of the pack with all the weight. You should reduce the risks that come with carrying an unbalanced backpack.
Even when you have the best ergonomic backpack for back pain, if you do not distribute the weight evenly, it may not help you.
Multiple compartments make access to your stuff easier. This can save you a lot of time when looking for a particular thing.
While at it, also make sure the backpack has rings and webbing where you can attach more gear such as your lightweight water filter for hiking.
If you are a regular hiker, remember that backpack related back pain is possible. However, with the tips you have learned here, it should be possible to avoid it. The strain can cause unbearable spinal pains and cause the spinal discs to wear out prematurely. You have also seen that choosing the best backpacks for back pain alone is not enough. You should also know how to pack it right and that way, you can hike a longer distance each day.