School is back, and so are giant, overloaded backpacks. As a college student, you spend long days on campus toting around backpacks stuffed full of daily necessities. Laptops, chargers, snacks, notebooks, writing utensils, assigned books, and more are all part of your burden.
While it is a running joke that the massive Biology II or Microeconomics textbook is breaking your back, the truth is far more concerning—carrying such significant amounts of weight around on your back day-in and day-out can lead to back pain—real back pain!
One way to save yourself from this back pain, which can affect you both now and in the future, is to choose the right backpack for the job. It may sound silly—a backpack is a backpack, after all—but not all schoolbags are created equal. Read on for a quick guide to selecting the best backpack for you!
Features to Find
When choosing a backpack, there are a few key features to focus on finding. Some of these are related to the bag itself, while others will be dependent on you.
Choose a lightweight material. You will be adding weight to the bag, so you don’t want the bag itself to weigh you down, too. You can score bonus points by ensuring that lightweight material is also breathable and durable.
The shoulder straps on your backpack should be adjustable. This allows you to customize the bag to your body and better compensate for the load, giving you a mechanical advantage and relieving some of the pressure from your back. The straps should be padded and at least two inches wide.
The back of your bag plays an important role in comfort and safety. It should provide adequate padding and, if possible, some kind of built-in structure designed to transfer loads more appropriately. There’s a reason hikers seek out such bags for their multiple-day adventures!
Backpacks come in many shapes and sizes. Believe it or not, there’s a reason for this variety beyond the aesthetics. Smaller individuals should wear smaller bags, and vice versa. Your bag should sit slightly below your neck at its highest point and a few inches above your waist at its lowest.
The backpack you choose should have several compartments that allow you to not only organize your school necessities in a convenient way but also arrange items to properly distribute their weight. This will help keep the center of gravity of the bag in a more advantageous and safe position.
A chest or waist strap should also be integrated into your backpack to help shift the weight to those areas of the body instead of exclusively relying on the back. This can help prevent fatigue and pain, especially during long days on campus.
Choosing the right backpack may not be the foremost thing on your mind as the new semester starts. Your course load may be daunting, the prospect of meeting new people and seeing old friends exciting, the idea of graduating exhilarating, and other aspects of college life inspiring. However, all of those things can fade into the background if back pain rears its ugly head. So, be preemptive this schoolyear by finding and investing in the right backpack for you. You’ll be glad you did!