5 back-friendly rucksacks worth getting carried away with
A backpack isn’t just handy — the right one can also help your posture, says Abi Jackson
When it comes to lugging your daily essentials around, it’s often said that backpacks are the best option in terms of limiting strain and pain in the back, neck and shoulder areas. But that doesn’t mean any old rucksack or backpack will do.
If you are prone to problems in these areas — even just tension in the shoulders and neck (that’s most of us then) — it’s a good idea to pick a backpack that’s ergonomically designed to help protect your posture.
“A good-posture backpack will help distribute the weight across your shoulders, back, chest and pelvis,” explains physiotherapist and osteopath Tim Allardyce of Surrey Physio (surreyphysio.co.uk)
“This reduces the load placed on any one body part. Compare that to a shoulder strap bag, which places most of the weight through one shoulder, so your spine has to deviate to the opposite side to maintain a neutral shoulder position,” .
“When looking for a good postural backpack, adjustable and padded shoulder straps are beneficial to allow you to keep the backpack higher on your back.
“Also, a waist strap will offload a lot of weight to the pelvis, taking it off your shoulders and spine.
“Last but not least, position your contents carefully. Place books closer to your back and lighter objects further away, and try to balance the contents to avoid the backpack being heavier on one side.”
Looking for some inspiration? Here’s five of our favourite backpacks in the shops right now.
1. Samsonite Rewind Laptop Backpack, from £55, Samsonite.co.uk
With padded straps and specially designed compartments to keep your laptop, books and work gizmos snugly stacked, this backpack bridges the gap between being comfy and sporty, yet smart enough for work meetings. Comes in medium and large and an array of colours — we love this cheery Sunset Yellow.
2. Targus Urban Explorer 15.6in Laptop Backpack, £59.99, available from John Lewis & Amazon
A good choice for cyclists, this stylish bag features reflective panels and loops for attaching bike lights, plus it’s water-repellent and has a waterproof base for puddle protection. There’s a chest strap to help with weight distribution and a built-in padded laptop compartment.
3. Herschel Supply Barlow Backpack, £120, Herschelsupplyco.co.uk
This beauty from Herschel Supply doesn’t just please on the style front, it’s also packed with great features, including a hidden rain cover, internal pockets (with padded laptop sleeve), sturdy padded straps with adjustable chest support, plus mesh-lined back panels for a comfy fit. It also comes in a choice of colours, but brilliant is this lovely Lucite Green?
4. Thule Capstone 22L Women’s S/M Hiking Backpack, RRP £89.99 (For stockists, see thule.com)
Technically a hiking backpack, you could use this for adventurous weekend walks, plus on-foot commutes and carting around your gym kit during the week. Features include a hi-vis removable rain cover, a tensioned mesh back panel for supreme breathability, and a hip-belt with handy zipped pockets — ideal for your phone, wallet and snacks.
5. Ronhill Commuter Xero 15 5L backpack, £71.99, Sportsshoes.com
Designed for runners, this backpack moulds around your body thanks to the Ronhill True-Fit System design, featuring stretch panels and promising stability and zero bounce — a good choice for anybody looking for comfort and minimal strain in their backpack.