Choosing a Backpack for School or Commuting to Work

Choosing a Backpack for School or Commuting to Work

Return to school has many parents concerned about finding the right backpacks. Children carry books, binders, laptops, lunches, and the weight can add up.

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

Note: Child on the left is wearing an oversized backpack

When commuting as folks return to working in person, there may also be a need for a backpack to carry laptops, files, lunch etc.

A CNN investigation carried out in Atlanta; Georgia found that students were carrying up to 25 pounds of weight in their backpacks. ¹ This is noteworthy because research suggests that backpacks should be no more than 10% of the wearer’s body weight. 2 If a 17-year-old student/adult weighs an average of 130 pounds, their backpack should only weigh 13 pounds.

Why does the weight of backpacks matter?

Studies also show that the incorrect use of school bags may lead to discomfort and changes in posture. 2 Wearing a backpack does not in and of itself lead to back pain. If a backpack has a reasonable amount of weight in it and fits correctly, persons are not wearing it long enough for long-term damage to occur.

Beckmann-Norway Backpacks

Beckmann-Norway Backpacks

Below is a list of items to consider when shopping for a backpack – as well as tips on how to wear them correctly.

Choosing the right backpack

Here are some items to look for when considering a new backpack: ref 3,4

  • Chest straps, hip belts and side compression straps distributes the weight of the bag more evenly allowing the load to be cinched closer to the body, for transfer of weight to the hips.
  • Wide, padded shoulder straps so as to not impair circulation
  • A padded back protects from oddly shaped objects in the bag
  • Compartments distribute the weight more evenly
Dr. Natasha Hayden, Chiropractic Care Montreal

Wearing a backpack correctly

Ask the following questions to assess whether a backpack is being worn correctly: 3

  • Is the backpack reasonably proportional to the size of the person?
  • Does the bottom of the bag sit at waist level?
  • Does the bag weigh more than 10% of the person’s weight?
  • Is the person wearing both shoulder straps?
  • Can the person walk normally with the backpack on, or are they slouched over/breathing heavily?

By purchasing the right backpack and wearing it correctly, you can minimize discomfort and poor posture habits. However, if you or your child have pre-existing back, shoulder, or neck pain, talk to a chiropractor today.

The Canadian Chiropractic Association endorses the Beckman of Norway

Dr. Natasha Hayden, Chiropractic Care Montreal

Montreal Chiropractor

Dr Natasha Hayden is passionate about helping the community discover just how good their bodies are designed to feel, so they can do more of what they love. Although Natasha focuses on pediatric and prenatal care, chiropractic care treatments of a variety of conditions are available for all individuals from birth and beyond.

Your health goals are within reach with the support of our team.


1Gumbrecht, Jamie. “What’s inside Students’ Heavy Backpacks?” CNN, Cable News Network, 22 Oct. 2015 - 2Perrone, Michelle et al. “The Impact of Backpack Loads on School Children: A Critical Narrative Review.” 12 Nov. 2018 - 3“Prof Demystifies Long-Term Health Damage of Backpacks.” Medical Xpress, Brock University, 3 Sept. 2018 - 4“Backpack Safety.” Protect IU