BALANCE - How to Tell How Much Strain a Backpack Will Cause


The greater the leverages from the offset load of a day pack or backpack, the more you have to bend forward to counteract these leverages to prevent falling backwards. Research shows that the greater the forward lean and the more restricted the torso movement, the greater the strain on the body and the greater the energy needed to carry a given weight. The best daypack for travel and the best hiking packs balance the load evenly on the body to prevent this lean.

To reduce forward lean in a day pack or backpack:

* The side profile should be as slim as possible.

* The pack length should be at least as long as your back, taller if practical.

* Heavy items should be packed close to your back.

* The weight should be minimum.

To reduce the movement restrictions of a backpack:

* The shoulder straps should be interlinked to allow free shoulder movement.

* The hipbelt should pivot to allow rocking of the hips and forward bending.

* The harness should allow twisting between the shoulders and hips.

To see at a glance which day packs and backpacks in the store cause the least strain, check the width (front to back) of the pack sides. Choose packs with the slimmest side profile. Avoid all backpacks with a deep side profile and very short backs! These cause the greatest back strain. Next check whether the harness parts are interlinked and whether the hipbelt moves to facilitate free body movement. Avoid packs that strap you in like a straightjacket when you put them on. This tips will help you find the best daypack for travel and hiking packs that reduce strain on your back.


With a backpack, the center of gravity of the load is behind the body. The load acts like a lever on your back, increasing the forces acting on the body well abovShort Back Straine the force of the weight alone. When this lever acts over a shorter distance on a small torso, the forces are magnified. Therefore the reason women with short torsos may not be able to carry such heavy loads is not because they are weaker but because of these increased forces. In addition, the loads smaller women carry often represent a higher percentage of their body weight than the loads of men on the same trip. Therefore it is unreasonable to expect shorter or smaller women to carry the same loads in their backpacks as men!

Looking for the best daypack for travel or the best hiking packs to reduce your carry load? Check out our online store.