back pack_girlNot all back packs are created equal. I once borrowed a friend’s pack when I went to Costa Rica and it worked so well it felt like I wasn’t carrying anything. I was reluctant to give it back after the trip was over when I found out the style had been discontinued.

To find this perfect fit I recommend going to a store which carries a lot of different styles. Try out several by filling them with what you typically carry. Some will feel very heavy and tend to fall away from your back whereas the better ones snug in tightly against your hips. Consider what the pack weighs empty and try to choose the lightest one. Think about what you are carrying and ask yourself if you really need to take everything with you.

Looking for more advice on backpacks? Check out this link to an article posted by the University of Toronto at the start of the school year.
http://news.utoronto.ca/backpack-school-how-much-too-much?utm_source=Bulletin&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=News
I like it because it has practical advice for recognizing when your pack is too heavy and tips on how to reduce the strain on your neck and back. Here’s a summary of the recommendations.

Key questions to ask to determine if your back pack is too heavy:
1. Is it more than 15% of your body weight or 10% for children?
2. Does it change your posture?
3. Does it leave you with deep red grooves on your shoulders when you take it off?

How to wear your back pack:
1. Keep the heavier items closer to the bottom
2. Wear the straps over both shoulders, not just one.
3. The bottom of the pack should be in line with your hips. Too high or too low can create more pull on your spine.

Take a moment to adjust the straps as a well-fitting pack is the best way to carry things. It distributes the weight and leaves your arms free to swing naturally as you walk, reducing the strain on your neck and low back.