5 Useful Tricks to Picking and Packing a Backpack

It may seem logical to keep everything on hand when it comes to going to and from school — schoolwork, lunch, textbooks and gym clothes among other things. But did you know that a backpack that’s consistently too heavy can cause injuries like sprains or fractures, or cause long-term damage? To avoid injury, or even discomfort, we’ve put together some tips for how to pack a backpack properly, and what to look for when investing in a new one.

How much should it weigh?

Of course, it depends on the wearer, but a good rule of thumb is that a backpack should weigh no more than 10% of a child’s body weight. So, if your child weighs 100 pounds, their backpack should weigh no more than 10 pounds.

Load from back to front, starting with the big stuff

The heaviest items in the backpack should get loaded closest to the wearer’s back in the main compartment — big textbooks against the padded back, laptop, etc. This will help the weight stay closest to the body and prevent too much pulling away. Make sure that the backpack also fits snugly against their body by tightening the straps. Also, dissuade your child from carrying it over one shoulder, since this can affect the curve of the spine with long-term use.

Use the front and side pockets      

Not just for style, the side and front pockets of a backpack are made to help distribute weight, and also make things easier to grab. Keep water bottles in the side mesh pockets that often come on the pack, and put lighter, smaller items on the front compartments like keys, snacks, or writing implements.

Keep things secure

If there are interior slots or pockets in the main compartment, use them to keep things from sliding around. This will help the pack feel more stable overall and present less wear and tear on the body.

A few key features

In addition to packing the backpack well, there are several things to look for when buying a backpack. A waist strap, when worn, will keep the backpack from moving around and provide additional support from the hips. A backpack with padded shoulder strap helps protect the nerve endings and blood vessels that are doing all that heavy lifting. And, if reducing the pack’s weight seems impossible, consider one with wheels.

Remember, if your child needs that one extra thing that will put them over the backpack weight limit, they can always carry it in their hand.

By Staples Canada

August 10, 2020

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