The Joint Ventures' Blog

Back To School Backpack Basics for Adults and Children

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Going back to school means loading up new text books, school supplies, lunch bags, gym clothes, and other gear. In this blog, we will discuss tips on how to maintain a healthy posture to, from, and during school.

Carrying heavy loads not only makes it difficult to get on and off the bus, but can cause back pain in many children and adults.  Overloading the backpack and not fitting the backpack properly on the individual can lead to poor postural loading on the spine, shoulder pain, as well as a forward head and forward lean to prevent falling backwards.

Here are a few simple tips for the best fit in a backpack:

1) Decrease the load and keep the pack lightweight. You don’t want too many bells and whistles for a simple day pack.   Unless you’re going hiking with camping gear, don’t overdo it with frames, extra straps, and clips.  If the pack is too big, most people will continue to load it up - bad idea!




2) Proper size for the individual: To fit a backpack correctly, the height of the backpack should be from the shoulder height (where the straps rest on the shoulders) to the waist line (the belly button) plus two inches.  The width of the backpack should not be wider than the trunk and it should rest equally between the shoulder blades.

3) Padding should be found in the straps and along the back of the backpack. The straps should be wide, but not falling off the edge of the shoulder.

4) A waist strap and chest strap can help with more support - A chest strap will prevent slouching. 

5) Don’t overload the backpack!

According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the backpack loading should match the following weights:

  • 60 lb child should not have more than 5lbs.
  • 60-75 lb individual can carry 5-10 lbs.
  • 100 lb individual can carry 15 lbs.
  • 125 lb individual can carry 18 lbs. 
  • 150 lb individual can carry 20 lbs.
  • 200 lb individual can carry 25 lbs.


No one should be carrying more than 25 lb backpack.



Other tips to remember:

+Place the heavier items in the bottom of the backpack;

+Pack the backpack to be as flat as possible;

+Use BOTH shoulder straps;

+Clean out the backpack regularly;

+Use a separate bag for after school activities to avoid carrying it around all day;

+Use the waist straps and chest strap

Once the backpack is fit properly, you need to remember to stand up straight.  Use a mirror, check if you’re leaning, show a child what they look like when they’re bent forward, and then adjust to feel what good posture feels like.   


If you need assistance in fitting your backpack properly, or if you’re having back pain due to carrying heavy gear through your day, please feel free to contact me Jessica Simbro at .


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