Do Backpacks Help Posture? 

 June 1, 2023

By  Diane Wuthrich

Shoulder bags, sling bags, and tote bags rely on strength from one side of the body to carry them. These can cause pain and posture issues. But since backpacks are carried on the back and both shoulders, can it help improve posture?

Backpacks are the only kind of bag that evenly distributes its weight evenly on both sides. When backpacks are worn correctly, fit properly, and its weight doesn’t exceed more than 20% of your own bodyweight, backpacks can help improve one’s posture.

Want to know more about the impact of backpacks on posture? Read on below to learn more.

Does Wearing a Backpack Help Posture?

Backpacks are the most efficient way to carry your belongings around.

Its design enables both sides of the body to equally carry weight, preventing the user from slouching to one side which occurs when holding other types of bags such as shoulder, sling, and tote bags. When used correctly, backpacks can maintain and improve healthy posture: keeping one’s back straight with the shoulders back and head up.

However, the proper use and fit of backpacks are critical. Otherwise, backpacks can make bad posture worse.

The Correct Way To Wear Backpacks

Backpacks have two straps which should be worn on each shoulder. Some individuals use just one of the straps, which can make you prone to poor posture and pain. Wearing it as intended – on both shoulders, ensures that weight is evenly distributed on the back.

Adjustable shoulder straps are essential for the proper backpack fit. The backpack should be secured and close to your body, sitting on the higher part of your back. The heaviest items in the pack should be packed closest to the spine to help with posture too.

If the backpack slouches on the lower area of your back or touches your buttocks, then it’s too low and its fit must be corrected. As you walk, the backpack shouldn’t sway from side to side because this means the straps are too loose. If the backpack is equipped with waist or pectoral straps, wear them to prevent the backpack from swaying.

When posture is a concern, adjustable straps on a backpack are always best. Below are some examples of backpacks with adjustable straps:

Furthermore, always be sure that your back is straight, shoulders are back, and head is comfortably up – not forward – when using your backpack.

Backpack Weight

Experts recommend that a backpack’s total weight should not exceed 20% of an adult’s own bodyweight, and 10% of a child and adolescent’s bodyweight. Wearing a backpack that is too heavy can influence the shoulder and cervical posture, prompting the head to be further forward. It can also cause the spine to lean on one side, causing not just posture problems but pain and chronic back problems down the line.

Following these weight guidelines will help ensure that the user can maintain and improve proper posture at all times.


Backpacks can help your posture only when you are aware of your posture as you use it. In addition, it’s important that your backpack is worn correctly and isn’t too heavy for you to carry. Following these guidelines can help ensure that backpacks help your posture.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

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