Choosing the Right Backpack for Back-to-School

Tips for Choosing the Right Backpack for Back-to-School

Whether you’re going back to school yourself or shopping for your children, backpacks are undoubtedly the most important part of your back-to-school shopping list. Not only do you need to make sure they hold everything in a neat and organized fashion, but you also need to make sure they do so in a way that’s healthy and ergonomically friendly to carry around all day. Choosing the right backpack can make a huge difference health-wise, while choosing the wrong one can cause back pain, neck pain, or shoulder pain. Backpacks have even been known to lead to chronic injuries if they fit poorly or aren’t worn correctly. To better protect your health and your investment, we’ve compiled some tips for choosing the right backpack for going back to school.

Look for These Features

One of the first things people look for when choosing a backpack is the number of pockets and compartments it has, which is a good practice. Having compartments and pockets helps evenly distribute the weight of the backpack, as long as there is room for the heaviest items closest to the body and the lightest items farther from the body. Choosing a backpack based on the number of compartments you need it to have is just the first step, though. If it has compartments but lacks wide, padded shoulder straps, pass it up. You need wide shoulder straps to protect your shoulders and surrounding muscles. Horizontal straps at the waist and at the chest are also helpful for weight distribution. Another feature to look for is a padded back, which helps to ensure that the items inside don’t rub up wrong against you. Lastly, the ability to add a name to a personalized backpack is great for kindergarteners since it helps them recognize which one is theirs and also helps build name-recognition skills.

Do a Quality Check

Don’t let the cheap price of a backpack distract you from its quality. Being blinded by a low price tag could cost you at least double in the long run. Do a quality check to look for loose or uneven stitching, especially near the zipper. Additionally, make sure the zipper is covered by a flap of fabric so it isn’t exposed to rain or snow that could seep in and damage any contents. Exposed zippers are also more susceptible to debris that could get caught in the teeth and prevent them from working properly. Also, make sure to look for frayed fabric, especially at the end of the straps, which can become unraveled.

Try It On

It’s very important to try on the backpack as well. This is especially crucial for kids who quickly grow out of their backpacks or might be too small for backpacks passed down by older siblings. The backpack should be positioned in the middle of the back without sagging too low. If it sags too low, it adds additional weight and rubs up wrong against the lower back. Adjusting the shoulder straps should help. It’s important to wear both straps as well instead of slinging the backpack over one shoulder. If it’s made of good quality, has all the features you need, and fits right, you’re good to go!

Do a Test Run

Once you buy your new backpack, it’s important to do a test run, so make sure you keep your receipt in case you come home and realize it isn’t big enough for all your items or it feels uncomfortable. Once you have everything you plan on carrying inside of it, including any filled water bottles and lunchboxes, you’ll want to do a little math. The filled backpack should be no more than 15% of the child’s body weight (or yours if the backpack is for you). If it is more than that, assess what you can leave behind. Maybe filling the water bottle once arriving at school will help reduce the weight. Or maybe there are extras that can be kept at home or in a locker at school. It may even be worthwhile to purchase two sets of certain school supplies or books — one set for home and one set that can be kept at school so that they don’t have to be carried around.

Know When It’s Time for a New Backpack

It is also important to recognize when it is time to buy a new backpack. If you notice that your or your child’s posture has changed while wearing the backpack, for example, it may be time to adjust the straps or find one that works better. Pain or red marks on the shoulders also indicate that it’s best to buy a new backpack sooner than later. And if it becomes too difficult to remove the backpack, which can happen with growing children, it’s time to find a kids’ backpack with longer straps so that they don’t pull any muscles trying to get it off.

Remember that quality is more important than cost when choosing a backpack for back-to-school. A high-quality backpack will cost less than a cheap backpack in the long run because you won’t have to replace it every year, and you can either donate it or pass it down to other people in the family.


Related Articles