What Should I Consider When Buying a Backpack?

Shannon Kietzman

When buying a backpack, there are several things you should consider. The most important consideration when buying a backpack is its future use. A backpack used for carrying school supplies, for example, may not need to have as many features as a backpack that is to be used for hiking or camping.

A group of hikers with hiking backpacks.
A group of hikers with hiking backpacks.

When buying a backpack, whether for school or for outdoor use, it is important to purchase one that will be comfortable to carry. For optimum comfort, you should look for a backpack with wide straps. Those with thin straps or straps made of rope will dig into your shoulders as the weight inside the backpack pulls down on the straps.

School backpacks sometimes come with accessories, like protractors.
School backpacks sometimes come with accessories, like protractors.

When buying a backpack, look for one that can easily be placed on your back. Many people swing their backpacks over only one shoulder, but this is a mistake. Backpacks are designed to be carried completely on your back, supported by both shoulders, in order to help evenly distribute the weight. Carrying the backpack on just one shoulder is bad for your muscles and for your skeleton. In fact, carrying a backpack that is either too heavy or used inappropriately is one of the leading causes of back injuries in students.

A hiking backpack.
A hiking backpack.

When buying a backpack, you also need to consider the amount of space inside. If the backpack will be used for carrying textbooks, it must be wide enough to accommodate the width of the books it will carry. If the backpack is for hiking, it needs to be large enough to carry supplies such as a solar blanket and other camping gear.

Another consideration when buying a backpack is the number of compartments the backpack has. When used for hiking or camping, it is often beneficial for a backpack to have several smaller compartments. This way, important items such as lighters, knives, and canteens are easily accessible.

The same may be true if you are buying a backpack for school use. You might need compartments for your calculator, protractor, and mini-stapler. You might also look for a backpack with slots meant for holding pencils and pens.

The material is also important when buying a backpack. When buying a backpack for hiking or camping, it is best to purchase one that is waterproof. This way, your clothing or supplies will not get wet if you are caught in the rain. If you are buying a backpack for college use, it might also be beneficial to purchase one that is waterproof in order to prevent your books and homework from getting wet while walking from one building on campus to another in the rain.

If a backpack is going to carry textbooks, it should be wide enough to accommodate thick books.
If a backpack is going to carry textbooks, it should be wide enough to accommodate thick books.

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