A backpack is one of the most versatile methods of storage and transportation in the world. But poorly designed packs can cut into your shoulders and put unnecessary pressure on your back. Even people without back problems report feeling pain when using a badly-made backpack. For people with bad backs, getting a backpack that doesn’t hurt can seem impossible.
There are a number of backpack manufacturers who have taken note of these complaints, though. They’ve begun to design backpacks with specialized straps and panels. These backpacks are breathable enough to keep your back cool, and their straps disperse weight so your muscles aren’t overtaxed.
Whether you need a backpack for hiking, travel, school, or casual use, there’s an option out there for you.
The Best Backpacks for People with Bad Backs
|#1. Osprey Parsec|
Our Best Pick
|20 x 12 x 11 inches||31 liters||1 lb 10 oz|
|#2. JanSport Agave|
|19 x 13.5 x 10 inches||32 liters||1 lb 9 oz|
|#3. Osprey Farpoint|
|21 x 14 x 9 inches||38 to 40 liters||3 lbs|
|#4. Deuter ACT Trail|
|24 x 11 x 8.3 inches||30 liters||2 lbs 10 oz|
|#5. Osprey Atmos AG|
|32 x 15 x 16 inches||62 to 68 liters||4 pounds|
|#6. Kelty Redwing|
|25 x 15 x 2 inches||44 liters||2 lbs 10 oz|
|#7. Gregory Baltoro|
|32 x 19 x 15 inches||71 liters||4 lbs 14 oz|
|#8. Deuter ACT Trail 30|
|32 x 19 x 15 inches||48 liters||2 lbs 10 oz|
#1. Osprey Parsec
Osprey Parsec is a pack that comes with the one requirement necessary for an ideal school pack: organizational space. Osprey is a company known for making masterful daypacks, and this model continues the trend.
No matter your age or education level, going to school tends to mean you need to tote around a number of small items. You need textbooks and laptops at a minimum. This pack gives you space to store all of your academic materials, with room left over for other things. Best of all, the design disperses pressure away from your back and shoulders.
The top grab handle makes it great to carry around in your hand and use as a tote bag. There’s also a ventilated back panel made from suspended mesh.
The multiple easy-to-reach pockets make it easy to retrieve any item. No more rummaging in the depths of your bag for a pencil! The front panel has an organized pocket. There are also two padded tablet or laptop sleeves, an etched pocket for small items, and a waterproof pocket for valuables.
The most impressive feature is the blinker light on the front panel. If you’re out and about in the dark, you’ll be easily visible to traffic.
This is the best choice if you’re looking for a backpack for your school needs. It’s firm and tough, with ample storage space. The tablet and laptop sleeves also keep your electronics safe.
The only drawback is that some people have reported that the backpack’s base is a little thin.
#2. JanSport Agave Daypack
JanSport makes backpacks for people of all ages and education levels. This particular pack is one of the best acclimated to school. The fabric is a sturdy polyester-nylon blend that can hold a large number of items. Even when the pack is full, the back panel cushions your back and provides ventilation. The weight is dispersed so there isn’t pressure on your shoulders or spine.
This backpack has unbelievable storage capabilities. There are two major compartments, as well as multiple additional pockets and provisions for attachments. The inside has a 15-inch laptop sleeve that can double as a holder for a hydration system. There’s even a hydration tube on the shoulder strap.
The final feature is the compression straps on the side. These hold the contents in place as you travel. You can use the daisy loop chains if you have extra gear. And the main compartment can be expanded for bulky loads.
This backpack does have a somewhat light base material that may wear out more quickly than is ideal, though.
#3. Unisex Big Shot from North Face
This pack is an ideal option for back pain thanks to the FlexVent back panel. The pack also has an Atilon foam layer that provides additional support when you move.
The backpack is constructed from resilient and durable materials. The ample pockets and large compartments allow you to organize any load. There are fleece-lined, padded sleeves that allow you to protect your tablet and laptop.
The FlexVent suspension system includes a breathable, padded back panel. There are also injection molded shoulder straps that provide maximum support and ventilation. The two front pockets allow further organization.
The main compartment contains organizational properties to help manage your clutter. You have access to a zippered pocket, media pockets, and an elastic web. The reflective shoulder straps provide 360 degrees of reflectivity for additional safety. You also get a water bottle and a loop for your bike light.
The great features don’t stop there. You get a sternum strap, external fleecy pockets, and a removable waist belt.
There are a few drawbacks. First of all, the main pocket’s organization can be inconveniently designed. It’s hard to access your items, particularly when the pack is full. The bag also doesn’t open as widely as some other North Face products.
#4. Osprey Farpoint 40
If you’re looking for an ideal travel pack, Osprey has created another winner with the Farpoint 40. This can be used as an effective carry-on travel bag when you board a plane, train, or simply drive in your car. The world of travel bags is an overstuffed market, but this backpack outperforms the majority of the competition.
The main compartment comes with a large capacity. You have a lockable panel that lets you rummage through the contents with ease as needed. There’s a 15-inch lockable sleeve to guard your laptop or tablet.
There aren’t many pliable travel bags on the market, but this one hits the mark. In addition to being a backpack, you can turn this bag into a suitcase-styled travel case. The flap on the back panel is a storage area for the hip belt and harness. When these are stowed, the bag can be hauled with the side or top handles.
The bag has other features as well. You get access to a heat-embossed, scratch-free pocket. There are also external and internal compression straps that secure the load and take weight off your back.
One drawback is that you need to undo the pack’s compression straps if you want to unzip it. It’s also unfortunate that the laptop compartment is on the outside of the bag, although since it’s lockable, you should still have optimum security. This might even be a benefit if you want easy access to your laptop as you travel.
#5. Osprey Atmos 65 AG
This is a heavy duty, high capacity bag that’s optimized for backpacking. If you want a backpack for your next outdoor adventure, you might want to consider this one.
As you hike, you have to keep the pack on your back for multiple hours at a time. This can cause serious damage to your back and shoulders, and many people are sore for days. But this backpack allows a hassle-free hike without muscle aches.
The back panel has a light mesh lining that helps conform to your body’s shape. One of the best features is the adjustable torso. It allows users to alter the fit through a 3-inch range of adjustment. There’s also an adjustable hip belt that can conform to multiple hip sizes, helping reduce pressure on the back.
The pack is designed with 5 external zippered pockets. There are an additional 3 slip pockets. The deep main compartment provides up to 65 liters of storage space.
There’s also a stowing attachment for tent poles and other similar items. The bottom has a zippered compartment to hold a sleeping bag. There are compression straps inside and on the sides to keep the bag stable. Finally, a removable floating top enhances weight control when the bag is heavy.
The anti-gravity suspension system makes this backpack unbelievably comfortable. It has unsurpassed ventilation and provisions for every type of hiking gear. The only potential issue is that it’s difficult to get items from deep inside the main compartment.
#6. Kelty Redwing 44
The Kelty Redwing is another backpack designed to suit your hiking needs. It doesn’t have the same massive volume as the previous entry, only capable of holding 40 liters. However, it’s versatile enough to be useful on multiple kinds of trails.
An ideal hiking backpack should dispense dividers and pockets. The Kelty Redwing achieves this with 7 external pockets, including a front stash pocket, a quick-access zippered pocket, and dual water bottle pockets on the side.
The main compartment has a dual-use pocket that can stow your laptop or be used for hydration. If you want to attach additional gear, you use a daisy chain loop to neatly do the job. The last component is a pass-through pocket that allows you to carry vertical objects like umbrellas and trekking poles.
It should be noted that the zippers aren’t lockable. The design may also feel a little too bulky for people who like to pack light.
#7. Gregory Baltoro 75
This is another backpack designed for hikers and backpackers. It’s designed to move stably without putting harsh pressure on your torso. Since it can haul up to a whopping 70 liters, that advantage is definitely worth talking about.
The pack is designed with an automatic angle adjusting mechanism that ensures it fits you perfectly. The hip belt allows weight to be transferred from the shoulders to the hips, preventing you from dealing with pressure.
The storage space includes a wide range of external and internal pockets. There’s an internal sleeve that can suit as a tablet, laptop, or hydration sleeve. The hip belt has two additional pockets with zippers. One is waterproof, perfect for storing your phone. It can be a lifesaver, especially if you’re hiking in wet climates or rainy weather.
There’s another level of rain protection as well. The cover is stashed in a zippered pocket. You can take it out and use it when you need it, but keep it safely tucked away when it’s sunny.
There are very few potential drawbacks. The only complaint customers have reported is a narrow backpack base.
#8. Deuter ACT Trail 30
This is another hiking backpack, but it has a 30 liter capacity. Because of the smaller capacity, this is best for day hiking rather than overnight treks. The pack has everything you’d want to find in an average hiking pack.
The material is a durable blend of polyester and nylon fabric. It’s tear-resistant and highly durable, able to carry heavy objects. The design is meant to provide stability and ideal load control. The suspension system includes a ventilating air vent and mesh-covered foam panels that relieve pressure.
It’s one of the safest packs on the market, and there are also multiple storage sockets and pockets. You have stretch side pockets, an internal hydration pocket, and a quick-zipper access pocket. A built-in rain cover helps keep contents dry in inclement weather.
For your academic needs, it’s hard to beat the Osprey Parsac. It has organizational capabilities that keep everything neat and tidy. The backpack keeps pressure off your back, protects your electronics, and even uses a light to warn motorists if you travel after dark.
If you’re looking for a casual pack, the North Face option is a great choice. It comes with multiple components to relieve back pain, and the pack comes with a number of different organizational components. There are water bottle pockets that can accommodate bottles of up to 32 ounces.
For travelers, the Osprey Farpoint 40 is a great choice. It has enough space to meet all your travel needs, and it doesn’t hurt your back or shoulders. You can use the top and side handles to turn the backpack into a suitcase. You should be able to bring it on most planes and trains.
For backpacking, Osprey has done it again with the Atmos 65. This backpack can hold 65 liters. It has attachments that can carry tent poles, a pocket for a sleeping bag, and multiple deep pockets. The pack utilizes an anti-gravity suspension system that keeps pressure off your back and shoulders, ensuring you can carry your items for hours without aching muscles.