How can you make backpack straps more comfortable for use?

Susan Fernandez February 02 2022

Have you faced a problem when your backpack strap is too tight? The pain of a tight backpack strap can be unbearable, especially if you are walking for a long time.

It is important to find the right balance between comfort and carrying capacity. If your straps are too loose then it will be difficult to carry anything in your pack. On the other hand, if they're too tight then you'll feel discomfort after just a few minutes of wearing it.

There are some simple tricks that will help make your backpack straps more comfortable and put less pressure on your neck and we will tell you here what to do!

What makes pressure when carrying a backpack?

So, you carry your backpack as usually, for example, with a few books for school and it still makes your neck and shoulders feel weak. Why does it happen? It all depends on the weight of what is in your bag, but also on how well your bag fits.

If it's too big for you or if the shoulder straps are not in the right position, they will slide off your shoulders. The pressure will be under your armpits which will cause pain in your neck and shoulders. You can avoid it by using backpacks that have adjustable shoulder straps, so you can change them to suit yourself perfectly!

Also, if the backpack is too small for your height its straps may not be of the right length. You can adjust them, but it can be very uncomfortable because you'll have to pull the strap constantly in order to keep the backpack on your back properly.

What else can make your neck and shoulders feel pain?

In case you carry the backpack on one shoulder, you'll transfer your pack's weight from one shoulder to another. The result: the pain and discomfort of a misplaced backpack!

Another thing that can cause problems is wearing a backpack made for someone else or wear it in the wrong way. For instance, if the backpack straps are not tight enough and they slide down, they may hurt you by pulling on your collarbone. If this happens then try to tie them tighter or carry your backpack closer to your hips as much as possible (not over shoulders).

It is really easy to wear the backpack in the wrong way, you will probably not notice it at first. But later, after the pain appears, you will start to pay more attention. You can also check if it is right by putting your backpack on and trying to keep it balanced on top of two fingertips without using your hands. If it stays still then you're wearing it fine!

How to make backpack straps more comfortable?

There are several ways how to comfort your shoulders, here are some simple tricks that should help:

  1. Take off the pack and take a short break for a minute or two every 30 minutes. Go for a walk, look around or just simply relax.
  2. Make rucksack shoulder straps wider! Believe us - this works really well. But only if the backpack hangs near the hips level so you don't feel uncomfortable.
  3. Use a backpack waist belt - it helps to take more weight off your shoulders. You can also wear the bag lower on the hips, but make sure you don't let it hang too low.
  4. Wear a backpack with an internal frame which is better for carrying weight over an extended period of time. Also, they are better balanced and distribute the weight across your back more evenly.
  5. If you still feel pain in your neck then try some special equipment that makes wearing a backpack more comfortable by reducing pressure on the spine and joints during walking or traveling e.g.:  Backpack Rain Cover,  Adjustable Lumbar Pack, Alpenstocks. Or even get yourself one of these:  CamelBak Lumbar hydration belt.

Why you shouldn't load backpack straps with a lot of weight

Yes, it sounds obvious at first, but you have to realize what weight your back is able to carry. There are guidelines for this you can read up on, but most of the time it comes down to really knowing your body and your strength. If you feel any discomfort or pain while carrying a bag that is not even half full, then maybe either put some lighter stuff into it or try to find a backpack that fits better - use padding inside of backpack straps

Strap covers can be bought in many stores - they provide good protection for the shoulders against the hard edges on your backpack straps. You can sew them yourself as well if you decide on making them out of an extra pair of gloves. This is useful especially when traveling via public transport because more often than not train seats are made of leather which will leave its mark on your skin.

Tip: Skin moisturizer during the dry season is the way to go if you want to prevent itchiness or other problems while wearing a backpack

Your backpack weight should be equally distributed. To make sure your backpack weight is equally distributed and it will not cause any problems with your back, put the heaviest items (e.g. textbooks) close to your back and as low as possible - this way, you will use both backpack straps of the backpack to hold it up.

The lighter stuff should go on top of those heavier things so that you can carry a little more without major issues with your lower back or shoulders getting into contact with the pusher panel/dorsal side of the backpack. This will also avoid slouching because oftentimes, people tend to compensate for heavy loads by bending over.

How to achieve the correct backpack fit?

When choosing a backpack for yourself or a kid, be mindful of its adjustable backpack straps - they should not slip a lot and the sternum strap is very important too. It not only provides you with extra comfort, but it also helps to keep everything in place at all times.

Of course, there are some people who have more narrow shoulders than others so it might be harder for them to find a backpack that will fit well. In cases like this, most outdoor shops offer additional fittings which can help you achieve the desired size of your pack. But sometimes even those may prove ineffective so if you walk around feeling discomfort by constantly readjusting backpack straps every few minutes, then maybe it's time to look for a different model.

But how to choose the best backpack for traveling? The best way is to try it on and wear it around for a bit. Make sure you can move your arms properly because otherwise, you will feel uncomfortable during long trips.

Tip: If you decide on buying backpacks online (e.g. Amazon ), make sure to read reviews of other buyers about the product - oftentimes they include information on whether or not the backpack fits well in a certain body frame.

If you still can't find one that works well for you, then maybe preventative measures are needed. This might seem like overkill but when talking about comfort when carrying a heavy load, it's better safe than sorry! The preventative measure here is choosing the so-called "soft shell backpack" - the entire pack's structure is made out of padded mesh. It still gives support, but it is much more gentle on your back compared to regular ones.

What sort of backpack straps is best for heavy loads?

The easiest way to distribute weight evenly is to place all the heaviest items close to your back and low down. As mentioned above, having a sternum strap helps because it keeps everything in place so that you don't have any cases where one side may be heavier than another. You should try wearing your backpack empty first just to gauge whether or not you feel comfortable without anything inside it since this will give you an idea if there are any problems with either size or weight distribution.

Do not overload your backpack. One of the most common problems people have is carrying around stuff they don't need. If you want to be comfortable - do not carry unnecessary items or ones that could be replaced with a lighter version for instance.

How to choose a good backpack for your posture?

If you carry a good backpack that is the right size and weight, then it should not cause problems with your back - this includes shoulder pain, which doesn't necessarily mean you have to change a backpack because this could also be caused by bad posture. If you sit down in the wrong position for hours without noticing any discomfort, then wearing a backpack may seem like nothing special. One of the problems may be the incorrect position of the straps in the loops. And not everyone may know the ways to use backpack loops.

However, there are some people who after a few minutes or even seconds feel themselves struggling to breathe normally due to little room left in their lungs for air no matter how they sit on a chair/sofa/floor etc. This can be a very unpleasant feeling so if you know this bothers you too, try making better sitting posture - straighten yourself up as much as possible and don't sit in one place for too long. Asking others to not sit next to you is also a better idea than suffering because of your backpack when making conversation with them!

If everything doesn't work out and you still find yourself struggling, then maybe it's high time you considered buying an ergonomic backpack. These are designed to distribute weight evenly so that no matter how much stuff you carry in there - it will not cause pain in the spine and shoulders.

Not only do these help in achieving proper sitting positions, but they can also improve your posture when standing or walking. You just put on the pack and adjust backpack straps according to something called "ergonomics" - basically focusing on distributing weight properly without causing any pain or discomfort.

How do I adjust a backpack?

  • Put on a backpack and adjust the shoulder straps so it will sit comfortably on your back. In the case of the smaller child, you can tighten them more because their shoulders might not be strong enough to carry it for extended periods of time.
  • Adjust sternum strap. It helps to keep everything in place while walking or running.
  • The length of the waist belt has to be adjusted as well - just tighten it up if you feel that this part is too long or too loose - it mostly depends on personal preferences, but shorter people have an advantage here as they can easily solve the problem by simply shortening belts.
  • In case there are no other backpack straps involved, put a load into the pack and see how you feel about it. If you feel it feels right, then there is no need to do anything else. Backpacks come in different styles and shapes with a different number of backpack straps - sometimes they can be confusing, but most people tend to learn how to use them in due time.
    To make backpack straps more comfortable, try finding one that seems suitable for your body type (if there are adjustable straps, adjust them accordingly), and only after gaining enough experience by using it can you decide whether a waist strap or sternum strap is necessary for carrying the pack around. Try putting some load into it before buying because this will help you avoid enormous discomfort later on.

How to relieve backpack strap pain?

You should know that when walking with a heavy pack for a long time, different parts of the body are under stress. Have you realized that when walking downhill there seems to be less discomfort? It happens because there is more weight on your hips which makes your body adapt to the weight being placed on your shoulders.

Backpack straps are there for you to support the load, not to be burdened by it. This can cause serious problems in the future which might prevent you from engaging in physical activities altogether so take the time to fix the problem early enough. You know that pain is too much if your pack seems abnormally heavy even though it's not filled with very many items.

If this happens, try putting some of its contents elsewhere - maybe put stuff into an extra backpack so you can take off one shoulder strap or simply distribute weight more evenly between both sides.

To relieve the pain caused by your backpack straps you can massage the spot where you feel discomfort with your fingers. If it doesn't help, put a cold compress on the back of your neck because it will numb the pain and reduce inflammation. You can also improve blood flow by rolling up a towel and putting it underneath your pack's shoulder strap so it will rest against your back while you're walking to distribute weight more evenly.