Top 15 Best Backpacks with Chest Strap in 2022

Backpacks with chest strap: a woman wearing a Patagonia Black Hole 32L backpack with chest strap
Credit: patagonia.com

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A backpack with a chest strap is more comfortable to carry because it helps distribute the weight of your pack more evenly across your back and thus reduces the strain on your shoulders.

It also makes carrying a heavy backpack a lot easier, without you having to worry about bad posture or back strains over time.

But the thing is, not all backpacks come with a chest strap.

And considering that most of us wear our backpacks almost daily, investing in the best backpacks with chest strap is decidedly a step in the right direction.

With that in mind and after a thorough review process, we’ve listed the 15 best backpacks with chest strap in 2022!

Backpacks with chest strap: Chrome Industry URBAN EX 2.0 ROLLTOP 30L BACKPACK chest strap
Credit: chromeindustries.com

To help you find the right options for your need, we’ve further divided our list into different categories:

  • best everyday backpacks with chest strap
  • best travel backpacks with chest strap
  • best hiking backpacks with chest strap

So, whether you prefer to spend your afternoons on the rocks, at your favorite café, or go on a quick jaunt, we have lots of options to show you!

Are you ready?

Let’s get right it then!

Table of Contents

In this section, we are going to be looking at top 5 backpacks with chest strap that you can use for commute, work, school, and for other day-to-day activities. 

Backpacks with chest strap: Bellroy Transit Backpack
Credit: Bellroy.com

Summary: The Bellroy Transit Backpack has it all – quality eco-friendly materials, storage, and style.

The Bellroy Transit Backpack is one of the best backpacks with chest strap because you can use it for work, travel, and pretty much anything thanks to its stylish and functional design.

Even better, it is also very comfortable.

The Transit features padded shoulder straps, a contoured back panel, and of course, a chest strap so you don’t feel weighed down from carrying a 28L backpack.

Also, the organization is another place this bag excels.

It has a spacious main compartment and smart organizational pockets, including a 16-inch laptop on the back panel.

I especially love that the sleeve is padded and protected at the bottom.

This helps protect your gear against hard impacts if you were to drop the pack by accident.

The main compartment is roomy enough to fit your other essentials from shoes to a change of clothes, even as there is a zippered pocket behind the laptop slit where you can store your other tech accessories like charger, USB drive, etc.   

I however must let you know that if you stuff the main compartment full, it would eat into the laptop space and make bringing out your device a bit difficult.  

Now for your small items, it features a front pocket with a key clip, a soft-lined sunglasses pocket, as well as external access pockets where you can store your passport, wallet, water bottle, etc. 

And internal compression straps allow you to keep your bag compact and the content of your bag in place.

Backpacks with chest strap: Bellroy Transit Backpack
Credit: Bellroy.com

Plus, the bag measures 21.3 x 15.3 x 7.1 inches and weighs just 2.4 lbs, which will pass as a personal item on major flights.

So you see, you can’t go wrong with this one if comfort is your priority

What we also love

The construction of the Transit is quite impressive.

You see, Bellroy materials are not only durable but are environmentally sustainable. Recycled fabric is used because it’s eco-friendly and helps to keep plastics out of landfills and oceans.

Also, the Transit has three color designs to choose from but my favorite is the lunar colored design spots leather details on the zipper pull handle, logo insignia, and shoulder straps which only adds to its appeal.

What’s not so great

The Transit is not suitable for all body frames.

The curved back panel and straps are better suited for those with small body sizes. So those with a bigger torso may not find it very fitting.

But if you are interested in a quality backpack with comfortable features from the Bellroy brand, you may want to check out the Classic Backpack Compact instead.  

Backpacks with chest strap: North Face Borealis
Credit: thenorthface.com

Summary: The North Face Borealis backpack is recommended for school, hiking, and travel because of its lightweight design, organization, and functional features.

The North Face Borealis is one of the most comfortable backpacks with chest strap.

For one,  it has an endorsement from the American Chiropractic Association certifying it’s been engineered to carry heavy loads whilst providing maximum ergonomic support to the carrier.

Also, the pack comes with a hip belt and removable chest strap for added stability and load control.   

Compression straps help bring the weight closer to your boy for a more compact effect.

And on top of that, the harness system includes a heavily padded back panel and mesh shoulder straps with custom injection molded foam for extra comfort and ventilation.

All of these mean this bag would be easy to carry even when you pack out full of items or wear it for prolonged hours.

It sure makes sense that the Borealis is a go-to for everyday use, travels, hiking, and college.

The Borealis is also loved for its organization.

This 28-liter spacious bag has three separate compartments and pockets for your stuff, including two stretchy water bottle pockets on both sides to keep you hydrated.

Additionally, there is a dedicated, highly protective 15” laptop compartment, an extra padded tablet sleeve, and fleece-lined pockets for sunglasses or electronics.

Also, the front of the bag features a bungee cord system meant for lashing external gear on like a yoga mat.

And then the bag is offered in 17 different colors and designs!

Backpacks with chest strap: North Face Borealis
Credit: thenorthface.com

What we also love

The Borealis is well made.

Although not waterproof, it is decently water-resistant and more than up to the challenge of everyday use and outdoor activities now and then.

What’s not great

From the reviews I read, some people do not like that the newly redesigned Borealis is small and is not wide or deep enough to hold more items like the previous model.

Also, a few buyers did not like that this bag does not perform well in the rain. Without a rain cover or when in a heavy downpour, the content of your bag would be soaked through.

Since this backpack is not waterproof, you may need an extra backpack rain cover to keep your gear dry in rain.

Read our full North Face Borealis Backpack Review

Backpacks with chest strap: The Ridge Commuter Weatherproof backpack
Credit: ridge.com

Summary: Built for adventures and daily activities, the Ridge is waterproof, smart, and tech-friendly. 

The Ridge Commuter backpack is the perfect choice for those who are looking for the best backpacks with chest strap that can withstand the elements.

It features a padded back panel, shoulder straps, and a chest strap, making it one of the best backpacks with chest straps.

Made from waterproof 600D nylon and YKK Aquaguard zipper, this sleek and beautiful bag Ridge bag will keep all your gadgets dry, no matter what. 

So, whether you’re headed to the office or exploring the great outdoors, this backpack is sure to keep your belongings safe and dry.

Beyond its waterproof qualities, the Ridge has features you’ll love, including an RFID-blocking pocket to keep your passport and other sensitive items safe while you’re on the go.

There is also a smart strap to secure your luggage for hands-free transport.

Credit: ridge.com

What we also love

Featuring 3 compartments and several pockets, there’s room for all your stuff including a shock-resistant laptop compartment, a water bottle holder, and a power bank pocket to keep your devices charged while on the go.

So you can see that for a 15L bag, it has quite a bit of organization.

So, don’t let the weather stop you from enjoying your day – grab a Ridge Commuter and be prepared for anything!

What’s not great

Like I stated earlier, the Ridge is a small pack.

At 15L capacity, you can’t fit a lot into it and when you force items into it, it bulges out in certain spots, thus disfiguring the bag.

So the Ridge Commuter is not for you if you want a big pack or you tend to overstuff your bag now and then.

But if you tend to carry a few items, you’ll enjoy this bag morel

But all in all, this backpack is sure to keep your belongings safe and dry, whether you’re headed to the office or exploring the great outdoors.

Backpacks with chest strap: Under Armour Hustle Pro Backpack
Credit: underarmour.com

Summary: The Hustle Pro is durable, comfortable, and water-resistant.

The Under Armour Hustle Pro backpack is one of the best backpacks with chest straps for commuters and active professionals.

For one, it features a unique clip system that allows for easy adjustment and balanced distribution.

The UA Strap Clip can be attached to your chest, ensuring that it doesn’t fall off, and is readily available when you need to fasten the sternum clip, thus making this one of the best backpacks with chest strap.

Importantly, the back panel is breathable and the shoulder straps are adjustable, making it easy to adjust the weight of the backpack and exceptionally comfortable to carry around all day.

The Pro has an expandable shoe pocket that also doubles as a laundry pocket to keep dirty items separate.

But that’s not all.

You also get some other great amenities like a soft-lined laptop sleeve and an insulated pocket to keep your valuables.

Backpacks with chest strap: Under Armour Hustle Pro Backpack
Credit: underarmour.com

Additionally, it has a tricot-lined valuables pocket and a buckle-secured sleeve for your smaller items.

What we also love 

This bag has water repellent qualities too making sure everything stays dry no matter what Mother Nature throws at you (or even just regular old-fashioned humidity).

What’s not great

While the Pro is a good bag, some users do not like the fact that the front pocket is not big enough to hold a water bottle, and neither would you find small organizational pockets for your pencil holders and other small pockets.

Backpacks with chest strap: Fjallraven Ulvo Daypack
Credit: fjallraven.com

Summary: The Fjallraven Ulvo Daypack is an incredibly simple but versatile backpack that can be used for everyday commuting or light treks.

It’s hard to believe that a daypack can be both versatile and functional, but the Fjallraven Ulvo 23 pulls it off.

What’s not to love about this sleek, stylish daypack?

It has all the features you need with none of those pesky zippers or clunky metal buttons.

The Swedish brand’s new Bergshell fabric used for this pack is incredibly water-resistant and durable, which means you’ll never need to worry about your gear getting wet when on your next adventure or working outdoor like I love to do!

Also, its inner lining is made from a highly resistant thread with a waterproofing coating on top, so you can enjoy the benefits of both materials – softness as well as protection!

And as of one the best backpacks with chest strap, the Ulvo boasts of a padded back panel, padded shoulder straps, and a sturdy chest strap for carrying comfort.

Plus this 23L bag is not just durable and cute, but also has all the functionality of any good daypack.

There’s an internal 15” padded and suspended laptop sleeve perfect for protecting your device from drop impacts.

And on the exterior, you’ll see an attachment loop for bike lights, a front pocket, and stretchy side pockets for bottles and valuables.

Backpacks with chest strap: Fjallraven Ulvo Daypack
Credit: fjallraven.com

What we also love

If you are familiar with Fjallraven’s offerings, you’ll know that they tend to have some bags that are sustainably made.

One of such is the Ulvo.

I like that it is made from recycled material, and will likely serve you well no matter where your adventure takes place!

And oh, this baby is available in three cute colors- black, mountain blue, and red-blue.

Even better, the bag’s simple design is perfect for any occasion.

It has a classic look that can be worn to work or taken on your next adventure!

What’s not great

This 23L daypack is perfect for those who need less space but is not the best option if you want serious organization as seen in some backpacks with chest strap like the Borealis.

If that sounds like something you need, then this smaller version might be what suits you!

But the good thing is that this 23L daypack with chest strap also has a bigger sibling if you want something bigger or better organization – the Ulvö 30.

This section focuses on the top 5 backpacks with chest strap that you can use as a carry-on or personal items travel bags. 

Backpacks with chest strap: Osprey Farpoint Travel Backpack & Fairview Travel Backpack
Credit: Osprey

Summary: A sturdy and spacious travel pack you can trust to carry your belongings to various continents, countries, and cities.

If you’re looking for a super comfortable travel pack, Osprey’s his and her tag team of the Farpoint and Fairview 40L is highly rated and qualifies as one of the best backpacks with chest strap.

You should note that the Osprey Fairview is specially designed for women and is sized for smaller torsos while the Farpoint backpack is designed for men.

They are equally light and comfortable.

Each pack comes with a LightWire frame suspension and comfortable waist strap that takes the weight off your shoulders and transfers it to your pelvis so your back doesn’t feel the pressure.

And as one of the best backpacks with chest strap, they both have a sternum strap to help spread the weight more evenly.

It also comes with a ventilated mesh back panel that helps keep your shirt dry in hot or humid conditions.

And it goes without saying, you can’t go wrong with an Osprey bag.

The pack is incredibly durable and has withstood a fair few beatings with being thrown from airplane to airplane, as well as being lugged around a plethora of different cities!

In fact, tons of users, myself included, have gushed about how it can comfortably carry all your possessions for many years. 

Backpacks with chest strap: Osprey Farpoint Travel Backpack & Fairview Travel Backpack
Credit: Osprey

What we also love

Another reason why each of these bags is a go-to for so many people is its organization.

Sleek and compact, it fits a 15” laptop, a tablet, two water bottles, sunglasses, and comes with a weight of 40L so you can pack as light as possible without the temptation to haul excess weight.  

What’s more?

Both FarPoint and Fairview come in two different color options and other sizes, so you can always go for what suits you best.

What’s not great

The bag’s laptop sleeve is located at the front of this bag, which means that if you have a heavy computer, you might find yourself rocking backward or experiencing some discomfort when walking because the weight is not well distributed.

Backpacks with chest strap: Nomatic Travel Pack
Credit: Nomatic.com

Summary: The Nomatic Travel Pack is a versatile, expandable, and feature-packed backpack with chest strap. 

If you are on the hunt for a versatile backpack that translates easily from everyday carry to travel, this Nomatic Travel Pack is for you!

Designed for everyday use and short 2-3 days trips; this 20L slim bag can expand up to 30L when you need more space!

It is also one of the best considerations for backpacks with chest strap because much of the burden is taken off your shoulders and back courtesy of the harness system.

Yep, there are shoulder straps, a padded back panel, a beefy waist strap, and of course, a chest strap, making it good to carry a heavy load. 

Even better, the sternum strap is adjustable so it doesn’t bite into your chest as you walk, making this one of the best backpacks with chest strap.

The Travel Pack is made of durable tarpaulin material with a water-resistant exterior that you expect will hold up well for a long time and also keep your belongings safe and dry no matter what.

You should however note that while tarpaulin is sturdy, it’s quite sensitive and so accumulate scratches and marks over time that do not run away or disappear.

Backpacks with chest strap: Nomatic Travel Pack
Credit: Nomatic.com

What we also love

Whatever valuables you’re carrying, there are 20 secured spots for it – magnetic water bottle pockets, fleece pocket, RFID blockings, and lockable security pocket, protective sunglasses case, multiple mesh zipper pockets, a hidden pocket, as well as a luggage strap in the back to attach to roller luggage.

Other amazing features include a dedicated laptop and tablet compartment that lays flat to make TSA checkpoints a breeze and a Nomatic lifetime warranty.

Plus it’s easy to carry.

It comes with three handles: two by the side for when you wanna carry the bag as a briefcase or lift it into an overhead compartment and a thickly padded handle at the top when you’re just carrying or picking it off the ground.

What’s not great

Despite all these, the harness system of the Nomatic Travel Pack is not the best.

For one, at 4.16lbs, it’s quite heavy and when loaded out at 30L, it can get uncomfortable to carry because the shoulder straps are not densely padded enough and hurt when the bag is full of heavy items.

To mitigate this, I advise you use the hip belt if you’ll be wearing the backpack for a longer period for weight distribution.

Also, 20 pockets can get distracting: If you use all the pockets in the bag, you may have a hard time locating specific items on time.

In addition, others noted that its exterior shows scuffs with time- and as you know, a scratched-up bag just doesn’t look professional.

Overall, the Nomatic Travel Pack is so packed with incredible functionality, it has an elegant minimalist design and gives confidence for your life on the move.

Backpacks with chest strap: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack
Credit: cotopaxi.com

Summary: The Cotopaxi Allpa offers durability, easy gear access, and carry comfort from your outdoor adventure to the city streets.

If you’re looking for the perfect weekend getaway, this stylish and comfortable backpack will be your best friend.

This one is durable and has all of the features that will work for whatever adventure awaits, whether that means exploring new cities or going camping in lakeside tents with friends.

The design of these bags is just right!

The durable, water-resistant polyester shell of this bag is coated with thermoplastic polyurethane—making it waterproof.

And if you want more protection, there’s also a removable rainfly for when things get really bad!

The harness system is pretty amazing.

This system consists of contoured shoulder straps, a padded, removable hip belt, a breathable air mesh back panel, and an adjustable sternum strap that’s nice and sturdy, hence the inclusion as one of the best backpacks with chest strap.

When you’re out for your adventure, you’ll find the Allpa very comfortable to wear especially if you’re of average height (sorry tall folks).

What’s more?

This 35L carry-on bag is also organization friendly.

The clamshell main compartment features interior organization, complemented by padded laptop and tablet sleeves as well as many exterior pockets so every item has its storage. 

Also, it features compression straps to help keep items tight and snug.

Backpacks with chest strap: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack
Credit: cotopaxi.com

What we also love

This backpack is an internationally approved carry-on size, meaning that you can take this pack with you straight on and off the plane, with no baggage claim required.

I like that this bag has multiple grab handles, four lash points that allow you to carry even more gear, and theft-proof webbing sewn across the openings on all external zippers.

It has fun colors and an elegant design that will make you stand out in any crowd!

What’s not great

Customers have complained that it seems this backpack is tailored for people on the shorter side with smaller builds, so it may not work as well if you have a large torso size.

This is because the waist belt sits a little high off the hips of tall people, instead of being on the top of your hips. So, if you are tall and like using your waist belt, this is something you may want to keep in mind.

Backpacks with chest strap: Patagonia Black Hole 32L
Credit: patagonia.com

Summary: The Black Hole backpack combines versatile styling with outdoor functionality, offering a bag that can work for EDC, outdoor, and travel use. 

Another versatile contender for best backpacks with chest strap on this list is the 32L Black Hole Pack from Patagonia.

It comes with an adjustable and removable sternum strap to help distribute the weight when you have a heavier load.

And is thankfully crafted with padded shoulder straps and a fully adjustable harness to keep your shoulders happy throughout your hike.

Plus Black Hole is the type of bag that you can use for everyday carry, outdoor, and travel use. 

The 32L is not only spacious but is also travel-friendly with a TSA-approved laptop compartment that lays flat for easy airport security.

Also, it can fit up to a 15” laptop or hydration reservoir.

This bag is made of 100% post-consumer recycled polyester materials with a DWR coating to make sure your stuff is protected if you do get caught in the rain.

The reason there’s a sheen on the bag is that it’s combined with a TPU film laminate for added abrasion and weather resistance.

And with durable construction details like YKK zippers, Duraflex hardware, and recycled polyester with a PU coating lining, you know this pack is going to hold up to any sort of demand you can throw at it.

Even better, the fabric used is bluesign approved, meaning it is sustainably and ethically made.

Backpacks with chest strap: Patagonia Black Hole 32L
Credit: patagonia.com

What we also love

A pack you’ll love and use for years to come, the Black Hole even comes with lifetime warranties and a repair program.

Also, it is available in four colors as of the time of this review.

What’s not great

The Patagonia Black Hole backpack does not necessarily have the most robust harness system possible, but it works.

For one, this bag does not have a hip belt and there isn’t much air channel to help prevent sweating or moisture build-up, like the Nomatic Travel Pack.

If you have a back problem, you can also check out my review of the 20 best backpacks for back pain for very comfortable backpacks.

Thule Subterra Backpack 34L

Backpacks with chest strap: Thule Subterra Backpack 34L
Credit: thule.com

Summary: The Thule Subterra 34L is versatile, making it perfect for daily use and travel.

The Thule Subterra 34L is a great option for anyone looking for a versatile, stylish backpack.

This sleek and modern carry-on doubles nicely as a daily commuter pack thanks to its attractive minimalistic design.

And as one of the best backpacks with chest strap, the padded shoulder straps come complete with a sternum buckle to help fine-tune the fit.

Even better, The Subterra bag is perfect for those who need a little extra space.

It features a large bucket-style main compartment and a top-loading design for easy access to all of your belongings.

The magnetic roll-top closure expands the bag’s capacity without adding unnecessary bulk, and the multiple access points make it easy to grab whatever you need from the large main compartment.

Plus the pack comes with a removable packing cube

The cube will allow you to optimize packing space and keep clothes organized while traveling.

Backpacks with chest strap: Thule Subterra Backpack 34L

What we also love

Also, this pack can easily accommodate a 15.6″ device

It features a padded laptop sleeve with SafeEdge construction, meaning that all six sides are padded to protect your laptop from bumps and scratches.

And there is an organized front pocket that offers several pockets for all your smaller belongings like your cell phone, battery bank, kindle notebook, etc.

What’s not great 

Even though the packing cube is a great way to keep your gear organized while traveling, this particular model is just too big and so is not as useful as it should have been, especially for small items.

As such, I advise you buy more packing cubes so you can better organize all your items. 

Best Hiking Backpacks with Chest Straps

The top 5 backpacks with chest straps below are designed for hiking or other outdoor activities. 

Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10

Backpacks with chest strap: Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10 Backpack
Credit: deuter.com

Summary: The AirContact Lite offers an excellent balance of comfort and durability for those who want to go on longer hikes.

The Deuter AirContact Lite 50+10 backpack is a versatile and durable option for backpacking and hiking.

It is a great choice for anyone who is looking for the best backpacks with chest strap they can take for long hikes.

This is because it boasts of features like an adjustable sternum strap, padded hip belt, padded shoulder straps, and adjustable back/torso length so it fits a variety of sizes and is comfortable to wear all day long.

The ventilation system at the back panel and straps ensure you stay cool and refreshed, no matter the weather conditions.

And whether you’re a man or woman, you won’t have to worry about getting just one size fits all because there are so many options available ranging from small 40+10 to 70+15.

With the AirContact Lite, you’ll have plenty of room for everything you need on your next trip.

It features an expandable section that can add up to 10 liters of capacity if needed, making it perfect for carrying extra gear or supplies on your adventures.

The deep mesh side pockets and double hip belt zip pockets provide plenty of space for stowing accessories or other small items you may need on long walks in the forest without having to unpack everything at the camping site!

Other handy organizational features include a bungee closure and three adjustable compression straps that allow you to customize your gear to taste.

Backpacks with chest strap: Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10 Backpack
Credit: amazon.com

What we also love

The AirContact Lite offers you options.

It is available in three colors and many sizes, so you can go for what best suits your need.

What’s not so great

The major downside to this backpacking pack is that it is quite heavy.

You might want to keep this in mind if you’re going on an extended hike or camping trip where your load will be particularly heavy!

Osprey Aether 55 Backpacking Backpack

Backpacks with chest strap: Osprey Aether 65 Men's Backpacking Backpack
Credit: Osprey.com

Summary: The Aether backpack can carry heavy loads exceptionally well. 

The Aether 55 is a perfect choice for hiking, camping, and backpacking trips thanks to its high-quality construction that ensures you’re always ready.

The bag has custom-fit shoulder straps so it stays put while the hip belt provides stability on your hips – no matter how much time passes or what adventure awaits!

And because it qualifies as one of the best backpacks with chest strap, it is also equipped with a LightWire frame, which helps transfer the load of the pack to the hip belt.

This allows for better weight distribution and comfy carry.

You will appreciate its durable and sturdy build.

It is sustainably made with high-quality bluesign approved nylon and PFC-free DWR. DWR coating and included rain cover serve to keep water out at all time.

Additionally, the Aether has plenty of pockets and compartments to keep things extra organized. 

For quick access, there are dual-zippered hip belt pockets, water bottle pockets, and a front “shove-it” pocket. 

Backpacks with chest strap: Osprey Aether 65 Men's Backpacking Backpack

Other noteworthy features include an internal hydration bladder sleeve, ample compression straps, and attachment points for ice axes, tent poles, and more.

What we also love

Osprey also has the Ariel version which is specifically designed to be a better fit for women.

Also, you will notice that there are two different weights and capacities for each pack on their website. You can get the small/ medium and large/extra-large, so be sure to choose the best one for your body.

What’s not great

The Aether backpack from Osprey comes with a lot of straps and pockets that may feel a little busy for some.

But if you are going to be camping out and need to carry a lot of gear, you will find that the Osprey Aether Plus (men’s sizes) and Ariel Plus (for women) will not disappoint. 

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Pack

Backpacks with chest strap: Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Pack
Credit: hyperlitemountaingear.com

Summary: The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400 is an exceptional pack that is lightweight, water resistant and durable.   

It’s hard to not love a pack that is durable, water resistant and lightweight.

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400 strikes an exceptional balance between these three factors, with its minimal design and ultralight construction that make it easy to pack and carry around your belongings without feeling too weighed down!

It features padded hip belt, padded shoulder straps, top compression straps, and of course,  an adjustable sternum strap with self-tensioning elastic, effectively making this baby one of the best backpacks with chest straps for hiking.

And it weighs just 1.98 lbs!

It’s no wonder the Southwest 3400 is used and loved by hikers and minimalists alike.

Even better, the construction is impressive. 

This pack will hold up against even the most demanding conditions thanks to its waterproof DCF fabric and well-engineered seams.

And even though 3400 Southwest is expensive, you are at least assured that it will last and can withstand thousands of trail miles and more!

Backpacks with chest strap: Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Pack

What we also love

The 3400 Southwest is an excellent choice for hikes on rugged and tight trails because it can adapt to changes in gear volumes.

You can roll down the top of the the 3400 to make the overall size of this pack similar to the 2400 (its smaller sibling) or expand it to full capacity to fit more items when you need it.

Plus this bag will serve you well.

This 55 liters large capacity backpack has become one of many go-to packs for overnight and multi-day backpacking, camping and also for exploring the outdoor at extreme conditions.

What’s not great

Though this backpack has its advantages, it may not be the right choice for everyone.

The main drawbacks of this bag is that you have to pay more money and there isn’t as much pockets for organization in comparison with other backpacks in the market. There is only the main compartment and a few exterior pockets despite its spacious capacity.

All in all, the hiker who is looking for a pack that can handle long trips and still remain light enough to carry on their back should consider the 3400.

REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack

Backpacks with chest strap: REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack
Credit: rei.com

Summary: The REI Flash 55 is affordable, lightweight and is highly customizable so you can make it into whatever works best with your adventure style

The Flash 55 backpack from REI is one the company’s best selling models and is a fast-growing favorite of many outdoor lovers too.

For one, it packs a lot of punch for its lightweight design.

With a weight of 2lbs and capacity up to 30 pounds, this bag will carry everything you need on your next adventure with ease!

It also comes with a removable waist strap, so you can distribute weight across your body when needed, making it one of the best backpacks with chest strap.

One of my favorite feature about the Flash is that it is customizable thanks to its “Packmod”system.

I especially like that you can move or remove virtually all external pockets and straps to increase storage or shed weight which allows you total freedom in designing an individualized layout that will fit your needs whether you’re on an adventure or just traveling around town.

For instance, you can remove the hip belt pockets, shoulder strap pockets and compression straps to reduce weight if needed.

What’s more?

The Flash comes with a lot of thoughtful features.

There is a convenient roll-top closure, hydration reservoir compartment and several pockets for organization, including attachment loops where you can attach smaller accessories.

The durable fabric can withstand water thanks to seam taping on the lid and a roll-top closure which makes this bag ideal if you plan on taking trips near rivers or other bodies of water!

The best part?

This pack is comfortable to carry due to its suspension system which includes mesh material at key locations so air flow doesn’t interfere with how well everything fits together when walking.

Backpacks with chest strap: REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack

What we also love

The Flash is not only affordable and comfortable, but is also available in a smaller 45L model, which is specially designed for women.

What’s not great

The Flash pack is a backpacking favourite, but its less than strudy ripstop nylon construction leaves room for concern.

Rubbing against rock and rough surfaces will wear down this delicate fabric over time; making it less durable in certain environments where heavy use may be expected such as mountain trails or coastal hikes. 

If you want to get the best of this backpack with chest strap, I suggest you do not carry more than the 30 pounds weight limit recommended by REI nor you should you go for this if you are mostly into hardcore adventures.

Mystery Ranch Scree 32L Technical Backpack

Backpacks with chest strap: Mystery Ranch Scree 32L Technical Backpack
Credit: mysteryranch.com

Summary: The Scree is one of the most versatile packs with the capacity for whatever your outdoor adventures may entail.

Mystery Ranch Scree is one of the best backpacks with chest straps that merges the functionality of a backpacking pack with daypack charm.

It can be used for day hikes, overnight excursions, travels, and many outdoor pursuits including hard-core climbing.

Yeah, it is that versatile.

With its rugged construction and technical features, this bag can hold up to heavy loads without sacrificing comfort or ease in carrying it all!

This bag is gives you fit and support in all the right places – your chest, shoulder area as well as waist which helps with stability when carrying heavy loads or prolonged walks!

The Scree features shoulder straps, waist belt and chest strap that provide support for carrying the pack, effectively making it one of the best backpacks with chest straps.

You’ll especially like that these straps are not only removable, but are also adjustable, so it’s always perfectly adjusted for any body type.

This mean that no matter your height or size, you can easily micro adjust the torso length so that it’s perfect every time!

Even better, you can remove the straps and pads to create a modern, urban look, should you want to travel or use your pack for other activities that doesn’t require all the technicalities.

The pack comes with a pronounced lumbar support pad that sits nicely on the user’s lower back.

Plus, the ventilation is good.

The hip belt and shoulder straps as well as back are made with soft, breathable materials to keep you cool during hot weather or warm days in winter, although it could have been nice to see more ventilation at the back panel.

Also, the Scree 32L will last you a many adventure.

It is made with 210D Robic Nylon, a durable, tear and water resistant material while the bottom is reinforced with double-layered bottom for increased durability and resislence underneath the pack.

Backpacks with chest strap: Mystery Ranch Scree 32L Technical Backpack

What we also love

The Scree 32L is a great internal framed backpack that has an HDPE frame to support its weight and provide durability.

This type of design helps with movement because you’re able move freely without feeling like the bag will break or give way, making it perfect for hikes where there may be some scrambling or steep climbing involved.

Also, the Scree is the perfect companion on long days.

It offers both hydration compatibility as well as easily accessible water bottle pockets!

For organization, there is a spacious main compartment with easy access zip design and a spacious zip pocket on the lid that is perfect for storing keys, wallet or phone.  

The waist belt also has two quick-access compartments to keep smaller essentials organized and within reach!

What’s not great

The Mystery Ranch Scree 32 is a great option for those who need plenty of storage space and don’t mind sacrificing weight.

It sits at 1406g, which makes one of the heaviest backpacks with chest strap on this list.

Nonetheless, the weight is manageable.

This is because the added frame and great suspension system make up for it, so you’ll have all the support and comfort you need while wearing this pack.

All in all, the Scree can be used as an everyday bag but it really shines when you’re out on the mountain with your friends carrying heavy rope, equipment.

Buyer’s Guide: what to look out for in the best backpacks with chest strap

Backpacks with chest strap: Bellroy Transit Backpack
Credit: Bellroy.com

When looking for the best backpacks with chest strap, here are some important factors you need to consider before making a final decision. 

Sternum Strap & Hip Belt

Backpacks with chest strap: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack
Credit: cotopaxi.com

If you’ve ever tried to carry a large backpack without using a sternum strap or hip belt, you know how difficult it can be.

Your shoulders and back start to hurt and the bag feels like it’s just getting heavier and heavier.

A hip belt and sternum strap distribute the weight of the bag more evenly and help take some of the strain off your shoulders and back.

Additionally, a well-fitting hip belt can help prevent the bag from bouncing around too much as you walk, which can also be quite annoying (and even painful).

Important, a sternum (chest) strap connects the shoulder straps across your chest to improve the stability of the load so it doesn’t weigh you down.

If you find your pack often sways or the straps slide off your shoulders, you need a pack with a chest strap. 

So, if your backpack has a chest strap, make sure to use it!

It’ll make carrying your heavy load that much easier.

Weight distribution

When you carry heavy backpacks, the weight can pull you backward, causing you to lean forward instead of walking straight. Because of the heavy weight, there’s a high chance of developing shoulder, neck, and back pain.

If the weight is distributed unevenly, it can cause back pain, bad posture, and other problems.

This is why backpacks with chest straps are important.

A chest strap helps to distribute the weight evenly by keeping the pack close to your body. This is especially important when carrying a heavy load because it helps to keep the weight off your shoulders and prevents strain on your neck and spine.

Wearing a backpack for prolonged periods can also be harmful if the weight isn’t distributed evenly. It’s important to take breaks periodically and switch positions so that the load is spread out evenly.

Backpacks for travel, hiking, and even large EDC bags require even weight distribution because they are bigger and weigh more and that is why you must buy backpacks with chest straps.

By wearing a backpack with a chest strap and ensuring that the weight is balanced, you can help to keep your back healthy and pain-free.

Ample padding and ventilation

Best backpacks with chest strap: Stubbleandco The Roll Up vs Fjallraven Classic Kanken Backpack back panel and paddings

One of the most important features of a good backpack is ample padding. 

This helps to distribute the weight of the pack evenly across your back and shoulders and prevents it from digging into your skin.

A backpack with a chest strap is especially helpful in this regard, as it helps to keep the straps contoured to your body and prevent them from slipping off.

Additionally, materials such as EVA foam and ventilation panels help to keep you cool and comfortable even when wearing the pack for long periods.

These features aren’t as vital in a smaller daypack, but they are crucial in a 30L+ that you’re planning to load up—unless you want your back screaming at you after a long day.  

But the good thing is that most if not all the backpacks with chest straps on this list are well padded, ventilated, and comfortable to wear.

Carrying capacity

Backpacks with Chest strap: Knack Series 2: Large Expandable Knack Pack
Credit: knackbags.com

Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes, and the size of the backpack often dictates how heavy it can get.

Small backpacks under 20+ liter do not need or even come with a chest strap because they are not heavy.

A big backpack on the other hand typically requires a chest strap to keep it from shifting around and causing discomfort.

So if you are carrying a 40+ sized backpack, ensure you use a chest and waist strap, and if the bag doesn’t come with one, you should buy these straps.

If your backpack is large (say more than 15-20L), consider looking for a bag with a hip belt (waist belt) and a sternum (chest) strap because they help to distribute the weight and therefore lessen the load.

It’s even better if the hip belt is adjustable so you can ensure a comfortable fit.

These straps are important to have in all types of backpacks whether it’s travel, outdoor, or even in everyday packs.

Extra Features

Backpacks with chest strap: AER Travel Pack with items that'll fit displayed on a table
Credit: AER

If you want a solid daypack you can take anywhere, features such as a padded laptop sleeve, easy access pockets, a key leash, water bottle pockets, USB charging port, compression strap, and luggage straps can make your life easier.

For travel, consider looking for important features like water-resistant zippers, TSA-friendly lockable zippers, laptop compartments, clamshell opening style, hidden pockets, expandable zippers, and more.

In addition to the major features, backpacking backpacks usually come with a whole host of extra features ranging from an internal frame, hydration bladder, laptop storage, sleeping bag pocket, and more.

As with any backpack, ensure you look for features that will bring value to your life.

What is a backpack chest strap?

Backpacks with chest strap: a man wearing a Patagonia Black Hole 32L backpack with chest strap
Credit: patagonia.com

A backpack chest strap is an adjustable belt that you wear across your chest to help distribute the weight of your backpack more evenly and to help reduce the strain on your shoulders.

They are sometimes referred to as backpack sternum straps.

Most backpacks come with a built-in chest strap, but if yours doesn’t or if you’re using a different backpack, you can easily purchase a chest strap separately.

But how do you know the best backpacks with chest strap?

The strap should be adjustable so that it can fit snugly around your chest.

It’s also important to make sure the strap is tight enough so that the backpack doesn’t bounce around as you walk.

What are the importance of a chest strap on a backpack

Backpacks with chest strap: a man wearing a BARRAGE CARGO BACKPACK and sitting on a motorcycle
Credit: chromeindustries.com

How do you feel about sore shoulders, straps that keep falling off your shoulders as you walk, or general discomfort?

If the weight of your pack is too heavy or if it’s not properly balanced, it can cause pain and discomfort in your neck, shoulders, and lower back.

This is because the weight of the bag isn’t evenly distributed across your back and instead puts all the weight on your shoulders.

This is where backpacks with chest strap come in.

But what do chest straps on backpacks do?

A backpack with a chest strap distributes weight more evenly across your body than one without, which is especially important when carrying heavier loads.

Additionally, backpacks with chest strap prevent your shoulders from getting too sore and help keep the shoulder straps in place ensuring that they do not slide off your shoulders as you go about your activities.

A good quality chest strap can help alleviate some of this pressure and make your travel, commute, or hike much more comfortable.

How to wear a sternum strap

Backpacks with chest strap: a beautiful lady wearing a Chrome Industry BARRAGE CARGO BACKPACK with chest strap
Credit: chromeindustries.com

Where should the chest strap on a backpack be?

There is no one “right” answer to this question, as everyone’s body is different and may require different positioning of the chest strap on their backpack.

That said, here are a few general tips that may help:

The strap should be located across the chest and over the shoulder, slightly below the collarbone.

It should be about an inch below your collarbone. If the chest strap is too high, it can cause neck and shoulder pain.

And if it’s too low, the weight of the backpack may pull on your shoulders and cause discomfort.

So it’s important to find the right spot for your chest strap to avoid any unnecessary pain.

Make sure the straps are tight enough so that the backpack doesn’t bounce around as you walk.

However, be careful not to tighten them so much that they cause discomfort, pain, or restrict your breathing.

You should be able to breathe easily and move your arms around without restriction. Ideally, you should be able to fit two fingers between the strap and your chest.

Make sure that the shoulder straps are adjusted so that the backpack is close to your body.

This will help to distribute the weight more evenly and help prevent pain in your shoulders and neck.

Position the pack so that it sits close to your back, with the weight evenly distributed along the length of your spine.

Again, this will help prevent pain in your shoulders.

Also, make sure that the hip belt is tight enough so that the pack rests against your hips.

This will help transfer some of the weight from your shoulders to your hips.

And finally, experiment with different positions of the chest strap until you find one that feels most comfortable and secure for you.

Final Thoughts

Backpacks with chest straps can be extremely helpful in ensuring a comfortable and safe hike, commute, or travel.

The 15 backpacks that I have reviewed are all great options for different needs, but it is important to consider what you will be using the backpack for when making your decision.

Hiking and traveling can both be strenuous activities, so make sure you choose a backpack that will support the weight of what you plan to bring with you.

Over to you.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on backpacks with chest straps.

Do you think they are necessary Would you consider using one? If not, why?

And finally, if yes, which of the 15 bags would you choose and why?

Also, be sure to check out my detailed guide on the best sling bag for everyday carry review.

This article is not sponsored in any way by any company. These bags have been independently selected by myself and my team. And the only thing I receive is a small commission from our affiliate program if you buy any of them through the links and buttons on this page. It doesn’t cost you a penny. But it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for maintaining the website, editing software, my time, team and everything else that goes into preparing this post.

8 thoughts on “Top 15 Best Backpacks with Chest Strap in 2022”

  1. Hey Femi,

    thanks for this great list and guide to finding the right one. Since injuring my back, I definitely need to consider the right support when having a backpack. I need to take my laptop everywhere for work, so having one that is comfortable as well as one that supports my back is essential!

    Thanks again for the great recommendations!!

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      I’m so glad you found the list of backpacks with chest strap helpful for your needs. I hope it helps you find a backpack that will suit your needs and feel good on your back. Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback!

      Cheers,
      Femi.

      Reply
  2. Thank you so much for this highly informative article, Femi! As an attorney who daily carries a backpack and who always carried heavy loads throughout high school, college and law school, I definitely needed a backpack with a chest strap to balance out my weight and prevent shoulder, upper back, and lower back strain. I’m definitely interested in purchasing a comfortable, padded, chest-strap-equipped backpack with water bottle and phone holders (not that I would put my phone in my backpack (I’d have it closer to me), but I like having that space for extra hand sanitizer, masks, notepads, and pencils/pens), as well as a sturdy bag that can carry at least 30lbs. I have saved your site and will definitely be back! Yah (God) bless you!

    Reply
  3. Hi Femi. Thanks for another great review. I always enjoy reading your posts as they offer so much value. I wasn’t really dividing backpacks into categories like you are doing and maybe that’s way they didn’t last too long. I would use everyday backpack also for traveling for instance. I have personal experience with the UA Pro Backpack and I agree that it is super convenient back pack. Especially, the unique clip system that helps keep the straps tight. I would definitely recommend it. Keep up your great work Femi, because you are really making difference.

    Reply
    • Hi Julius, thanks for reading and taking the time to leave this review. I’m glad you found my blog posts helpful!

      I think it’s always a good idea to divide backpacks into categories because there are some backpacks that are better for everyday use and others that are better suited for travel or the outdoors.

      It sounds like you have personal experience with the UA Pro Backpack which is one of the popular models featured in my reviews–it’s great to hear your thoughts on it!
      And I agree with you about the clip system as it helps keep the straps tight–a feature which can be especially helpful when carrying heavier loads or in windy conditions.
      Thank you again for commenting and I hope we’ll be able to continue making a difference together.

      Cheers,
      Femi.

      Reply
  4. Wow, there are a lot of good choices here.

    I used to think that a chest strap was only important for my large hiking pack, and I would use it whenever I was carrying a heavy load in my 70L pack. It just made walking that much more comfortable by redistributing the way the weight was spread over my body.

    And more recently I have come to realize that chest straps are also great for my everyday pack. While the carrying capacity is a lot less, the small packs can also become quite heavy. Books, computers, and other electronics are a lot heavier than light-weight hiking clothes…. so using the chest strap is a great idea, even if you’re only walking a short distance.

    I’m surprised at how light the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Pack is. Wow, my current pack must weigh five times this weight….. I guess it’s time for an upgrade!

    Thanks for the information.

    Reply
    • Hi Andrew, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

      I really appreciate your feedback on backpacks with chest straps and it’s great that you’ve found them helpful not only in large hiking pack but also in your everyday carry as well.
      I’m sorry to hear about your current pack – it sounds like you’re carrying quite a lot of weight which is tough on your body.
      And you’re right about the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Pack being lightweight especially for an outdoor gear and is def a option for upgrade.

      Cheers,
      Femi.

      Reply
  5. WOW Femi! This is some detail. I wish I would have known that they made back packs with a chest strap, back when I was carrying my poetry around everywhere I went. Felt like it was 3 trees instead of 3 binders. This is great information. Thank you for doing all the research it took to put this site together.

    Reply

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