If you find that your back is always killing you at the end of a trip or even a daily commute, courtesy of your old backpack, then you don’t need me to underscore the value of a comfortable backpack. 

So let’s get right to it.

In this blog post, I will outline and review the 20 best backpacks for back pain. Not only do these ergonomic backpacks have essential features for optimal comfort, but they also come with a variety of unique features with regards to size, quality of material, gender-centric designs, organization, and more. 

I’ve outlined options adapted for everyday carry (EDC), travel, and outdoor activities. You’re sure to find a backpack that suits you, especially if you have back problems! 

Table of Contents

Best backpacks for back pain
(Travel and EDC Options)

If you want a back-friendly backpack for travel, EDC, or a versatile pack that works for both purposes, below are my top recommendations for you. 

Best backpacks for back pain review: 1. Osprey Farpoint 40L / Fairview 40L
Credit: Osprey

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

Light and comfortable  

It 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.

Plus, the addition of well-ventilated and padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap, compression straps, and a hip belt makes carrying this bag a breeze even when it is stuffed full.

The Osprey website states that the Farpoint 40 can comfortably carry 20-40lbs, but I’d recommend you keep your load closer to 20lbs for optimal comfort.

What we also love

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 not great

The laptop pocket isn’t well-positioned; you can easily crack your screen since it’s on the curved front of the bag.

Best backpacks for back pain review: North Face Borealis backpack front and back view
Credit: The North Face

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

One of the best backpacks for back pain, this pack comes with an endorsement from the American Chiropractic Association certifying it’s been engineered to carry heavy loads whilst providing maximum ergonomic support to the carrier.

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.

A hip belt and removable sternum strap offer added stability and load control while the compression straps bring the weight closer to your body for a more compact effect.

What we also love

At 28L, it’s very spacious with three separate compartments and pockets to fit a 15” laptop, tablets, books, water bottles, and a change of clothes with room to spare for other items.

What’s not great

The laptop compartment doesn’t have a suspension bottom to protect your gear in instances where the pack is dropped against a hard surface.

Best backpacks for backpain review: 3. Eagle Creek Global Companion for women
Credit: Eagle Creek

Designed with women in mind, the Eagle Creek Global Companion makes the cut for the best backpacks for back pain because of its women-specific ergonomic features for maximum comfort. 

Comfortable to carry

For a 40L bag, the harness system works well and offers great support even on long treks. The shoulder straps, back panel, and hip belt are well padded and tailored to enhance wearing comfort for women.

Should your travel pack be stuffed, the included load lifter straps help keep the pack closer to your back and stabilize the weight, making the load feel lighter.

You can adjust the torso length to your desired fit and as a bonus, the adjustable sternum strap has an integrated safety whistle.

What we also love

A dependable travel companion, it features a book-style opening compartment, a separate laptop compartment, good compression straps, a shoe compartment, a rain fly, and tons of external pockets for organization.

What’s not great

The straps are not removable and get in the way when not used.

Best backpacks for back pain review: Nomatic Travel Bag
Credit: Nomatic

If you are looking for a comfy ergonomic backpack that can alternate easily between daily carry and travel, the Nomatic Travel Bag is an excellent backpack to consider. 


At 20L (30L when expanded) with a weight of 4.16lbs, the Nomatic Pack is comfortable and makes the list of the best backpacks for back pain. Should the pack weigh a bit more, you can use the waist straps to better manage the load.

The shoulder straps are nicely padded and the back panel offers some hefty padding that feels great for both everyday carry and heavy loads.

Whatever valuables you’re carrying, there are 20 secured spots for them – a quick access fleece pocket, RFID blockings, sunglasses case, multiple pockets, and of course, a dedicated laptop and tablet compartment that lays flat to make TSA checkpoints a breeze.

What we also love

Other amazing features include high-quality construction, a water-resistant exterior, luggage sleeve, and a Nomatic lifetime warranty.

What’s not great

It’s expensive and comes in only one color (black).  

Kopack Slim Business Laptop Backpack

Best backpacks for Back Pains: Kopack Slim Business Laptop Backpack
Credit: Amazon

Undoubtedly one of the safest and best backpacks for back pain, the Kopack Slim features ergonomic S-shaped padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel —and at less than 2 pounds, it won’t weigh you down!  

Made of durable tear-resistant oxford material and anti-puncture zippers, this is one of the best anti-theft backpacks for back pain.

What we also love

It’s thoughtfully designed with a USB port for charging, over 10 slots for organizing your items, and a secured compartment to safely tuck away your 15” laptop.

What’s not great

It lacks an external pouch for a water bottle and is not the best for long-term nomads due to its small capacity.

SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack

Best backpacks for backpain review: SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack
Credit: SwissGear


The SwissGear 1900 is one of the best backpacks for back pain. It has been engineered to be very comfortable to carry and works well for EDC or travel.

It has contoured padded shoulder straps that can easily be adjusted to suit your frame and a heavily-padded airflow back panel that allows for excellent ventilation and ergonomic support.

What we also love

Made from durable 1200D polyester, it offers 31L of space for everything you need to carry with a tablet and laptop compartment that opens into a lay-flat position for easy TSA screening.

What’s not great

At 3.3lbs, the Swissgear 1900 is quite heavy even when empty and when stuffed full, it can take a toll on your back. 

Best backpacks for Back Pains: Matein Travel Laptop
Credit: Amazon

Impressive carrying comfort

The Matein backpack is one of the best backpacks for back pain thanks to its soft and adjustable shoulder straps that evenly distribute the weight on your shoulders for long-term carrying.

Even better, the breathable foam on the back and in the straps provides maximum support to your spine during long trips and hiking.

This 34L spacious bag has an anti-theft pocket hidden at the back as well as multiple compartments and pockets for your stuff. It’s available in 15-inch and 17-inch options.  

What we also love

The addition of a USB connector, a handy luggage strap, an anti-theft pocket, and a well-padded compartment that fits a 15.6-inch laptop and tablet makes the bag easy to use.

The best part?

This backpack comes with tons of positive reviews, is available in 6 different colors, and is suitable for business trips, weekend trips, school, shopping trips, and daily outdoor use.

What’s not great

While it’s slightly water-resistant, it’s not waterproof, but that’s expected of a bag at this price.

Best backpacks for back pain: Knomo Beauchamp Business backpack
Credit: Knomo

If you need a feminine, functional, and comfortable backpack for work and day-to-day use, you won’t break a sweat with the ergonomic Knomo Beauchamp 16.5-liter bag.    

Slick and comfortable 

It is comfortable to wear courtesy of a padded back and S-shaped straps that make it the perfect choice for women.  

Even though the back panel doesn’t have mesh for airflow, it won’t be an issue since this is a small bag that helps reduce the temptation to pack too much and doesn’t weigh much.

Sleek and stylish, it’s easy to carry and stays slim even when fully packed. It is an excellent option as a backpack for back pain and is designed for women.   

What we also love

Aside from the dedicated and well-padded 15.6” laptop compartment, there are two inner side pockets and enough space in the main compartments for your documents and even a change of shoes. 

What’s not so great

The price tag is quite steep. 

Best backpacks for backpain review: Jansport Agave Daypack
Credit: Jansport

The Jansport Agave daypack makes the cut for the best backpacks for back pain because it has needed support to prevent back and shoulder pain.

Great support for your back 

You get padded shoulder straps, sternum straps, an air mesh back panel, and side compression straps that make carrying this 32L bag a breeze.

Versatile for school, work, or the outdoors, it features a padded sleeve that fits a 15” laptop or a 3L hydration system for hiking.

What we also love 

It is a reliable backpack from a reliable brand. Jansport designed this bag with durable fabric, zippers, and needed pockets without sacrificing your style.

Check out the Women-specific version of the Agave backpack!

What’s not great 

My only qualm with the bag is that it lacks padding at the bottom to protect your laptop if you hastily drop the bag on the ground. 

Best backpacks for back pain review: Incase Icon backpack
Credit: Incase

When it comes to optimal organization and maximum protection of your tech and your back, the Incase Icon backpack is a strong contender on the list of the best backpacks for back pain.

Slim and lightweight

Great for everyday activities that involve going about with your laptop, wearing this bag for long hours won’t cause you back pain or shoulder pain.

It’s comfortable for a wide variety of body types, even for the broad-shouldered, and features well-padded shoulder straps and sternum straps for good weight distribution.

Constructed with durable 840D nylon, it’s water-resistant and features a cable port for on-the-go access to portable power or audio.

What we also love

This 17L bag has five exterior pockets, a 15” dedicated laptop panel, an iPad pocket, a front organizer panel for storing small items, and two hip-area pockets for charging or carrying your cables.

What’s not great 

There is no pocket to hold a water bottle or umbrella.

Whether you’re traveling, backpacking or simply going on a hike, this Yorepek ergonomic backpack maximizes space and comfort even as it minimizes bulk and back pain issues.

Carrying comfort

This is a big backpack, and the thickened shoulder straps and handle are designed to balance the pressure on your spine when you use it for heavy loads. Breathable foam on the back and in the straps helps to regulate back perspiration.

If you’re all about staying organized, there is a 45L capacity, 3 multi-compartments, and 20 different pockets with a 17” padded and shockproof laptop compartment that opens 90-180 degrees for breezy airport security!

What we also like

The water-resistant polyester fabric protects your gear if you get caught in a downpour while the included USB port allows you to charge your device on the go.

What’s not great

It’s not a great choice if you prefer slimmer designed backpacks.

Best backpacks for back pain review: Sierra Swerve Backpack
Credit: High Sierra

Design for comfort

It features padded shoulder straps that provide relief when carrying heavier loads by dampening the shock of weight transfer. Non-slip shoulder pads attached to the strap disburse weight more evenly on your shoulders.

The Swerve backpack is easy on the shoulders and back. A padded airflow back panel made with moisture-wicking mesh material gives cushion and helps keep your back dry by creating maximum airflow between your back and the pack.

Additionally, a swivel clip at the end of the strap helps prevent twisting and adjustable side compression straps make any load you are carrying compact and allows you to move with ease.

What we also love

At 36L capacity and weighing only 2.5lbs, you won’t have to worry about storage.

The Swerve backpack holds up to a 17-inch laptop and a tablet in a fully cushioned compartment and features lots of compartments and pockets to accommodate whatever the day brings.   

What’s not great

There have been complaints from some users that the zippers do not open and close smoothly.  

Best backpacks for Back Pains: North Face Jester backpack
Credit: The North Face

Whether it’s a bustling morning commute or an urgent trip, the North Face Jester backpack makes carrying your bag so much easier without straining your back or shoulders.  

With an adjustable sternum strap and super reinforced handles for easy carry, you can comfortably use this 27.5L bag for hiking, school, and travel – even when stuffed full!

The North Face FlexVent suspension system includes a heavily padded back panel and mesh shoulder straps with custom injection molded foam for extra comfort and ventilation. 

What we also love

The North Face Jester Backpack is made of recycled 600D polyester material and a water-resistant exterior with a well-protected and suspended 15-inch laptop compartment while staying lightweight at only 1.6 lbs.

What’s not so great:

The Jester has slightly limited space compared to the Borealis backpack.

Best backpacks for Back Pains: L.L. Bean Original Book Pack
Credit: L.L. Bean

Somewhere between a hiking pack and an everyday school bag, this classic backpack from L.L. Bean is designed to protect your kid’s back and overall posture. 

Carrying comfort

If your kid has to pack homework and books to and from school, the bag’s padded back panel and soft straps make it comfortable to wear.

Made of durable and water-resistant nylon, there are compartments and pockets for water bottles, books, and even a lunch box.

What we also love

A favorite and highly rated backpack amongst parents and teenagers alike, there’s a Junior Original Book Pack (for kids ages 4-7) and the Original Book Pack (ages 8-12).

What’s not great

The L.L. Bean pack doesn’t have a waist nor a chest strap for added support.

Best backpacks for Back Pain (Outdoors)

If you are looking for the best backpacks for back pain suitable for camping, hiking, or backpacking, the following packs are the best options I’ll recommend for you.

Best backpacks for back pain reviews: Osprey Pack Atmos AG 65 / Aura AG 65
Credit: Osprey

Osprey has a reputation for making quality packs, and their Atmos AG (him) and Aura AG (her) are some of the most comfortable and best backpacks for back pain in the market.

Designed to comfortably haul heavy loads

This 65L bag has an innovative AntiGravity suspension system that allows you to easily carry more weight without feeling the full pressure.

However, to avoid discomfort or pain from wearing the Osprey 65, ensure that your load doesn’t exceed 45 pounds for carrying comfort.

The two backpacks have a lot of padding, so your shoulders and hips won’t feel a twinge, and the large mesh back panel gives room for comfort and ventilation. 

In addition, two side compression straps help stabilize loads with an adjustable harness, sternum strap, and hip belt for ease and perfect fit.

Best backpacks for back pain reviews:Osprey Pack Atmos AG 65 / Aura AG 65 being worn by a male and female model
Credit: Osprey

What we also love

If organization is a priority, there are plenty of pockets including a hydration sleeve that fits a 3-liter water bladder, a dedicated sleeping bag compartment, lash points, and gear loops. 

What’s not great

The extra straps may not do much for a streamlined look but do a lot for comfort.

Best backpacks for back pain - Patagonia Black Hole
Credit: Patagonia

If you are looking for a spacious pack that won’t hurt your back, consider the Black Hole backpack as one of the best backpacks for back pain. 

Impressive wearing comfort 

Super lightweight for your convenience and comfortable to carry, it is thankfully crafted with padded shoulder straps and a fully adjustable harness to keep your shoulders happy throughout your hike.

I’d recommend this pack for someone with a large frame, as it can look quite big on a smaller person. 

What we also love

Although named a hiking backpack, it is awesome for travel and other activities!

Made with 100% recycled body fabric, lining, and webbing that’s bluesign approved, it’s also water-resistant, so you won’t have to worry when faced with the elements.

It’s small enough for a carry-on but big enough to hold a few days’ worths of clothes and needed travel items with awesome organization.

The Black Hole backpack combines versatile styling with outdoor functionality, offering a bag that can works for EDC, outdoor and travel

What’s not great 

The price tag is quite steep.

Best backpacks for back pain review: Teton Scout 3400
Credit: Teton Sport

If you hate bulgy backpacks suited for bigger men, the Teton Scout is a small backpack specifically made for smaller hikers and ideal for ladies and teens.

Small and comfortable 

This is one of the best backpacks for back pain specially designed for young hikers, females, and small males embarking on short trips – and weighs only 5lbs!

The backpack can be adjusted to suit different heights by adjusting the aluminum frame. It also has an adjustable padded waist belt and narrow shoulder straps that would dig into the shoulders of larger people. 

If you are suffering from back pain, you can reduce the pressure of carrying extra weight by not loading beyond 25 pounds for EDC and 40L for hiking.

What we also love

There are at least four exterior pockets with compression straps, bungee webs, and straps for camping equipment as well as a small base compartment for a sleeping bag.

What’s not great

At 55L, it’s spacious for 2–3-day camping adventures, but some users have complained that the zippers can be frail.

Best backpacks for back pain review: Deuter Speed Light
Credit: Deuter

The Deuter Speed Light qualifies to be on the list of the best backpacks for back pain because it’s light with a solid harness system.  

Super lightweight 

It is indeed super light at 1lbs and is comfortable with mesh padded shoulder straps, a removable waist belt, and an adjustable sternum belt.

Add a well-ventilated and close-fitting padded back panel that limits moisture and heat buildup with a supple Delrin U-frame to the mix and you’ve got yourself a pack you can wear to explore rough terrain all day!

Sized for everyday use, the 20L ergonomic backpack is perfect for a day out without any temptation to overload your pack and jeopardize your posture in the process.

What we also love

The Deuter Speed is treated with a DWR and is water-resistant. It is also made with a durable 210D polyamide fabric that’s resistant to tear and abrasion.

Note: Deuter also has a female-designed version of this backpack. Check it out here.

What’s not great

At 20L, it’s not the best choice for long days of hiking.

Best backpacks for back pain reviews: Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack
Credit: Kelty

Another great option on our list of best backpacks for back pain is the bestselling Kelty Redwing 50. This ergonomic backpack is lightweight, durable, and great for any trail or travel getaways. 

This 50L bag comes with pain-reducing features including a dual-density foam waist belt, adjustable padded shoulder straps, lumbar pad, removable hip belt, and stabilizer straps for a great carry experience.

I particularly like how the HDPE frame helps balance and relocate the weight to the hip belt so your back is spared the pressure.

What we also love

Highly organized, it has a dedicated padded hydration sleeve that doubles as a laptop compartment, multiple easy-access zippered pockets, a hideaway handle, and daisy chains to strap additional items.  

What’s not great

It can be quite large for ladies or teenagers with a small frame.

Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack 35L

Best backpacks for back pain review: Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack 35L
Credit: amazon

Need a waterproof backpack that won’t hurt your back? Check out the Earth Pak Backpack – it’s perfect for outdoor adventures and everyday use.

This backpack has a cushioned back panel and lets air flow, so your back feels nice. The shoulder straps fit you well, and there’s a strap for your chest and a belt for your waist. That means the weight won’t bother you. This is awesome for long walks, hikes, and trips even when it’s really hot.

And guess what? It’s totally waterproof! This backpack is covered in waterproof stuff and is made strong with tough tarpaulin material. So, whether you’re fishing, kayaking, biking, camping, or just going to work, your stuff stays dry. This backpack is ready for anything!

What we also love 

 I like that this backpack is equipped with pockets on both the inside and outside of the bag. It has a large splash-proof zipper on the outside for quick grab and go items, and a built-in zippered pocket, mesh compartment, & key ring on the inside.

And given that this backpack is is given 4.7 out of 5.0-stars reviews on Amazon from over 5,000 people, I think it’s safe to say that this is one of the best hiking waterproof backpacks on the market. 

What’s not great

A few users complained that the pack is not 100% waterproof and will leak when submerged in water for several minutes. They seem to only be ok for rain but if you submerge them they will fill up. Also, some pepple did not like that the buckles in the bag are not very durable. They noted that it’s made of plastic, and are the buckles break easily.

What to Look For in the Best Backpack for Back Pain
(A Buyer’s Guide)

Best backpacks for back pain: Anatomy of a hiking backpack

EDC vs Travel vs Hiking Backpacks

What you plan to use your backpack for goes a long way in determining the important features it should have. Some backpacks on this list are made for specific purposes, mostly EDC, travel, or outdoor activities. However, there are also versatile backpacks that work for both travel and everyday carry, and even hiking.

This guide takes into consideration the major features you need to stay on the move and be guaranteed a pleasant wearing experience, all without jeopardizing the health of your back. 

Whether you are a student, an office worker, a frequent traveler, an outdoor enthusiast, or a gym junkie, you want to pay attention to the following: 

Best backpacks for back pain: an infogram explaining weight distribution and how to carry a backpack
Credit: Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post

Weight distribution 

Bags should distribute the weight you’re carrying uniformly across your back, especially if you have back pain.

And by weight distribution, I’m talking about the shoulders, hips, and back all sharing the weight evenly so you can walk around with a straight back rather than one part of your body bearing all the weight.

When all the weight sags into the bottom, or if the pack is loaded more on one side than the other, the lack of weight distribution affects your ability to maintain an upright posture and can strain your back muscles.  

Backpacks for travel, hiking, and even large EDC bags require even weight distribution because they are bigger, they weigh more, and they can take a toll on your back especially with prolonged wear.

To get the best weight distribution, find a backpack with many pockets and compartments. This allows you to arrange your items evenly between the left and right sides to maintain equal weight distribution

Pack the heavier things low and closer to your body. This way, the weight of the bag won’t be concentrated on one part of your body nor put a strain on the muscles in your back.

Other features in a back-friendly backpack that help with weight distribution include wide and padded shoulder straps, sternum and waist straps, as well as a heavily cushioned back panel, but more on these later.

For small EDC, weight distribution doesn’t matter much unless you tend to carry lots of items and gadgets around every day.   


Weight distribution is vital, but how much weight you carry is another factor that impacts potential back pain.

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.

Doctors and physical therapists recommend that people carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs. 

So, what does this mean for you? 

You mustn’t carry more than the weight that your body can sustain, particularly for an outdoor bag and especially if you don’t want to experience back pain.

For instance, if your weight is 200 pounds, then you should look for backpacks that are designed to carry between 20-30 pounds so that you can comfortably carry the load. You can help reduce the impact of a heavy load on your back by looking for a backpack that’s light when it’s empty. 

Padding and Shoulder Straps  

A good backpack for everyday carry should have wide (at least three finger widths) and fully adjustable shoulder straps with plenty of padding or foam cushioning. These straps evenly distribute weight on each shoulder and take pressure off your lower back.

Also, it allows you to adjust the bag to your proper fit and the padded edge ensures the straps won’t bite into your shoulders. 

There are different types of shoulder straps ranging from straightcurved/contoured, and one-piece bridged straps, but the contoured strap is best if you have back pain.

Contoured straps are curved to fit the shape of your body, either in a single outward curve or an S-shaped curve. This means it curves inward just above the sternum, then back outward below your arms. This shape makes it much more comfortable for women due to the shape and unique anatomy of their chests as well as for men who have large chests.

Heavy backpacks for travel or hiking must include contoured straps, ample padding, and materials such as EVA foam with mesh lining on the back panel for breathability and extra support.

These features aren’t as vital in a smaller daypack, but they are crucial in a 40L+ that you’re planning to load up—unless you want your back screaming at you after a long day.  

To learn more about the many different types of shoulder straps and what they are made of, you can check out this guide.

Hip Belt & Sternum Strap

If your backpack is large (say more than 15-20L), consider looking for a bag with a hip belt (waist belt) because it transfers much of the bag’s weight off your back and shoulders and onto your hips.  

This helps 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.

A sternum (chest) strap on the other hand 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. 

These straps are important to have in all types of backpacks whether it’s travel, outdoor, and even in everyday packs especially if you have a bad back. 

Best backpacks for back pain:: Pictoral representation of how to measure your torso?
Credit: Line17qq.com

Size of the bag and your torso length

Another way to make sure you find the right backpack is to consider the bag’s capacity. The size of the backpack dictates the maximum load you can carry and how heavy it can get. This is crucial because at the end of the day, what you’re carrying can affect your posture. 

If you buy a bag that’s bigger or smaller than your size, you’re putting yourself at risk of experiencing back pain.

It’s important that your backpack is proportional to your torso length and hip size. If you don’t get it right, the weight won’t be distributed properly and may cause you back pain.

To avoid this, you need to know what your torso size is so that you can get a backpack that is proportionate to your torso length.

So, how do you determine your torso length?

You can measure your back length by locating your C7 vertebrae (the bony bump at the base of your neck) and the top of your hip bones (lilac crest), then measure the length between the two to get your back length.

You can learn more about measuring your torso length to find a comfortable fit with these super easy instructions.

Men’s Focused Fit Vs Women’s Focused Fit 

Best backpacks for back pain: Male and female wearing a backpack and complaining about breeze
Credit: Tortuga

Men’s and Women’s bodies are different and so are backpacks specifically designed to fit their build/frame. 

Women typically have narrower shoulders and more slender torsos, so a male-designed bag might be too big and an uncomfortable fit.

If you are a shorter-framed woman, consider going for women-specific backpacks for a proper fit and comfortable wearing experience. 

The best backpacks for back pain for women come with padded straps cut to a female shape (with consideration for the chest area) for carrying comfort. 

And of course, some backpacks are unisex, meaning they are designed to be comfortable for both men and women. 

If you’ll be carrying lots of items—say, for travel or outdoor activities—be sure to use a padded hip belt to evenly distribute the weight across the hips. This places the weight closer to your center of gravity and makes it easier to carry. 

Children’s Backpacks for Back Pain

Children are at a higher risk of experiencing back pain from the frequent carrying of backpacks. As parents, it’s important to buy comfortable backpacks from trusted brands and teach children how to wear them properly to prevent back problems later in life.

Extra Features

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, and luggage straps can make your life easier.

For travel, consider looking for important features like water-resistant zippers, TSA-friendly lockable zippers and laptop compartment, 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.

If you are likely to carry an ergonomic backpack every day, travel, or take pictures for the gram as you explore the wild, it needs to balance functionality and looks.  

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

How to Wear a Backpack

You may experience chronic pain in your back, neck, shoulders, lower spine, and other parts of your body not because of any fault of the backpack, but because of how you’re wearing it or how you’re using it.

Use these tips to get the right backpack positioning each time you wear your ergonomic backpack.

  • Always carry the backpack on two shoulders. This helps prevent back and body pains and keeps your shoulders straight.
  • Limit your load and pack only what you need. It’s recommended that you carry no more than 10% to 15% of your body weight in your backpack.
  • Wear and tighten both straps of the backpack to distribute weight evenly and snug up the straps so the load is closer to the body.
  • Use a waist or chest strap if your backpack has one. This helps with weight distribution.
  • If your backpack has multiple compartments and pockets, use them to ensure your bag as even weight distribution. 
  • Pack to prevent back pain. Lighter items should be at the top of the backpack and heavier ones closer to the center of the back.
  • Adjust shoulder straps. A bag too low may cause muscle strain in the shoulders. Adjust the straps so the bottom of the backpack is no more than four inches below the waist. 
  • Try on your backpack. Once you find a backpack you like, try it on to see how comfortable it is. Load up the bag as much as you can and walk around to get a feel for the bag.  

Choosing the Best Backpacks for Back Pain (FAQs)


Do backpacks cause back pain? 

While backpacks do not necessarily cause back pain, carrying excessive weight or wearing one improperly can lead to gradual strain on the spine and eventual back pain.

Are backpacks good for your back?

Backpacks are better for your back and shoulders compared to messenger and handbags. Backpacks distribute the weight evenly across your back instead of focusing it on one side, maintaining your body’s natural gait and maintaining a balanced muscle tone.

Where should a backpack sit on your back? 

According to the folks at VeryWellFit, you should adjust the straps so that it sits two inches below the shoulder. The pack should end at your waist and not extend past two inches above your hips. That way, your hips will carry most of the weight rather than the weight pulling you backward.

How much weight can you carry on your back?

You should pack only what you need, which essentially means less is better. It’s recommended that you carry no more than 10% to 15% of your body weight in your backpack.

Are one strap backpacks bad for your back? 

Yes, wearing one strap is simply bad for your back.
Instead of the weight being evenly distributed across your body, it’s concentrated on one side of your back, thus putting a strain on your spine and muscles.

Bottom Line

Best backpack for back pain - woman with pre-existing back pain

With this guide, I aim to simplify the process of finding the best backpacks for back pain so you can know where to start and what to look for.

Overpacking your backpack has side effects ranging from aches and soreness to pain in the shoulder, neck, and back—not to mention an unenjoyable wearing experience. The backpacks listed in this guide are designed to support your back without skimping on features and functionality.

If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations on the best backpacks for back pain, do feel free to leave them below. 

Why You Should Trust Travelccessories

If you’re looking for trustworthy guidance on travel accessories, you can count on Travelccessories. Femi, an expert in travel gear, and our team have put together a comprehensive review that draws on our hands-on testing, extensive research on reputable brands, careful examination of product manuals and customer feedback, and evaluation of numerous luggage models.

We specifically looked for bags with robust construction, exceptional features, and high ratings from real users. And most importantly, our team consists of experts who do not accept payment for reviews and are committed to providing honest and thorough information to help you make informed decisions when choosing the right luggage.  

Also, this article is not sponsored in any way by any company. These products 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.

9 thoughts on “20 Best Backpacks for Back Pain [2023] | Plus a Buyer’s Guide for Finding Comfortable Backpacks”

  1. Having suffered lower back on and off in the past, it’s great to find these backpacks. I like the North face Borealis as it’s endorsed by the chiropractic association. Also, at 28L it doesn’t hold as much as some of the others which is a good thing! I also like the fact it has a laptop compartment and a heavily padded back panel.

  2. It’s good to know that there are backpacks that are made to not be a burden on your back. I got a back injury last year and I’m still in physical therapy to get better. Once my back has healed I should look at this list. Which one of these do you recommend the most for people who really have to take care of their back?

    • Christine,

      Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear of your back injury. I have had back problems in the past myself which has now healed somewhat. So I can appreciate your situation to an extent. The backpacks I have listed here are ergonomic ones meaning that they are designed to give optimal comfort to the user including folks like you and me who have a bad back history.

      My recommendation would be to opt for something like the Eagle Creek Global Companion that is gender-focused or the North Face Borealis backpack (they have a female version too). The Eagle creek is 40L if you need a relatively big bag while the Northface is smaller at 28L. But before you make a choice, you should measure your torso length in order to ensure that you buy the right size that fits your back because studies have shown that while the weight you carry has an impact on your back health, how long your carry the bag and the fit of the bag are also pretty vital to comfort.

      Hope that helps.

  3. This is the most comprehensive overview of any backpacks I have ever seen. I have to admit, I have a bad back, and often, I don’t like to carry a backpack because of it. My daughter also has a bad back, so I’ll have to show her this article so she can make sure she’s not carrying her backpack incorrectly.

    Out of all these bags though, I love the Friendly Swede Waterproof one that’s white. And at only $69, that’s actually not a bad deal at all! I’m thinking this might be a great one to take on my boat when we go on the water. It’s hard to find a waterproof backpack specifically. They’re usually large waterproof bags that you simply roll up. No straps to carry them on your back, just a single handle to tote it around. They tend to get heavy with additional clothing items and electronics that we want to keep dry in the case of an accident.

    Thanks for sharing this! I love this!


  4. Hey Femi!
    Perfect timing for me to find this article, as I have lots of travel plans this year. I personally have always been a huge fan of North Face but I am really liking the Osprey Pack design. Thank you so much for making it easy to compare and choose what is right for me!

  5. I always love reading your reviews! They are super thorough and I can find all sorts of information within them. This article is no different! The wealth of research you conduct in producing your content in commendable- thank you for all your endless effort.

    I have suffered with back pain ever since my car accident and am so picky with backpacks. Your list of 10 best made me see so many bags that I am intrigued by. For example, Incase Icon backpack, North Face Jester Pack and the Deuter Speed Light are my most favorite ones! I just wonder if they come in other colors, especially black?

  6. Hi Femi!

    Backpack pain is no joke. I remember in high school and college that my back would be killing me by the end of the day from having to lug my books around. And you certainly did your research to find a backpack for everyone!

    I don’t think the u prices are too bad either. For anyone that frequently uses a backpack, there’s no price on better back health. I personally, really like purple Eagle Creek backpack. It seems right up my alley for when I’m traveling.

    For a lesser price point, I’ve got the friendly swede waterproof backpack in my cart to consider! I’ve got a few trips planned and it being water proof is a really nice perk.

    Great article!

  7. Hello Femi! Thank you so much for providing your detailed analysis to this subject! When you are younger sometimes it feels like you can do anything, but I well remember having back pain often from carrying around so many heavy books! Later in life while I was in the Army they gave us there version of a backpack, called a rucksack”. They would then load that thing with about 80 to 120 pounds. These days I am over all of that! I have done my time and refuse to wear an uncomfortable backpack. If I use a backpack its going to be comfortable and of course like all people over 40 my back seems to hurt a little more every year. Once again thank you so much, you certainly provided plenty of options!


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