I've often thought about if there is a thumb rule how to wear a backpack comfy and safe. Where should it sit on the back to be ergonomic etc.? How do I adjust the shoulder, hip and chest straps to achieve this?


3 Answers 3


As bryophyte4 already said: The weight should be on your hips. Here's how I do it (for big backpacks):

  • Loosen all the straps
  • Put the backpack on, buckle and tighten the hip strap such that all the weight sits on your hips
  • Then adjust the shoulder straps along with the breast strap, they basically should just prevent the backpack from falling over.
  • Last, there are usually some adjustable straps connectining the shoulder straps back to the upper part of the backpack. I usually have them loose when just causally hiking (comfort), but I going to tighten them up when I have to climb or just need more control.

The details of how best to achieve it depend on the design of the pack, the characteristics of the individual, and the weather (which determines the clothing he'll need to be wearing), but the overriding principle behind being able to carry a significant load for a long distance without getting overly tired is for it to be supported by the hips, not the shoulders and back.


According to The About Health page "Right and Wrong Ways to Wear a Backpack":

Wearing a backpack wrong can lead to more pressure on the neck, shoulders and back, according to researchers.

Always wear both shoulder straps rather than slinging it with one strap on one shoulder. It takes a moment longer but can help prevent problems.

Adjust the shoulder straps so the backpack is high on the back and the shoulder straps are comfortable on the shoulders.

The backpack should not sway from side to side as you walk.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.