I’m a backpack addict, and trust me: The wrong backpack means you’re stuck with an uncomfortable, awkward bag, all day. A few simple choices will make sure you choose the best in comfort, style, and convenience. I’ve found some common ground through my many, many backpacks that can help you choose yours.
Have you ever worn a backpack that sagged on your back and just didn’t rest nicely like you wanted it to? Padding can help, but bags often sag because of how their straps are sewn onto the bag. Adjustable straps can help here, but you also need to pay attention to how the bag was built.
Most backpacks have adjustable straps, and you shouldn’t buy one that doesn’t. Unfortunately, those straps loosen with use and you’ll have to readjust them regularly. To make sure you get it right every time, mark the straps where they’re most comfortable. Fill it up your usual carry, put it on your back, and then adjust the straps to a place where you feel comfortable walking around. Before taking the bag off, mark the location of the straps with a marker or, if you dare, cut a small notch in the side. I like the notch better because you can’t see it easily and therefore won’t harm the look of the bag, plus you can feel exactly where to adjust the straps. That will save you some neck strain.
That’s great if you have a bag already, but if you’re shopping or a new one, you never Ignore the Seams. If the straps look like they were folded a bit and form a curve, you will get better support from the bag. Of course bags with nice straps might cost a little more, but your back will thank you for it in the long run.