DESIGNING BACKPACK STYLES

Photo Courtesy of Millican

Back to school is just around the corner, and with all those new school supplies is often the most forgotten but most important part of a student’s back-to-school wardrobe – the backpack.

The simplest form of backpack, also known as a rucksack/knapsack, is a cloth sack carried on one’s back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders and below the armpits. The shoulder is better suited for bearing heavy weights for long periods of time than the hand, so backpacks are often used for that purpose. Students these days are provided with more and more materials they need to bring on a regular basis. College and university students are often carrying laptops in addition to their daily course texts.

Modern backpacks and rucksacks are essential totebags for everyday use; whether it be for carrying your gym kit in, the student using a backpack for school or on your travels with your gear on your back; people use these packs everyday!  There are a wide range of rucksacks and backpacks of various sizes to fulfill your needs when on the move and are ideal for everyday use as well as during active use such as cycling and hiking.

When it comes to backpacking, size does matter. Mini rucksacks usually have around a 5 – 10 litre capacity.  These rucksacks are usually suitable for young kids to use as schools bags,  to carry sports gear, or simply to use as a lunch bag.  Small to medium sized rucksacks and backpacks are usually between 12 -15 litres and then 20 – 25 litres. This size is ideal for the older child or teen as a all-purpose carryall. Small rucksacks are the perfect size to use as school bags or lap top bags as well as useful for storing everyday gear or a gym kit in.  Medium size bags are just that extra bit larger to use for everyday use.   Medium to large size range of packs are suitable for long walks, hiking trips and treks or simply use as a weekend travel bag. All this back toting can mean a recipe for pain, so remember pack it light and wear it right.

Tips for designing and wearing the backpack right

Here are a few simple steps to provide for worry-free carrying through thoughtful design and styling.

1. Ideally, a properly designed backpack should include:

  •     well-padded shoulder straps – the shoulder straps should be at least 2 inches wide and should not fit too snugly around the arms, straining muscles and affecting nerves.
  •     a significant hip belt is always a plus – a strap or belt can take as much as 50-70% of the weight off the shoulders and spine.  The belt must be worn at hip bone level and will transfer the weight load to the pelvic bone and through it, down to the legs, equalizing the strain on bones, joints and muscles.
  •     compression straps to keep the pack tight together – on the side of the pack they help to keep a less full pack from shifting weight backwards and away from the body.
  •     sized-to-fit the torso of the person (adult or child) wearing it – the top of the backpack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.

2. Properly weighted backpack should be:

  •     designed to pack heavy items close to the body
  •     bag capacity (volume) should hold no more than 15% of body weight for teens & adults and 10% for children
  •     designed with lots of compartments to keep contents from moving around while walking

3. Properly worn backpack should:

  •     have heavy items close to the body helps keep the weight close to the body’s center of gravity
  •     be worn with both shoulder straps – slinging a pack on one side causes strain and a lean to the person wearing the pack
  •     be put on with the pack on a table or desk – helps from straining the low back twisting to put on the pack

Here is a simple design to create based upon rucksacks of yesteryear.

4 Comments

Filed under Bag'n-telle, Design Insight

4 responses to “DESIGNING BACKPACK STYLES

  1. A lot of information, but well presented and interesting =)

  2. T. Moe

    Thank you so much for all your instructions. I followed you over from the Week End Designer. Keep up the great work.

  3. M-C

    Actually, waist belt is a misleading term, it should be called hip belt. Because the belt must be at hip bone level, and the weight gets transferred to the pelvic bone and through it down to the legs, instead of merely crushing the waist. Sorry to nitpick about a generally good article, I have met people who had miserable experiences from not understanding the difference!

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