Back Breaking Loads

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If your backpack is too heavy you could be hurting yourself.

It’s more common than you may think. There are over 2,000 backpack related injuries each year and over half of people carry loads that are excessive.

Is your pack too heavy?

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If you experience any of these symptoms, take some of that weight off.

      • Hard to put back pack on or take off


      • Experience back pain


      • Get tingling or numbness in your back


      • Have strap marks on your shoulders



If your backpack is too heavy your body will strain to compensate for the extra weight on your back.


You may be leaning to far forward causing you to potentially lose your balance and fall more easily. You may also be putting too much weight on the natural curve of your back, causing muscle strain.

It is recommended by medical professionals that you should carry no more than 10% of your body weight on your back to reduce the potential for injury and fatigue.

So, for example a 10 year old weighing 70lbs. should carry no more than 7 lbs. in their backpack, or a college student weighing 175lbs –should be carrying no more than 17.5lbs.

Here’s a couple of simple tips on packing your backpack. Take only the essentials. Books can weight 2-3 pounds and snacks and drinks add a few more pounds. If you’re not going to use it that day don’t pack it. Your backpack is not a storage locker.

Place heavy items low and closest to your back. Lighter items should be in pouches and higher towards your shoulders. Always lift with your legs, not your back. Lift straight up and don’t shift while lifting.

Use both straps so that the weight can be distributed evenly. Padded straps and back pads can help reduce friction and rubbing. Make sure to not overload your pack today to save your back tomorrow.


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