August is upon us, and that means it’s time to grab your keys and head to your choice of Walmart, Target, Staples, or Office Depot and start picking out school supplies with your children. They will be running to pick out the coolest and cutest folders, textbook covers, and writing utensils, but there is one piece of back-to-school equipment that will require a bit more consideration than just what looks the best: backpacks.
There are so many different options when it comes to backpacks, and sometimes it is difficult to determine which one is the best choice for your student. Here are 7 tips to help you out when picking out a backpack!
1. Size it up. A properly fitting backpack should not extend above the wearer’s shoulders or below their hips. Be sure to have your child try on the backpack and adjust any and all straps so that you can ensure it is correctly sized and fits properly.
2. Less is more. The best way to ensure that your child is not wearing too heavy a backpack is to get them a smaller backpack, preventing them from filling it with too much stuff. A great thing to do in order to ensure they are not carrying a bunch of unneeded items is to have them empty and re-pack their backpack nightly.
3. Two is better than one. When wearing a backpack that has two straps, your child should always wear both. Trust me, I know it can be tempting to take the easier route of resting it on one shoulder and heading off to the next class, but that will force extra weight and pressure onto a single shoulder, leading to back and neck pain down the road.
4. Comfort is king. Along with wearing a correctly weighted backpack with both straps, another way to ensure your child has the best backpack for them is to get one with wide, padded straps. If the straps are too thin or unpadded, they may dig into the wearer’s shoulders, cutting off circulation to the arms.
5. Distribute the wealth. Once you have found a backpack that is the correct size, look for one with a decent number of pockets, slots, and dividers to evenly distribute the weight. Heavier items, such as textbooks and laptops, should be placed closer to the person’s back, while lighter items can sit in the pockets further away from the body.
6. Buckle up! Many traditional backpacks nowadays come with a buckling waist strap. If the backpack you purchase does come with one, having your child buckle the strap will help to ensure that the backpack rests on their pelvis instead of their shoulders and spine. Additionally, some backpacks come with a sternum strap, which can pull the shoulder straps together and take pressure off the shoulders.
7. Roll out. The most surefire way to ensure that your child’s spine is not affected by their backpack is to get them a rolling backpack. While they do take up more space in busy hallways and tight stairwells, there is much less risk of shoulder and back straining when the backpack is not on the shoulders.
I know I said earlier that there is more to consider than just looks when you are purchasing a backpack, but that is not to say that you can't take style into account. Remember, while you are the one paying for the backpack, you’re not the one wearing it every day, so make sure to get input from your kid and make it a joint decision. Show them some different options, explain to them why one may be better than the other, and then allow them to have their opinion heard as to which one they think is best.
Thanks for reading,
Functionize Front Office Coordinator and soon to be GSU Law Student
Born in Nashville, raised in Atlanta, and brought up on the baseball diamond, Nick has always had an interest in the livelihood of athletes. When a professional sports career was not in the cards for Nick, he shifted his focus to helping out athletes in whatever ways he could. When he is not in the office you can find him at the boxing gym, in the batting cages, on the golf course, or in his recording studio (a.k.a. bedroom) writing, recording, and producing music for himself and his former college band, Cablebox.