Health & Safety Guidelines For Using Travel Backpacks
The good old backpack has been a travel staple for generations, there’s even a specific type of holiday designed for ‘backpack’ travellers, so you can see why backpacks are still a popular choice for those that want to jet off on an adventure without having to wheel a bulky suitcase along.
But it’s down to you to make sure that your backpack is used properly to ensure that you don’t cause any damage to back muscles or your spine during your next escape. Here are a few tips on how to use your backpack safely.
General Rule For Pack Weight
Backpacks that are overloaded or not used properly can make for some heavy health problems
The amount of weight you can and should be carrying is very dependent on many factors. A good general rule to follow is to carry up to around 15% of your body weight when using a backpack with no intentions for long hikes and treks. For example, if you weigh 80kg, than carry no more than around 12kg.
How Do I Know If My Backpack Is Too Heavy?
If you have to lean forward when you walk with your backpack, then the chances are that it’s too heavy and could be putting unnecessary strain on your back. This can lead to pain or long-term problems if you continue to use the bag in this way.
You should be able to stand up straight with your shoulders and hips in line while carrying your backpack. If, after a few moments, you find yourself lurching forwards slightly, it’s a clear sign you need to reduce the weight.
What’s The Best Way To Use My Backpack To Avoid Back Pain?
Backpacks come with two straps for a very good reason, so to avoid putting pressure on just one shoulder, it is essential that you use one strap per shoulder as intended.
By using just the one strap, you may end up leaning to one side to offset the extra weight. You will be putting more strain on your neck muscles too and this can lead to poor balance and trips.
Make sure that your straps aren’t too tight either as this can cause pinched nerves in the back and neck area – this can be very painful and could even spoil your dream holiday.
Your core muscles are the muscles deep within the abdominals and back, attaching to the spine or pelvis. Strengthening your core is a great way to prevent back injury. This increases spine stability and protect against back injury or strain during movement and carrying heavy loads like your travel backpack.
Weight training, pilates, and yoga are all activities that can be effective in strengthening these core muscles of your torso, including your lower back and abdominal muscles. The different variations of the plank are one of the best low-impact ways of strengthening your back and core.
Other Options For Travelling
If you love using your backpack, but are finding that it's too heavy and causing you pain, it's a good idea to travel to your destination with a suitcase and use your backpack as hand luggage for those essential travel items.
Although you might not enjoy having to wheel a suitcase around the airport at both ends of your journey, it’s got to be better than suffering from back pain and you can always ditch your suitcase at your accommodation and grab your backpack. Use it to tote around essential items such as wallets, cameras, snacks, towels and bottles of water to use while you’re out and about.