Most people use backpacks every day, not knowing the amount of stress they put on their backs while doing so. It’s true that it’s easier to pack your things and carry them in a pack as opposed to hauling them from place to place, but before you know it, you’ll end up with pent-up stress, which will ultimately lead to insufferable back pain.
One of the best ways to make your life a bit easier is to find a quality ergonomic backpack; due to the fact that the market is brimming with thousands of models from hundreds of brands, this search might be more time-consuming than you think.
Luckily, we’ve taken the liberty of handpicking the top 10 ergonomic backpack models you can find in 2020, so let’s have a look.
Best Ergonomic Backpack
Briggs & Riley Transcend Cargo Backpack
Let’s start off with Briggs & Riley’s Transcend cargo backpack. It’s one of the handful of high-end models on our list, and we recommend this particular backpack to people that don’t feel dissuaded to invest a couple of extra dollars in quality.
This backpack is pretty simplistic; it features a spacious main compartment and two external compartments, but what makes it stand out from the rest is that it sports top-quality nylon construction and superbly durable zippers and hardware.
It also rocks two-tone nylon twill on the outer fabric that reduces its bulkiness while making it look a bit smoother and more elegant.
Furthermore, it’s highly resistant to abrasion due to the proprietary Permasquare fabric technology on the external compartments.
- Exceptionally durable backpack
- Soft nylon straps for maximum comfort
- Proprietary Permasquare technology for enhanced sturdiness
- Small and very light
- Very pricey
Bopai 21L Leather Travel Backpack
Our runner-up pick is Bopai’s 21L leather travel backpack. Although it’s not nearly as spacious as our previous pick, this model is made of real leather, which essentially means that it’s just as robust, if not even sturdier.
The entire construction is comprised of leather, including the straps and the handle on top; furthermore, the back of this backpack features fully and thoroughly padded ergonomic supports. It rocks a multitude of external pockets and a decently sized main storage compartment.
- Made from premium-quality leather
- Large main compartment and plenty of space with external pockets
- Padded back support
- Quality hardware
- Fairly expensive
Brenthaven Collins Backpack with Ergonomic Straps
Next up is Brenthaven’s Collins backpack. It’s one of the lightest backpacks on the market with only 1.8 pounds of weight (when empty), and it’s pretty spacious with its dimensions measuring 16.5 inches by 12.5 inches by 6 inches.
The main storage compartment is pretty huge, mainly due to the fact that there are no external compartments other than several pockets on the front. Moreover, the rear panel is padded for extra comfort while the ergonomic straps allow you to carry it for hours without breaking a sweat.
- Foamed back support
- Ergonomically designed shoulders
- Decently spacious main compartment
- No side pockets
Quicksilver Men’s Grenade Backpack
Quicksilver’s Men’s Grenade Backpack takes the fourth place on our list of the best ergonomic backpacks; aside from looking absolutely wonderful, this pack features a Polyester construction, a spacious storage compartment, and four easily accessible side pockets.
The quality of zippers this backpack is supplied with is what makes it better than most similarly priced models. Namely, not only are they so easy to use, but they’re also superior in terms of reliability and longevity.
Last, but certainly not least, the Men’s Grenade Backpack features fully ergonomic straps, as well as a sternum strap that really comes in handy for hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering.
The only thing that we didn’t particularly like about it is that due to its specific design it needs to be hand washed (it’s not machine-washable).
- Ultra-light and durable polyester construction
- Numerous side pockets and premium-quality hardware
- Huge storage space
- Some of the best zippers on the market
- Can’t be cleaned in a washing machine
Samsonite Modern Utility Travel Backpack
Samsonite’s Modern Utility travel backpack is the first mid-priced pack on our list; it’s slightly smaller in comparison to models we’ve seen so far, with its dimensions measuring 20 inches by 12 inches by 7 inches, but it’s still decently spacious for most commuting or traveling situations.
It features a padded compartment for laptops, tablets, or other smart devices that require extra protection, and it sports a couple of side pockets for extra utility.
The reason why this model made it onto our list is that it sports exceptionally comfortable shoulder straps and a thoroughly padded mesh back panel. It also boasts rugged construction and remarkably sturdy zippers.
- Simple design with one compartment and a handful of side pockets
- Top-shelf zippers and hardware
- Robust, rugged construction
- Resistant to water and sweat
- Just a tad smaller in comparison to some of our earlier recommendations
Kenneth Cole Reaction Sophie Women’s Silky Nylon Laptop
Our next pick is for the ladies – the Kenneth Cole Reaction’s Sophie is a sleek, light, and durable backpack outfitted with a variety of anti-theft and convenience features.
This backpack is made of highly durable nylon and boasts polyester lining for additional robustness. The zippers it comes supplied with are highly functional, reliable, and to top it all, they look pretty great too.
The Sophie silky nylon backpack rocks a mid-sized main compartment, two side pockets, and two external storage compartments for smaller items, such as makeup or car keys.
One of the best features this backpack comes supplied with is the RFID (radio-frequency identification blocking system) that keeps you out of reach of potential burglars, scoundrels, and thieves.
- Looks absolutely amazing
- Mid-sized backpack made of sturdy nylon
- RFID blocking feature
- Four side pockets in total
- Exceptionally comfortable to wear
- Wide, but generally not that spacious
Swiss Gear SA1923 Black TSA Friendly Laptop Backpack
Swiss Gear’s SA1923 backpack is a perfect example of what a quality ergonomic pack should look and feel like. It’s among the bigger models in our review with its dimensions measuring 18 inches by 13 inches by 8.5 inches, and on top of that, it only weighs approximately 3.1 pounds when empty.
It’s made of exceptionally durable 1200 Denier Polyester material that can easily withstand years and years of punishment, but more importantly, it’s highly resistant to water and sweat.
This pack features a massive main storage compartment, as well as a thoroughly padded back panel and shoulder straps. It also features the airflow backing technology, which greatly complements its ergonomic qualities and potential.
- Ventilated, breathable, and highly ergonomic design
- Made of durable 1200 Denier Polyester material
- Spacious main compartment
- Mesh side pockets
- Slightly flimsier than some of our top picks
High Sierra Swerve Backpack
High Sierra has a huge catalog of backpacks, and we’ve picked the Swerve model as it offers the most space while still excelling in ergonomic functionality, reliability, and durability.
First and foremost, this backpack is made of high-quality Polyethylene material and features a lining of the same ilk. Its dimensions measure 17 inches by 20 inches by 13 inches, and despite its massive size, it’s actually not that bulky.
On top of that, this backpack looks absolutely amazing and is available in 27 different color and style variations.
One of the best features that this backpack comes supplied with is the moisture-wicking Vapel mesh, which provides a drastic boost to breathability. It also rocks adjustable side straps and thoroughly padded bottom, which aims to protect the flimsiest items from any sort of damage.
- Looks absolutely wonderful; available in 27 different colors and styles
- Made of top-shelf Polyethylene material
- Easy to wash and maintain
- Huge main compartment with plenty of side pockets
- Exceptionally breathable and comfortable to use
- The lining is slightly flimsier than the rest of the construction
Kopack Lightweight Laptop Backpack
If you’re on a tighter budget and you still demand a quality ergonomic backpack, we suggest that you try out Kopack’s model. In a nutshell, this is one of the simplest backpacks on the market; it doesn’t come supplied with too many features, but the ones that are onboard are of tremendous quality.
First and foremost, it rocks a layer of soft foam that pads the main compartment, providing shock and physical absorption properties to it. Even though it’s not as spacious as some of our previous picks, it has just about enough space for essentials.
On the brighter side, it weighs approximately 1.72 pounds and is among the lightest ergonomic backpacks available on the market.
- Very easy to maintain, use, and access
- Made of high-quality Nylon material
- Lightweight and fairly durable
- No side pockets or external compartments
Soldierknife Durable Waterproof Anti-theft Laptop Backpack
Let’s finish up with Soldierknife’s waterproof anti-theft backpack. Basically, this is the cheapest model on our list, but it features a padded ergonomic back panel, as well as a foamed bottom panel. It’s made of nylon material, which is pretty easy to clean, but it’s not as sturdy.
Its main compartment is decently big, but you’ll also be able to store smaller items in the mesh side pockets or the external compartment.
It also comes supplied with a fixed anti-theft password lock for additional security, which really comes in handy for airline travel.
- Very affordable
- Ventilated mesh side pockets
- Decently big main compartment and external compartment
- Easy to access
- Made of relatively flimsy nylon
Best Ergonomic Backpack Buying Guide
Differentiating regular backpacks from ergonomic models isn’t hard, but finding the best ergonomic backpack is slightly more difficult. Take the following criteria into account before making the final decision:
The design of a backpack is what determines its ergonomic properties and qualities.
Take into consideration what kind of pads are supplied to the model in question; if the back panel features foam-like or mesh material, you’ll feel more comfortable wearing the backpack as opposed to the situation where it’s ‘flat’.
The padded back design also prevents pointy objects from protruding and hurting your back.
In order to get the most out of your ergonomic backpack, make sure that it’s made of adequate materials.
For instance, leather backpacks are relatively hard to ‘reinforce’ with foam pads whereas mesh and nylon backpacks work great in synergy with these kinds of features.
The size doesn’t really have much of an impact on the ergonomic qualities of a backpack, but it does affect its overall weight. Generally speaking, a backpack isn’t entirely ergonomic if its bulky and heavy.
Price is the only definitive factor in the sense that everyone is limited by their personal financial situation and budget. Other than that, both budget and boutique backpacks are great if they check on the previous criteria.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an ergonomic backpack?
Essentially, an ergonomically designed backpack is substantially more comfortable to use than a regular backpack due to special pads and type of construction. These pads are either outfitted to the back panel, the shoulder straps, or both.
Are ergonomic backpacks made of different materials in comparison to normal backpacks?
Ergonomic backpacks are built from the same materials as normal ones (leather, mesh, nylon, polyester). It’s their design that sets them apart.
Are ergonomic backpacks good for everyday use?
Not only are ergonomic backpacks good for everyday use, but they’re actually perfect. In most cases, ergonomic backpacks are able to help you correct your posture and alleviate some (if not all) back pain.
Should I invest in more expensive ergonomic packs? Will cheaper models do the trick?
For as long as a backpack has ergonomic properties, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s cheap or expensive. More affordable models typically come supplied with fewer features (and vice versa), which is the main reason why their price tag is different.
Are ergonomic backpacks good for hiking/trekking/mountaineering?
Basically, ergonomic backpacks are always good to use, but in certain cases they are subpar. In this specific scenario (for hiking, trekking, or mountaineering) where you’ll need as much space as you can, bigger backpacks have the upper hand.
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