Last updated: by Kelly Bullock

best backpack for back pain

If you love hiking but are finding it difficult due to back and neck pain, then it might be linked to your backpack. Cheap gear can cause serious back pain, so if you’re looking for the best backpack for back pain then you have come to the right place.

We have hand picked and reviewed the 10 best backpacks for back pain on the market, we have reviewed everything from high end backpacks to budget backpacks. Although poor backpacks can cause back pain, there are also other factors too, such as how to pack properly, not packing too much, building up your strength and much more, but we will get to these later.

By the end of this post you will have found your perfect backpack and combined with our tips your next hiking adventure will be pain free.

Quick Answer: Here are our top 3 backpacks for preventing back pain:

  1. Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack
  2. Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack
  3. Teton Sports Scout 3400 (Budget Option)

10 Best Backpacks for back pain

If you are looking for the best backpacks for back pain, then we have hand picked and reviewed the best backpacks to buy for 2018.

Simply click on the product for more information and to check prices below:

Product detailsImage

Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack

  • 52L capacity
  • Designed for people with back pain
  • Padding adjustable straps
  • Padded hip belt
  • Frameless suspension
  • High quality material
  • Internal hydration hanger

Teton Sports Explorer 4000

  • 65L capacity
  • Padded straps
  • Padded hip belt
  • Hydration ready
  • Interna frame
  • Padded back support

Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack

  • 50L capacity
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Padded hip belt
  • Hydration Compatible
  • Hex mesh soft back panel
  • Perfect Fit Suspension
  • Side compression straps

Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack

  • 48L capacity *
  • Hydration ready
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Padded hip belt
  • Soft comfortable back panel
  • Exos peripheral frame

Granite Gear Crown VC 60 Backpack

  • 60L capacity
  • Vapor Current internal frame
  • Internal hydration sleeve / ports
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Padded hip belt
  • Comfortable back support

Teton Sports Scout 3400

  • 55L capacity
  • Over 1,740 reviews on Amazon
  • Internal frame
  • Multi-position torso adjustment system
  • Padded adjustable straps
  • Padded hip belt
  • Hydration sleeve ready

Ergon BC2 Rucksack

  • 16L capacity
  • Adjustable harness 'flink link ball' system
  • Designed for people with back pain
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Padded durable hip belt
  • Anti slip hip belt
  • Hydration system

GoBackTrail Ultra
Light Backpack

  • 35L - 50L capacity
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Internal frame
  • Padded hip belt
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Adjustable chest strap
  • Hip pockets for cell phone

Mountaintop Hiking Backpack

  • 40L capacity
  • 6 adjustable straps
  • Laptop pocket up to 17"
  • Comfortable mesh back panel
  • Adjustable hip strap
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Hidden pockets

RUPUMPACK Insulated
Hydration Backpack

  • 18L capacity
  • Unique design
  • Hydration system
  • Lightweight & durable
  • Adjustable chest strap
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Padded hip belt
  • Breathable soft back panel

Reviews of the best backpacks for back pain

If you are still unsure of what are the best backpacks for back pain, then carry on reading our review and buyers guide. We have hand picked and selected the best backpacks on the market. Simply click on the links below for more information and latest prices:

Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack – 52L

The Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack is ultra lightweight and has redesigned padding shoulder straps, adjustable shoulder straps and padded hip belt offering maximum comfort and support for your back. This backpack has a generous 52 liter capacity and features a frameless suspension, it is designed to sit comfortably against your torso without causing your back to arch. This is one of the best backpacks out there designed for people who suffer from back pain who aren’t willing to give up on their favourite hobbies. Another awesome feature this backpack offers if an internal hydration system, keeping you hydrated on the go. So if you suffer from back pain then this is the best backpack on the market you can buy.

Teton Sports Explorer 4000

The Teton Sports Explorer 4000 is a large capacity backpack holding 65 liters featuring six pockets, a main compartment and three mesh pouches. It has adjustable ergonomic padded shoulder straps, fully adjustable toro, a padded waist belt with tensioners and breathable mesh offering the ultimate in comfort. That’s why it continues to be one of the top selling backpacks on amazon with over 1,440 reviews. This backpack also features durable open-cell foam lumbar pad and the moulded channels provide maximum comfort and airflow, so if you have back pain the Teton Explorer 4000 is an excellent choice for men and women.

Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack

The Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack features’PerfectFIT’ suspension allowing you to customise the backpack to fit and adjust to your body, which is great if you have back pain as you can fit it to meet your comfort level. It features comfortable padded shoulder straps and hip belt and the dynamic AirFlow back panel keeps you load stable and comfortable at all times. The Kelty backpack allows you to back both as a top loader and a panel loader so you can easily access your gear on the go. There are also multiple stash pockets on the front and the sides of the backpack, perfect for maps, electronics and other travel essentials.

Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack

The Osprey Packs Exos Backpack has become the standard backpack of choice for the Appalachian Trail as it’s ultralight and offers the ultimate in comfort. The AirSpeed suspension, torso-specific sizing and ergonomic design all contribute to offering the best in comfort, fit and weight for hikers and backpackers. The Exos peripheral frame provides excellent load carrying support and the sewn-in hip belt features seamless layered mesh covered foam providing exceptional comfort, cushioning and load transfer. Overall an excellent lightweight, durable backpack made from the highest quality which will help ease the load on you back.

Granite Gear Crown VC 60 Backpack

Introducing the Granite Gear Crown Backpack with Vapor Current Suspension technology, providing easy access to all your travel gear thanks to the top loader with secure roll-top closure. The frame is removable too, so you can pack ultra light making this backpack very versatile. The hip belt and shoulder straps features dual density padding and narrow webbing straps offering great comfort. The backpack also features interchangeable belts, Lineloc compression, internal hydration sleeve and large stretch side and front pockets.

Teton Sports Scout 3400

The Teton Sports Scout 3400 is an internal frame backpack that has a fully adjustable fit in the torso and waist belt. The thick adjustable padded shoulder straps allow you to carry heavier loads for longer. The durable open-cell foam lumbar pad and moulded channels provide maximum comfort and airflow. This backpack is made from the highest quality durable materials featuring 600D diamond ripstop and a 600D Oxford canvas shell which withstands the toughest of conditions. Other features include a sleeping bag compartment, multi-directional compression straps, multiple compartments and pockets offering a wide range of storage solutions. A quality, comfortable, durable backpack at a great affordable price, this will certainly help if you get back aches and pains.

Ergon BC2 Rucksack

The Ergon BC2 Rucksack is somewhat of a hidden gem when it comes to the best backpacks for hiking. This backpack is specifically designed for those with back pain. The backpack places 80% of the weight on the hips. You can place the harness as high or as low as you want thanks to the ‘flink link ball’ system, so you can try out different positions to find what’s most comfortable. This bag also features hidden pockets, hydration system, anti slip hip belt, rain cover and is made from reinforced hard composite material. The only small disadvantage is the 16L capacity, so this isn’t the right backpack for long hikes, however with it being smaller and lighter it will be better for your back.

GoBackTrail Ultra Light 25L Backpack

The GoBackTrail Ultra Light Backpack features a padded hip belt with a semi-rigid plate to evenly distribute pressure over a larger area and has hip belt pocets to store your snacks and cell phone. The backpack is ultra lightweight and has an internal frame that keeps the overall weight down while distributing the weight to you hips rather than your shoulders and upper back, ideal for people with back pain. Other features include waterproof material, lashing loops so you can attach external items to your backpack, multiple mesh front and side pockets. This backpack as even been tested along the Appalachian & Pacific Crest Trails and received great results, so rest assured you are getting a great quality backpack for a great affordable price.

Mountaintop 40L Hiking Backpack

The Mountaintop Hiking Backpack features a padded mesh back panel, hip belt and six adjustable straps perfecting for hanging your sleeping bag, mat, hammock and other travel gear. This backpack comes with a rain cover and is available in a wide selection of different colours. The bag is compact, portable but big enough to hold a 17″ laptop as well as your travel gear. For the low affordable price you can’t go wrong with this backpack and it has great reviews on Amazon. It has all the features you need to help with back pain.

RUPUMPACK Insulated Hydration Backpack

The RUPUMPACK Insulated Hydration Backpack is a lightweight backpack perfect for short hikes and walks. It features water resistant nylon material, adjustable shoulder and waist straps and a chest strap which will help you distribute the weight and ease the pressure on your back. If you are looking for a comfortable, reliable and lightweight backpack then this is a great budget backpack with the support you need to help ease aches and pains in you back. Due to the 18L capacity the load should be light on your back anyway. Available in lots of different colours this is a great backpack to keep hydrated on walks, small hikes, running and going to the gym.

Why do backpacks cause pain?

There are a number of different reasons why backpacks may cause pain. However these are not all necessarily related to the backpack itself. Some of the reasons consist of; too much weight in your backpack, poor form carrying your backpack and the need to strengthen your core, back and legs:

1. Carrying too much weight

It goes without saying that the more you carry, the more it’s going to weigh you down. The added weight hiking through tough terrain and up steep inlines is only going to put added pressure on your back. So where possible try not to overpack, only take what you really need. Remember to pack and travel smart.

2. Carry your backpack correctly

Sometimes all it takes is poor form when carrying your backpack, not just the weight. Always make sure your straps are correctly and securely adjusted and that your backpack remains close to your body. When packing your backpack ensure that you pack heavier items first, you want to avoid your backpack hanging low around your waist, this will only add more tension on your upper body.

3. Increase your strength

Hiking isn’t a walk in the park, it requires stamina and strength to carry a big backpack for miles up and down tough terrains. It’s all about preparation, start training before hand and build up your upper body strength. Do smaller walks and hikes then build yourself up. Exercises like deadlifts, lat pull downs and dumbbell rows can help achieve this.

4. Wear when needed

Only wear you backpack when necessary. If you have taken a break or having a rest, take your backpack off stretch and relax.

5. Incline & uphill walking

Carrying a heavy backpack uphill for long periods can cause lower back problems too. Again try to build up your endurance, stamina and strength in preparation for your hike. Train your back and leg muscles, go on smaller walks and build your way up gradually. Another factor is making sure you wear your backpack correctly, both straps over your shoulders, all the straps adjusted correctly and be sure you purchase a goo backpack with padding.

Here is a handy video with some great tips on how to help prevent back pain from backpacks. Watch below:

How to choose the best backpack for back pain

When looking for the best front loading backpacks to buy there are a number of things to take into consideration: –

1. Get the right sized pack

Get the right sized back for your travels. Don’t be tempted to get a huge backpack just because it might be on offer. You will only end up putting excess contents in your backpack and it will weigh you down and could result in back pain.

2. Comfort & Lightweight

You backpack needs to be comfortable and lightweight, this will make carrying it easier and will help reduce the load on your back.

3. Distribute the weight

Be sure to pack your backpack correctly and ensure that the weight is distributed evenly. Load the heavier items closer to the back and balance out the remaining items. This will help reduce back pain when hiking for long distances.

4. Hip belt

Look out for backpacks with a hip belt, they help reduce back pain and remove strain on the neck and shoulder muscles. They aid balance as well, which is ver important when wearing a backpack for long periods.

5. Padding / Straps

Ensure your backpack has adjustable padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel. They offer maximum comfort when hiking and help reduce the possibility of your contents and straps digging into your back and shoulders.

What are the best backpacks for bad backs?

With so much choice out there it can be hard to find a good backpack that helps with back pain. You have to consider everything from padded back panels, adjustable straps, quality, hip belts and much more. With all that in mind we have hand picked our top 3 backpacks that can help you with your back pain:

Where to buy the best backpacks?

The best place to buy backpacks is Amazon, they have a wide range of different backpacks to suit everyones needs. From high end hiking backpacks to budget backpacks. Just be sure to follow the tips in this guide to get one with the right features to help with back pain.

Amazon have a very good customer support should you have any problems regards refunds and not to mention how easy it is to use and order. You can see the full range of backpacks and hiking backpacks on Amazon here.

Overall : Here are our top 3 backpacks to help ease back pain:

  1. Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack
  2. Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack
  3. Teton Sports Scout 3400 (Budget Option)

Thanks for reading our guide on the best backpacks for back pain. I hope you have now found your perfect backpack for your next hiking adventure and I’m sure it will be pain free.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you,
we earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

Kelly Bullock

I'm Kelly, we are a family of 4 who loves traveling the world and sharing our experiences. Offering travel tips, reviewing the best travel gear and gadgets to make your travels easier.
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2018-08-26T09:55:13+00:00