Backpacks are not just for babies. They're for babes.


Image via Flickr

Let’s start this post with a quiz. In the past week, have you carried any of the following items in your handbag?

a) A laptop

b) A bottle of wine

c) A tablet

d) A book

e) A bottle of water or some other liquid

f) A makeup bag

g) Anything for a little person who depends on you for food and shelter

If your answer looks like something that could be reasonably read out on Sesame Street (ours too), then you’ve probably experienced a back-related twinge of pain at some stage lately. Carrying a really heavy bag, whether it’s a messenger with a long shoulder strap or a great big hold-all handbag, really isn’t good for your back.

It can cause your muscles to overcompensate for the weight of the bag, which can lead to them screaming at you when you make a small movement, like reaching for a remote. It can cause your upper body to bend in a funny direction, which puts pressure on your lower back. Then there’s the bag strap itself, which can put pressure on the nerves in your neck, leading to an aching pain.

Clearly, none of these are good things. But there is a solution and your school age-child is wearing it every day. Sure, it may seem a little daggy but wearing a backpack can seriously help with pain from the neck right down to the base of the spine.


Rather than putting an uneven amount of pressure on your body, backpacks distribute their pressure evenly across your whole pack. Because they’re more secure, you don’t have to make as many muscle-pulling micro-adjustments when you wear a backpack, which will add to your comfort levels. Plus, hiking a shoulder strap up all the time is super annoying.

And you know how I just said it may seem a little daggy? That’s not even true any more.

The backpack comes in many shapes and sizes now, from light, thin gym baggies you can crumple into a smarter handbag and pull out in emergencies, to ‘I didn’t even know it was a backpack’ shapes that can easily be brought into professional meetings. Just sling a polished looking backpack over one shoulder as you walk into work, avoiding the tell-tale double straps if you fear judgment from co-workers.

Personally, I’m a fan of the ‘cute novelty printed backpack’ which I slip my Very Fancy work handbag into (protected by a dust bag, of course) along with my laptop and other accoutrements. I’d rather take a bit of shame walking home with a cute kiddie accessory than take a lot of pain walking home with a huge, hulking hold-all.

Then there are the old-school, hardcore hiker backpacks, which still look lamer than a three-legged horse, but will stop you from well… going lame.

Click through the gallery for a few of our favourites.

Image one: The fits-in-a-smaller-bag backpack, $20

Image two: The ‘so cheap and plain, you can’t not’ backpack, $25

Image three: The ‘I didn’t even know it was a backpack’ backpack, $200

Image four: The high quality, floral print backpack, $48

Image five: The ‘classic hipster’ backpack $160

Image six: The ‘I didn’t even know it was a backpack’ backpack, part two, $50.

Image seven: The ‘This backpack does not mess around’ backpack, $180

Image eight: The ‘OMG LOOK AT MY BACKPACK’ backpack, $60

Image nine: The ‘I’m pathologically well organised’ backpack, $120