Can Backpacks Cause Back Problems?

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Backpacks can certainly cause back problems, particularly if they are excessively heavy and lifted without using proper caution. Discover why heavy backpacks should be lifted close to the spine with help from a recreational kayaking instructor and outdoor adventurer in this free video on backpacks and back problems.

Part of the Video Series: Camping & Backpacking
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Video Transcript

Oftentimes people ask, "Can backpacks cause back problems?" The answer is yeah. Of course it can; partly because you're carrying around your worldly possessions on your back. Just like anything, if you're not careful while lifting, you can hurt your back. So some care in terms of how you're lifting the product; the, the backpack onto your back is, is a key piece to avoiding back problems. Another key piece is buying a good backpack. Invest wisely here. Think about it; this is the tool that allows you to carry all the things from point A to point B and on and on. So I like an internal backpack. It allows me to wear the load comfortably close to my body; nice padded shoulder straps; contoured back pads and a large padded hip pad which traps around right on my hip bones; it allows some of the weight to come off of my back and be carried by my back, by my hips. A large part of avoiding back problems is how you pack your pack. So being careful to load the heavy products close to your spine and load to your butt, can avoid some serious back problems. Again, you don't need to take everything with you. When you're backpacking you need to make some good choices in terms of what you're carrying. If I'm a 150 pound male and I'm carrying 70 pounds, that's too much. I need to pare it down so that I'm not going to hurt myself. A good weight for me, 40 pounds would be comfortable and anything under that would be great. And I've achieved that under 40 pounds; you know; in the 20 to 40 pounds by being frugal; not bringing four pairs of socks; not bringing the camp stove; not bringing 27 gallons of orange juice. So choosing your backpack wisely; don't oversize it because if you have a tendency to buy a large backpack, you're tendency is going to be to fill it. Okay. Now when you lift it, just like anything you want to lift it, lift it up onto your leg and then slide it onto your back and then make sure that the load is secure on your body. With those few tips, hopefully you can have miles and miles of happy backpacking and avoid those, avoid those back problems. Remember one other trick is a good night sleep on a great firm surface. Goodnight.


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