11 Best Backpacks For Neck, Shoulder & Back Pain Reviewed

Best For Students

The Incase is slim and compact yet spacious. It comes with several dedicated and organized compartments.

Best for eDC

The Big Shot comes with FlexVent shoulder straps and hip/chest belts for safe and long day trip use.

If you have shoulder, back or neck problems, you may think that you should avoid wearing backpacks altogether – but in reality this isn’t true at all.

There are lots of quality backpacks that are good for your back, including shoulder friendly backpacks and specifically designed supportive backpacks that are the result of hundreds of hours of testing.

We cover everything you need to know about backpacks for bad backs, avoiding upper body pain, as well as a list of the 11 best backpacks for back pain.

Backpacks For Back Pain Compared



Pain Reducing Features


Check Price

Osprey Packs Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack

Osprey Packs Farpoint 55

Frame Suspension,
Hip Belt

5.1 Lbs

Eagle Creek Deviate Travel Pack 60L

Eagle Creek Deviate 60L

FlexFlo Suspension, Contoured Shoulder Straps & Hip Belt

3.5 Lbs

Incase ICON Durable Travel Backpack + Laptop...

Incase Icon Pack

Moulded Shoulder Straps & Back Panel

2.44 Lbs

No products found.

Tigernu Slim Padded Ergonomic

Lightweight Design

1.8 Lbs

The North Face Big Shot Red/Asphalt Unisex 17...

The North Face Unisex Big Shot

Adjustable Straps, Spine Channel For Back Support


JanSport Agave Bozeman Brown/Field Tan One...

JanSport Agave

Adjustable Sternum Strap, Adjustable Shoulder Straps

1 Lb

Ivar Urban 32, Green, One Size

Ivar Urban 32

Even Weight Distribution & Load Stability

2.15 Lbs

Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack - Hiking,...

Kelty Redwing 50

Dual Density Foam Waistbelt, Lumbar Pad & Removable Hip Belt

3.3 Lbs

Osprey Hikelite 26L Unisex Hiking Backpack,...

Osprey Packs Hikelite 26

8 Compression Straps

5 Lbs

Osprey Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Rigby Red,...

Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65

Adjustable Harness, Anti-Gravity Suspension

Varies Depending On Size

Gregory Mountain Products Women's Deva

Gregory Baltoro 75 Liter

Response A3 Suspension, Adjustable Hip Belt

5.1 Lbs

Why do some Backpacks cause Pain?

While an ergonomic backpack is designed for people with back pain, most standard backpacks are not. This means that they can be the cause of pain throughout the day. Some people feel like their spine is being bent by the backpack, while other people notice tension pain in their shoulders.

This can cause both short term and long term problems, and it doesn’t matter how old you are. Various studies have found that heavy backpacks can cause long-term problems for both young children and adults.

But why exactly do some backpacks cause pain? Normally it’s due to poor design; if the shoulder straps are thin there will be a lot of pressure on the shoulders, which can result in stiff muscles. Heavy backpacks can also put a lot of pressure on the back, which can cause the spine to bend over time.

This can cause posture problems and make it difficult to sleep at night, so it’s important to make sure that you’re wearing a high-quality backpack with back support and even weight distribution.

Another reason why backpacks cause back pain is because they’re worn incorrectly. Many people only use one shoulder strap, but this means that one shoulder is carrying the full weight of the backpack, instead of only half. This puts a lot of pressure on the spine, and over time it can result in your spine becoming curved.

man in pain wearing blue backpack

How Can a Quality Ergonomic Backpack Reduce Pain?

A high-quality, ergonomic backpack can reduce back pain due to the smart design. For instance, ergonomic backpacks normally have thick, padded straps that help to spread the weight evenly across your back and shoulders, which reduces pain and helps to improve posture.

It also means that your muscles are more relaxed when you’re wearing the backpack, so you’re less likely to suffer from strained, stiff muscles. This is very important if you wear your backpack on a daily basis. After all, back pain may seem like a minor inconvenience, but if you wear the backpack frequently it will alter your back over time.

This can cause long-term health problems further down the line (such as mechanical back pain or inflamed tissue), especially if you already experience back, neck or shoulder problems. So if you have any back problems already, you should definitely invest in a backpack for back pain!

What To Look For In a Good Supportive Backpack

Here are seven indicators of a supportive and comfortable backpack.


One of the main indicators of a comfortable backpack is the design. For instance, an ergonomic backpack will be specifically designed for comfort, so every single feature will be comfortable, from the straps to the padding to the weight distribution.

On the other hand, a standard backpack will have a simple design that doesn’t take the back or shoulders into consideration (such as a drawstring backpack with thin string straps).


A supportive backpack will distribute weight evenly across your body, even if it’s filled with heavy items. This can be done using lots of internal pockets.

If different items are put into different pockets, the weight is divided over the length of your back, instead of everything resting on your lower back. This will reduce the chance of both lower back pain and general back pain.


A durable, comfortable backpack will have thick straps to distribute weight evenly across your shoulders. The backpack should also have adjustable hip straps so that you can easily customize the backpack to the shape of your body.

This means that it won’t move from side to side as you walk, so there shouldn’t be any chafing issues (which is particularly important for hikers!).


It can also be useful to look for a backpack with padded straps, especially if you already experience neck and shoulder problems. This is because the padded straps will help to spread the weight evenly across your shoulders, so your muscles won’t be under too much pressure.

This is especially important if you know that the backpack will regularly be filled with heavy items.


When it comes to comfortable backpacks, size can be a factor – but it’s important to note that a well-designed backpack can be both large and comfortable to wear.

Sure, smaller backpacks tend to be more comfortable as they are lighter and they hold less items, but large backpacks can still be comfortable if they’re ergonomically designed.


You should also consider the purpose of the bag; do you need a laptop bag that you can take to work, or do you need a hiking bag with room for a spare change of clothes? Is the backpack for you, or is it for a young child?

Remember that different backpacks are suited to different needs, so you should buy one that suits your lifestyle and your needs.


Finally it can be beneficial to look for a backpack with a warranty. Not all backpacks come with a warranty, but it’s a good indicator that you have found a high-quality bag – especially if it’s a lifetime warranty!

However there are lots of durable backpacks without a warranty, so this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker.


Price is an important factor when considering the most comfortable backpack to buy. Just because an ergonomic backpack is expensive doesn't mean it's any good or right for you. We have tried to include a supportive backpack for every budget. Keep in mind, a specially designed backpack for back pain can make a huge difference in the long-term effects, so it's a great investment.

11 Supporting & Comfortable Backpacks Reviewed

Are you looking for good backpacks for back pain? If so, you’re in the right place. Here are 11 of the best backpacks for your back, neck, and shoulders. We have tested, compared each model and explain why each has made our list.

1. Osprey Packs Farpoint 55

Best For Travel
  • Pain Reducing Features = Frame Suspension, Hip Belt
  • Size = 80L (M/L) 
  • Weight = 5.1 Lbs
  • Warranty = No

The Osprey Farpoint 55 is the perfect travel backpack for lower back pain. This is because the bag has a lightweight frame that spreads the weight of the bag across the back and hips, helping to lower the amount of pressure on the lower back. The harness and hipbelt system are also great so that your back doesn't bend.

It also comes with a mesh back panel to allow ventilation through the bag, so you won’t get too warm when you are wearing it. It is the perfect backpack for hiking – and there’s more than enough room for a spare jumper and a pair of boots! Moreover, your dirty camping clothes and shoes won't spread their odor to the rest of your stuff.

One feature that is helpful while traveling is the big, open main compartment. You can lay the backpack down flat and unzip it to access all of your gear. This makes it much easier than trying to fiddle with only the top-loading pocket.

So if you’re a hiker with lower back pain, this could be the backpack that you've been looking for all along. It would be a pretty big help for those uphill, challenging trails!


  • Lightweight suspension frame
  • Duel compression straps
  • Sleek design


  • Too big for carry-on
  • No space for a laptop

2. Eagle Creek Deviate Travel Pack 60L 

Best For Travelers
  • Pain Reducing Features = FlexFlo Suspension, Contoured Shoulder Straps & Hip Belt 
  • Size = 60 Litres
  • Weight = 3.5 Lbs
  • Warranty = Yes; Lifetime Warranty

The Deviate Travel Pack is one of the best ergonomic backpacks. This is because, despite the backpack's large size, it has lots of special features to make sure the wearer is comfortable (even if the backpack is filled to the brim!).

This includes ergonomically contoured shoulder straps that can be adjusted to fit your body, as well as a comfortable hip belt to ensure the backpack doesn’t move from side to side when you’re walking. This last feature also helps your back to stay straight and protects you from injuries.

If you pull on the upper compression straps and waist belt, you will be able to get this backpack nice and snug against your body. This will allow you to walk, hike, or travel comfortably with a heavy load.

Another great plus is that this bag is meant to last. It should be a great companion for those rough trails where you need all the toughness can get.

Finally, the backpack has an internal suspension system to distribute weight evenly across the back, and it can be transformed into a check-in duffel bag. So, if you’re a hiker who flies regularly, this could be the perfect backpack for you!


  • Internal suspension system
  • Large capacity
  • Contoured shoulder straps
  • Lifetime warranty


  • No room for a laptop
  • Too large for young children

3. Incase Icon Pack

Best For Students
  • Pain Reducing Features = Moulded Shoulder Straps & Back Panel
  • Size = 13 X 9 X 19 Inches
  • Weight = 2.44 Lbs
  • Warranty = No

The Incase Icon backpack is possibly the best backpack for heavy books. This is because the backpack has a large internal pocket that could be used to store a few large books, and there’s also a smaller pocket that can be used to carry a laptop or an iPad. But the best thing is that, even though it has a lot of space, the backpack looks really slim and lightweight.

This is ideal for both students and office workers who need to use their laptops on a daily basis, but also care about having a classy, good-looking accessory. This bag is also smaller than the other options on this list. You won't have to worry about knocking into other people when you ride the bus or metro to work.

The backpack is also great for people who like to stay organized, as there are lots of small internal and external pockets that can be used to store small items such as your pencil case, your wallet, and your phone. It even has enough convenient space for keeping your sweater of an extra shirt, in case you need it for work.


  • Laptop sleeve
  • Ergonomic design
  • Lots of pockets for organization


  • Might not be big enough for long trips
  • No space for spare clothes

4. Tigernu Slim Padded Ergonomic Computer/Laptop Bag

No products found.

Best For Laptops
  • Pain Reducing Features = Lightweight Design
  • Size = 17.7 X 11.8 X 7.1 Inches
  • Weight = 1.8 Lbs
  • Warranty = No

If you’re looking for a laptop backpack with back support, this could be the perfect choice for you. The bag has a large padded sleeve that can fit a 15.6-inch laptop, and it also has an air cushion belt to protect your back while you’re wearing the backpack.

The backpack also has a simple, stylish design that will appeal to both men and women. While it is only available in gray, it is a very neutral color that should go with all of your outfits! The design is great for both casual and more elegant looks. Moreover, the fabric is also made from anti-scratch material, so it’s meant to be very durable.

Another great thing about this backpack is its convenient variety of pockets. It also has a lot of space, so you can fit everything you need and keep each one of your items organized in its own unique place.


  • Anti-theft features
  • Lightweight design
  • Anti-scratch fabric


  • Few color options
  • Few internal pockets

5. The North Face Unisex Big Shot

Best For Every Day Use
  • Pain Reducing Features = Adjustable Straps, Spine Channel For Back Support
  • Size = 33 Liters
  • Weight = 2.91 lbs
  • Warranty = No

North Face is widely known for its durable, high-quality, and strong backpacks - that been said, the Big Shot backpack is no different.

The back comes with FlexVent™ injection-molded shoulder straps that can be customized to the shape of your body, and there’s also a front hip strap with Hypalon reinforcement. So even if the backpack is filled to the brim, you should still be comfortable because it will adjust however you want it to.

The backpack also has lots of room. On the side, there are two large mesh pockets that can be used to hold two large water bottles, but they could also be used to store other items such as umbrellas or flashlights.

This is why it is great for hiking, as well as other outdoor activities. Another set of handy features are its hydration sleeve and the waterproof zippers. It may not be completely waterproof though, so make sure to keep that in mind before swimming across the river with your backpack on. 


  • Contoured shoulder straps
  • Front hip strap
  • Roomy interior


  • Not completely waterproof
  • No space for a laptop

6. JanSport Agave

Best For Shoulder Pain
  • Pain Reducing Features = Adjustable Sternum Strap, Adjustable Shoulder Straps
  • Size = 10 X 19 X 13.5 Inches
  • Weight = 1 Lb
  • Warranty = No

The JanSport backpack is perhaps the best backpack for shoulder pain. This is because it has comfortable wide straps that can be adjusted to the shape of your body, as well as lots of internal pockets for even weight distribution.

This backpack is also perfect for anyone who uses their laptop or tablet frequently. It has a 15-inch soft tricot lined pocket that can be used to store your technology, and it also has an external pocket that can be used to hold a charger. Finally, the interior is expandable, so you can easily fit a jacket or a coat inside.

It is a great option for both high-school and college students that go to a sports practice before or after class because they can easily carry a laptop, their clothes, and a pair of shoes in just one place. Office workers who head to the gym after their shifts will also love the versatility of this backpack.


  • Laptop/tablet pocket
  • AirCore shoulder straps
  • Expandable main pocket


  • Not suitable for long trips
  • No room for hiking boots

7. Ivar Urban 32

Best For EDC
  • Pain Reducing Features = Even Weight Distribution & Load Stability
  • Size = 8 X 13.5 X 20Inches
  • Weight = 2.15 Lbs
  • Warranty = No

The Ivar Urban 32 backpack is a great companion for daily commuters. This is because the backpack has a padded laptop pocket to keep your laptop safe, as well as a large main pocket that can be used to store your lunch, a pair of notebooks, or even your coat. The backpack also has a beautiful, sleek design that will appeal to most people!

Truth is, it looks like a hiking backpack. The fabrics and colors are usually seen in the more outdoorsy gear, however, it is very useful for the daily hustlers.

And that isn’t all; this backpack is also ergonomically designed for comfort. It has an interior shelf system for weight distribution, as well as wide shoulder straps to ensure that you’re always comfortable when you’re wearing the backpack. So it doesn't matter if you're taking the bag to your next mountain day trip or downtown to the office - it will surely fulfill your need.


  • Laptop pocket
  • Shelf system
  • Sleek design


  • Chest strap might be small for larger adults
  • Smaller than other bags on this list

8. Kelty Redwing 50

Best For Strenuous Hiking
  • Pain Reducing Features = Dual Density Foam Waistbelt, Lumbar Pad & Removable Hip Belt
  • Size = 49 Liters
  • Weight = 3.3 Lbs
  • Warranty = No

The Kelty Redwing 50 backpack is ideal for travelers and hiking. This is because it has lots of special features that are ideal for both airport and road traveling. It has a lot of space, so it may not be the top choice for commute workers or students that are looking for a more compact and casual approach.

There are two water bottle pockets on each side of the back, as well as a top loader and panel loader design which means you can access the bag two ways. So you can always get whatever you need quickly, even if the bag is filled to the brim!

This polyester backpack also has lots of comfortable features, including a dynamic airflow rear panel, a wide hip strap, and a lumbar pad to remove pressure from your back. It is perfect for both hiking and traveling through airports since it's designed to do the job outdoors and indoors.


  • Ideal for traveling and hiking
  • Lumbar pad and removable hip belt
  • Sleek design


  • Padding might be too much for some people
  • Too large for a child

9. Osprey Packs Hikelite 26

Best For Light Hiking
  • Pain Reducing Features = 8 Compression Straps
  • Size = 70 Liters
  • Weight = 5 Lbs
  • Warranty = No

This backpack is perfect for ultralight hikers with back problems. This is because the backpack comes with 8 different compression straps that can be used to hold other items – and as the items are hanging off the back of the bag, it means there is less pressure on your back.

This is perfect for long camping trips and hikes, especially if you’ll be bringing a few heavy items along with you. And we also have to talk about the looks - it is beautiful! Osprey has managed to make a spacious bag look compact and cool, and it is available in 5 different styles.

The backpack also has zippered front access for easy access, as well a daisy chains that can be used to hold hiking poles. Finally, the backpack is made from a high-quality, durable material that won’t get damaged in the outdoors. Pretty, long-lasting, versatile, and comfortable - what more could you possibly ask for?

Check out more Osprey backpacks here


  • Durable material
  • Eight different compression straps
  • Zippered front design


  • Side pockets are not as big as other packs
  • No space for a laptop

10. Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65

Best For Long Hikes
  • Pain Reducing Features = Adjustable Harness, Anti-Gravity Suspension
  • Size = Available In Small, Medium, Large
  • Weight = Varies Depending On Size
  • Warranty = No

The Osprey backpack is another good-looking bag that is ideal for hikers with lower back problems. This is because the backpack comes with anti-gravity suspension, so it feels like the backpack has less in it than it actually does.

It also comes with a trekking pole attachment that means you don’t always have to carry your poles, and there’s an internal hydration reservoir sleeve that can hold up to 3 liters of water. This means you don’t have to worry about running out of water as you hike!

The backpack also has a removable rain cover, so it is perfect for hiking in a rainy area. Available in three different colors, this is a good choice for long trips outdoors, because it really does have lots of space and it's meant to take the tough roads with you. Another pretty cool feature is that it includes a hiking pole accessory that allows you to store your poles on steep terrain or whenever you need your hands free.


  • Adjustable harness
  • Removable top lid
  • Internal hydration reservoir sleeve


  • Shoulder straps are narrower than other packs
  • No space for a laptop

11. Gregory Baltoro 75 Liter Multi-Day

Best For Multi-Day Hiking
  • Pain Reducing Features = Response A3 Suspension, Adjustable Hip Belt
  • Size = 31.5 X 19 X 14.5 Inches
  • Weight = 5.1 Lbs
  • Warranty = No

If you’re planning a long hike and you need to bring lots of things with you, this could be the backpack for you. First of all, it comes with a removable rain cover that can be easily stored in its own zippered pocket.

The backpack also comes with a response AS suspension, which means the backpack will automatically adapt to the shape of your body. This means it won’t move around as you hike, so you don’t have to worry about chafing. If you hike a lot, you know how important this can be and how much of a relief it is to have a steady bag.

The backpack also has Lumbar Tune for lower back support, as well as a Weather Shield hip belt that can be used to store valuable items (such as your mobile phone, your keys, and your wallet). That way you'll make sure that your valuables won't get lost between your dirty clothes.


  • AS suspension
  • Removable raincover
  • Lumbar Tune for lower back support


  • Drawstring on the top is not very durable
  • Quite large – not ideal for young children

Common Back Problems

Most back pain is referred to as ‘non-specific back pain’, which means there is no obvious cause. This normally means that the pain is caused by daily activities (such as picking things up, carrying heavy items and exercise), and it normally affects the muscles and the soft tissue around the spine. This type of pain can be reduced with an ergonomic backpack.

Back pain can also be caused by medical conditions, such as a pulled ligament, sciatica (irritation of the nerves in the back) or a slipped disc. If this is the cause of your back pain you should speak to your doctor before buying an ergonomic backpack.

Common Neck Problems

The neck is a very strong part of the body – but it needs to be, as your head weighs around 11 pounds! This is very heavy weight to bear, and it can result in some common neck problems. This includes strain muscles and tension.

Most people experience neck pain at some point, and normally it doesn’t indicate a serious health problem, but if the pain continues for a few days you should speak to your doctor to find out why. You can also ask your doctor if you would benefit from wearing an ergonomic backpack instead of your current bag.

Common Shoulder Problems

Most people experience shoulder pain because the soft tissue inside of the shoulder has become damaged. This can be caused by heavy lifting or carrying heavy items. However, there are also more serious issues that can cause shoulder pain, such as dislocation, a fracture, arthritis, separation, a rotator cuff tear or rotator cuff disease.

If you think your shoulder pain is caused by a serious issue, you should certainly speak to a medical professional before buying an ergonomic backpack.

This is because they might recommend a physical treatment (which could include using ergonomic equipment) but they may also recommend something completely different, such as surgery.

Other Tips for Relieving Neck, Shoulder & Back Pain

There are a few things that you can do to relieve non-specific back pain. Some things are very simple, such as getting a good night’s sleep (of at least eight hours), while other things require more effort (such as losing or gaining weight so that you have a health BMI.

One very effective way to relieve back pain is through gentle exercise. However, it’s important to make sure that you don’t overexercise, as this could make the pain worse.

Yoga is an excellent option, as most poses won’t put too much strain on your back. For instance, the side neck stretch will help to relieve neck and back pain. If you want to try this, sit down and wrap one arm behind your back.

Then drop the opposite ear downwards (while relaxing your shoulder), and draw the shoulder down gently while stretching your neck. Do this for around a minute, and then repeat the exercise on the opposite side. This will help to relax the muscles in your neck and back.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Where should a backpack sit on your back?

The straps of your backpack should sit about 2 inches above the highest point of your shoulder. It should sit on your waist and no lower than 2 inches past. You should use the compression, chest, and hip belt to adjust the pack accordingly.

Why does my back hurt from my backpack?

When wearing a backpack for an extended period, some people have a tendency to lean forward. This causes the upper back to become rounded and the weight of the pack shifts away from your hips.

How much weight can you carry on your back?

The answer to this question will depend on how much you weigh. You should carry no more than 10% of your weight. If you weigh around 150 pounds, you should carry no more than 15 pounds on your back.

What helps a heavy backpack for back pain?

You should tighten all of the straps on your backpack so it fits snugly to your body. You should also pack heavier items near the bottom so that they sit closer to your center of gravity. 

Can a heavy backpack damage your back?

The short answer is yes. Heavy backpacks can cause damage to the muscular and skeletal system over time. Ensure you are wearing your backpack properly to avoid permanent damage. 


If you suffer from back pain, neck pain or shoulder pain, it’s important to buy a pack that won’t worsen the pain.

Backpacks tend to be the best option, as they distribute weight evenly across your back, rather than across one shoulder – but it’s very important to choose an ergonomic backpack for back pain. This means it will help to reduce the pain you’re feeling, even if you use the backpack every day.

  • Updated December 22, 2021