Updated December 16, 2020 by Shilo Urban

The 10 Best Ergonomic Backpacks

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This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in March of 2018. An aching back is no joke. Whether you already suffer from spinal issues or just want to preserve your health and posture, you’ll want to check out these ergonomic backpacks. They offer a ton of features to keep you moving comfortably, including cushioning, ventilation, and efficient, thoughtful designs. They can hold plenty of stuff and look pretty good doing it, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Osprey Farpoint 55

2. The North Face Recon

3. Cotopaxi Allpa 35

Editor's Notes

December 14, 2020:

For this update, we've added the lightweight Cotopaxi Allpa 35, a sleek design with a suitcase-style opening that weighs just under 3.5 pounds. Another newcomer is the Eagle Creek Women's Global Companion; it's from a well-regarded brand and is specifically designed for the female shape. On the high-end side of things, the Peak Design 45 is a cult favorite with smart details that its adherents rave about. We've bumped the Osprey Farpoint 55 up to the top spot because it represents the cream of the crop from a company whose gear offers exceptional organization and durability - especially for adventure travelers.

We've removed the BackTPack 4; its nonconformist style couldn't make up for its poor reviews. The Friendly Swede Hiking Rucksack is no longer available, and the newer model from the company doesn't rate quite so high. Also gone: the Incase Icon, an expensive option whose reviews were not on par with its price tag. Finally, we've updated the information for several items, including The North Face Recon, the Hikpro 20L, and the Ivar Urban 20.

September 20, 2019:

We understand how crucial ergonomic features can be, so we’ve selected models with everything you need for pain-free carry, including padded straps, hip belts, and more. But we’ve also considered style, so many of our choices can give designer backpacks a run for their money. Taking these elements into account, we still like choices from popular manufacturer The North Face, but we’ve opted to replace the Big Shot with the newer Recon. An updated version of a classic, the Recon is attractive but not garish, comfortable but not over-designed. Plus, the 30-liter capacity is good for both short trips and daily commutes to work. We added another updated version, the new BackTPack 4, which offers upgraded features over the BackTPack 3, including an integral hip belt and an exterior water bottle holder.

Finally, we selected one convertible wheeled model, the Osprey Packs Sojourn. It’s big at 45 liters, so the backpack carrying straps are best used for short jaunts, leaving most of the work to the smooth dual wheels.

Special Honors

Patagonia Stormfront 30L Many options can handle a little moisture, but the Patagonia Stormfront 30L has a sturdy TPU coating that won’t let any liquid in, so it blows the competition out of the water, so to speak. This protection makes it a fine choice for those heading into the field for fishing or photography. patagonia.com

L.L.Bean Deluxe Book Pack Designed for kids ages 10 and up, the L.L.Bean Deluxe Book Pack can handle all the abuse it’s likely to receive. Both the ergonomically curved straps and the waist belt offer a wearing experience with plenty of support, while the reflective trim provides extra peace of mind. llbean.com

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 It’s quite a feat that the roomy Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 weighs a mere 2 pounds. But no comfort features were omitted, since it boasts everything from an ergonomic unisex harness to air mesh shoulder straps that keep sweat at bay. gossamergear.com

4. Eagle Creek Women's Global Companion

5. Peak Design 45

6. Ivar Urban 20

7. Osprey Packs Sojourn

8. Kopack Slim

9. Kenneth Cole Reaction Business Travel

10. Hikpro 20L


Shilo Urban
Last updated on December 16, 2020 by Shilo Urban

Shilo lives for adventures in far-away lands and reads books like it’s going out of style (which it is). Dogs are her co-pilots. She’s traveled to 60 countries and has lived in Austin (where she received a BA from the University of Texas), Maine, Paris, Seattle, New Zealand, Los Angeles, and now—Fort Worth. Before becoming a freelance writer over a decade ago, she had more than three dozen jobs, including high school teacher, record label manager, tour guide, and farmhand for endangered livestock breeds. She speaks fluent French and horribly mangled Spanish, which she is working every day to improve. Shilo geeks out over history and culture, and her areas of expertise include travel, art and design, music, pets, food, crafts, toys, and home furnishings. Current obsessions: Gobekli Tepe, tassels, and fresh lemonade.


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