Whether you’re a digital nomad, travel freak, or backpacker, an ergonomic backpack can make all the difference. It can be tiring and bad for your posture to carry a laptop, water bottle, mouse, laptop stand, yoga mat, and miscellaneous stuff in any old backpack. If you care about your posture, the health of your neck and spine, and your energy levels, get a comfortable backpack with adjustable straps, proper weight distribution, and compartments for your gear. Ergonomic backpacks are made to be comfortable without compromising functionality and durability. They’re also designed to protect your electronics and other sensitive items that could get damaged in low-quality backpacks.
With so many manufacturers and models, picking an ergonomic backpack can be tricky. To make things easier for you, we’ve reviewed some of the best ergonomic backpacks you can find on the market!
What to Look For When Buying a Backpack
Here are some of the things to look for when buying a new ergonomic backpack:
Size and Protection
What are you going to put inside the backpack most of the time? That’s the first question you need to ask yourself before deciding on a backpack. If you’re going to use it to carry some small everyday essentials, go for a compact backpack.
On the other side, if you need it for larger items, like hoodies, umbrellas, and shoes, you might want to opt for a large backpack.
If you’ll put your laptop in it, make sure that its size is bigger than your laptop’s size. Also, check whether the backpack’s laptop compartment is reinforced or not. You don’t want to break your laptop from the first hit that your backpack takes.
Generally speaking, you should look for backpacks that have padded shoulder straps and back panels to prevent back strain. However, smaller backpacks may not need padding simply because they’re lightweight and aren’t intended for storing heavy items, anyway.Also, try to go for backpacks that have several large compartments, so you can store the heavier items closer to your body to avoid back pain.Another factor to keep in mind is adjustability. An ergonomic backpack should sport adjustable shoulder, waist, and chest straps to fit all body sizes and shapes.
Carrying a backpack for prolonged periods on sunny, hot days will make you sweat your back. However, some ergonomic backpacks offer good ventilation with air mesh systems in the back panel to prevent sweating.
Compartments and Pockets
Ideally, a backpack should have 2-3 large compartments that have multiple inner pockets so you can organize your items inside the backpack.
Additionally, a couple of side pockets and maybe a quick-access front pocket can be quite handy, too.
There’s nothing worse than buying a new backpack, only for it to get torn a few days later. Before deciding on a backpack, ensure that it’s made of durable materials, like 600D or 1200D polyester. A nylon lining is highly welcome, too.
Considerations When Fitting a Backpack (Trying It On)
Before buying a new backpack, measure your torso length and hip size to find the most suitable backpack size for your measurements. Most manufacturers will have a size guide that makes it easier for you to pick the right size based on your measurements.
Once you buy a suitable-sized backpack, adjust the hipbelt, and the shoulder load-lifter, and sternum straps until the backpack feels comfortable enough. It shouldn’t feel too loose or too tight.
Recommended Backpacks – Comparison Table
|Swiss Gear SA1923||15.6”||1200D polyester||No|
|High Sierra||17”||Poly fabric||Yes|
1. Swiss Gear SA1923 – Best Overall
The Swiss Gear SA1923 flaunts a durable design made of rugged 1200D polyester, protecting your gadgets while also staying intact.
What’s more, this backpack is super comfy thanks to the signature air mesh system and the ergonomically contoured shoulder straps with in-built suspension and heavily padded back panels. Not to mention, it’s pretty lightweight, even when loaded up.
The backpack’s total volume is 31L, and it can take a maximum laptop size of 15”. The backpack’s compartments and pockets are well thought of, ensuring that there’s a dedicated place for everything to protect your items and help you stay organized even when on the go!
The Swiss Gear SA1923 has a dedicated floating tablet pocket, in addition to a large main compartment, a front organizer zipper compartment, an eyeglass holder, and a crevice for storing the essentials. You also get dual water bottle pockets, a quick access pocket, and an audio/media pocket with a headphone port.
We also like the rugged grab handle that gives you a firm grip over your backpack when it’s not on your back. Oh, and there’s a front carabiner clip for keychains and other items that can be hanged.
- Plenty of pockets and compartments allow you to stay organized
- Durable design that’s made out of high-grade polyester
- Padded back panels and contoured shoulder straps provide maximum comfort
- Innovative airflow backing system to keep your back ventilated
- Large 31L storage space
- Accommodates laptops up to 15”
- No USB port
2. KROSER Laptop Backpack – Best for Comfort
With the padded back panel and adjustable shoulder straps, the KROSER backpack can’t get any more comfortable than this.
It boasts an all-black design that will surely appeal to travelers and digital nomads. Made of high-quality, water-repellent canvas poly fabric, the KROSER backpack can withstand the toughest conditions gracefully.
Additionally, it has a wide variety of compartments and pockets, so you can store your items without creating a mess, including a laptop compartment, a zippered accessories pocket, a front organizer compartment, and a couple of inner mesh pockets.
It also has a couple of side mesh pockets for water bottles. Gone are the days when you had to waste your time looking for your items in traditional backpacks that just have one or two basic compartments for everything.
One notable feature of the KROSER backpack is the luggage strap that lets you attach the backpack to your luggage’s trolley, so you can travel more conveniently.
Another good feature is the built-in USB port that lets you charge your phone without having to take your power bank out of the backpack.
- Durable and stylish water-repellent design
- Padded shoulder straps and a well-ventilated back panel for comfort
- Luggage strap for convenient traveling
- USB port for charging on the go
- A plethora of compartments and pockets
- Zippers could’ve been more durable
3. Everest Junior Backpack – Best Compact
If you’re looking for a compact backpack that you can take virtually anywhere, the Everest Junior Backpack might just be what you need. At just 10″ x 3.5″ x 13″ and a weight of 8.8 ounces, you won’t even feel there’s a backpack on your back.
Thanks to the 600 Denier polyester design, the Everest backpack is not just durable but also moisture-resistant. There aren’t any paddings here, but since the backpack is super lightweight, they’re not really necessary.
The backpack has a single compartment, in addition to a front-access hidden pocket where you can store the items you most frequently use. Despite its small size, you can fit a lot of everyday items into the Everest backpack.
Our only problem with this backpack is that you won’t likely fit your laptop in it unless it’s a very compact model. Nevertheless, you can still fit an iPad or an Android tablet, but keep in mind that this backpack won’t offer a great deal of protection in case of accidental drops or hits, so better cover your tablet with a sleeve.
- Very affordable
- Compact and lightweight design for the ultimate comfort
- Hidden front pocket with easy access
- Comes in a wide array of vibrant colors and patterns
- Made of durable materials that provide moisture and mildew protection
- Too small to fit a laptop or any other large item
- No bottom or back reinforcements for protection
4. KAUKKO Travel Laptop Backpack – Best for Large Laptops
The KAUKKO backpack features a dedicated laptop compartment that can easily fit a 15” laptop, but if you own a larger one, you can put it in the outer compartment that can fit 17-18” laptops.
The backpack sports a unique design that goes with all clothing styles. It has a couple of leather straps at the front that give it a sleek, classic look. There’s a total of 45 colors for you to pick from, which is just plain awesome.
And it’s not just about the looks; the KAUKKO backpack is made of durable, water-repellent 600D polyester fabric that’s super easy to clean or even wash. The backpack also boasts a high-quality nylon lining for extra softness and comfort.
The main compartment comes with an adjustable drawstring closure for extra protection. As for comfort, the KAUKKO backpack leaves nothing to be desired, with adjustable contoured shoulder straps and an air mesh padded back panel.
It’s also worth noting that this backpack comes with a free small bag that you can either use independently. Alternatively, you can hang it to the backpack for more storage space.
- Can fit laptops of all sizes
- The shoulder and back paddings ensure all-day comfort
- Made of durable, high-quality materials, including 600D polyester and nylon
- Comes with a portable pouch for small items
- Comes in 45 color combinations to suit all tastes
- No USB port
5. High Sierra Swerve Laptop Backpack – Best Versatile
The High Sierra backpack has one large main compartment, along with an organizer compartment that has several inner pockets. You also get a key fob hook and dual mesh pockets on the sides for bottles for the ultimate versatility.
The High Sierra backpack boasts a large laptop compartment that can take laptops up to 17”. It also has a TechSpot sleeve for tablets.
What’s more, the S-shaped padded shoulder straps with the built-in suspension system provide you with an unprecedented level of comfort. Not to mention that the back panel is padded.
The icing on top is that the High Sierra backpack has a built-in USB port that lets you conveniently charge your phone or tablet on the go.
The port is attached to a zippered pocket, where you can place your power bank. You can even use it to put your iPod or phone and listen to music.
- Can fit laptops up to 17”
- Built-in USB port for charging and listening to music on the go
- Padded back panel and shoulder straps with suspension for extra comfort
- Comes with a TechSpot sleeve for storing tablets
- Weak reinforcements at the bottom
That’s it for now! We hope that we’ve enjoyed our best ergonomic backpacks buying guide and found the right one for your needs.
Still can’t make up your mind yet? We can give you a few hints so you can make a final decision.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, mid-sized backpack that can fit a 15” laptop and has plenty of pockets for organizing the other items, the Swiss Gear SA1923 would be a pretty solid pick for you. On the other hand, you can go for the Everest backpack if you need a small backpack for everyday items.
Finally, if you need a big backpack that can fit laptops as large as 18” without compromising on comfort, the KAUKKO backpack would be your best bet.
Frequently asked Questions
What Is an Ergonomic Backpack?
As its name implies, an ergonomic backpack is simply a backpack that’s meant to be comfortable. In other words, you can carry an ergonomic backpack for prolonged periods without straining your back. As a digital nomad who spends much of your day in front of a computer, you'll want every bit of help to make sure your shoulders, neck, and back are not put under undue pressure or discomfort when commuting. The weight of a laptop, water bottle, mousepad, laptop stand, mouse, headphones, and other accessories can add up. Sure, it's not like you're climbing Everest, but posture and ergonomics are vitally important these days.
How Important Are Padded Straps?
Padded straps can make one hell of a difference when it comes to comfort. They add a layer of memory foam between your shoulders and the straps, taking some of the backpack’s weight off your shoulders and distributing it more evenly. Nevertheless, they may not matter that much for smaller backpacks.