Its structured design features adjustable straps, multiple compartments, and an anti-theft opening.

By Braelyn Wood
Updated February 26, 2020
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Most of us are more concerned with trying to fit everything in our tote bag rather than determining how much it weighs, but did you know that your bag might have a recommended weight limit? Seriously—Scientists suggest using shoulder bags that weigh no more than 10% of your body mass. Any excess weight over that level is more than just a bicep building inconvenience: It can have negative long-term impacts on the body, including poor posture, spinal misalignment, and tension injuries from repeated strain.  

One easy switch that can alleviate these pain points is swapping out your purse or tote bag for a sturdy backpack. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics found that using a two-strap backpack “reduce[s] muscle activity of the trapezius and erector spinae muscles,” which can help reduce back pain. Plus, it just makes sense: A two-strap design more evenly distributes weight across your body to prevent concentrated pressure on any specific areas. 

Despite offering more support than a purse, the best backpacks for back pain still have a few key features. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an ideal backpack has two straps, a padded back, and a lightweight design. It should also be made with a supportive structure that puts most of the weight closer to the base of your spin, along with adjustable straps that allow you to center the pack in the middle of your back. 

While this might seem like a lot of regulations to keep in mind for your new bag, Amazon shoppers have already found the perfect pick in Pincnel Women’s Backpack ($35; amazon.com). It combines function and style into a sleek bag that you’ll actually want to carry around.    

best backpack for back pain pincnel women's backpack

To buy: Pincnel Women’s Backpack, $35 (was $50); amazon.com

It’s constructed with a sturdy base, two side pockets, and a main section that’s roomy enough to store all your essentials, like a laptop, phone, wallet, and book. The interior is further separated into four different compartments so items stay organized and weight remains evenly distributed throughout the bag. 

The budget-friendly bag also has wide, adjustable straps, which allow you to center the weight of the bag closer to your body. Plus, it also comes with a convertible tote bag strap for anyone who’s not completely ready to abandon their tote-bearing ways.

Beyond giving your neck and back relief, the best-selling backpack has unique elements that put it ahead of competitors: a waterproof nylon fabric and an anti-theft zipper opening that’s hidden on the back, meaning you can only access the bag’s main compartment when you take it off. 

All in all, it’s no surprise the trusty rucksack has already accumulated more than 4,700 5-star reviews from commuters and travelers alike. Beyond raving about the clever anti-theft construction, shoppers confirmed it’s a great pick for anyone suffering from neck or back pain because the design “distributes weight well,” “keeps your hands free and posture right,” and is “very comfortable.” 

As one reviewer summed it up: “I really like this purse! I have back and neck pain, so having the weight of a purse evenly distributed instead of the traditional one-shoulder purse strap has been wonderful! I also travel a lot so having the zipper against your back gives me a lot of peace of mind.” 

Even better? The Pincnel backpack retails for just $35 and also comes in a smaller variation for just $26. In fact, the downsized version might be even better for capping your bag at its 10% limit. Either way, you’ll feel better knowing your two-strap backpack is giving your back a break, rather than breaking it down.

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