Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Features of a good backpack




        Appropriate size. The pack should end a few inches above the waist. It should not hang more than 4 inches below the waist; longer and it stresses muscles between shoulders. Properly worn, the pack should rest just at the hips, close to the body, near the waist.

        Inflatable or air-filled shoulder straps - or at least well-padded straps to help distribute weight evenly.

        Lower back support or cushion in the lumbar area.

        A sturdy material, such as Ripstop, or at least a 500-denier nylon.

        Wipe-clean interior.

        Waist or chest strap to keep the weight centered.

        A pack that stands upright for easier pickup.

        Reflective material somewhere on the backpack for those who wait in the dark for buses.

        Compartments that hold books in place will help in keeping weight closer to the body and prevent shifting.

        A triangular-shaped pack shifts the weight to the lower back.

        Dirt-resistant color. Yellow and pink are pretty in September but worn and dingy come January.

        A large compartment for books and several smaller zip pockets, change purses or mesh pouches for water bottles, pencils, calculators, padded compartment for glasses and a hidden zip spot for keys. Some come with padded compartments for CD players and discs.

        Interior key chains, well protected but easy to reach.

        Plastic rack inside the bag will help distribute weight more evenly.

        Lifetime guarantee. Save it, along with receipt.

        A good name will outlast a trendy, cheaply made design. JanSport, L.L. Bean, North Face, Eastpak, Land's End and Airtec have good reps.

        Self-repairing zippers and sturdy pulls.

        A bottom of leather or rubber is longer-wearing. At the least, a reinforced, quilted, double-pane bottom.

        - Enquirer news services

       



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