You don't need to be a student to appreciate single sling backpacks for their comfort and casual style.
Presenting Options for Students
Is there really a major difference between using one and two straps on a backpack? Besides the aesthetic element, there don't seem to be many outward disparities between the two styles. The traditional backpack will always have two straps, simply by virtue of its history as a student favorite. The single strap backpack, on the other hand, is a more recent addition to the fray. It joins such carryalls as the messenger bag in offering students more choices for toting their books, school supplies and other classroom and campus necessities with ease.
However, further research reveals a surprising school of thought about single strap backpacks and their impact on health. Read on to learn more about what's being said, what the most practical single strap backpacks are and which style of backpack really is best for you.
A surprising study on the effects of loaded backpacks on lung function yielded some brow-raising results. The 2004 analysis, conducted by the Centre for Ergonomics, Occupation Safety and Health, Department of Human Resources, Massey University in Palmerstown North, New Zealand and the Division of Industrial Ergonomics, Department of Human Work Science, Luleå University of Technology in Luleå, Sweden, focused on carrying loads in both single and double strap styles of backpacks.
It was already known that carrying such heavy or military-moderate loads could compress the chest and restrict ventilation. The question the study posed focused on a concern much more pertinent to students and the general public at large: Will a smaller load (such as that carried by a college student) cause impairment?
Comparing the two types of backpacks, researchers concluded that a backpack carrying a load of 13 pounds could indeed produce a restriction on lung function, however mild. The impairment was found to be greater in individuals who carried a single strap backpack as opposed to the traditional double-harness style.
Things to Keep in Mind
If you do choose to carry a single strap backpack, bear these helpful points in mind.
- A loaded backpack shouldn't weigh more than 25 pounds (or exceed 15 percent of one's body weight).
- Wearing a heavy load solely on one side of the body (as with single strap backpacks) can result in neck, shoulder and back strain.
- Choose a single strap backpack with a wide, padded strap that is long enough to comfortably slip over the head and across the body. This helps distribute the weight slightly more evenly.
- Choose a backpack made of lightweight, comfortable material.
Practical Single Sling Backpacks
A backpack with a single strap, also known as a sling bag or a monostrap backpack, is especially popular among students. Individuals who have to carry backpacks for a greater period of time typically opt for a double-harness style because of weight distribution concerns, space (sling bags are generally smaller) and overall practicality.
However, there's a time and a place for everything, and many college students have opted for the ultra-casual style of the sling bag to carry their load across campus in style. Individuals who carry fewer books are especially fond of this style. The most practical sling bags are those that are lightweight, yet still functional. A savvy school bag should have plenty of interior pockets to keep small items organized, plus a separate zippered compartment for other essentials.
The sling bag market is fairly vast, particularly in this day and age when style is often favored over comfort. Many sling bags, however, have features like padding, ergonimic strap designs, and other features for comfort and ease of carrying.
Dozens of backpack and bag manufacturers carry sling backpacks, and the color combinations range from bright pinks and chartreuses to muted to casual denim to subtle greys, navies, and kahkis. Available brands of sling bags include:
- Tommy HIlfiger
- HIgh Sierra
- Nine West
- Lucky Brand
Since both sporty and fashion slings are available, you should have no problem finding the perfect sling backpack, whether it's going to be your go-to weekender or a school bag staple. Try one of these functional and stylish slings on for size:
AmeriBag Microfiber Healthy Back Bag
This extra-small size bag won't carry several classes' worth of books, but its slim shape and practical construction (it's made of water-resistant microfiber) make it an ideal choice for anyone who suffers from back problems. The bag's ergonomic design redistributes its center of gravity, resulting in less stress on the neck, shoulders and back.
Timberland Timber Kids Sling
Ideal for younger students who prefer this style, the Kids Sling features a wide, cushioned strap for maximum comfort. Constructed of nylon and accented with hints of leather, it's fully lined and offers plenty of storage and organization space.
High Sierra Daypacks Crush Backpack
This is about as practical and spacious a sling bag as a student could hope for. Its multi-pocket design includes a padded laptop sleeve (which holds a maximum 15 inch notebook computer), deluxe organizer for school supplies and a lined CD/MP3 player pocket with a headphone port.
Where to Purchase
Single sling backpacks are readily available at most stores that carry traditional backpacks. You'll find them online at: