Find one that fits your lifestyleand your frame
We recently evaluated 14 backpacks to find those with the best balance of fit, quality, comfort, and other features. We tested each backpack in a "tumbler" to see how well each would stand up to regular use (and possibly abuse). And we asked 35 panelists to test the backpacks for comfort, using them in ways that simulate movements an average person makes in a typical day—walking, running, going up and down stairs, and picking things up from the floor—while wearing each backpack. Because fit is so important, we sorted our Ratings, which are available to subscribers, by best-fitting packs for people of different heights. (See our Backpack shopping and fitting guide for more information.)
How the marketplace has changed
Sales of backpacks in the U.S. totaled $1.31 billion in 2008, according to the Travel Goods Association. And more than half of all backpacks purchased are for children under 17, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. Jansport has been the top-selling brand for at least 15 years, with L.L. Bean placing second.
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