Last week I road-tested the Healthy Back Bag (HBB). I saw a brand new one up for auction on eBay, liked the look of it more than anything, wanted an alternative to my usual messenger bag or rucksack go-to options, and managed to get it for a fraction of the normal price.
As bags go it’s quite impressive. The well thought-through, ergonomic design makes it surprisingly comfortable. Essentially it’s the single strap alternative to a back pack; a rucksack that behaves like a messenger bag.
The HBB was developed by a chiropractor in collaboration with a leather craftsman and a doctor. They wanted to address the weight stress issues associated with carrying a single strap bag.
There is a genuine medical rational behind the distinctive teardrop shape of the HBB: the more places a bag touches the body when it is worn, the lighter it feels and then less it affects the posture adversely. The teardrop shape distributes weight across the back, hugging the back rather than pulling away from a point on the shoulder. This is what causes the characteristic hunched-up shoulder or crooked neck and spine you see when someone is carrying a conventional bag. Do this for any length of time and it starts to feel quite painful.
There are no rigid bits in or around The Healthy Back Bag either. It moulds to the shape of the body, which, combined with a non-slip strap, ensures the bag both contours the back and stays on the shoulder, however you wear it. I’ve been wearing it across the body, messenger-style which seems to distribute the weight of the bag better than just hanging it off one shoulder.
The inside of the HBB is just as intelligently designed as the outside. Unlike a rucksack, you can get into the bag easily without having to take it off. There is a two-way zip running along the length of the main compartment, which faces inwards. Convenient then as well as secure. Inside there are numerous pockets which help distribute the weight of your belongings evenly around the bag.
The Healthy Back Bag comes in five different sizes. Advice – go with one that is proportionate to your size, i.e. the length of your trunk, and small enough to discourage you from carrying around lots of things you don’t really need. Obviously the less stuff you carry with you, the less stress there will be on your body.
To get hold of a Healthy Back Bag you can buy online directly from HBB. Alternatively, try eBay where there are usually quite a few available to bid on or purchase via the buy it now option. If you’d prefer to see one in the flesh first, use the HBB website store locator to find the nearest shop to you. For those based in Clevedon, the nearest retailer is Shuropody at Cadbury Garden Centre, Congresbury.
To finish, here’s a favourite ‘back’ song. Looking at the posture of Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and Chris Thile, I’d say an ergonomically designed guitar is long overdue!