Anatomy of a Backpack, The Definitive Guide of 2023

Written by Waleed

Backpacks are an essential part of everyday life for many people, whether they’re heading to school or taking a trip. Many of us search for the best backpacks with lots of pockets but ignore the anatomy of a backpack.

From zippers to shoulder straps, the anatomy of a backpack consists of many components. These components must be made of sturdy materials and designed for maximum comfort. A backpack with poorly-designed anatomy can lead to discomfort, which can make your journey not enjoyable at all.

Knowing the anatomy of a backpack is vital for understanding how backpacks are made and how to use them. This guide will provide a comprehensive look at the anatomy of a backpack, including the main components and features you should consider when selecting one. So, let’s get into it.

Parts of a Backpack

Parts of a Backpack

Before we go into the details, let’s first discuss the parts of a backpack. The following are the main parts of a backpack:

  • Main compartments
  • Additional pockets
  • Straps
  • Back
  • Accessory components

Main Compartment

Most of the backpacks come with several compartments. The main compartments of different backpacks are not always similar in size and shape. Separated compartments help organize various items and prevent them from getting jumbled up.

The main compartments are made of different materials and variable styles. Numerous people search for durable bags so they can hold heavy books, laptops, and clothes. If you also want a backpack that lasts for years, then you should look for a backpack that is made up of durable material, like polyester fabric. Nylon-made backpacks are also sturdy and durable, but they are not as much as polyester ones.

Dual laptop bags

Backpacks that have two or more compartments for keeping the laptop and books separate are also available in the market. While looking for a backpack to keep your laptop with other stuff, make sure to choose one that comes with a padded laptop compartment. A padded compartment can protect your laptop from getting scratches and dents. Have a look at our Best Dual Laptop Backpacks to get the best backpacks for laptops.

JCDOBEST Travel Laptop Backpack

JCDOBEST Travel Laptop Backpack offers High-quality polyester manufacturing that lasts for years. It also comes with spacious compartments that help you accommodate all your daily essentials.

Types of Compartment Openings

Various backpacks also have different types of compartments depending on their opening system. Compartment openings can be clamshell, splayed, roll top, drawing strings, lid, or central opening. Here is a brief overview of the compartment type each opening system offers:

  • A clamshell opening is also referred to as a suit-case style opening. It offers two large compartments ideal for packing your clothes and other bulkier items. It opens like a clam so you can easily access your items.
  • The splayed opening consists of various compartments, which offer various-sized pockets. You can easily find an area to store small items, like your charger and notebook.
  • Roll top opening is a type of compartment that provides one large and open main compartment. It is ideal for those who need a lot of space to fit their items but doesn’t want to worry about organizing them.
  • The lid opening offers one large pocket and a lid that can close off the top of the backpack. It is great for storing items that need to be kept secure, such as phones or cameras.
  • The drawing string opening consists of the main compartment that can be closed with the help of a drawstring. It is often used for backpacks meant for travel or outdoor adventures.
  • The central opening consists of two large compartments, making it easy to fit bulky items and organize smaller items. This type of compartment opening is great for anyone who needs to keep their items organized.

Additional Pockets

Additional Pockets

Apart from main compartments, backpacks have various pockets on their exterior to help you keep your necessary items at an arm’s distance. These pockets are of various types so that they can hold more or less a number of things. They also maintain a balance between weightlessness and functionality. Our Best Backpacks with lots of Pockets can help you get a backpack with multiple pockets. 

  • A hydration pouch on a backpack is a useful feature that you should look for. This pouch can hold water bottles or hydration bladders so that you don’t need to carry one more container.
  • There are also some backpacks that have a pocket on the hip belt so you can keep your snacks or mobile phones while enjoying hiking or other outdoor activities.
  • The sunglasses pocket on the backpack is another such pocket. It can hold sunglasses or other accessories, thus preventing them from getting lost while travelling.
  • Some backpacks also offer an anti-theft pocket to keep your important items safe.



Another important part of a backpack is the straps that help you carry the bag more easily. Backpacks are not always carried in your hand or in one arm only as they can be heavy to hold for long hours at once. While choosing a bag, make sure it comes with adjustable straps, so you can adjust the straps according to your size.

Various types of straps can help you on your way to school, the office, or hiking tracts.

  • Shoulder straps are the most common type of strap, and they can be found in almost all backpacks. They also help distribute weight evenly on both shoulders to prevent any discomfort while carrying a heavy load for long hours. Notice padding on shoulder straps because it is necessary to reduce the pressure on your shoulders.
  • Sternum straps help stabilize the backpack and fix it to your chest. It also helps in distributing weight more evenly on both shoulders by preventing shoulder straps from slipping off your shoulders.
  • Chest straps are also common to find in backpacks, but they can be seen mostly on women’s backpacks to help tighten the backpack around your chest and torso so that you don’t have to worry about it slipping off your shoulders.
  • The top grab handle is also a common type of strap that can be found in most backpacks. It is a useful feature to have as it allows you to lift the bag easily when placed on the ground.

Nike Hayward 2.0 Backpack

Nike Hayward 2.0 Backpack comes with adjustable shoulder straps that offer extra padding. Padding helps the user to carry it conveniently anywhere. 

Vera Bradley Recycled Lighten Up Backpack is another great backpack that comes with well-padded shoulder straps as well as adjustable chest straps. It also has a trolley sleeve so you can keep your backpack over your luggage handle.


The back of a backpack comes with breathable mesh, so it can keep your back free from sweating. This feature is especially useful in summer when you are carrying a heavy load on the backpack for long hours and need to wear more clothes due to the rising temperature outside.

While looking for the best backpack, check whether its frame has an aluminium or plastic sheet inserted into the back panel. It can be a useful feature to look for as it provides additional support and protection against sharp objects that may poke into your bag while carrying it on rough surfaces or when you need to carry heavy items in the backpack.

The padding of the back is also an essential feature as it provides protection to your back and prevents it from getting scratched.

Volher Laptop Backpack is an outstanding backpack that comes with a ventilated, mesh back. The back of this backpack also has elastic padding. 

Accessory Components

Besides the above-mentioned part, backpacks also come with some accessory components that help you on your way. Following are some of the accessory features:

Rain Cover

Rain covers are usually placed in the bottom compartment, and they can keep your backpack protected from getting wet. Some rain covers also have a roll-top closure that ensures water doesn’t enter your bag through any other opening when it is raining outside.

USB Port

Some backpacks come with a USB charging port to charge your electronic devices on the go. You can keep your mobile phones or small portable speakers charged while traveling as you don’t need to carry an extra cable and charger separately.

Gear Loops

Gear loops are usually found on the side of a backpack, and they can help you carry your hiking gear, like ice axes, hiking poles, and other tools.

Hip Belt

A hip belt is also placed on the waist of your backpack for additional support when carrying heavy loads in it. It prevents the backpack from bouncing much when you are running or walking up the steep road.

SAMIT Hiking Backpack comes with exceptional features. In addition to durable manufacturing, it offers a rain cover, hip belt, chest strap, and side strap buckles. It also offers hydration bladder access to make your hiking experience convenient. 

Final Words

By understanding the anatomy of a backpack, you can choose the right bag for your needs. Check the features, materials, and design of the backpack before making a purchase. Ensure that the straps are adjustable and padded and have a breathable back panel, USB charging port, gear loops, and maybe even a rain cover. With the right backpack, you can carry the necessary items while keeping your back comfortable and healthy.

A good backpack can serve you for many years. A wrong decision can give you backaches and make your journey inconvenient. So, research and choose the right backpack for a safe and comfortable trip. Good luck!


What are the parts of a backpack?

Backpacks typically consist of several parts, including the main compartment, internal organizational pockets, front pockets, side pockets, shoulder straps, and hardware. Some backpacks also come with a chest and waist strap for additional support.

How do you structure a backpack?

The main compartment of a backpack is typically used for bulkier items, such as textbooks. Internal organizational pockets can be used to store smaller items, such as pens and pencils. The front pocket is often used for quick access items like keys or a phone. Side pockets are perfect for holding water bottles or other items you may need quick access to. The shoulder straps should be adjusted for your body type and provide support for the backpack’s weight. Lastly, hardware like clips and buckles can be used to keep the backpack secure while you’re on the go.

The Ultimate Backpack Anatomy Guide

About the author


Waleed is the founder of The Bagshopes. My goal is to share in-depth information about backpacks on my website by traveling to various hiking locations and gaining knowledge firsthand.

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