What’s the Best Type of Backpack for a Wheelchair User?

Aug 12, 2021

Anonymous asks, quote:

Hi! I’m an ambulatory wheelchair user and will be starting college soon. What kind of backpack do you recommend that would be able to hold textbooks? My chair has a higher back, so just wearing a normal backpack doesn’t work for me.

end quote.

I talk a lot about the best way to wear a bag in my response to What’s the Best Way to Wear a Backpack While Using a Wheelchair?

But to specifically address your need for a backpack to carry books in a high‐back wheelchair: there isn’t one. Trying to hang a bag full of 10lbs of textbooks off the back of your chair is only going to make you a tipping hazard, make it harder for you to push the chair and strain or damage the back of your chair.

Either carry the books in your lap or use something like an under-seat shelf or a catch-all.

If neither of those options work for you, I would recommend you get a classic messenger bag with an adjustable strap. Stabilize it by looping the body strap around your midsection and adjusting the straps so the bag portion stays in your lap while you push. That way, you can carry the extra weight in your lap without having to worry about keeping the bags balanced. Do not loop the strap around your neck. The last thing you need is a neck injury when the bag slips a bit and yanks your head with 10lbs of force.