How Do I Stop My Shoulder From Hurting When Backpacking?

By Alice Nichols

Backpacking is a great way to explore the outdoors and challenge yourself. However, when you carry all of the necessities for your trip, it can sometimes be challenging to keep your shoulders in good shape. Many backpackers experience shoulder pain due to the weight of their pack, which can be exacerbated by poor posture or an improper fit. Thankfully, there are several measures you can take to prevent or reduce your shoulder pain while backpacking.

1. Choose the right pack. One of the most important things you can do when selecting a pack is to make sure it fits correctly. Your pack should sit snugly on your hips and not on your shoulders, as this will help evenly distribute the weight across both sides of your body. Additionally, look for a pack with adjustable straps that allow you to customize the fit and ensure optimal comfort.

2. Adjust your load. When packing for a trip, it’s important to think about what items are truly essential for the journey and limit yourself accordingly.

This helps reduce unnecessary weight and ensures you’re not carrying more than necessary on each side of your body. Additionally, consider placing heavier items closer to your back so they are better balanced and evenly distributed throughout the bag.

3. Practice proper posture. Maintaining proper posture while backpacking is essential in avoiding shoulder strain and discomfort over long periods of time.

Make sure that your shoulders are relaxed and not hunched forward as this can cause strain on muscles and joints in the neck, upper back, and shoulders over time. Additionally, engaging core muscles can help take some of the pressure off of your shoulders as well as improve balance and stability while walking with a heavy load.

4. Stretch regularly. Taking time throughout your journey to perform stretches designed for backpackers can help reduce tension in shoulder muscles caused by carrying a heavy load over long distances or up steep terrain. Examples include shoulder rolls, chest openers, neck rolls, arm circles, tricep stretches, etc., all which Target areas affected by backpack-related muscle strain and tension.

By following these steps you’ll be able to enjoy backpacking without worrying about sore shoulders! Remember that prevention is key – so make sure you choose the right sized pack with adjustable straps that fits comfortably against your hips; adjust loads accordingly; practice proper posture; stretch regularly; and don’t forget to take frequent breaks when needed.


By taking some simple preventative measures such as choosing a properly fitted backpack with adjustable straps or adjusting loads accordingly – along with practicing proper posture techniques – one should be able to avoid shoulder pain while out on their next backpacking journey! Don’t forget to stretch regularly throughout the day as well as take occasional breaks when needed!