Why Do My Shoulders Hurt After Backpacking?

By Robert Palmer

Backpacking is an activity that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. It provides a great way to explore the outdoors and get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

However, it can come with some discomfort and pain if not done properly. One common complaint among backpackers is shoulder pain after backpacking, which can be caused by a variety of factors.

The most common cause of shoulder pain after backpacking is due to carrying a heavy backpack. Backpacks are designed to be light but often times, people will pack too much into their bag, leading to excessive weight on the shoulders. This strain can cause the muscles in the shoulders to become tight and sore over time.

Poor posture is also a major factor in shoulder pain after backpacking. If a person does not maintain proper posture while walking or hiking with their backpack on, it can lead to back and shoulder strain as well as fatigue. Poor posture also increases the risk of developing long-term injuries such as rotator cuff tears.

Incorrectly adjusted straps are another major factor in shoulder pain after backpacking. If straps are too loose or too tight, they can cause discomfort in the shoulders due to uneven weight distribution. Additionally, straps should be adjusted regularly throughout the day so that they remain comfortable.

Finally, not taking regular breaks while backpacking can also contribute to shoulder pain. It is important to take frequent breaks throughout your hike so that your body has time to rest and recover from any strain it has experienced.


Shoulder pain after backpacking is a common complaint among hikers and can be caused by various factors such as carrying a heavy backpack, poor posture, incorrect straps adjustments, and not taking regular breaks. To prevent this from happening it is important for backpackers to ensure their packs are not overloaded, maintain good posture while walking or hiking with their backpack on, adjust their straps correctly throughout the day for comfortability purposes, and take regular breaks during their hikes.