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4 Types of Comfortable Suspension Systems for Your Bags

What suspension system does your bag need?

By Vanquest Team

The right suspension is key to your carry comfort

When designing new packs we pay close attention to the suspension system, arguably the most important part of a pack. While materials and organization are important, the suspension system is what connects you to the bag. This is why we design comfortable and robust suspension systems for your bags from backpacks to messenger & sling bags.

What anchors you and your pack together are the frame, mesh back panel for ventilation, waist belt, load adjusters, and sternum straps. They work together to manage weight distribution effectively, creating a positive experience rather than fighting with your gear. The goal of suspension systems is to encourage natural movement while carrying your bag so you don’t notice the weight. Whether you’re running, climbing, or leisurely enjoying a hike, your suspension system has your back!

Messenger bag suspension for stability

Messenger bags don’t have formal suspension systems that use two shoulder straps, but to make the experience of carrying on a single shoulder as comfortable we include a stabilizer with our single shoulder packs. This lets you keep the bag in place, managing the movement of the pack and saving energy by not having to physically support it as you move.

Convertible sling backpack suspension for versatility

 KATARA-16 and JAVELIN-18 have convertible shoulder straps that combine a backpack and a single shoulder sling design to give you options. Contoured shoulder straps hug the body, opposed to a straight strap design. They come setup in backpack carry and can be easily converted to a sling pack, using the included sternum strap as a stabilizer keeps the pack secure. There is also a mild frame sheet for load carrying.

Everyday-size backpack suspension for comfort

 The TRIDENT-21 & TRIDENT-32 have a class leading suspension system shared with the IBEX-26. The back panel has a rigid frame allowing for weight distribution across your back and the padding is ventilated mesh with channels for breathability. The shoulder straps are contoured to offer a proper fit on the torso for additional comfort. Waist belts included with the TRIDENT-32 / IBEX-26 are substantially padded for heavier loads.

Large outdoor backpack suspension for heavy loads

When we bump up to larger backpacks like the IBEX-35 and MARKHOR-45, these packs get a little more technical with additional adjustment. The shoulder yoke remains contoured to hug the body. The yoke height is adjustable, giving you the ability to move the pack higher or lower to allow the waist belt to sit properly on your iliac crest (hips). This moves the weight to your hips and off your shoulders. The waist belt is constructed with a more rigid foam to make weight transfer efficient. A generously padded lumbar support holds the waist belt and with the adjustable yoke, can sit perfectly in the small of your back for optimal weight distribution. The back panel is vented and uses ventilated mesh once again to give breathability and reduce sweating. The frame sheet is made from Polycarbonate and runs from the top of the yoke adjustment to the bottom lumbar pad.

Load adjusters and side compression straps help bring the weight closer to your body, towards your spine and center of gravity. This makes the pack more comfortable and helps save energy by not having to work as hard to carry heavy loads. The sternum strap connects the shoulder straps together to keep the shoulder straps closer to the neck. Without this, the straps want to slide towards the outside of the shoulder which causes unnecessary fatigue.

Final thoughts…

You can see why suspension is an area we focus on. Without specific attention to this area of the bag, the pack will not be a comfortable solution. This requires a fair amount of testing and use, but it’s worth it when the final product can be worn and used rigorously for extended amounts of time. So, if you’re an office junkie with a messenger bag, or an avid hiker, our suspension systems are tailored for the packs and environment you can expect to use them in!

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