More and more you see backpacks advertised as having a backpack sternum strap, but what exactly is it? If you’re not sure if it is necessary or not, don’t worry as we will explain everything here.

What is a Sternum Strap on a Backpack?

Wear a Strap

A backpack with a chest strap provides extra support for backpackers. There are different designs, but basically, it is made up of a belt or strap which you wear while carrying the backpack. You can also use it similarly to a shoulder strap.  While some backpacks have these straps, others don’t, but most are designed to accept them.

Why You Must Use a Backpack with Sternum Strap?

Backpack Chest Strap

The primary reason to wear a chest strap for the backpack is it provides support for the rest of your body. As even long time backpackers will tell you, carrying a full backpack is going to put a lot of strain on your shoulders. By using a chest strap, you will be able to ease the pressure on your shoulders, essential when you’re trekking for long distances.

This claim might be hard to believe if you are new to backpacking: you feel strong and capable of carrying all that weight. However, the constant carrying of the backpack is going to take its toll eventually if you don’t carry it properly. Rather than wait for your body to hurt, it’s better to get a chest strap now and use it.

Most Popular Ones in the Market

If you look for a sternum strap backpack online you’re going to find a lot of options, but the following are most popular and well worth a look.


  • The Camelbak sternum strap is compatible with the standard ¾ webbing
  • It helps keep your load secure
  • Attaches to your shoulder straps for additional security
  • Easily adjustable
  • There is a quick-release buckle so you can take it on and off easily
  • Design makes it a good backpack sternum strap replacement


  • Can be used with different types of backpack shoulder straps
  • Constructed from super-strong nylon webbing
  • The straps can be easily adjusted
  • The straps have a snap-on, snap-off feature that makes attaching easy
  • Built for heavy-duty use, the straps keep even heavy loads stabilized


  • The straps are made from durable materials, as the nylon webbing holds up well
  • The straps are comfortable and keep your load balanced
  • Easy to adjust
  • Once installed correctly, your backpack will be secure
  • Compatible with backpack shoulder MOLLE sternum strap

Buying a Third Party Sternum Strap

Third Party Sample Strap

The importance of a sternum strap adjuster has led to its inclusion in many good backpacks, and in a way that is good because it saves you the trouble of buying one. But there are times when it is better to purchase a third-party adult or kids backpack with sternum strap.

List of top tactical backpacks with pre-built sternum straps.

There are many reasons for this, but basically what it comes down to is some of the pre-built sternum straps are not good enough. So there are third party options you can use instead. And there is also the fact that some of these backpacks don’t even have sternum straps, making it necessary to buy one.

In the next section, we will offer some tips to help you find the best possible chest straps, but in the meantime, we have to stress the importance of the material. These straps will be subjected to a lot of wear and tear.

Last but not least…

Another thing you have to consider is how well you receive the strap. Even though these straps look the same, their design varies and so the performance. This is where reviews will come in because they can help you get the maximum performance from the straps.

How to Install a Sternum Strap?

Tips to Buy the Best Backpack with Chest Strap

There are several things you need to consider, and it is not just the cost. First, make sure a reputable manufacturer makes the strap. The growing popularity of these straps has led to the development of all kinds of straps. Whether it is a Whistle Sternum strap or something else, make sure the brand is a trustworthy one.

Second, look at the features of the strap. These devices have a similar purpose, but their style and makeup vary, both of which affect performance and use. Here are some points to consider.

  • How secure is the strap to put on and remove? When you’re carrying a loaded backpack, the last thing you want is to mess around with the straps trying to get it on or removing it.
  • Adjustability: How easy are the straps to adjust? During the course of your treks and hikes, you will make adjustments to the straps, and a well-made sternum should not give you any problems. There are a lot of factors that you need to consider, and this is one of them.
  • Stability: One of the reasons why you’re using the straps is to provide extra stability, so make sure they work as advertised. If your backpack is only half full it will likely be fine, so test the straps with a full pack. Even if you don’t usually hike with a full backpack, it’s better to make sure the straps can handle it.
  • Comfort: The straps usually provide relief, so give the straps a try and if it makes any difference. Of course, people have different comfort levels, and what is comfy for one may not be for you.

A lot of these will require some testing, so make certain the straps you order have a money-back guarantee and a clear refund policy. In case the straps don’t fit you should be able to return them.


Whether you’re looking for an adult or toddler backpack with a chest strap, it’s important that you take the time to learn as much about the strap as you can. You can avoid a lot of potential mistakes if you just take the time to learn the features of a product, and that certainly applies here.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.

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