The more and more, you see backpacks advertised as having a backpack sternum strap, but what exactly is it? If you’re unsure if it is necessary, 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 it is basically made up of a belt or strap 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 Must You Use a Backpack with Sternum Strap?

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

Backpack Chest Strap

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 backpack’s constant carrying will eventually take its toll if you don’t carry it properly. Rather than waiting for your body to hurt, getting a chest strap and using it is better.

How to Adjust a Sternum Strap?

Adjusting a sternum strap is essential in ensuring a comfortable and secure fit for your backpack. To achieve the optimal adjustment, follow these simple steps:

  1. First, put on the backpack and tighten the shoulder straps so the pack sits snugly against your back. Be careful not to overtighten, as this can cause discomfort.
  2. Next, locate the sternum strap, which should be positioned at approximately chest height. Slide it along the shoulder straps if necessary to adjust its height. Ideally, it should sit just below your collarbone.
  3. Connect the buckle of the sternum strap and gently tighten it. The strap should be snug but not overly tight. A good guideline is to ensure you can comfortably fit two fingers between the strap and your chest.
  4. Make additional adjustments to ensure the sternum strap is appropriately aligned and comfortable. The strap should be in a straight, horizontal line and not twisted or tilted.

Remember, the primary purpose of a sternum strap is to alleviate pressure from your shoulders and distribute the weight evenly across your chest. It should not cause discomfort or restrict your breathing. If you experience any issues, adjust the strap or consult an expert for advice.

Most Popular Ones in the Market

If you look for a sternum strap backpack online, you’ll find many options, but the following are the 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 a 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 does their 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. Make sure the brand is trustworthy, whether it is a Whistle Sternum strap or something else.

Second, look at the features of the strap. These devices have a similar purpose, but their style and makeup vary, affecting 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 strength, 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 ensure the straps can handle it.
  • Comfort: The straps usually provide relief, so try them if it makes any difference. Of course, people have different comfort levels, and what is comfy for one may not be for you.

Many of these will require testing, so make certain the straps you order have a money-back guarantee and a clear refund policy. If 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, you must take the time to learn as much about the strap as you can. You can avoid many potential mistakes if you just take the time to learn a product’s features, which 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.

Write A Comment