This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Approach to the Design of Shouldered Personal Load-Carrying Systems




Livaudais, Matthew

Type of Degree



Industrial Design


Shouldered load-carrying systems are all around us. While their use and design range from the common purse or school backpack to the more specialized drum line marching carrier, their main function remains the same: to help the user move an object from Point A to Point B. The use of such shoulder load-carrying systems results in thousands of injuries every year. Online forums, blogs, newsgroups, and print media have responded with several suggestions for avoiding these injuries when using shouldered load-carrying systems. These suggestions often go unnoticed, however, due to their limited perception of how the average user typically approaches their shouldered load-carrying systems. For instance, though many forums discuss the dangers in carrying a load on one shoulder, there are several backpacks currently on the market that are “sling style,” meaning that they are purposely designed to be carried on one shoulder. This is just one indication of the obvious disconnect that exists between the design and the user within the field of shouldered load-carrying systems. The goal of this research will be to offer an approach to designing shouldered load-carrying systems, by creating a set of strict guidelines and then applying these guidelines to the design of a shouldered load-carrying system in order to lower the chance of user injury.