Don't Whack the Back
For ergonomically sane backpacks and book bags, Whole Earth Provision has a selection that we found to be both kind to the spine as well as to the pocketbook. Prices range from as low as the high teens upward to reasonably low three-figures, in a rainbow of colors, offering an assortment of pockets, inserts, flaps, straps, padding, and other features. They carry (left) the traditional JanSport, as well as packs by Kelty, the North Face, and our faves (well, ours and the Swiss Army's), Victorinox. JanSport's LiveWire bag is a thoroughly modern pack that features umbilical cords that attach to specially sized holders for portable CD players and CD folders. Local high school student and Whole Earth clerk Anne M. (above) models the most ergo of the ergonomicals. The store carries both a JanSport style in black or taupe ($35) and the Healthy Back Bag brand in three sizes ($59-79).