Why I Dislike Rolling Backpacks

January 30, 2011

As I was walking to my first final in the fall of 2010, I was very focused. I had my headphones on, listening to some music to pump me up for the final (possibly Talib Kwali but this is completely unimportant). I entered my law school, was looking forward and very focused on not forgetting certain parts of the UN Charter. All of a sudden I felt something at my feet and in slow motion I felt like I was falling forward. Luckily I regained my balance, but I looked down to see who and what the culprit of my almost-fall was. It was someone I didn’t know and their weapon of choice was a rolling backpack (sounds like the end of a game of “Clue”).

I think rolling backpacks are stupid. Really stupid. I remember when these things came out. I believe it was middle school, in the late 90s to early 2000s. Everyone had one. I remember thinking to myself, “These are stupid” (I then thought to myself, “I wonder if it is Domino’s pizza day in the cafeteria”). There was just no point. Sure, some people said that it would prevent scoliosis, and put less strain on your back. Others said it was easier to carry around. However, the negatives outweigh the positives here.

First, you take up double the space. These rolling backpacks have a long extended handle and trail behind you as you walk. I completely think rolling suitcases are fine because they weigh a lot and it is a lot easier than carrying it through an airport, but I’ve realized that you can’t walk normally with them. You are constantly concerned about it turning over or hitting the back of your legs. Now imagine something about 50 pounds lighter, much smaller, and with a smaller center of balance. I see kids having trouble walking with these things all the time. The worst part is, normally they are used in a crowded school, so not only does this inability to walk normally affect the user of the rolling backpack, but it affects everyone around him or her. I remember in middle school doing one of two things when I saw a rolling back pack: (1) Dodging them or (2) Kicking them and telling people to get normal backpacks. Now, I just dodge them because I’m not a complete dick anymore.

Second, you make every one’s life more difficult. Rolling backpacks are not easily transportable when you have a school with stairs. In middle school, we didn’t have an elevator, so you would always hear the constantly clunking of a backpack up stairs. Additionally, these things were not easy to carry up stairs so the person carrying it up (and by carrying, I mean dragging it up the stairs because a person with a rolling backpack, for some reason, refuses to actually pick up the backpack. I guess it would defeat the purpose) would inconvenience everyone behind this person. And we had four minutes to get to class! In law school, we have elevators, so we have one of two scenarios. The first, is the classic middle school scenario, except in my law school, the stairwells are narrower, so we can’t even attempt to go around this idiot. The second is when someone gets on the elevator instead. And most of the time, the person gets off at the second floor. If there is one thing that drives me crazy is when people use the elevator to go up one floor (side note: in college I broke my foot and my apartment was on the second floor. I used the stairs. If I could use the stairs with a broken foot, you could walk the 10 to 15 stairs up to the next floor). Add that together with a rolling backpack and I have to count to ten in my head before I say anything stupid.

Third, you look like an idiot. People in middle school looked like idiots, but when you are in between the ages of 0-12, you can look like an idiot and every one will just think it is cute (i.e. wearing sweat pants with holes in them to school. I think my brother did this until sophomore year of college). So, imagine how dumb a 12-year-old looks with a rolling backpack, then add 10 to 20 more years to him. So, this person is a foot taller, probably 50 pounds heavier, potentially gray-haired, and still with that same tiny backpack. It’s almost comical.

Fourth, I don’t believe fear of scoliosis outweighs fear of shoulder dislocation. Scoliosis doesn’t hurt. In fact, scoliosis used to be awesome when you were in grade school. You would get a doctor’s note saying that your back was uneven and the school would give you a second pair of books for your home so you didn’t have to carry them home. This is as opposed to shoulder dislocation, which hurts like a bitch. Why would you want to carry around 25 pounds of books with one arm fearing that someone will, by accident, run into your rolling backpack and potentially hit it so hard that your shoulder dislocates? I’ll take scoliosis. Also, for most of the normal people who carry books on their back, they don’t have back problems. I’ve been doing it for 18 years and I’m pretty sure I’m okay.

So this is why I hate rolling backpacks. If anyone could think of a valid reason for one, please comment. I’ll repost them if they are good. I just don’t see the point. They just inconvenience everyone and are a potential cock block to the person using it. Just get a normal Jansport.