It is a snowy day here in washington...just absolutely gorgeous! Of course, being washingtonians, everyone is running scared! Having lived in the midwest, including Minnesota, I am loving it!!! Maverick: I hope to see gorgeous pictures from you!
So this thread is about backpack straps: I have long been told that padded waistbelt straps are absolutely crucial to carrying loads well. They distribute the weight between shoulder and hip, and avoid damage to the shoulders. I am NOT talking about serious hiking or weeks-long European tour backpacks. About a decade ago, I would be hard pressed to find backpacks that had a waist strap. Now, with our increased daily loads even--after all with the average laptop, charger, books, and accessories, not to mention coats, lunch etc--we all seem to have become mules of the world and carry an average of 15lb weights a day.
So this is a serious question to Tom: is there a reason (other than aesthetic) that you do not use even minimally padded waist belts even on a bag like the Brain Bag (large by all measures), or the Aeronaut? I can imagine that with all the new padding materials available, that you could easily design a 2inch neoprene padded waistbelt that would take the weight off the shoulder. As it currently stands, the waist straps are more "retainers" than anything else.
Maybe the whole "weight distribution" thing is an urban myth and sold to us by backpack makers. I don't trust our average marketing blitz. So Tom, I would really like to be educated about this.