Oxygen Consumption and Blood Pressure Are Not Influenced by Use of a Backpack Hip Strap

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Introduction: Several studies have explored the effect of backpack carriage on physiologic responses while walking, but few have focused specifically on the influence of the use of a hip strap on these responses. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a backpack hip strap on physiologic responses when walking at a moderate intensity while carrying a backpack with a standardized relative load of 30% of the wearer's body mass. Methods: Twenty-three healthy, active participants carrying backpacks walked on a treadmill at a speed and grade that elicited 40-50% of their heart rate reserve. Participants completed 2 counterbalanced 30-min trials, one with the hip strap in the strapped condition and one with the hip strap unfastened. Metabolic, heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2) responses were recorded during both trials. For each variable, 5-min intervals were averaged at baseline, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 min. A repeated measures ANOVA test was used to evaluate the differences between the conditions at each time point. Data reported are the values from the final 5-min interval (30 min) and are reported as mean±SD. Results: No differences were found between strapped and unstrapped trials for oxygen consumption (strapped 21.9±4.2 mL·kg-1·min-1; unstrapped 22.0±4.4 mL·kg-1·min-1, P=0.842), Δmean arterial pressure (strapped +5±17 Δmm Hg; unstrapped +12±14 Δmm Hg, P=0.128) or muscle oxygen saturation of the quadriceps (strapped 86±15%; unstrapped 90±12%, P=0.359) and calf (strapped 73±19%; unstrapped 81±12%, P=0.888). Conclusions: These results suggest that wearing a hip strap does not influence physiologic responses up to 30 min of moderate intensity walking while carrying 30% of the wearer's mass.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWilderness and Environmental Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • energy costs
  • near infrared spectroscopy
  • physical work
  • physiology


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