Last Updated on 28/02/2022
The Problem With Squeaky/Noisy Backpacks
When you are out enjoying the peace and quiet of nature, you don’t want to hear your backpack squeaking and creaking with every step you take. The sound is neither pleasant nor relaxing and seems to get louder the more you focus on it.
Squeaky backpacks aren’t just annoying for you, anyone walking with you will have to endure the squeak too. There are some solutions for fixing a creeky backpack but first, you have to diagnose where the sound is coming from,
Why is My Backpack Squeaking?
The most likely reason your backpack might be squeaking is that the fabric is rubbing against the frame and the friction is making a noise. Unless you have an ultralight backpack that doesn’t have a frame this is the problem nine times out of ten.
The next most likely culprits are the shoulder straps and suspension. The sponge padding inside can sometimes make a noise as it stretches or rubs against the outer shell.
Squeaking backpacks are more common when you have a heavy load or haven’t used the pack in a while but it can also be an issue that you encounter with new bags. If it isn’t the frame, it will most likely be something inside your bag that is making the noise.
Dealing With a Squeaky Backpack
Dealing with the constant creaking noise on your back can become annoying very quickly and there’s not much you can do about it on a hike. There is a saying that energy flows where attention goes and so the more you focus on the noise of your squeaky backpack the more you hear it.
You can try to ignore it which is easier if you are in a good mood and not moving up a steep incline. You can even use a squeak to keep your walking pace if you get into a good rhythm but that doesn’t do anything to stop the squeaking noise.
How to Fix a Squeaky Backpack
There are lots of different tricks you can try to stop your bag squeaking but the first thing you need to do is identify where the noise is coming from. Once you know this you can assess which of the following tips might work best.
If you can pinpoint the exact location the sound is coming from then you can try using a lubricant like silicone lube aerosol spray or WD-40. This is more of a short-term fix that will have to be reapplied every couple of uses.
Much like the lubricants, bowstring wax can be applied to the frame as well as to the fabric straps to reduce any friction and eliminate squeaks. When you do use bowstring wax it may need to be heated to get a more generous application and add suppleness and flexibility to noisy straps.
You can use medical tape or camo tape to wrap around the frame of your backpack which often reduces friction and stops the squeaking. If you know the noise is coming from a particular area like the bottom corner then you can just tape that section to see if has fixed it.
Many people advise that removing the frame and washing your backpack using soapy water in your bathtub is an old-school hack for preventing a squeaky pack. Some manufacturers recommend that you use DDW Soap which prevents odors from occurring after washing.
Sometimes a squeaky backpack can mean that straps need to be tightened or loosened to match the load and your body type. Making sure all the compression straps are fully tensioned and adjusting the waist and shoulder straps can help to stop annoying noises. Sometimes just by loosening a strap just a fraction, you can eliminate the backpack squeaking.
If you own an Osprey bag, I have heard of two people who have contacted Osprey customer services to successfully get their squeak fixed under warranty. I believe that they test the backpack to see where the sound is coming from and if it is the frame they add a special spray paint.
Osprey packs have notoriously good customer service and warranty cover but you may have some luck with other specialist backpack brands.
There are lots of things you can try to prevent your backpack from squeaking while hiking but it is often best to try them all to see which works best for you. Lubricants and wax are probably the most reliable fix that can be reapplied as and when needed. The most important step is to identify where the noise is actually coming from and what is causing it, only then can you stop the squeaking backpack.