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TPN Backpacks Part 1

Let’s just get right to it and say what we have all thought – the backpacks made for TPN that are provided to patients from home care are U.G.L.Y.

The Problem with Backpacks Made for TPN

If you’re on TPN a good backpack is essential if you don’t want to be stuck wearing a backpack that weighs you down, hurts your back, is awkward to wear, and doesn’t work for your lifestyle. This is especially important for those who infuse their TPN during the day when they are more mobile. 

The backpacks provided from Home Health Pharmacies are ugly but 

aside from that they:

  • can be extremely uncomfortable to wear.
  • are made of vinyl and plastic and have absolutely no padding. No padding in the straps means it can hurt to wear and/or weigh you down and no padding in the back can cause the backpack to feel awkward and very uncomfortable. I read a description about wearing backpacks that lack padding on the back that said to imagine a plastic grocery bag full of differently shaped groceries like fruit, boxes of cereal, and cans of soup and then think about wearing that on your back. If your backpack doesn't have a nice flat back with decent padding it can feel uncomfortable and awkward to wear like if you were wearing a plastic bag filled with groceries on your back but in this case you'd be feeling the TPN bag, pump, and everything else in your backpack up against your back instead of groceries.
  • are long and narrow so the weight isn’t up in the center of your back but more sitting at your lower back.
  • are hard and flat so that it does not match your bodies natural shape which could contribute to back pain.
  • only have enough room to fit your TPN stuff but no extra space if you also want to carry around a wallet, your phone, keys, and other personal items.

The positives to those backpacks are that they are made of materials that can be cleaned up easily which is nice because leaks will happen. They are also designed specifically for TPN so everything does have it’s place. Recently I did find one nice backpack that is specifically designed for HPN by ThriveRX if you want to check that out.

My Favorite Backpacks for TPN

Just about any standard sized backpack can be used for TPN with minimal effort. You may want to choose a more fashionable one for certain events and at other times comfort and practicality take center stage. 

I’ve done a lot of searching, trying-out, and wearing of backpacks for TPN and I’ve come up with 3 backpacks that are my favorite. They are definitely more expensive than I would normally spend for a backpack considering I like to get stuff like that at thrift stores but because I am on TPN long-term and at times I need to take it with me if I am traveling or at an event so I did want to get some quality packs for occasions like that. No matter your budget you can easily transform just about any backpack into one that can be used for HPN as long as the size can accommodate your stuff. I’ll be posting about how to transform any backpack into one for TPN soon. 

This is the first post in a series of 3

Women's REI Trail 25 Pack

REI upgraded from the version I have and sells this one in it’s place. I’ll start with the negatives first which are; it’s expensive, comes in limited colors, and is not very fashionable. 

With that said, this is the backpack I use the most and I think the price is worth it due to it’s quality. 

front view of my TPN backpack in color teal

What I Like:

  • Both the straps and back are made out of padded mesh. Having padded and adjustable straps will help the backpack sit in the right position so it reduces the strain on your back.
  • Has 3 outer pockets with zippers and one inner pocket with zippers. There are also 2 outer pockets without a zipper closure on each side.
  • Can fit all the medical supplies I need and still has room for personal items.
  • The backpack was made so that it can accommodate a hydration bladder so there is already a hook inside. The hook is a huge bonus because you won't have to sew in one yourself.
  • Made with contoured foam in the harness designed for the size and shapes of most biological women. What this means is that this backpack’s shape follows the natural arches of most female bodies helping to ensure no back pain.
  • Has waist and chest belts which helps add support so that you don’t feel the weight of the bag. The chest straps are adjustable so you can wear them higher or lower if you have a port or a hickman line and don’t want the straps touching it. I normally do not use these straps unless I am doing something that requires more moving around than usual. 

Final Thoughts

It’s not the most attractive backpack but it surpasses any other I’ve tried in comfort and functionality. It’s a great option when you need to do housework or any activity beyond being mostly sedentary.

*Update 2019: This is still my favorite TPN backpack and the one I use most. It has been great for travel because you can use it for other things aside from TPN. It can hold a lot of stuff! 


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