BACKPACK SWEAT: TIPS ON SURVIVAL

By Dahlia Dandashi

Illustrations by Nathan Burgess

You’ve set your alarm an hour early. You look at your ceiling with arms outstretched. 9 a.m. in Austin never looked so good.

The forecast says no sun until 12 p.m. The weather app thinks it can fool you, but not anymore. You have become a professional at this.

It’s going to be hot as hell, so you prepare yourself accordingly. You look out your window, place your hands on your hips, and smile.

Today, you will not need to sprint to class.

Today, you will smell good once you reach your 11 a.m. lecture.

Today, you will NOT sweat.

You put on running shorts, a favorite white tee and your super stylish Nike Air Force 1s. You have some eggs for breakfast on your balcony and enjoy a little breeze. You think, well hey, today doesn’t seem so hot after all! You giggle to your breakfast as you take a bite.

You fill your bottle to the brim with ice and cold water. You grab your keys, wallet, cell phone and finally sling on your backpack. You have the necessary gear for success.

10:30 a.m.

The journey begins as planned. The sun has not yet made an appearance. It’s a little humid, but your calves are breathing — thanks to your shorts — as your feet happily lead the way.

10:35 a.m.

You continue forth on the sidewalk. You can see the sun slowly peeking beneath the clouds. It continues to vacillate, but does not make a grand appearance. You get antsy, but keep your cool.

10:37 a.m.

You are waiting at the crosswalk when it happens.

You feel it. Your SULA — sweaty upper lip alert — is breaking. Your armpits attack with no warning, perspiring profusely. You feel your back heating up like a stove, and you have officially transformed into a human microwave.

10:40 a.m.

It is then you realize it has been your backpack all along. It has betrayed you. It’s now time to take action, manage your perspiration and beat the heat.

Get a backpack that is a bright color

Everyone knows that the color black is a heat magnet. Do yourself a solid and buy a white or crazy neon colored backpack. People may look at you differently for walking around looking like a highlighter, but it’s better than people looking at you for smelling like a lifetime of B.O.

Avoid leather/faux leather bags

Do you want to melt away and die? No? Then step away from these bags. We know they look cute, and that everybody who works at Urban Outfitters owns one, but if you’re trying to avoid the heat, the easiest thing to do is avoid these leather death traps. Wear your faux leather backpack in the winter.

Throw away your polyester backpack

Polyester attracts nasty bacteria called Micrococcus. This bacteria flourishes on your polyester backpack and can make you and your backpack sweat stink more than usual. Polyester repels water, allowing sweat to build up and chill on the material. 

Check out backpacks with ‘ventilation’

Some bags in the market, like Osprey, Deuter or T-level, are specifically made for active lifestyles. These bags may be pricier, but if you’re willing to cough up the extra cash, you can save yourself from a lot of sweat. Look for the words ventilation, airscape or airspeed when you begin searching for your new backpack.  

Wear a fishnet backpack

You’ll look sexy and feel weightless. It’s a win-win situation.