In the News


The INNOVATION & EXCELLENCE AWARD 2018, Innovation in Specialist Travel Products

February, 2018 
BackTpack was awarded the CorporateLiveWire Innovation and Excellence Award for Specialty Travel 2018 and was recently featured in the Luxury Lifestyle Guide for its virtues of safety, ease and comfort while traveling. Read more...

International Travels Goods Show 2018

February, 2018 
Travel stores from around the world will learn about BackTpack at the International Travel Goods Show 2018 in Las Vegas, February 27-March 1. Learn more about the show...

The INNOVATION & EXCELLENCE AWARD 2018, sponsored by CorporateLiveWire

August, 2017 Innovation 2018 Logo Winner
BackTpack is the winner of the prestigious INNOVATION & EXCELLENCE AWARD 2018, sponsored by CorporateLiveWire! 27,000 nominations were put forth from 100,000 corporate professionals and the general public and an independent judging panel chose the most deserving teams in each category. We are winners of category Innovation in Specialist Travel Products. Award winners will be placed in the CorporateLiveWire Awards Winners’ Guide, which will be distributed to over 500,000 businesses and professionals, as well as being distributed in Airport Lounges around the world.

Presented Testimony for SJR 6

April, 2017 
Marilyn Miller von Foerster PT testified at the Public Hearing with the Oregon State Senate Committee on Education in February and presented testimony for SJR 6 the Oregon House of Representatives Committee on Education in March of 2017, regarding effective solutions to the problem that school backpacks have caused since they first were introduced as school bags in the 1970’s. Read the entire testimony...

Backpack Alternative Helps Posture & Comfort

April, 2017 | Inventors Digest  | Volume 33, Issue 04, pp 16-18
 "Slowly, Market Successes Take Weight off Inventor—backpack alternative helps posture, comfort, sheds light on ergonomics issue" by Don Debelak

Santa Dumps the Sack

If Santa Only Knew, He’d Upgrade That Sack!

December 4, 2016 | Blind Alive
Consider doing yourself a favor this year. Sack that suitcase and try a BackTpack on for size. And speaking of size, when they say one size fits most, this is indeed true. Read on...

BackTpack on TV Evening News!KATU logo

April 29, 2016 | By Stuart Tomlinson KATU News | Shifting the load: Study shows Salem inventor's backpack reduces strain, improves posture
SALEM, OR: KATU first highlighted the BackTpack back in 2009. The pack went through numerous designs, with the latest being the BackTpack 4. A recent study at Ball State University published in Gait & Posture journal, confirmed the science behind the design is solid. The company is a family affair, with design, testing, shipping and marketing handled by Marilyn, her husband Andreas, and son Nicholas, now a medical student at Oregon Health Sciences University.... Watch the Video on

BackTpack Featured on "Eyes-Free Fitness™ Podcast"

June 2015 | Eyes-Free Fitness™ Podcast
Marilyn, creator of BackTpack, shares her background, the origins and features of BackTpack, and how and why BackTpack works. She is interviewed by Mel Scott, owner of BlindAlive and the host of the Eyes-Free Fitness™ Podcast. This special podcast series is aimed toward the blind and low vision community on the road to fitness. Click to listen to the entire interview...

See BackTpack on TODAY's Best Spring Bags StoryToday Logo

March 21, 2014 | NBS News: Today
Kathie Lee and Hoda are joined by SHAPE Magazine editor-at-large, Bahar Takhtehchian, in the "Best Spring Bags" segment. Bahar talks BackTpack as part of the "best backpacks" portion of the segment, saying "So this is best backpacks for kids and adults. This one's pretty cool, it's from BackTpack. A physical therapist actually created this" ... "you're promoting good posture and it helps to relieve back pain. I think some of the camera guys might like this too." Kathie Lee added, "This is ingenious!" Watch the video below for the entire story....

If this video doesn't work in your browser, please go to Today's website. Foward to 2:45 to see only the BackTpack part...

Battle back pain with better posture

November 2012 | Statesman Journal
"Frequently chronic pain, especially back pain, is the result of years of poor posture habits. Miller Von Foerster is well-grounded in the science of proper posture with decades of expertise in physical therapy and rehab, built on top of formal education from Duke University." Read the complete article and view the related video.

?Demasiado peso sobre nuestras espaldas?

Septiembre-Cctubre 2011, n. 40 | "Crecer en familia" / "Viure"
Existe para cada uno, en funcion del desarrollo fisico y emocional, una carga adecuada: la que nos permite mantener el cuerpo alineado y en forma con ello, tambien la mente. Read the complete article.

IFC's PortlandiaBackTpack spotted on IFC's Portlandia!

Original Air Date 2/24/12 | IFC Network
Watch for a pink and orange BackTpack as Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein prepare for a hike in Forest Park in Portlandia segment, "Get the Gear". Watch the segment on Hulu.

Greenbaum's Sylvia Dorney: Ergonomic backpack fits this daily walker to a T

January/February 2012 | Willamette Woman of the Statesman Journal
"Carrying everything would be a chore for the average woman, but when Dorney saw the BackTpack two years ago at Quiltopia, she knew she had to have it for walking to work. It also comes in handy at market and when she travels, she says." Read the complete article.

BackTpack Featured on Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Blog

November 30, 2011 | +Blog
"This is a company doing something new. Marilyn Miller von Foerster is a physical therapist, dedicated to her field. Through her work, which focuses on prevention rather than treatment, she is an innovator in health and has now entered the arena of disaster preparedness.... 

American Physical Therapy AssociationAPTA Endorses BackTpack

February 9, 2007 | PRNewswire
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has endorsed the BackTpack(R), an innovative carrying system that uses the vertical force of gravity to ensure proper alignment of the skeleton, developed by physical therapist and APTA member Marilyn of... APTA Endorses BackTpack(R).

BackTpack featured in Statesman Journal, "Physical therapist has got your back"

July 9, 2011 |
Vern Miller, from what I've read, was quite the go-getter. The local surgeon turned mayor pushed to create a civic center, with city hall, public library and police station near downtown, and today that center bears his name.

He left a legacy of civic spirit that resulted in other improvements to the city, and never backed down in the face of opposition.

His daughter, Marilyn Miller von Foerster, has the same determination and passion for serving the community, but goes about it in a less public way.

"My father was a real public servant and inspired us to help when we knew we could do something," von Foerster said. "He would act for the well-being of people, and I think that's ingrained in me."

Von Foerster is a physical therapist whose mission is to promote back and spinal health. She created a carrying system called the BackTpack, which she refers to as a healthy alternative to a traditional backpack... Download the complete PDF article.

BackTpack featured on KATU Channel 2 and!KATU logo

August 6, 2009 | By Angelica Thornton KATU News and Staff | KATU Television
SALEM, OR: Because most children wear backpacks the wrong way and suffer pain, bad posture and injuries, Salem physical therapist Marilyn Miller Von Foerster redesigned a new school bag, called the BackTpack. The new backpack was tested on 40 middle school students who gave it favorable reviews. It went from about 68 percent of students with pain to 12 percent, just with the given load, said Miller Von Foerster. I asked if they stand or walk differently and about 80 percent said I stand straighter... Watch the Video on

GOOD Baggage. How to lighten your load and send back pain packingVegetarian Times Logo

September, 2007 | Vegetarian Times, Health/body section (pp 27-29) | Rianne Heffel

2009 Family Choice AwardFamily Choice Award given to BackTpack

Family Magazine Group - 2009
BackTpack has been selected as one of the winners of a 2009 Family Choice Awards (FCA). BackTpack was featured in the January issue of the following magazines: Los Angeles Family, Santa Clarita Family, South Bay Family, San Gabriel Family, and Ventura Family. Family Choice Award coverage is targeted directly to parents who seek the winners of these coveted awards as top recommendations for their buying decisions "from the source they trust most".

Family Review Center AwardBackTpack wins Gold Award from Family Review Center

Family Review Center - 2009
Family Review Center awards BackTpack with a Gold product award!

Exceptional Parent Magazine FeatureBackTpack featured in Exceptional Parent Magazine

Exceptional Parent
"The BackTpack carrying bag is designed to load on the spinal axis to improve and train good posture, body mechanics, balance, reduce pain, and provide ease and security while carrying everyday items. Features include a "sit strap" that allows the wearer to sit with the bag on while the load transfers off the shoulders and spine, a headphone port for ease in use of auditory equipment, a water bottle holder and multiple compartments on both sides. An optional hip loading accessory is available for those who should not have a spinal loading system." Exceptional Parent Article (PDF)

A Revolutionary Healthy School Bag at the WOU Bookstore

We have all heard about, and probably felt! the pain and injury of using a backpack for school, but there has been no good solution. A physical therapist/mom from West Salem has provided a healthy solution called BackTpack, recently endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association.
Instead of loading everything in one compartment on the back, the load is divided into two side bags so it centers over the axis of the skeleton balancing the load and strengthening the postural system to be tall and straight, as it is designed to function with gravity. The result is better posture, much less pain, ease of movement and access at all times. You can sit or ride a bike comfortably while wearing the BackTpack, with better balance on your bike.
WOU dance Professor, Sharon Oberst is eager to have her students as well as her daughter, train proper posture by using the BackTpack instead of the conventional school bags. You can view the study done on middle school students and more information on the website: Stop by the Bookstore and try one on with a book or two inside. You will feel the difference.

BackTpack Can Save Lives!

October 6, 2009
The article below points out the seriousness of treating back pain with medication rather than solving the mechanical cause by training proper posture and body mechanics.
The following statement was taken from the article "Drug deaths overtake traffic fatals in Oregon, 15 other states": which appeared in the
About half of the opiate medication deaths in King County, Wash., which includes Seattle, involved people who got their drugs through legal prescriptions, said Caleb Banta-Green, a University of Washington research scientist. There has been a dramatic change in how doctors prescribe opiates, Banta-Green said. In the 1990s, he said, doctors began recognizing that chronic pain was undertreated. The prescribing of painkillers escalated after that. Today, about one in five U.S. adults and one in 10 adolescents are prescribed an opiate each year, he said.

Persistent Pain may Accelerate Signs of Aging by Two to Three Decades

Younger people with pain look similar in terms of their disability to people who are two to three decades older without pain, according to a study published in this month's (Sept, '09) issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. The results of the study uncovered that people with pain develop the functional limitations classically associated with aging at much earlier ages.

News Article, "Back Pain? Then take a load off"Back pain? Then Take a Load Off

September 9, 2008 | The Orlando Sentinel
You haul 16 tons, and what do you get? If your answer is "back pain," the BackTpack is here to help. The weight in a regular backpack is all behind you, causing you to hunch over to compensate. In the long run, of course, that's bad news. Read the complete story on

Unusual Pack Saves Your Back

You haul 16 tons, and what do you get? If your answer is "back pain," the BackTpack is here to help. The weight in a regular backpack is all behind you, causing you to hunch over to compensate. In the long run, of course, that's bad news. Read the complete story on

An Alternative for the Conventional Backpack

May 25, 2008 | Ronnie Gill |
DOES IT WORK? Traveling can literally be a pain in the neck and back, the reason BackTpack was designed by a physical therapist. This alternative backpack, which is worn like a sleeveless jacket, has padded adjustable shoulder straps, adjustable chest and hip straps with front clip closures, and equal-size padded compartments on either side of the body.

Review of BackTpack

November/December, 2007 | Walk About Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 1, pg. 5
While trekking in Nepal in the early 80's, Marilyn von Foerster, owner of BackTpack, first learned how carrying systems affect posture. The elegant posture and movement of the Nepalese people made a strong impression on her as a physical therapist. She tried their tumpline system and was enlightened about her own movement!


March 1, 2005 | April Streeter | Sustainable Industries Magazine
It's not the load students carry, it's the way they are loaded, says Marilyn von Foerster, designer of a side-loading satchel called BackTpack. A physical therapist specializing in rehabilitating bad backs and fostering good posture and usage, von Foerster is convinced that backs were never designed to carry a nylon bag stuffed full of textbooks.