I was at crossfit one day and I noticed someone doing a workout in what looked like an army tactical vest. These tight fitting vests have weight plates on the front and back, totalling 5, 7 or 10kg. This distributes the added weight evenly around the torso, allowing for full, free-handed functional movement. This gave me a lightbulb moment, as one of the biggest bug bears of my festival days were getting sore shoulders from carrying a heavy bag and a bag in each hand. It really was an awkward mission getting to the pitch site.
I returned to the gym and begged the owner to let me borrow two vests and some weights for an experiment.
Some studio pals agreed to help me with research.
I borrowed a 10kg dumbell and weight vest, and a 6kg dumbell and weight vest. I asked groups of students to go for a walk around campus, firstly with a 6 or 10kg backpack on, then a 6 or 10kg weight vest. I asked them to tell me how it felt to carry each. EVERYONE said that the vest was much easier. Ben even commented that carrying the 10kg backpack reminded him of going to T in the Park, he said it was awful getting there, and yes he did abandon his things. He did comment that his friend had an expensive backpack that made it easier, as it distributed the weight more easily.