Get Your Ruck Tight!
(Part of a series of quick fixes.)
The rucksack carry (ruck) is often the first back carry people try – it’s single-layered, relatively quick and simple – on the face of it. Delve a bit deeper and it seems that lots of people abandon the ruck as being too hard, and go for more forgiving multi-layer carries instead.
So what makes a ruck go wrong? The most common complaint I hear about the ruck is that it pulls on the shoulders. The main causes of this are that the baby or child is being carried too low, and the wrap is too loose – often both at the same time!
Have a look at this photo of me and my son:
Aw, look at his wee smile! You can see though that he is sitting quite low on my back. His weight is literally hanging off my shoulders. It’s not a thin or diggy wrap (it’s a sturdy, well broken-in Didymos linen blend), but this would definitely dig in to my shoulders! I’ve just wrapped him a bit too low to be comfortable.
Here he is again in another ruck (a bit older this time- look how much our hair has grown!).
See how the top rail is both level with the top of my shoulders and level with the back of his neck? The wrap is tight across the top and the full width of the wrap is spreading the weight across my upper back – it’s not just my shoulders carrying the load here. He’s nearly 3 at this point and this single-layer carry is as comfortable as any.
As a general guideline, aim to get the top rail in a ruck level with your shoulders, parallel to the floor. If you’re struggling with picky shoulders, get up it nice and high and feel the difference! Of course, you may have shoulders of steel and like to have your ruck low down on your back, in which case, do carry on!
Oh, and if you really prefer to carry your child low on your back, there are other carries more naturally suited to this – the versatility of woven wraps for carrying babies and toddlers wins again! More on this coming soon…
Carry with confidence!