Does the way I wear my backpack say something about my personality?

Slung on one shoulder or simply on the back? Here’s what your backpack wearing preference says about you.

I took a look at the physical and mental constraints of different backpack wearing styles and had some interesting findings.


6 ways we wear a backpack and our likely personality traits

1. Holding the top strap

If you enjoy holding your bag by its ‘neck’,  you are likely to be strong willed, imaginative and open minded. You may tend to be interested in what works for you, rather than what satisfies everybody.

Some strap holders could be empathetic with warm, influential tendencies.

2. Front

For those who cradle their backpack like a baby, you may have spontaneous tendencies mixed in with practicality. You may also be irreplaceable in times of crisis

Photo: Sarah Silverman

3. One shoulder

Shoulder slingers are likely to have an open minded, wild imagination. At the same time, you could be resilient and interested in finding your own solution to problems, even if it’s unpopular.

You also could be an influential personal with a warm vibe.

4. Classic on the back

If you keep your bag on traditionally you could be a hard working person who is able to stick to a plan. You may also be meticulous in your approach to problems.

For some standard backpack wearers, you could also highly practical and the person people go to in times of panic.

5. High on the back

If you like to high ride your backpack you’re likely to spontaneous but also great at making practical decisions in tough situations.

6. Low on the back

Low-riders can be warmly influential people with a colourful imagination and an empathetic attitude. If you wear your bag below the butt you could back yourself and your own methods in times of crisis.


Wearing preference vs Personality role

Turns out, each way you prefer to wear your bag various physical and social constraints. This influences you’re likely personality role.

Wearing style Physical constraints Social constraints Likely personality role
Holding the top strap Very loose Non-uniform
  • Analysts
  • Diplomats
Front Tight Non-uniform
  • Explorers
Classic on the back Tight (but good for posture) Uniform
  • Sentinels
  • Explorers
High on the back Tight (but good for posture) Non-uniform
  • Sentinels
Low on the back Loose Uniform
  • Analysts
  • Diplomats
One shoulder Loose Uniform
  • Analysts
  • Diplomats

What are personality roles?

The Myers Briggs personality tests determines our likely personality traits and splits them into 16 personality types. These 16 personality types can be grouped into two types of ways.

  1. Roles.

This is our personality based on our:

  • Goals
  • What we are interested in
  • Things we like to do
  1. Strategy

This is our personality based on:

  • The way we do things
  • How we achieve our goals

For this analysis I focused on Personality Roles.

The 4 types of personality roles

  1. Analysts
  2. Diplomats
  3. Sentinels
  4. Explorers

Common traits found in each Personality Role

Analysts Diplomats Sentinels Explorers
  • Strong willed
  • Imaginative
  • Open minded
  • Interested in what works  (for them) rather than what satisfies everybody
  • Imaginative
  • Empathetic
  • Warm influential
  • Highly practical
  • Hard working
  • Meticulous
  • Stricks to plans
  • Spontaneous
  • Practical
  • Irreplaceable in times of crisis

More likely to feel constrained: Analysts and Diplomats

The reason why ‘Analysts and Diplomats’ are most likely to feel constrained by layers of clothing (and a tighter uniform bag fit) is because of their tendencies to have a more open nature. They are against things locking them down.

Diplomats in particular prefer to see things from a different perspective e.g. what’s an acceptable look. Similarly, Analysts prefer to find unique solutions to problems.

The ‘Commander’ – a personality type that falls in the Analyst group – scored highest (%) when asked if they feel constrained from adding layers of clothing. Commanders are likely to enjoy looking stylish over being functional, and even more so if there are other people watching.

Less likely to feel constrained: Sentinels and Explorers

The reason why Sentinels and Explorers might prefer to add a layer of clothing in winter (or choose to wear a backpack in a traditional manner) is due to their tendency to see prioritising looks over being practical as both odd and pointless. At the furthest end of the spectrum, some Sentinels and Explorers may see:

  • Layers as protection for their body
  • Correct use of backpack as protection for their back posture

Wearing more than one layer of clothing makes you feel constrained.


How did I work this out? The juicy methodology

Now I’m not going to claim that this is as an in-depth research piece, but it’s also not a basic piece of bro-science either. I’ve done a ‘light’ statistical analysis.

If you are familiar with the ‘Myers Briggs’ Personality test, then you’ll know that there are 16 personality types, which can also be grouped into 4 types of ‘roles’

In recent study, posed this statement its readers

“Wearing more than one layer of clothing makes you feel constrained.”

When asked if they disagreed or agreed, here were the results – split by personality role. To simplify things I focused on the grouped results of roles:

Roles Analysts Diplomats Sentinels Explorers
Agree with statement 45.75% 43.37% 35.09% 38.01%

If want to get real detailed you can break it down further down by the 16 personality types


Type Agree?
Analysts Architects 43.00%
Logicians 45.13%
Commanders 47.64%
Debaters 45.83%
Diplomats Advocates 41.67%
Mediators 41.99%
Protagonists 43.94%
Campaigners 44.97%
Sentinels Logisticians 36.07%
Defenders 34.55%
Executives 38.40%
Consuls 33.62%
Explorers Virtuosos 40.09%
Adventurers 37.11%
Entrepreneurs 39.02%
Enterainters 37.31%

You read more about personality types on the 16 personalities website.

Wait, layers of clothing aren’t the same as bag

This is where my ‘analysis’ comes into play. I took these agreement rates for the statement “wearing more than one layer makes me feel constrained” and hypothesised what the likely backpack wearing preference would be. Here’s the matrix I developed:

Analysts Diplomats Sentinels Explorers
Agree (%) 45.75% 43.37% 35.09% 38.01%
Most likely to feel constrained More likely to feel constrained Least likely to feel constrained Less likely to feel constrained
Traits of the group
  • Open nature
  • Likes unorthodox solutions to problems
  • Open nature
  • Prefer to see the world from a different angle
  • Don’t like things standing in their way
  • See style as less important to functionality
  • See style as less important to functionality
  • Spontaneous but practical thinkers
Likely backpack wearing preference
  • Non-uniform style,
  • Loose fit
  • Non-uniform style
  • Loose fit
  • Tight fit
  • Uniform style
  • Uniform style or non-uniform
  • Tight fit
  • Holding the top strap
  • One shoulder
  • Back low
  • Holding the top strap
  • One shoulder
  • Back low
  • Classic back
  • Back high
  • Classic back
  • Back high
  • Front

Source: 16personalities and my intuition.

Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment 🙂

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