Backpacks in general fall into one of four categories: frameless, external frame, internal frame, and bodypack. A pack frame, when present, serves to support the pack and distribute the weight of its contents across the body more appropriately, by transferring much of the weight to the hips and legs. Most of the weight is therefore taken off the shoulders, reducing the chance of injury from shoulder strap pressure (many backpacks equipped solely with shoulder straps can affect the posture of a person carrying more than 14 kg (30 lbs)), as well as being less restrictive of the upper body range of motion. Most backpacks are capable of being closed with either a buckle mechanism, a zipper, or a dry-bag type closure, though a few models use a drawstring fitted with a cord lock for the main compartment.
A bodypack is a backpack fitted with one or more pockets that are suspended on the wearer's chest and loaded in such a way that the load in the front and the load in the back are close to equal. The majority of the load in a bodypack is carried by the hips. The ideal load carrying system should not disturb the wearer's natural posture, balance, and maneuverability. The load must be dispersed onto the skeletal structure in an even manner, and should not produce unbalanced forces on the body.