Ergonomics of the Rucksack: Timing, Accessibility, and Mobility Considerations
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Military equipment is designed to protect and support soldiers in the operational environment, which can be highly stressful, hazardous, and extremely challenging. In addition to the rigorous training that soldier’s receive to operate under these conditions, they are also issued specialized equipment, spanning offensive, protective and supportive capabilities. It is critical that military equipment does not compound the stress that military personnel are likely to endure while deployed to a combat theatre. This paper examines the military rucksack as a crucial piece of equipment and the effects of rucksack design on the performance of military personnel. Specifically, we examine ergonomic factors of time, accessibility, and mobility which comparably have not received the same attention as other aspects such as load carriage and weight distribution. We report the results of three experimental studies with a group of participants designed to evaluate the drawbacks of current rucksack design from a human factors standpoint. Our results shed light on the most relevant problematic areas of current designs and the requirements for developing future more effective solutions.