How To Fit A Backpack: Do You Know Your Torso Length?

The chances for screwing up at the start are high, knowing how to fit a backpack properly is the single best investment of your time. Then you can get to the awesome styles and pretty colors.

Most people think about their height first. This is a misconception. The real key to comfortable backpack wear depends on your torso length. Your legs don’t matter until you hit the trail.

Even tall six-footers can have short torso lengths, and hikers under six feet tall may have a long torso that requires a larger sized pack.

So measuring your mid-body length is the first step to hiking happiness.

After the torso measurement, you will learn how to wear a backpack by adjusting and fine tuning the backpack itself: hipbelts, shoulder straps, load lifters and sternum strap.

The following images and how-to videos were selected to show you how to fit a backpack.

Please take a few minutes to watch these instructional tips from the experts:

  • Proper Pack Positions
  • Torso Length and Hip Measurements
  • Backpack Adjustments
  • Wayne Gregory Instructions

Proper Pack Positions to Fit a Backpack

Getting started with the right pack positions makes all the difference between comfort and pain on the trail. Always follow the exact manufacturer’s instructions that come with your pack. For first-time pack buyers or anyone wanting to get a better fit from their current pack, try out these general tips and recommendations.

  • Loosen all straps, load lifters, stabilizer and waistbelt
  • Add 25 to 35 pounds of weight to the pack to simulate a hike
  • Wear the pack, tighten straps and waistbelt to avoid sliding
  • Walk around to test the feel of the pack on your back

Wearing the waistbelt high, not low, on your hip bones is preferable. Use your belly button as a guide as the place to put the belt buckle. A high waistbelt positions the frame better; whereas, a low position may restrict blood flow that leads to numbness, nerve pinching and muscle fatigue.

How To Pack A Backpack For Hiking Overnighters

Comfort starts with packing the load correctly. Follow these visual aids and advice to ensure your pack contents are placed in the most appropriate location. Pay attention to weight distribution to avoid the pack leaning away from your shoulders.

How To Pack For Overseas Travel

The key to how to pack a backpack for overseas travel is to go light if possible. This depends on which countries you visit, the seasons and climate changes and the availability of restocking along the way. Just remember that “Less is More Fun”

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