How to Fit a Pack

How to Fit a Pack

Taking the time to choose the right pack size and properly adjust the straps for your body size is HUGE. It will save you many small (and large!) discomforts over the course of your expedition.

Choosing a Frame Size

To find your torso length, measure the space from the C7 vertebrae at the base of your neck to the small of your back. To find the small of your back, place your hands on your hips, with your thumbs pointed towards the small of your back. The spot you are pointing at with your thumbs is the correct place to measure from.

This section of your back you have just measured is where you want the load of your pack to align, which is why backpacks are made with different frame sizes to fit this space. Generally, if your torso length is less than 18 inches you will need a pack with a small frame. If your torso length is 18”-20” you will likely want a medium frame, and torso lengths of over 20” will generally need a large size frame.

Some packs come with adjustable frames, in which case all you need to do is adjust your frame to fit the length of your torso correctly.

Choosing a Belt Size

Your belt, while a bit easier to adjust than your pack’s frame, is the most important part of your pack, because it is the most responsible for how well the rest of the pack carries. Your waist size is the measurement of the circumference of your waist in line with your belly button. As a general rule, less than 28” is an extra-small belt size, 27”-31” is a small belt size, 30”-34” is a medium belt size, 33”-36” is a large belt size, and over 36” is an extra-large belt size.

A properly positioned hip-belt will wrap around your hips about an inch above and below your belly button, and wrap over the pelvic bones.

Other Things to Consider

Women’s packs are not extremely different from a unisex pack. Their key features are a more angled hip belt, a different positioning of the chest straps, and narrower shoulder straps. Depending on body type, some women prefer a unisex pack, and some teens or smaller-framed men fit into a women’s pack more comfortably than a unisex one.

If you have a broad chest or shoulders, you may want to look into shoulder strap options, to get a large enough size to properly wrap over and around each shoulder.

How to Adjust Your Pack

So, you have your pack. Now what? Click here for a step-by-step guide to adjusting your pack, and you’ll be on your way to a fun & comfortable expedition. Happy hiking!

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