How do I know if my backpack fits me correctly?

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After you have decided on the appropriate size backpack and done some research to find the brand and style backpack you want, its time to figure out what size fit you need. In order to find a properly fitting backpack you will need to do one of two things; measure yourself or go into a outdoor shop and have them size you.


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Measuring yourself at home is very doable, you will just need to enlist a friends help. The two measure meets you will need to take to find a properly sized backpack are your waist and torso length.

Torso Length
Backpacks tend come built into one of two ways. Some backpack manufactures size their backpacks in the traditional small, medium, large. These sizes cover a range of torso and waist sizes and offer some ability to fit the backpack to your specific size within that range. Other backpacks come in a one-size-fits-all but offer the ability to adjust the shoulder straps and waist belt to accommodate your specific size.

Waist Size
Your backpacks waist belt will be carrying about 80% of your backpacks weight. This means that a comfortable and well fitting waist belt is essential. Most waist belts can fit a variety of was it sizes in both extremes. That said, people with exceptional small waists may have a hard time finding a well fitting pack and may have to move to a small pack size. There are some backpacking manufactures that offer the ability to switch out waist belts that can help remedy this problem as well.

How do I measure myself for a backpack?

Torso Length

  1. Stand up straight and tilt your head down so that your chin almost touches your chest.
  2. Feel the back of your neck until you feel where you spine line sup with your shoulder blades. This is the top of your torso measurement.
  3. Run your hands down the sides of your rib cage until you find the top of your hip bones. The imaginary line that runs along the top of your hip bones is the bottom of your torso measurement.
  4. Keeping your hands in place, bring your head up and look forward.
  5. Have a friend measure the distance from the point in step 1 to the point in step 3. This measure meant is your torso length.

Waist Size
If your back is properly sized to your torso, it is unlikely that the waist belt won’t fit. If you do find yourself needing to measure your waist size, understand that this is not the same as your paint size. Your backpack was it belt sits hire on your hip than your pants do. So, if you need to measure your wait size, your tape measure should rest right at the top of your hip bone.

What advice do you having for sizing or buying a well fitting backpack?

Do you tend to measure yourself and shop mostly online? Or do you like to go to an outdoor store and have someone help fit you?

Personally, I have done both and they each come with their own sets of pros and cons. Most recently I sized myself and order a pack sight unseen off the internet. Lucky for me not only did it work out, but it might be the most comfortable backpack I have ever owned.

What about you? Share your comments and advice in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you have to share!

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