When choosing a backpack it is essential to get the right fit. A good fitting pack can make the difference between a pack you use and a pack you love. The right fit is crucial for multi day trips but should not be overlooked for smaller daypacks.
The main components of a good fit are torso size and hip size. When choosing a pack size please note that your height does not determine your torso length. Let’s take a look at how to size a pack.
Measure Your Torso
Measuring your back is not easily done alone so grab a friend to help you with these next steps
1. Find the largest vertebrae at the base of your neck where your shoulders meet the base your neck. This is known as the C7 vertebrae, and can be found easily by tucking your chin to chest. After finding the C7 straighten out your neck to get an accurate measurement.
2. Put your hands on your iliac crest, the outermost point of your pelvis, like you’re holding a sassy pose. Have your friend finish measuring at the point where the tape crosses an imaginary line between your thumbs. The measure from your C7 and this imaginary line is your torso length.
3. If you are using string to measure torso length, lay the string flat and measure.
Now use this info to help choose the right torso size for your new pack. In general most companies size their packs similarly. While there might be slight variations, this is a general guide:
• Extra Small: Fits torso sizes up to 15 ½”
• Small: Fits torsos 16” to 17 ½’
• Medium / Regular: Fits torsos 18” to 19 ½”
• Large: Fits torso sizes 20” and over
If your torso length falls outside of these measurements not all is lost. Some manufacturers offer extra-large sizes and some have highly adjustable frames that can accommodate smaller torso sizes. If you fall in this category or have questions about sizing various brands feel free to call and talk to one of our specialists.
Finding Your Hip Size
First it is important to know if the pack you are getting has interchangeable hip belts. This is more common on larger packs. If this is not the case you will get the same belt size as the torso.
To find your hip size take your handy measuring device and wrap it around your hips where you can feel your iliac crest. The right fit for a hip belt is centered on your iliac crest with equal amounts above and below this point. Belt sizes generally go by small, medium and large.
• Small: 22” – 28”
• Medium: 28” -34”
• Large: 34” – 40”