The best backpack for you is the one that fits you perfectly. And the key to finding the perfect pack is knowing how to fit it. Stay with us in this article about how to fit a backpack and take your time to find the right fit and you will definitely have a comfortable backpack to hit the trail.
Here in this article, we have gathered all the information step by step which you would need to know about how to fit your backpack after doing hours of research.
How to fit a backpack
Some professional tips will help you on your next hiking trip to pack your backpack properly.
1. Pick the right backpack:
If you don’t pick the right backpack, that means if the pack becomes too big or too small for you, then you will feel uncomfortable while carrying it throughout your hike and that would be awful.
So, what are the important factors you should consider while buying your new backpack? The most important thing that determines your backpack will be a good fit is its size, rather than color, capacity, weight, and features.
To find out which size best fits you, you need to measure your torso length first.
2. Measuring your torso:
Measuring your torso length is very easy and may take a few seconds. To measure your torso length you will need assistance from someone.
- At first tilt your head forward and have your assistant friend feel along the base of your neck for a bony protrusion or hump, which is the top of your torso length aka 7th cervical or C7 vertebra. And at the top of your hip bones aka iliac crest is the bottom of your torso length. Do you want to know an easy way to find this spot? Then, put your hands gently on your hips and it’s where your thumbs point to on your back.
- Have your assistant friend measure between these two points and this is your torso length.
Today’s hiking backpack has a recommended torso length. But you don’t have to worry because many backpacks offer shoulder harness that can help you to reposition it to fit your needs.
3. Sizes backpacks offers are:
Extra small: up to 15 ½ inches
Small: 16 to 17 ½ inches
Medium/ regular: 18 to 19 ½ inches
Larger/ tall: 20 inches and up
While shopping for a backpack, make sure the shoulder harness is in the right position for you. Then make adjustments and find the right setup which makes you feel comfortable. Found your right setup? Then keep it that way.
Fit your backpack properly:
Now that you have found a backpack, let us help you fit it properly for you. Make sure the shoulder harness is in the same position as you have bought, otherwise other adjustments won’t be able to compensate for it.
Before adjusting the straps and belts, put some weight in your backpack. This could be the amount you expect to carry on your hikes. At least aim for 20 lbs.
It does not matter what you put in the backpack, like shoes, clothes anything. Try to get the weight closer to what your backpack would feel like when you are actually hitting the trail as it will give you a better fit.
5. Loosen all the belts and straps:
Now, before putting on your backpack and loosen its straps and belts including the hip belt, shoulder straps, load lifters, and sternum strap.
6. Put your pack on:
Now, it is the perfect time to put your backpack on.
7. Fasten the hip belt:
Now that you have put the pack on, it’s time to secure it comfortably to your body.
At first, you have to tighten the hip belt. Fasten it in a way that it hugs the top of your hips or the iliac crest. Make sure the belt is not entirely above or below your hips and the top of the belt should be one inch above your iliac crest.
Don’t overtighten your hip belt. When you will feel that your hips are carrying most of your backpack’s weight that means you have done it correctly! Congratulations! Try moving around, you should feel comfortable and secure.
8. Tighten the shoulder straps:
Once your hip belt adjustment is done, now is the time to tighten the shoulder straps.
Pull down both ends of the straps until they are tight and secure.
If your pack is the correct size for you and the shoulder harness is in the right position then there won’t be a gap between your pack’s shoulder straps and your shoulders/ back.
9. Tighten the load lifters:
Load lifters are the short straps on top of your shoulder straps and they connect to a point on your pack slightly above shoulder level. After tightened, these straps should be at a 45-degree angle with the back panel.
If the angle is less than 30 degrees or more than 60 degrees then the backpack is not an ideal fit for you. Try not to pull the load lifters too tightly.
10. Fasten the sternum strap:
At last, we have come to the last step. Now the last job is to fasten the sternum strap. The sternum strap is the little strap that crosses your chest when fastened and provides extra security and balance on the trail. This strap keeps your shoulder straps in place and helps with the load distribution.
Congratulations! If you have finished all the above steps correctly, that means you have a perfectly fitted backpack now. Though you have fitted your backpack, but while in the trails you have to adjust its straps accordingly, but there is nothing to worry about that!
Everybody is different, so you will have to figure out what works best for you. Don’t forget to choose the backpack that fits you and has the features you need. You can check reviews of some packs on our website if you like. And also share with us if you have anything in mind that we might have missed!