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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2012

Rip & Equip: Backpacks

Finding a great fitting backpack is the key to happy backpacking. Plus, learn how to keep your pack looking and feeling like new.

by: Kristin Hostetter

PAGE 1 2 3


Measure Your Torso
>> Recruit a friend and find a soft tape measure.
>> Bow your head so the C7 vertebra at the base of your neck protrudes. This is the top of your
torso measurement.
>> Find your hips. Place your thumbs on your iliac crests­ (tops of hipbones). Draw an imaginary line across your back connecting your thumbs. The point where the line crosses your spine is the bottom of your torso.
>> Take the measurement. Have your friend measure from the top of your torso to the bottom. Most adults fall between 15 and 22 inches. For a video demo go to backpacker.com/torso.

What's Inside
Pack capacity is measured in liters or cubic inches. Multiply liters by sixty to get cubic inches–or use our chart to gauge real-world space.
Liters Cubic Inches Usage
20-40 1,221-2,441 Daytrip or overnight
50-70 3,051-4,272 Weekend or weeklong
80-100 4,882-6,102 Weeklong+ or family trips

Boost Comfort
Balance your load for a more comfortable fit—and to reduce wear and tear on your pack. Follow Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter’s tips for on-trail pack adjustments at backpacker.com/packstraps.
PAGE 1 2 3

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READERS COMMENTS

LARRY DAVIS
Jul 26, 2012

I'm an external frame pack enthusiast as well.
I was told if I tried a well fitting internal frame pack I'd never go back so I just bought one to try out on my trip in August. We will see.

Josh from PA
Jul 01, 2012

I'm an external frame pack junky. I would never again use an internal frame, for various reasons. My external frame packs do weigh a couple pounds more, but they also do more and carry more than internals. They also allow my bug sweaty back to breathe. Externals are more versatile. The extra weight suits me (I'm big, athletic, strong), and I understand smaller people need to account for every ounce. The faddish obsession with internal frame packs is weak and unfounded. Good advice would be "Pick a pack that suits your needs, physique, style, length of trip, purpose, etc.," instead of recommending only an internal frame pack.

Keith
May 07, 2012

The advice is all good, very good. However, some like me still prefer an external frame pack, although they seem to have fallen out of fashion.One's use of an external does not necessarily indicate being "old school," having a lack of knowledge, or being an "overpacker."

Anonymous
May 04, 2012

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