2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

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

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
PAGE 1 2 3

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


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.

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."

May 04, 2012


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Ruined jacket in dryer
Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: SWest
Trailhead Register
Stick is fine
Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: eyebp

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions