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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.

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

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