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Pack Fitting 101: Daypack vs. Weekend Pack?

How should my daypack fit? Should it fit differently from my weekend or week-long pack?

Question:

How should my daypack fit? Should it fit differently from my weekend or week-long pack?

Submitted by - Stephen, Portland, OR

Answer:

The answer to this one is tricky: It should pretty much fit the same, but not really.

For starters, most daypacks come in one-size-fits all, whereas weekend and week-long packs come in either multiple torso lengths or have an adjustable torso length.

The reason is this: When you’re carrying heavier/multiple day loads (more than say 15 pounds) it starts to become paramount that you get your hips involved, and getting your hips involved requires:

a) A good-fitting, load-bearing hipbelt.

b) The ability to settle the weight onto that hipbelt.

With daypacks, the hipbelt’s purpose is not so much load support and load stability—it keeps the pack from flapping up and down or side-to-side on your back. That’s why daypack hipbelts are often just webbing and buckles or un-padded fabric panels, whereas bigger capacity packs have beefier, padded hipbelts.  

So to circle back to the question about daypack fit…The most important thing to focus on is the shoulder straps. Do they fit the contours of your body? Are they wide enough to distribute weight across them, but not so wide as to dig into your armpits? Is the padding comfortable? Are the shoulder pads long enough (they should extend down to the middle of your ribcage)?  

Also, look for a sternum strap (it stretches across the front of your chest from strap to strap to keep them from sliding off the shoulders) that adjusts up and down the straps for maximum comfort. This adjustability is particularly important for those of us with boobs. —KRISTIN

Check out the Video Tutorials below on how to size, fit, and buy your perfect pack

video icon VIDEO: What Kind of Pack is Right for You?

video icon VIDEO: Measure Your Torso

video icon VIDEO: Size and Fit a Pack

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