SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
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.

BACKPACKER PHOTOS

Email this page RSS feed
User rating:
-

Beginner Basics: Fitting A Backpack

Even the best backpack isn't comfortable if you don't fit and adjust it correctly. To start: Pick a pack that's the proper gender and general size for you. For example: women's small or men's medium.
Photos by Jennifer Howe / howephoto.us
  • Step 1: Load the pack with about 20 pounds, then loosen the hipbelt, shoulder straps, hipbelt stabilizers, and load lifters.
  • Step 2: Put on the pack. Snug the hipbelt and shoulder straps slightly. Check to make sure the overall torso length is comfortable and shorten/ lengthen to taste.
  • Step 3: Properly sized, there should be no gap atop the shoulders, and the load lifter anchor point should be at collar-bone level.
  • Step 4: The hipbelt should sit over your pelvic bones.
  • Step 5: Once the basic torso length, hipbelt and shoulder strap length is dialed in, snug the hipbelt stabilizer straps.
  • Step 6: Snug the load lifter straps for a more stable load.
  • Step 7: Fasten the sternum strap. Position it properly between chest and collarbone level.
  • Step 8: If the sternum strap is too low, it will restrict chest expansion and breathing.
  • Step 9: When correct, it will keep the shoulder straps from slipping outward during scrambles, while letting you breathe deeply.
Step 1: Load the pack with about 20 pounds, then loosen the hipbelt, shoulder straps, hipbelt stabilizers, and load lifters.
Image 1 of 9

Step 1: Load the pack with about 20 pounds, then loosen the hipbelt, shoulder straps, hipbelt stabilizers, and load lifters.

READERS COMMENTS

Page 1

This is what I should have had when I first got my backpack .

Thanks.
— John B

Great little article as it helps remind us what things to visually check on our fellow hikers pack adjustments. It is easy to to get your own pack dialed in and easy to forget that your fellow hikers may not know how to adjust theirs properly. Use the Golden Rule!
— Wayne Hobbs

I was very impressed on the fitting a backpack article. Very well written.
— Mom

Keep a stiff upper lip
— Mom

Simple and accurate info. I think it's the first time I've seen the proper emphasis on the sternum strap location. Most other references tends to gloss over this very important point, or flat out get it wrong. Nicely done, Thanks.
— Old_Mountaineer

Who is this guy? I've seen him in a couple of tutorials that I've been reading in the past half hour or so, I like how thorough his tutorials are. Learned more than I would have watching TV that's for sure. I just ordered this magazine today I can't wait to read it.
— Bead_Ogg

Anybody guess what kind of pack that is? One picture has a little "m" by the hipbelt and the shoulder strap says something on it... Are those faux-leather shoulder straps?
— Irishman

3 and 4 are reversed. You need to get the hip belt in place first and then check the shoulder strap placement.
— GerryR


POST A COMMENT

Your Name:
Comment:
My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
GRAB THE AVATARS OF OUR PASSED FRIENDS
Posted On: Jul 11, 2014
Submitted By: TDale
Trailhead Register
My awesome July 4th Backpack: A trip report
Posted On: Jul 11, 2014
Submitted By: buddero

  1. How to Hang a Bear Bag--PCT Style

    This method is popular with ultralight thru-hikers and requires two materials ...
  2. How to Fit a Week's Gear into a Weekend Pack

    Don't own a massive pack for your big annual adventure? Here's how to make it ...
  3. The 10 Essentials

    The 10 essentials packing list was designed to ensure that hikers could a) ...

TIP 13: Train Heavy

Wearing a weighted pack on your training hikes burns more fat and builds stamina.

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 MyRockyMountainPark.com.

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:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions