How to Fit a Backpacking Pack || REI

hey everybody I'm Katie and I'm Miranda and we're gonna talk about how to fit

your pack for backpacking so you're always welcome to come into an REI store

and then have one of the experts there fit your pack for you whether you bought

it five years ago or you bought it that afternoon but if you're looking for some

tips on how to size and fit your pack when you're at home you're there

all right so the first place to start is size of the backpack what we're gonna do

here is fit a backpack for Miranda and backpack sizes go off of torso length so

we have two landmarks we're looking for number one is your iliac crest so right

at the top of your hip bones right below the squish you can set your hands right

on top of your bones if you go ahead and do that

that's your iliac crest and if you turn around for me Miranda you can draw a

line right between the iliac crests on either side to the middle of the spine

and that's going to be your first landmark the other landmark we're

looking for to measure torso size is if Miranda if you look down the c7

vertebrae which is the one that pops out when you put your chin to your chest

so you find it looking down but Miranda if you go ahead and look up you'll want

to make sure you measure with your head in a neutral position so between these

two landmarks right here we measure top to bottom and for Miranda her torso

length is 16 inches count it so with torso length there you can go

ahead and check the sizing charts for each backpack manufacturer on the REI

comm so now that you've used the sizing charts to find the right size of pack

it's time to get fitting on the pack so we're using Miranda's backpack today

let's go ahead and pop this up when you're first putting your backpack on

you want to make sure you have a little bit of weight in it 15 or 20 pounds is a

good approximation of how that pack is going to sit on you on the trail but

when you put the weight in close the backpack up and make sure you buckle it

close that that weight isn't running around on you while you're trying to

adjust everything the other thing is before we get to fitting the pack you're

gonna want to make sure all of the straps on the back end of the pack here

are all loosened up so that we can do that adjustment once it's on cool so now

that I have my pack on this is my personal pack so I know that it fits me

really well but if you're walking through a pack for the first time you're

going to want to start at the bottom of the pack and then work your way up with

the straps this is actually the best way to put your pack on every single time

you put it on your body so first thing we're going to start with is my hip belt

so I want to make sure that this hip belt and the padding is centered on my

hip bones I'm going to go ahead and buckle that

then tighten it down ideally when you're fitting a pack you want about 80% of

your weight on your hips so your legs are carrying most of the weight rather

than your shoulders carrying it so your hip belts probably need to be pretty

tight in order to do that the next step is to tighten your shoulder straps so

I'm gonna go ahead and grab these straps there we go and pull them down and back

and then hold too tight like that and then we'll do the load lifters so load

lifters are these straps here that basically pull the weight of the pack at

the top of the pack forward so you're not like careening backwards while

you're wearing the bag so we're gonna go and tighten those just a little bit just

a point where the weight starts to come forward but not so tight that it's

crunchy on your back like that and then the last step is your sternum strap so

the tendency of the sternum strap is to want to tighten it a whole bunch but you

actually just want this to be buckled closed and with a little bit of tension

on it just that you're pulling weight away from your shoulders again we're

looking for having about 80% of the weight on our hips so my legs are

carrying it rather than on my shoulders your legs are a heck of a lot stronger

than your shoulders are and you want to only 20% up here so that you're not

creating a bunch of tension in your shoulders now that I have the pack on

and fitting comfortably I'm gonna walk around for about 20 minutes or so this

is gonna give you a good idea of how the pack will feel on trail because if it

doesn't feel good after 20 minutes and we won't feel good after 10 miles so

that's kind of what we're looking for here obviously want the pack to be

comfortable but there are also some visual cues you can look for that will

help determine whether the pack is a right fit or not and Katie's going to

talk yeah you bet so if you're doing this at home you can have a friend look

for these or stand next to a mirror so that you can see them but if you take a

look up here you'll notice that the shoulder strap comes up and around

mirando shoulder and meats into the back of the backpack at this point about an

inch or two lower than the height of her shoulder here you'll also notice that

there's not too much of a gap between her actual shoulder and the strap there

the other thing you can look for is the angle of the load lifter straps so this

strap right here should be at about a 45 degree angle if that strap looks like

it's angled really steeply or super shallow it could be an indicator that

you need to adjust your torso within the size of your backpack so

some backpacks allow you to slide the torso component up or down by a little

bit even within one particular size and it's just more fine-tuning for you so

your backpack really feels good so those are some visual cues some other things

you can look out for our pressure points so if you have pressure points in the

front of your shoulders it probably means that your shoulder straps are too

tight loosen those if you get pressure points in the back it probably means

that your load lifters are too tight loosen those up there probably have some

fine-tuning on trail within the pack so don't be deterred by a little bit of

adjustment that needs to happen even within those first two twenty minutes

another thing to keep in mind is that while these measurements for torso

length are a really good barometer for what size you need you may have to do

additional adjustments within the pack so like Katie mentioned there are some

packs that have adjustable torso length but you can also swap out the hip belts

or the shoulder straps on some paint on some packs to get different sizes this

will just give you further adjustment as needed on the pack alright so you've got

your pack fit it's feeling pretty good on you one last thing to remember is

taking your pack off so remember when we were originally fitting it when we're

putting the pack on you buckle hip belt first and then move up to the shoulder

straps and onward when you take your pack off you're gonna go the exact

opposite direction so sternum strap gets unbuckled first shoulder straps get

loosened second hip belt gets loosened and then unbuckle it last it's a really

good idea to loosen your hip belt before you unbuckle it and that's just that

when you put the pack on you don't have to try and struggle with buckling it you

get a lot more pull from the straps and you do just trying to muscle it closed

if you have any other questions about backpacking especially how to pick a

pack you can check out our video here and if you haven't yet go ahead and hit

subscribe below and we'll see you later