In part one we discussed how to measure yourself or a friend to help choosing a properly sized pack. The next step in making sure the pack fits is to fill the pack with weight and adjust the straps.
When packing a backpack especially for long hikes you will want to make sure that the weight is distributed evenly so that when wearing the pack it is not top heavy. Here is a handy diagram for packing a backpack to ensure comfort.
Your most heaviest items such as water and food need to be packed so that they are the closest items to the middle of your back. Sleeping bag, clothes and lighter items are best packed furthest from your back. Also make sure that if you put weight on one side of the pack the other side has the same amount of weight. If your pack is heavier on one side you will notice that there is more weight on one shoulder strap than the other. Having a lopsided pack can cause shoulder pain, back strain and even muscle and joint discomfort in your hips and legs. Many gear shops will allow you to pack up a backpack full of weight bags or even test gear to help you find out if the pack you are looking at fits your frame and needs.
Before you put the backpack on your back make sure to loosen all of the straps. Hip belt strap, sternum strap, shoulders, load lifters and any other straps that you find. Put the pack on and you will instantly feel all of the weight on your shoulders. To get the pack seated properly on your back following these adjustment steps.
Step 1. Clip and adjust the waist belt.
Step 2. Adjust your shoulder straps to bring the pack up against your back.
Step 3. Clip and adjust the sternum strap.
Step 4. Locate the load lifter straps.
Step 5. Pull the load lifter straps out and down. This will shift the entire load from your hips to your shoulders.
Step 6. Release both load lifter strips until you feel the shift of weight from your shoulders to your hips. (There will be a noticeable shift if the pack has weight in it)
If you try to adjust the pack while empty, you will end up adjusting it again once pack it. It is also recommended that you adjust all of your straps before any big trip. However, it is not necessary to adjust the straps daily unless you find hot spots from the straps. As you use your pack more often you will learn and adjust to the pack’s quirks.
When you pack your backpackpack do you find you pack certain items in the same places all the time? What do you find works the best when packing your backpack?
Having a backpack that does not fit properly can potentially make any backpacking trip painful and not very fun. Today we are going to take a look at how to measure your torso and your waist to ensure a proper fit. All major retail stores and outfitters who specifically cater to outdoor sport like hiking and backpacking should know how to properly measure you. This may not be the case at every store and if you know the sizes you need you can make shopping for your next backpack a breeze.
To measure your torso you will need to first ask a friend or family member to help you. You also need a piece of string, shoelace, or a flexible measuring tape.
Step 1. Place your hand flat on your neck. Slide your hand down your neck until you find a bump. That is your C7 Vertebra.
Step 2. With your hands extend your thumb and pointer fingers to create an L in your left hand and a backwards L in your right hand. Place your “Ls” on your waist at your hip bones.
Step 3. Make sure you are standing up straight and lower your head to look at the floor.
Step 4. Have your friend place the measuring tape or string on your the C7 Vertebra and create a straight line down the middle of your back stopping where your thumbs meet. If you you are using a measuring tape have your friend tell you the number they measure. If you are using string or rope measure that with a ruler. That number will be your torso length.
Backpack Size Measurement Chart.
|Men’s and Women’s|
|Pack Size||Torso Length|
|Extra small||Up to 15½”|
|Small||16″ to 17½”|
|Medium/Regular||18″ to 19½”|
Using the string, rope, or measuring tape have your friend measure your waist making sure the measuring tool is going around your waste just above your hip bones.
Now that you know your measurements you can take that information to your local outfitter and try on some packs. Having the proper measurements to provide you with a proper fitting pack is key to comfort when on the trail. 80% of your pack weight will be transferred from your shoulders to your hips and if not sized correctly you will experience pain and could potentially harm your back with prolonged use.
In our next post we will discuss a few tips on how to get the pack feeling perfect for the trail.
While looking for something on Amazon.com I saw a recommended instant video. It happened to be Flip Flop Flippin. A documentary I had been wanting to find. I took at look and ended up renting it. From there I ended up going down this rabbit hole of videos and shows I could rent very cheaply. I also learned that if I had Amazon Prime account some of them are even free. Here are some of the videos that I put on my watch list.
Scott “Squatch” Herriott section-hiked the 2,650 mile-long Pacific Crest Trail and made four films about his adventures (“Walk” films available here at Amazon). Now he attempts to hike the entire 2,100+ mile-long Appalachian Trail in one hiking season while searching for the interesting, inspiring, sometimes whacked-out and always dirt-laden folk who make up the long-distance hiking community.
Runtime: 1 hour 26 minutes
Scott Herriott attempted to hike the entire 2,175 mile-long Appalachian Trail in one hiking season. While his film “Flip Flop Flippin'” was completed, he only ended up doing half of the trail due to injury. But the joy he experienced along with the wonderful and strange folk he met along the way, coupled with the desire to finish the trail, led him back for more interviews and shenanigins in 2012.
Runtime: 1hour 21 minutes
‘Trail Angels’ is an inspiring portrait of unsung heroes who have made it their quest to help the seasonal thru-hikers of the Appalachian Trail, a pilgrimage of five million footsteps.
Runtime: 1 hour 22 minutes
“One summer I set off alone in an attempt to cross a thousand miles of the most remote wilderness in America, the Brooks Range of northern Alaska. It was a journey of mountains and solitude, river crossings and rapids, mountain passes and gravel bars, wolves, grizzlies, and caribou.” Join the adventure with this documentary of an epic solo adventure across the trackless wilds of Alaska!
Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes
Beauty Beneath the Dirt follows the story of three young urbanites as they attempt to balance family, friendship, and personal happiness while hiking from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail.
Runtime: 1 hour 9 minutes
A group of artists hike the John Muir Trail & bring back their experiences. 219 miles in 25 days. Come laugh, limp, sing & walk with us.
Runtime: 1 hour 28 minutes
Scott Herriott, a self-proclaimed lazy***, had no desire to hike 2,658 miles (at least in the same calendar year). So, instead, he went out and interviewed those who were attempting to do so on the Pacific Crest Trail. Blisters and hilarity ensue.
Runtime: 1 hour 24 minutes
A profile of six pilgrims taking the Camino De Santiago pilgrimage through Spain.
Runtime: 1 hour 24 minutes
Australia’s most spectacular coastline is the setting for this very special documentary. A journey that conjures the beauty held deep within three remarkable people.
Runtime: 48 minutes
Las Peregrinas chronicles a group of first-time women pilgrims on their own individual journeys of self-discovery as they walk on the ancient pilgrimage route in Spain known as the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
Runtime: 1 hour 18 minutes
Even if we don’t get to climb and we just hike, I don’t care, I’m happy as long as we’re in the mountains. That’s what my friend told me a few days before we left for our first outdoor climbing trip. We were heading to the mountains of North Carolina with no knowledge of the climbing, other than what we’d scoped out online. No guidebook, no beta(information and advice about a particular climb) from friends, nothing.
After arriving in Asheville, we were smart enough to pop into the local outdoor store, get some beta about the area, and a guidebook for the bouldering at Rumbling Bald. 45 minutes later and we were at the trailhead, ready to get our hands on some real rock for the first time. We strapped on the backpack and crash pad and started trekking along the trail to the boulder field.
The first section was downhill that quickly turned into a quick uphill hike that lasted at least 15 minutes until we finally reached the boulder field. We climbed, hiked to different boulders, and repeated that process for three days straight.
At the end of our trip we had technically only climbed, but when I look back on it, I get the best of both worlds being a climber. I get to do what I love and climb, while also getting to hike. I mean the approaches to these climbing crags can be anywhere from a quick 5 minute stroll through the woods to a couple hours that allow adequate time to rethink the choice in climbing crags.
When you’re a climber, you realize that climbing and hiking are synonymous and you get to enjoy the best of both worlds at the same time. Sometimes the climbing even pales in comparison to the hike and the best part of the day is the hike.
Don’t tell my friends I said that!
About the Author: Justin Fricke is an office dweller by weekday and rock climber, hiker, surfer, cyclist, runner, and all around adventure junkie by night and weekend. The Weekend Warrior is where he keeps records of all his adventures, gear reviews, tips and tricks. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The Offpiste Ultra Pack is a new twist on old technologies. Backpacks have been around for years and have come a long way, but the Offpiste takes the backpack to a whole new level. This pack is extremely comfortable and easy to use. The coolest part of the pack is its ability to be adapted to the situation or activity you will be using it for.