So you know what type of backpack you want to buy. The next step is figuring out how to make sure your new pack fits properly. Fitting a backpack is easy if you know what measurements to take and what specifications to look for. Most manufacturers offer different sizes of packs usually designated by S/M/L or something similar. One thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter how tall you are, its all about torso length and hip size.
How to Determine Torso Length
Typically the length from those two points will be anywhere from 13″ to 20″ and up. These distances usually fall in these three categories. Another thing to determine (although not as important) is hip size. To determine this size take the measurement all the way around the body from the top of the hips. The only thing you need to look out for when it comes to hip size is that the padded portions of the hip belts do not touch.
Once you buy your backpack online, here are a couple tips for trying out your new backpack before you go hiking. Start by adding weight to your pack that would be similar to the amount that you will be carrying. Then make sure all of your straps are loose before you put it on. Put the pack on your shoulders and clip the hip belt and tighten the straps. Once your hipbelts are tight and are riding on the top of your hips, tighten the shoulder straps snugly. From there you need to clip and tighten any other straps that are on your new pack.
Break in your pack gradually by going on a number of short trips. By using your pack for short periods of time you will find how to best adjust your backpack so it is the most comfortable and won’t bother your hips and shoulders on a longer excursion.