Chuck Palahniuk once said, “The things you own end up owning you.” It’s hard not to feel this way sometimes in modern life. There’s a lot of stuff that goes along with living in the 21st century. That’s why it’s such a relief to escape into the wilderness for a weekend, and live life out of a backpack. But if you’re backpack doesn’t fit quite right, your gear can leave you feeling owned. Here at Infuze, we can’t understate the importance of a properly fitting backpack. After all, you’ve got a lot to fit in there, including your Infuze Camelbak infuser. Read on to find out how to fit yourself for a backpack.
Measure Twice Pack Once
Many new backpackers are content to throw the nicest looking bag on their shoulders and then hit the trail. They find out pretty quickly that the bag doesn’t feel as cool as it looks when the straps start digging into their shoulders at mile one. A proper fitting backpack should fit comfortably on your frame whether it’s empty, or filled to bursting. The best way to get a great fitting pack is to see how you measure up in comparison to the pack. So grab a flexible tape measure and a buddy and get measuring!
Measuring Your Torso
Bend your neck down as if you’re looking at your muddy hiking boots. Reach back and feel the top of your spine. That first big knot that you feel is your seventh vertebra. Now take your other hand and push on your waist. If you’ve found what feels like a shelf, that’s the top of your iliac crest, the top of your hip bone. Wrap your hand around the top of your hip. Now, have your buddy measure from the seventh vertebra to your iliac crest. That number is the length of your torso. Many packs use this initial measurement in their size charts for packs, and it’s a good thing to have on hand when shopping.
Measuring Your Hips
Keep that tape measure nearby, and wrap it around the top of your waist. You already found your iliac crest, so make sure you’re measuring around that. This number is probably different than your pants waist size, so don’t panic. You’ll want to know this number too. Much of the pack’s weight will be distributed to your hips. A properly fitted waist belt can make sure that the weight doesn’t bruise your hips.
Prep Your Pack
It’s easy to throw on an empty bag, adjust some straps, jump around a little bit and then call it good. But for the best fitting pack possible, it’s important to put a few pounds worth of equipment in the bag. It could be anything from sleeping bags, rocks, a small dog, or even your Camelbak infuser. You want about 15-20 pounds worth of gear in there to simulate some real weight. Loosen the straps on the bag so that when you first put it on, the weight makes the bag hang off your body a little bit. This will give you a sense of how the weight is distributed across your body as you move with the pack.
Now it’s time to make sense of all those loose straps hanging everywhere. Reach for the shoulder straps that are hanging under your armpits. Pull down and back on them until the straps are snug against your shoulders. You should feel some weight hanging on your shoulders now, but not all of it. Next move to your hip belt. Move the belt until the padding is gently wrapped around the top of your waist, feel for that iliac crest again. Buckle the clasp, and pull the belt tight. The belt should feel snug, but shouldn’t pinch. Now reach up, or have your buddy lend you a hand, and find the load lifter straps at the top of your shoulders. These can be adjusted to bring the pack close to your body. Adjust them until they fit so that the pack’s weight is distributed across the shoulders, torso, and hips. Move the sternum strap that runs between your shoulder straps until it’s at a comfortable height. Tighten the sternum strap until it fits snugly across your chest.
Ready To Go
With your backpack properly fitted and adjusted, you’ll find that you can carry a lot of weight more comfortably than you first realized. You’ll also be able to adjust various straps on the fly as you hike, distributing the weight between your shoulders or hips as you see fit. Now that your pack is fitted, you can fit your Camelbak infuser to your shoulder strap. With Infuse, you’re ready to own the trails and own how much water flavoring you’re getting with each sip.