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Best pack for a small woman
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(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Best pack for a small woman on 10/24/2009 19:01:34 MDT Print View

I've been trying to find a pack for my GF. We got a woman's Jam from Go Lite in a small and it did not fit her right. The hip belt did not transfer any weight to the hips and it was returned.

She is 5'1" and has a 15" long back.

She typically carries loads well under 20lbs, and more between 10 and 15. She needs volume between 20 and 30L. The volume of the Jam was perfect and she really liked the pack except for the poor fit.

We are looking for suggestions for packs to consider. She has looked at REI's Fash 30 and 50, but neither fits well, both of them are too big. She also tried a pack by Gregory, a pack by Osprey. None fit here well and all were too heavy, given the weight she carries. Adding, two to 3 pounds to her load simply doesnt make sense. trying to convey that to the REI employee helping us was a waste of time unfortunately. They progressively had her trying heavier and heavier packs.

My question Does any one make a woman specific pack under two pounds that would fit a petite, slender woman.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Best pack for a small woman on 10/24/2009 19:37:07 MDT Print View

Did you try a Gossamer Gear Miniposa, or something from ULA?

James Naphas
(naphas13) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Maybe a kid sized pack? on 10/24/2009 20:10:42 MDT Print View

MLD prophet comes in an extra small designed for folks 4'6" to 5'2", with 16" being the target back measurement. 13.7 oz frameless dyneema. I think gossamer gear packs come in a small which might work, but they don't have any in that size in stock now. The other obvious option is to get a custom-made one.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Best pack for a small woman on 10/24/2009 20:29:08 MDT Print View

If a pack fits and rides well, yes an extra lb *gasp* could be worth it.

Often in women specific packs the weight is in the hip belt, which is more padded and contoured than a similar man's version. The extra padding cuts down on hip owies down the trail - which come from rubbing.

If you go under 2 lbs you won't have good hip padding. As for can get many women specific packs in the 30L range for between 2 and 3 lbs. You just gotta really look, and no, you won't find them in the store.

At 5'1" with a 15" torso, that leaves your GF with a decent sized torso. Where is the packs tried on not fitting? (Reason why I say this, many women that short have smaller torsos, like a 14") Not all women's packs are even designed for under 15 1/2" torsos either. Many are 15 1/2" to 17". You need to look carefully on that, some are multiple sizes. As well, certain brands have smaller hipbelts (GoLite has very small ones) where as Dueter has larger ones but they also offer tinier torso fit.

You can still come under 3 lbs without issue.

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
"Best pack for a small woman" on 10/24/2009 20:52:06 MDT Print View


Thanks for the suggestions. We had a really nice, qualified REI employee helping us and making sure these packs were adjusted properly and that the fit was being evaluated correctly. The shoulder straps were often not sitting on the shoulders correctly and/or the waist belt were riding up to high and not carrying any weight. My GF is Asian and quite slender. She does not have very prominent hips and the waist belt and shoulder starps had to be tightened to the maximum in most cases to getthe pack fitting the best.

The Deuter pack she tried on fit the best but was also the heaviest. Next best fit was a kids pack. Both were over 2.5 pounds. They also had a huge amount of useless gizmos, pockets and extra zippers and compartments. We find it really shocking that you would have to use a 2.5 to 3 pds pack to carry a 10-15 pds load comfortably if you are a small woman. We were equally surprised at how poorly all these packs were fitting her.

We looked at the MLD xs pack online, but have a concern about the long process and possibility that the pack wont fit well after spending so much money on it. This has happened to me once already.

I'm tempted to dismiss the necessity of the waist belt with such a small load but I know I shouldnt.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Best pack for a small woman on 10/24/2009 21:37:25 MDT Print View

I can't imagine most of the cottage guys not letting you try on and return, if you let them know in advance.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
small pack GF on 10/24/2009 21:37:31 MDT Print View

I have seen women using the Granite Gear Vapor Trail.

The Vapor Ki is made for women:

Edited by rambler on 10/24/2009 21:41:02 MDT.

Christopher Graf
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
Best pack for a small woman on 10/25/2009 00:13:55 MDT Print View

Have you considered the internal frame Osprey Exos 34 in Small? I have a 16" torso and almost always use a short torso pack however I had to return the Exos 34 Small for a Regular....IMO, it seems to run on the small side.
If a frameless packs is sought, I'd go with either the MLD Prophet, Gossamer Gear Miniposa or Gorilla (can take out the external frame).


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: "Best pack for a small woman" on 10/25/2009 12:36:09 MDT Print View

No matter how slender or short a woman is, rarely does a kids pack work. PLEASE, don't look for that. They are cut for boys (unisex) versus any waist that a woman has.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Short Torso Pack on 10/25/2009 14:03:44 MDT Print View

My daughter is also about the same height - but has a 12.5-13" torso - and exactly the same fitting problem. (Are you SURE your GF's torso is 15" ? The REI person measured my daughter as 15.5, but after trying on several packs, and remeasuring much more carefully, we discovered why none of their packs fit).

Also, my wife and daughter are both very vocal about wanting less weight on the shoulders (even with 12-16 pound weights). So I wouldn't necessarily look at a light frame, and more padded hip + shoulder padding as useless weight. Also, if you're GF has prominent hips or has a very indented lower back, then she will probably end up needing a 2" inflateable pad to get a good night's sleep. So she may need a light frame to make up for the lack of the virtual frame you get from a closed cell foam pad.

ps: I still haven't found any packs in the 12.5-13" torso length for my daughter. I'm hoping something comes out for the 2010 season. If not, I'll probably have to make one myself. Does anyone know of anything available commercially ?

Edited by JohnG10 on 10/25/2009 14:05:53 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Weight Transfer on 10/25/2009 18:42:36 MDT Print View

If the womens Jam works good except it doesn't transfer enough weight to the hips, how about going even lighter and using the W's Jam? If you drop her pack weight under 10 lbs (ie. you carry more gear) then the weight transfer likely won't be an issue. I can't imagine 10lbs or less being an issue on her shoulders.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Weight Transfer on 10/25/2009 18:45:34 MDT Print View

It's still an issue for most women. Most women's shoulders aren't built to carry any weight, unlike their hips.

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Best pack for a small woman on 10/25/2009 19:20:20 MDT Print View

"Have you considered the internal frame Osprey Exos 34 in Small?"

We are expecting one delivered tomorrow which we had ordered at the same time as the Jam. Hoping this might fit better. Weight and volume are both what she is looking for, hoping the fit will work.

John Roan
(JRoan) - MLife

Locale: Vegas
Re: Re: Best pack for a small woman on 10/25/2009 20:25:48 MDT Print View

My wife uses a GG Miniposa and loves it. She's 5'2" tall and "short waisted" as the calls it.

I can say that how she loads it makes a huge difference. Weight must be carried close to the back and low, and it's very comfortable for her. If weight is too high or too far from her back, it doesn't work.

One thing you need to be sure of is to keep her pack weight low. Her base weight is around 6lbs, and her total pack weight averages around 10-12lbs (depending on water needs). This is mostly because I carry our two person tarp, ground cloth, and quilt. She carries her personal items plus our food, which diminishes quickly during the trip.


Edited by JRoan on 10/25/2009 20:29:43 MDT.