Hi everyone. First of all, I want to say that I've been lurking here for about a month and really appreciate all the advice I've already received from browsing the forum. Thanks for sharing your wisdom - it's great to hear from experienced backpackers. I wouldn't have even known to pay attention to gear weights if I didn't stumbled upon this site and I would have ended up with 40 lbs of gear to carry.
My question is about pack fitting. I fall within a half inch of fitting either the small or medium for the GoLite Quest, according to my mom's measurement. I bought both online to try, stuffed them both with my gear (packed them the same way each time with 25 lbs), and walked around with them on to see which fits better. I've traded back and forth several times on each and I can't really tell for certain which feels better. But I'm sure I would be able to tell after hours on the trail.
The hip pads on both fall on my hip bone, and the shoulder straps on both curve over the top of my shoulder towards my back, but more so on the small.
The small does feel more compact on my back and a bit more stable. The bottom of the pack rests on the small of my back, but I have to tighten the load lifter straps as far as they will go to get a good fit.
The medium feels a little more wobbly, especially around my shoulders, and when tightening the lifter straps enough to feel stable, the shoulder straps actually come up off my shoulders much more than on the small. The pack bottom rests on my bottom, just below the small of my back.
I'm wondering if the small fits better. It is a comfortable, snug fit. Is this what I want or will it feel too confining or restrictive after wearing it all day?
Thanks for your help.