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What size backpack for my Wife?
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David Spell
(spesrf25) - F
What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 08:06:57 MDT Print View

Since this post seemed to offend, I will delete my initial comments and and rethink how to ask the question not to offend anyone. I apologize for being insensitive. I was only trying to get some recommendations for packs for my significant other, not to appear sexist. I cannot delete the post, but kindly ask the moderators to delete it when possible. Thanks!

Edited by spesrf25 on 03/23/2011 16:09:47 MDT.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
A few observations on 03/23/2011 08:49:50 MDT Print View

First you need to determine your wife's torso size, which is measured from the top of the iliac crest (hipbone) to the top vertebra. Most pack manufacturers will indicate the proper size for their packs based upon this measurement. If you possibly can, ask her to try different sizes in a shop. Knowledgable personnel know how to size and tweak the packs in their inventory.

As to how much she'll carry, that depends on your hiking style (not all of us are SUL, even on this site)and itineraries (day hikes, weeklong treks, or something in between), your wife's strength and fitness levels, and how you split up food and common gear such as a tent or stove. I advise you to go easy on her at first - see how she likes hiking with a pack on a short hike with an easy bail-out. Be prepared to take some of her gear if she tires or the shoulder straps dig in or the weather turns bad. Or if she asks nicely.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 09:12:06 MDT Print View

If you are interested in ultralight, the Crestrail 70 probably isn't what you are looking for. You might want to read a little more here before making that purchase.

That aside, I would get your wife involved in the selection. Fitting a pack is like fitting shoes, with many variables, physical *and* perceptual. As to how much she will carry, only experience will tell, and how much she is interested and dedicated in backpacking. I guess you could look at gear lists from the female members here, but you will be looking at the results of years of experience and a keen interest in developing an UL kit. There are so many body types, ages, physical conditioning and the rest, that makes it a very general question.

If you are introducing anyone to hiking and backpacking, I would start with day hikes and graduate to simple overnight trips. People who are not used to the wilderness have a lot to take in at once: the physical exertion, bugs, fear of getting lost, wild animals, spending your first night on the ground in absolute darkness, and so on. Some are fascinated with the process, easy-going and flexible; others may be resistant to the idea and a "hard sell." Tread lightly!

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
cinderella on 03/23/2011 09:49:24 MDT Print View

go to rei, get her to try on any pack that fits ... stuff 20-30 lbs in there ... get her to walk around and go up and down the stairs

its like cinderella ... if the shoe fits ... shes the one!!!

and of course you can return it if it doesnt work out

hopefully itll be something that weighs less than 3 lbs

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 11:17:24 MDT Print View

OK, at the risk of sounding like a b*tch, I have to say this because I was more than somewhat taken back by your question: "For those of you who backpack with wives, how much do they typically carry and what size pack to they have?"


How about "For you WOMEN out there who backpack, how much do YOU carry and what size pack do YOU have?"

I could rant some more but I think you get my point.

Edited by DetroitTigerFan on 03/23/2011 11:19:00 MDT.

David Spell
(spesrf25) - F
Point Taken on 03/23/2011 11:24:17 MDT Print View

Point taken.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
let her decide that on 03/23/2011 11:36:01 MDT Print View

If you live near an REI take her in there and let her walk around with different packs with the max weight you think she will carry.

What one woman likes, may be severely uncomfortable for another. Case in point, when my wife was shopping for her pack, there was another women doing the same. They pretty much put weight in every single pack and just traded back and forth. The pack my wife bought, was the pack that the other women liked the least, and the pack the other woman bought was the pack my wife liked the least. I was kind of surprised as they had similar builds, but goes to show that you need to wear the pack with weight in it to know what is comfortable for you.

Her pack should be the last thing you buy. Buy everything else, then see how much volume it all takes up, and how much it all weighs. Then shop for packs that will hold everything, and carry them around with the amount of weight everything weighs.

All that being said, since you asked, my wife loves her Deuter ACT lite 60+10. I have the men's version as well. They definitely aren't Ultra light, but they'll carry a heavier load like a dream. They also have adjustable shoulder straps, so one size fits all, you don't have to worry about finding your torso length.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 11:41:21 MDT Print View

+1 Sumi!!!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 13:15:58 MDT Print View

Saw that coming :)

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 13:29:37 MDT Print View

And split the weight 50/ 50 or the ladies here will be mad

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 13:33:48 MDT Print View

Maybe we mis-read the post and he wants to carry his wife in the pack? MANLY, eh what?

[getting out my titanium potty trowel to dig a foxhole]

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 13:36:20 MDT Print View

Like the 'backpack for kids' thing! Ha yep

David Spell
(spesrf25) - F
RE: on 03/23/2011 13:40:25 MDT Print View

I did want to carry her, but now I will ask her to carry me. Thanks for the input everyone.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 14:08:16 MDT Print View

Just to clarify and I promise not to belabor the point any further than this. It really isn't about how much women are capable of carrying. It's about coming to a public forum like this and assuming that the people who might provide the best advice about appropriate backpacking gear for his wife would be other men "who backpack with their wives."

It's sort of asking for medical advice from people who play one on TV... ;)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 14:13:04 MDT Print View


Edited by ben2world on 03/23/2011 14:39:39 MDT.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/23/2011 23:08:05 MDT Print View

I know I always carry a slightly larger volume pack than I really need--so when my husband tires I can carry some of his gear for him. Sorry, couldn't resist, but, really: I plan the trip, dehydrate the food for FBC meals, organize all the gear and maps, and sometimes even load his pack; and carry at least half the weight. All he has to do is show up.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
HMMMM on 03/24/2011 07:29:37 MDT Print View

Hey Kimberly got a sister

Scott Johnson
(scottyjsr) - F

Locale: The GREAT pacific Northwest
Re: Re: What size backpack for my Wife? on 03/24/2011 10:39:06 MDT Print View

My wife acually got me into serious Backpacking quite a few years ago and the reason why I joined this site is that the gear that we owned was HEAVY HEAVY and too me it was alot of work... She is a small women and very athletic and has ran me into the ground.. Ive seen her carry 40 plus for days and I have ended up carrying more...Beacause we would have the tendency to bring the kitchen sick to share with others on the trips... So I am pleased to say finding this site to LIGHTEN the LOAD... I am thankful for this site and my wife for HELPING me enjoy this wonderful adventure! What I have been doing is watching and seeing what others carry and use for gear and WE am on OUR way to a lighter load... Thanks ALL

Mark Hudson
(vesteroid) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Sierras
total hooey on 03/24/2011 10:43:34 MDT Print View

Nothing at all wrong with your original question.

I came on here a few months back and asked what size pack and how much weight folks thought my 13 year old son could carry on a jmt hike. I didt get angry emails from kids or their organizations.

People have different strengths, in our marriage I am the planner and researcher, she simply wants to know what time to show up. On the other hand, she handles all our bills, in fact I haven't seen a paycheck in years and couldn't begin to tell you how much we have in the bank.

I can also say from a fitness perspective she can flat whip my but (although I can still run faster than she can when she is chasing me)

Maybe this is the way their relationship works for them, and maybe that wouldn't work in yours, but that doesn't mean either of you is wrong.

I see no need to come on a public forum and label someone as sexist.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: What size backpack for my Wife on 03/24/2011 11:21:27 MDT Print View

My wife first was happy with a Gregory Z pack (an older model), about 3 lbs. More recently she likes a 1.5 lb Golite Woman's Pinnacle. We like roomy packs...we can put bread and rehydrating food on top and it doesn't get squashed.