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Where is the definitive pack measuring/fitting thread?
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Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Where is the definitive pack measuring/fitting thread? on 03/25/2011 22:28:06 MDT Print View

Everywhere I look I seem to find a different method for sizing and fitting packs. Is there a definitive thread or resource that tells and shows how to measure and fit frameless packs? For example, REI and Osprey tell you to measure to the iliac crest. McHale sez to measure to the very, very top of the crest. If you are overweight as I am, what feels like the top of the crest is probably the outermost protrusion!

I've tried search the BPL forums but "pack" is such a common word and BPL's search engine appears to automatically look at variants so I didn't get too much.

Edited by rutilate on 03/25/2011 22:30:52 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Where is the definitive pack measuring/fitting thread? on 03/25/2011 22:39:09 MDT Print View

If you mean 'singularly definitive' -- then no.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
try it on on 03/26/2011 00:04:29 MDT Print View

the only definitive way is to go try the packs on ...

just like shoes ...

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: try it on on 03/26/2011 00:48:56 MDT Print View

Yep, like Eric said, it's gotta feel right. There are about:


opinions about fit (equal to or less than the national debt figure listed above). Comfort trumps everything.

Personally, I like to have the hipbelt cradle my hipbones, and my pack's frame to support the weight on my hips. My shoulders are there just to keep the pack from falling off my back.

Edited by T.L. on 03/26/2011 00:51:13 MDT.

Aaron Reichow

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: Where is the definitive pack measuring/fitting thread? on 03/26/2011 07:05:14 MDT Print View

Not sure if there's a difference there- measure to the iliac crest.

If you're overweight such that finding your iliac crest is difficult, it is even more complicated. If you're measuring to the outermost protrusion your measuring too low, and your torso length will seem longer them it really is.

Best bet is getting a pack with an adjustable torso length until you get a good idea what your torso length is. Experiment until your find what fits and allows the most weight transfer. If you are using a torso length too long and testing weight on your joint rather than your hips it won't transfer weight as well and probably cause some pain.

Hipbelt design is important when out comes to fitting someone overweight. A tall, thin hipbelt like that on the ULA Circuit and Catalyst had worked the best. The split hipbelt on the Osprey Aether works well too, though the pack is beyond overkill. Granite Gear's belt is OK.

If you're SUL and don't need a hipbelt, torso length doesn't matter nearly as much.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Where is the definitive pack measuring/fitting thread? on 03/26/2011 08:20:50 MDT Print View

How important is it really for a frameless pack that will be hanging off your shoulders regardless? I don't believe it is as important as a framed pack where you are looking for weight transfer. The OP does mention that it is for frameless packs.

Aaron Reichow

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: Re: Where is the definitive pack measuring/fitting thread? on 03/26/2011 08:34:51 MDT Print View

Erm. Yeah, doesn't later much then. :) my bad!

Personal experience would say to err on the side of a larger torso size for a frameless pack where most weight is on the shoulders.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Where is the definitive pack measuring/fitting thread? on 03/26/2011 16:12:04 MDT Print View

Now that I own a perfectly fitted pack (McHale), the McHale measuring process was very interesting.

1. 7th cervical(to floor)
2. iliac-crest (to floor)
3. 1 minus 2 above = spine length
4. hip measurement circumference (waist 1" below iliac crest)
5. Elbow to floor measurement
6. chest girth (for shoulder pads)
7. neck size
8. waist size
9. inseam length
10. Degree of physical fitness

So when I got the demo, it seemed too long. Talking to Dan, he seemed more interested in #4-#10 than #1-#3. Those other measurements help him understand my entire body with reference to the pictures I sent. After several adjustments, I learned that I did not know how to properly adjust the stays, and after several adjustments, the pack fit perfect. What is interesting is that my spine has excessive curvature at the top, and adjusting to the curvature, really shortened the direct line measurement. How did he know this in selecting the demo pack without seeing any pictures of me? I sent pictures after the demo arrived. He also wanted me to hike several times with different amounts of weight, with pictures after each trip. He wanted to see pictures with the stays in max length and min length and was able to tell right away that I did not pull the pack material all the way tight in min mode, even though it makes only a 1" difference.

So why all this information? Because no off-the-shelf pack is going to fit well, unless you have the perfect average proportions the pack was designed for, and the maker truly knows how to construct a pack. Now if you have a total packed weight with everything under 10lbs it might not matter much (but I can tell you that even these weights with a little heavier properly fitted pack makes a big difference over 20 miles), it is not a big deal because you don't need much in the way of structure.

I have hiked many miles in the McHale Demo and my own McHale, with different loads and pack configurations. I have never had the slightest discomfort in my shoulders or hips after a long day hike or multi-day trip. The extra 2 or so pounds compared to all my other packs is well worth the weight "penalty;" and it is really not a penalty, it is pure joy now.

Mat Tallman
(wehtaM) - F

Locale: Midwest
pack fitting on 03/26/2011 16:27:41 MDT Print View

Where's the new guy from the "PLEASE READ" thread?

He's an expert pack fitter


Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: pack fitting on 03/26/2011 18:46:43 MDT Print View

No doubt!

Ahren the Packfitter, you're up!