16.5", middle of the range for the VaporKi-Short
Hey, its a slow day at work, and due to the time difference, this is my lunch hour! Take care.
Edit: The EagleCreek/GraniteGear choices boils down to a consideration of which features she must have (or really wants). You mentioned many requirements, above, but what about 1.Extension collar, 2.Panel loading, 3.A true internal frame(Tepex).. At GG you can get 2 and 3, or 1 and 2, but not all of them. EagleCreek gets you 2 only
Panel loading adds about 10ozs, and the Tepex frame set adds about 14ozs. Skip em both and you can have a VaporTrail with lid for 2.2lbs, or the forementioned VaporKi.
My girlfriend is also 5'3",40kg, a beginner at hiking. She already has a Montbell pack, but knowing what I know now after using my NimbusOzone, and if I could only buy one pack(!), I would definitely get her the VaporKi with optional belt pouch for camera, and optional lid for frequently used stuff. I dont know if youve seen one, but the 'short' models are very neat and compact considering the volume. Almost "cute".
This choice is so hard because you only let us recommend one pack.. most of us have a quiver of packs for various specialized uses..
Edit: Wow, I was just looking at the 'multiple views'of the ExplorerLT; that 'three in one travel shell' is brilliant. This is a tough choice.. depends maybe on the % of use for urban'travel' vs. backcountry 'backpacking'!