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Does This Pack Fit?
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Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Does This Pack Fit? on 07/13/2013 21:04:03 MDT Print View

I've no nearby store that carries the GG Crown pack, so had to order it online to examine. I don't have the experience to know whether the fit is correct or not. I've gotten the impression here on BPL that fitting the GG Crown is something of a lottery, but a good pack, if you're lucky and it fits. Can help?

Torso length probably between 18.5 and 19, depending.
(...19" by standard hands on hips, neck bent method)
(...between 18.5 and 19.5" using the McHale measure-to-floor method, but if neck bent, 1" longer than if looking straight ahead)
(...between 18 and 19" using the McHale elbow-to-floor method, for both straight and bent)

The GG Crown regular-sized pack advertises it fits torsos "from 18 to 21." Looks like I'd be on the lower end of the fit range. (Yet oddly, the load lifters would be more horizontal if my torso were longer! Puzzling.)

The top of my iliac crest feels to be about 1" below the top of the hip belt of the pack, when cinched up snugly.

The load lifters are maybe (?) 30 degrees? Maybe less? Should I expect more? It's not a tall pack. In the photo they are snugged up just lightly, not tight.

Base weight of pack is 13 lbs (no food/water in pack for this photo; internal contents not compacted much, either).

To more experienced eyes than mine, does this pack appear to fit?

Pack Fit of GG Crown

Edited by Bolster on 06/06/2014 22:21:36 MDT.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Does This Pack Fit? on 07/13/2013 22:17:32 MDT Print View

at 13# , sure it fits great !
if, at higher mass, the belt lets it drop down a bit more, then it may feel "too short". then things are nice and light, you stand a better chance of being able to keep the pack up nice and high where god intended it to be, and all is well.

once they start to droop down, then the pack hits your butt, which feels like it's cutting off the air to the legs.
you gonn'a have to load it up, go a long one, and see if when you are tired, hot , and bathed in sweat if it still stays up there.
you get fagged out near the end of a long day, you going to droop a bit too (gray hair ). it all adds up.

see where the straps touch your shoulders in back ? on me, that is a Very tender subject. much pain if they lay there over long miles.
with others, perhaps not so much.

bottom line :
to my eye, it's close to being too short. but since you already have it, this Needs a Long Hike !
one must really go out and try things to find out. even if you crash and burn, at least you bring back knowledge. this is always good.
this thing is a backpack. unfortunately, analysis means all but nothing, as almost nobody really, actually, for true, knows how they frikk'n work.


Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Does This Pack Fit? on 07/13/2013 23:18:34 MDT Print View

I would say you are at the top end of the range for that pack to fit, and with only 13 lbs in it it might sag if loaded more. OTOH, the next size up (if I read the GG website right) is 4" taller, which is going to be too big for you.

If I were fitting you for a pack (and I did sell packs for several years) I'd aim to have your iliac crest at the middle of the belt.

What weight range do you expect for your typical trip? If you're looking at 20-25 lbs I expect you;'ll be happy with this pack if it feels good now. If you expect to get up into the 30's much my suspicion is things will sag enough to make you wish it was taller. Try it with the kind of load you expect to carry and see how it feels.

Haven't seen that pack in person. Is there any adjustment in what I call the "point of departure" - where the lifter strap departs from the shoulder strap?

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Does This Pack Fit? on 07/13/2013 23:42:31 MDT Print View

What Paul said. It fits but it is on the far short end of the scale, and it is likely under certain circumstances to sag shorter, but is never going to suddenly expand - unless you trap some live marmots inside.

Most likely you could go to the next size up. All in all probably better to go a bit too long than a bit too short. Ideal is what feel best for you when you used it as you intend to use it. That said the "in-store" ideal for a lightweight load might be closer to vertical on the shoulder straps where they attach to the pack.

Hip belt where you personally like it, but if you tend to hitch it "in-store" higher than usual, then you really should go with the next size up. Whether or not this is a symptom of compensating for too short a pack, as Paul mentioned you will then be much more likely to discover some time during the day that it just slipped/sagged the a small distance from acceptable into the uncomfortable zone.

Edited by millonas on 07/13/2013 23:51:33 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Does This Pack Fit? on 07/13/2013 23:46:37 MDT Print View

"unless you traps some live marmots inside"

It would be far more entertaining to see it with live wolverines inside.


Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Does This Pack Fit? on 07/13/2013 23:52:51 MDT Print View

Marmots are easier on UL fabrics.

Nathan Coleman
Pack Fit on 07/14/2013 06:28:38 MDT Print View

As stated, the pack will be fine at light loads with that load lifter angle. It really isn't that hard to get a pack to be comfortable with light loads. As the load weights increase the difficulty of designing a comfortable pack increases as well.

John Holmes

Locale: SouthEastern US
Load it up, then check fit on 07/14/2013 07:50:21 MDT Print View

As mentioned by others, pretty much any pack will feel great at 13 lbs. What matters is how it feels with a representative (full) load, and most importantly knowing the limits of the packs usability.

I own 2 Granite Gear packs...a Crown VC Long and a Blaze AC Regular. I have a 21" torso measurement, and a base weight of 13-17 lbs depending on season. I love both packs...both fit me perfectly. Experience tells me:

The Crown VC is great to 25 lbs total weight. Above that the UL suspension starts to droop and sag and generally starts failing to do it's job.

Enter the Blaze AC. Good to 35-38 lbs. Awesome pack when extra water, long periods without re-supply or bear canisters are planned.

Hope this helps, and good luck finding your perfect pack(s)

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Thanks for analysis. on 07/15/2013 00:18:50 MDT Print View

Thanks for the analysis, folks. I can easily return the pack and have no problem doing so.

First a few answers to questions:

(a) In the photo, what may appear to be shoulder strap wrapped completely around the shoulder--the shadow hides the fact that the load lifters actually pull the shoulder straps off the back part of my shoulder about 1/2 inch in places. Contact is mostly from the top to the front of the shoulder. This may allay Peter’s concern of the straps touching my shoulders on the back.

(b) I was goofing with different pants positions during the photo, and in this photo had hiked my pants waaaay up to get the pants belt above the pack belt. So the top of the white pants in the photo doesn’t represent my actual beltline, which wants to be exactly in the same place as the middle of the pack’s hip-belt (darn it). My iliac crest is just below the point of my elbow--about 1 inch (or maybe a little more) below the top of the hip belt.

(c) Ttl pack weight for a typical 4-day would be about 25 lbs. For a 7-day trip (max for me) would be around 30 lbs. I have read many reports that this pack “poops out” around 30-35 lbs, (supposedly rated for 35 but most people report 30 is a better maximum), and I don’t expect to carry more than 30 with this pack. (I’d always use it with its somewhat floppy framesheet in place, never frameless).

(d) “Is there any adjustment in the point of departure--where the lifter strap departs from the shoulder strap?” No, there’s no adjustment at the lifter/shoulder strap junction, that’s sewn. The LL adjustment is a buckle near the top of the lifter at the top of the pack.

What are folks keying on, to make the diagnosis of pack-a-little-too-short? Is it the angle of the load lifters? I would like to learn how to make this diagnosis myself.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Pack Fit on 07/15/2013 17:10:43 MDT Print View

"As stated, the pack will be fine at light loads with that load lifter angle. "

Even the load lifter in the picture are at the low end of the sufficient angle so, yeah they are ok, but if it slips only an inch then the comfort could become an issue. And it's not just the distribution of weigh on the shoulders but als the amount the pack can potentially lean back.

IMHO he should try to find a torso size where with a very light weight the straps attach at or slightly above vertical, so if he ever wants to carry a much larger weight (but this should tested it if possible with that weight) the straps should attach higher on the back.

"What are folks keying on, to make the diagnosis of pack-a-little-too-short? "

I am keying on the place where the straps attach to your pack relative to the top of you shoulders. "Ideal" is for these to be straight back at the top, not as they usually tell you at the store, wrapped slightly around. Your ideal pack torso length would be a pack that does this with the load you want to carry and the way you actually wear your hip belt. It is basic geometry to a large extent - you want the pack to sit naturally close to your back and the best position for this is straight back, not up too much or down too much. In such a situation the load lifters act the way they are supposed to - to slightly tweak the curvature of the shoulder straps - not as a major crutch. In fact for light weight loads it might be better to ere on the side of too long as that will automatically put the weight mostly on your waist belt for more or a variety of torso lengths. I'm not saying it is easy to find such a perfect fit, but if you need to use you load lifters to get a comfortable carry then this may be a sign that your fit is a bit off. best thing is to try a longer pack.

Edited by millonas on 07/15/2013 17:21:08 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Pack Fit on 07/15/2013 18:01:43 MDT Print View

"I am keying on the place where the straps attach to your pack relative to the top of you shoulders. "Ideal" is for these to be straight back at the top, not as they usually tell you at the store, wrapped slightly around. Your ideal pack torso length would be a pack that does this with the load you want to carry and the way you actually wear your hip belt."

You mean like this?

pack strap

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Pack Fit on 07/15/2013 18:03:52 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/15/2013 14:57:58 MST.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Pack Fit on 07/15/2013 21:36:14 MDT Print View

Hey, is that Dick Kelty?!


Anyway, I also agree with Mark that it "appears" that the pack (in your photo) is a tiny bit too small. In my recollection (of fitting zillions of packs for many years back in the 90's) that load lifters would ideally be situated at a 45 degree angle, and begin somewhere further down toward the front of shoulder. This is so the lifters have the "opportunity" to evenly distribute both the downward and rearward thrust of the pack while you walk. If the lifters start toward the front of the shoulder, it allows for the force to be better absorbed on the front of the shoulder, not on the top. (I also admit that a lot has changed in 20 years, so each pack manufacturer may have their own specific recommendations.

I do remember that a lot of people trying out their new internal frames would typically complain of a stiff neck. This is usually due to this particular force hitting more on the top of the shoulder, not the front. I believe this is due to the following:

1) Putting the pack on with a loose hip belt, but with tightened shoulder, sternum, and load lifting straps
2) yanking down on the load lifters, before properly tightening the shoulder straps.
3) yanking on the sternum strap - something which is really only designed to keep the straps from falling off your shoulders, nothing more. When the sternum strap is pulled too tight, the shoulder straps shift more toward your neck, and target the trapezius, a muscle I suspect not really designed to absorb repetitive downward thrust.

In general, finding the right pack that fits is no different then finding the right shoe that fits. Some packs will not feel right, no matter how hard you try. Sadly, this may take a few months and fifty miles before you conclude this.

On the other hand, I always suggested people to think of the adjustments on an internal frame like manual transmission in a car. On the trail, you may find yourself raising the pack a bit higher on your lumbar, tightening the belt, loosening the shoulder straps, unhooking the sternum strap... etc. It boils down to whatever your body "tells" you to do.


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Re: Pack Fit on 07/15/2013 21:44:34 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/15/2013 14:58:30 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pack Fit on 07/15/2013 21:46:03 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/15/2013 15:00:37 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Pack Fitting as Artform! on 07/15/2013 22:30:35 MDT Print View

I’m very grateful (and somewhat abashed) for the analysis and discussion, folks. Thank you. This outpouring of experience and wisdom for a newcomer to BPL like me. (Matt's analysis of neck pain very interesting!)

Pack fitting must be a voodoo art. It’s really confusing to me. For example, consider that:

(1) The mfgr says the GG Crown fits 18-21. I am 18.5-19, meaning I’m within the stated range, but in the smaller end of the range, indicating the pack is perhaps a little *large* for me. But maybe the mfgr is being optimistic with the range.

(2) The pack hip belt seems to “want” to fit me so my iliac crest is about 1” from the top. Ideally the crest would be right in the middle of the hip belt, with crest about 2” from the top of the belt. The hip belt being further away from the shoulder straps than ideal (ie, the crest hitting high in the belt) would indicate a pack that’s on the large size--ie, the belt and shoulder straps should be closer together.

(3) Researching BPL, I found one owner of the Crown who reported a 19.5 torso (inch longer than me) and he reported the pack fit him well. I know that’s anecdotal, but if I use that as a datapoint, I could tentatively conclude size of pack is somewhere between “close enough to too large” but with this single datapoint it would be difficult to conclude "too small."

(4) When I load the pack with 27 lbs and take a short hike, it seems I get more weight on hips than on shoulders--the hotspot is in the lower spine above tailbone area, possibly thanks to this silly (well, silly to me) venting system on the backside that concentrates weight into small areas of padding. More weight on hips than shoulders generally warns of a pack that may be too large.

>>> All of the above would indicate that if the pack doesn’t fit, it falls on the side of being a little too large for me. Yet the consensus in this thread is solidly the opposite, that the pack is, if anything, too small for me. (If it’s too small for me with a torso of around 19, what’s it like for someone with a torso of 21--which is in the advertised range of fit? How much will the shoulder straps wrap on that guy? How level or even inverted the load lifters?)

Then I found one BPL report where an owner says: “I have the crown vc and it is an extremely comfortable pack for me. If the top of the frame sheet is just above your shoulders when you seat the hip belt where you like it the frame is the right length. The shoulder straps should just wrap over the top of your shoulders where it connects to the pack.”

That would seem pretty similar to my fit. The top of the framesheet sits about 2” above my shoulders and 1” below the bottom of my ears (when loaded with a near-max of 27 lbs). I don’t know how much “just” means for ideal wrap-over; on me the wrap-over is roughly 1” when I put a straight edge across my shoulder and measure to the attachment point of the shoulder strap. But if the pack sits “just above your shoulders,” it is likely the back-wrap of the shoulder straps will be an inch or two.

Another BPL poster says: “I doubt you will ever get a 45 deg angle on the load lifters on that particular pack [Crown]. The load lifter angle varies a lot pack to pack and person to person…That being said, in general, many of the packs nowadays have load lifters that are far from fully functional and really provide little actual function. Some are really only there for show. In order for load lifters to be 100% functional then the frame or stays of the pack need to extend almost to ear height. If the load lifters on any given pack are only attached to the pack material and not the frame then they are basically there for show.”

Well, maybe so. This pack does appear to be shorter (meaning Y axis, in photo above), wider (Z), and higher profile (X) than other packs of the 60L size I’ve seen. It doesn't even reach ear height. And, the frame is notoriously floppy, so I don't know how much lifting these "lifters" were ever designed to do. (They do, however, keep the shoulder straps off the back of the shoulder.)

At this time, I’m suspicious this pack is BOTH too large AND too small for me! So I’ll definitely be taking the advice of all the folks in this thread who wisely tell me to load it up and try it out. Will be able to do that in a few days, and will report back. Also I have an email into GG’s CS, will be interesting to see what they say…I’m open to their Blaze as an alternative.

Edited by Bolster on 07/15/2013 22:43:58 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Pack Fitting as Artform! on 07/15/2013 23:05:45 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/15/2013 15:01:08 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Hypercritical on 07/15/2013 23:13:44 MDT Print View

Wow, 2" off. That's a far piece for a manufacturer. They must get an awful lot of unhappy customers.

I overstated using the term "hot spot;" more like "hypercritically searching for even potential problems during a short walk," but I'll have more and better data after a few days. If there's a problem, I'll flush it out and report.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Hypercritical on 07/15/2013 23:20:04 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/15/2013 14:59:55 MST.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pack Fit on 07/15/2013 23:22:43 MDT Print View

I hate to disagree with you, but most of the external framed packs that I dealt with never had load lifters, whatsoever. My 30 year old Super Tioga in the basement does not, nor did most of the primary brands in the market back then. The first load lifters I saw were on Lowe, Gregory, and old TNF internal framed packs back in the mid 80's. I do recall there were only a handful of external frames with load lifters, but that was not until the mid/late 90's when they were desperately trying to "innovate" to keep up with the internal frame market. Given how external frames worked (all the the pack weight goes straight to your hips, while the shoulder straps simply keep the pack from falling backwards) load lifters were not warranted, in my opinion.

But I totally agree with you that packs carrying lighter loads may not "need" the angle to be at 45 anymore, and thats why I'd suggest to consult the manufacturer, but I believe it is still a general "rule of thumb". Personally, I prefer a taller/thinner pack. The closer the pack's center of gravity to mine, the less overall force it will exert against my upper body. If this means the pack frame ends somewhere at a height consistent with the bottom of my ear lobe, so be it. Besides, with less weight, there is much less risk of instability - a risk when the weight is too high.

(I also see that it seems REI still recommends 45 degrees: )

Of course, with UL packs these days, load lifters probably aren't doing much of anything whatsoever. Kind of like the tail bone, I guess. I'm still waiting for the shirt/vest/jacket to slip on which is the suspension system for whatever stuff I am carrying. Given how light everything is nowadays, why toss it all on my back when I could just distribute it all over me? (tangent alert...)