packs for small women?
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Peter Bakwin
(pbakwin) - F
packs for small women? on 04/07/2014 16:57:29 MDT Print View

Wife wishes to upgrade from her Golite Jam to something with a bit of suspension. She is petite (5'1") and short torso - I measure 16" from the bottom of the hip belt to the top of the shoulder strap. She needs to be able to carry a bear can - BV450 or BV500 - which does not fit well in her small sized Jam. The can goes in but not with enough room to pad it adequately. What are you petite females finding works well? I have a Zpacks Arc Blast which I like - any small women using that?

Chris .
(cwb) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
Small packs on 04/07/2014 21:37:20 MDT Print View

I just went through this with my tiny 13 year old. I can't find any pack with a fixed suspension that goes that small. Maybe I didn't look in the right places. Fitting a bear can is going to push you into a Circuit, or if you don't want to spend the money, the Osprey Volt, the North Face youth Terra 55 and another one that escapes my brain right now. I have a GG Blaze AC 60 that almost goes down to that size. What is her waist size?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Small Packs on 04/07/2014 23:09:14 MDT Print View

The Exped Lighting has an adjustable torso so it might work. Definitely fits a bear can but the frame is tall (24 inches), I don't know if that would be a factor or not.

Another option would be a custom built pack from either Chris Zimmer, Elemental Designs, or HMG. Chris can make you any size pack you want. I don't know specifically about HMG and ED but they've done other custom packs so maybe they would.

A final idea would be to check out the Fusion packs from Six Moons Designs. They have an adjustable torso so they might be short enough.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: packs for small women? on 04/08/2014 03:54:11 MDT Print View

What is her torso size? Mine is 15" and ULA fits very well. They also make a smaller pack that fits kids and it may do well for her. Give Chris a call and see what he has because he offered me an XS that isn't even on his website. ULA are great packs.

Any of the cottage makers would most likely be good to work with as well.

Michelle A
(mauhler31) - F
zpacks on 04/08/2014 05:54:32 MDT Print View

I'm 4'11" and skinny and was able to custom order a 16" torso and small waist belt for the arc blast. I have taken it out on a few trips now and I love it. The only minor gripe I have is that the shoulder strap loops for sternum strap adjustments and for clipping shoulder pockets are too high for me since I'm short. Otherwise the light weight is awesome!

Before the zpacks I was using the old rei flash 50 which I also liked but is 1.5 lbs heavier.

Peter Bakwin
(pbakwin) - F
Zpacks on 04/08/2014 07:12:09 MDT Print View

Great info everyone, thx. Michelle - have you carried a bear can in your Arc Blast?

Josiah Vandervelde
(eternalnoob) - F - M

Locale: Florida
Re: Re Small Packs on 04/08/2014 07:22:11 MDT Print View

I have an Exped Lightning 60 women's version that I bought on super sale at Backcountry hoping to make it work for me. The hipbelt is a little small, (I'm 5'10" 165) but the frame is pretty adjustable. I'm planning to return it to Backcountry but PM me if you're interested and I will send it to you at cost.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: packs for small women? on 04/08/2014 08:21:01 MDT Print View

I am 5' tall and have 16 inch torso and I love my Elemental Horizons Kalais and HERE is Will Rietveld's review of the pack and SGT. Rock's video review .if you do a search on BPL you will see it is a well loved pack.Mathew is great to work with and will do custom work if you need or want it.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Zpacks on 04/08/2014 08:27:43 MDT Print View

Bear can in an Arc Blast? thread.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
16-inch Torso on 04/08/2014 12:46:13 MDT Print View

A 16-inch torso is not that tiny (mine is only 15", and I'm 5'5"!)

Basically, any woman-specific pack (in a size small) will accommodate her; many "youth-sized" packs will also easily fit a 16" torso, and most of the cottage makers have a short-torso option which is 15" or 16" at the low end.

So, she can use just about any pack out there, as long as you buy the smallest size! Now it's just choosing what features/weight/capacity she needs, and making your final pack choice...

In this case, anyway -- size doesn't matter very much! ;^)

Michelle A
(mauhler31) - F
Bv500 on 04/08/2014 15:26:58 MDT Print View

Yup I carry the bv500 in the arc blast all the time with no issues. The pack volume is the same regardless of torso length.

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Kalais on 04/08/2014 15:40:02 MDT Print View

I'll second the recommendation of the Elemental Horizons Kalais. I used mine last summer on the JMT with a BV-450 and it worked great. I also tried it with the BV-500 and found it to handle my gear and the bear can with but little extra room. My gear and the BV-500 filled the main compartment and about half of the useable extension collar; this was for a medium size pack. The volume of this pack varies with the pack size so I can't speak for how well a small Kalais would work. But, I hike solo so my gear volume is more than it would be if I was one in a group. I will say, though, that the Kalais is probably the most comfortable light pack I have ever used.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Kalais on 04/09/2014 09:15:49 MDT Print View

Yet another strong recommendation for the Kalais. I'm confident all the sizes will fit a bear can as Mathew basically specifically "certifies" this fact right on the website. I have been carrying bear cans into the sierra for decades. I have used frameless packs like a Jam, and framed packs like ULA P2 (early version of the catalyst) and the Kalais is finally the "perfect" pack for this IMO. I put my Berikade Weekender (it will also fit an expedition) at the bottom and there is enough room around it to stuff small item like clothes or a down jacket. As a small side benefit when packed this way the pack stands up by itself.

Their size small should fit - but in this case you can just email Matt and ask for the exact dimensions if in doubt. You also get a choice of colors!

Edited by millonas on 04/09/2014 09:17:40 MDT.