How to Fit Your Pack
Getting the perfect fit for your backpack is incredibly important but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
A good fit is the difference between those sore ‘hot spots’ on your shoulders and hips after only a day’s hiking and a comfortable month on the trail (ok, I admit, trail comfort is relative but you know what I mean!).
A correctly fitted pack will distribute the weight evenly and allow for the lower back to transfer the weight into the legs; your strongest muscles.
There are several parts of the backpack that need fitting, here’s how…
Start by adding a little weight to your pack. It doesn’t have to weigh exactly what it would for your chosen activity but the closer it is to real life the better the fit. Carefully lift the pack onto your back from your knees. If it’s heavy then get someone to help you shoulder the pack.
Adjust the torso length
Most Osprey packs feature an adjustable torso length, using a Velcro-style Airspeed backpanel or an Antigravity webbing adjuster. These allow you to slide the harness up or down to perfectly fit your back length. You can guess at the right length for your back for now.
Once you have completed the following steps you should feel no gap between your back and the pack. If there’s a gap then tweak the back length and see if that solves it.
Fix & tighten the hip belt
Once the pack is comfortably on your back, the first attachment point is the hip belt strap. It’s essential that the hip belt strap is adjusted first as it distributes the weight evenly between legs and lower lumbar rather than the weaker points like the shoulders and arms.
Try to position the hipbelt over the upper half of your pelvis bone for maximum comfort.
Tighten harness straps
Next, the harness straps need to be pulled downwards so that the webbing on the harness is comfortably tight, much like the laces on your shoes.
The harness shouldn’t impede breathing or be too tight around the collar bone area.
Adjust load lifters
Load lifters, (the straps that connect the upper part of the main pack to the shoulder straps), should be pulled forward so that pack runs straight up and down your back. The close centre of gravity will allow weight to flow directly down to the ground.
The optimum angle for load lifters is around a 45 degree angle, this will ensure that the pack is straight to your back.
Clip & fix sternum strap
Lastly, fastening the strap across the chest (called the sternum strap), pulls the harness in to the chest and away from areas containing lots of blood vessels and nerves. If the harness is too tight it’ll restrict breathing, but if the sternum strap is too loose then you can end up with tingly or numb fingers!
That’s it. With ‘real life’ weight added you can adjust your fit by using these simple principals. Now get fitting!
Be sure to pick your pack size to match your back length. This means choosing between Small, Medium, Large or split sizes Small/Medium or Medium/Large. You can use our handy PackSizer App to help you pick the best size for you.