- Step 1: Hipbelt
- Step 2: Shoulder Straps
- Step 3: Load Lifters
- Step 4: Sternum Strap
- Step 5: Stabilizer Straps
- Step 6: Final Tweak
Once you’ve selected a pack with the right torso length and hip belt size, you need to get properly fitted. The pack-fitting experts recommend these steps to help you enjoy a comfortable fit every time.
- With all straps loosened, place hip belt directly over your hip bones and tighten it.
- Snug shoulder straps just enough so that they are not bearing weight.
- Snug load-lifter straps so that weight is off of your shoulders.
- Adjust sternum strap to a comfortable height across your chest.
- Adjust load stabilizer straps along sides of hip belt to bring load closer to your back.
- Go back and loosen shoulder straps to take some tension off of them.
Six Steps to a Great Fit
Your goal is to have 80% to 90% of the load weight resting on your hips. To achieve this, start by putting about 10 to 15 lbs. of weight into the pack to simulate a loaded pack. Follow the steps below in front of a mirror. Get a friend to help if possible, or visit an REI store for more assistance.
Step 1: Hipbelt
- First, make sure all the pack’s straps and hip belt are loosened.
- Put the pack on your back so that the hip belt is resting over your hip bones.
- Close the hip belt buckle and tighten it.
- Check the padded sections of the hip belt to make sure they wrap around your hips comfortably. Keep at least 1″ of clearance on either side of the centre buckle.
- Note: If the hip belt is too loose or tight, try repositioning the buckle pieces on the hipbelt straps. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need a different pack (or hip belt).
Step 2: Shoulder Straps
- Pull down and back on the ends of the shoulder straps to tighten them.
- Shoulder straps should fit closely and wrap over and around your shoulder, holding the pack body against your back. They should NOT be carrying the weight.
- Have your helper check to see that the shoulder strap anchor points are 1″ to 2″ inches below the top of your shoulders.
Step 3: Load Lifters
- Load-lifter straps are located just below the tops of your shoulders (near your collarbones) and should angle back toward the pack body at a 45-degree angle.
- Gently snug the load-lifter straps to pull weight off your shoulders. (Overtightening the load lifters will cause a gap to form between your shoulders and the shoulder straps.)
Step 4: Sternum Strap
- Adjust the sternum strap to a comfortable height across your chest.
- Buckle the sternum strap and tighten until the shoulder straps are pulled in comfortably from your shoulders, allowing your arms to move freely.
Step 5: Stabilizer Straps
- Pull the stabilizer straps located on either side of the hip belt to snug the pack body toward the hip belt and stabilize the load.
Step 6: Final Tweak
- Go back to the shoulder straps and carefully take a bit of tension off of them. Now you’re ready to go!