Fit. It’s what we are known for. It’s where the ‘comfort’ stems from. And yes, it is science, and therefore tough to argue. We were pioneers fitting packs, and we’ve been at it a long time. In fact, it’s all we know! Well…that might be a stretch, but seriously, it’s one of the ‘issues’ we deal with the most – ill fitting packs. Our website has an often overlooked fit section called ‘GET FIT’.
There you will find a couple of different videos, giving Wayne’s take on our fit process, and what to look for in a pack that fits. Please take the time to watch the videos all the way through, as they contain good information.
The biggest misconception we encounter is people assuming that the length of their torso directly correlates to their height. If it did, that would be too easy, so therefore, obviously it doesn’t. Your height has no direct correlation to the length of your torso. I’ve met people well over 6’ tall with small (16-18”) torsos, and vice versa. Most men tend to fit the 18-20” (medium) size, while most women tend to fit the 16-18” (small) size; but there are many exceptions.
Males always have the same torso length as their father or son and women the same as their mother or daughter. True story. When I first came to Gregory and was learning these things, I was skeptical. But, we measured a father/son, and they had different torso lengths. Turns out, the son was adopted! My father was 5’ 8”, I’m 5’10”, my brothers are 5’11” and 6’2”, and we all have 18 ¼” torso. The proof is in the pudding.
Another interesting bit is that a male’s torso will stop growing at approximately age 14, and a female’s at age 11 (+ or – maturation period of approximately 6 months) because they mature faster than males. It’s a fact. Don’t believe us? Measure your kids, or your neighbor’s kids.
So that brings me to our next question: Does Your Pack Fit?
How can you tell? We can tell, but can you? We find way too many people out there have ill-fitting packs. Whether it’s a Gregory pack or not, the principles remain the same. I will often approach people, given the right circumstances, and ask them about the fit of their pack and how it feels. Many people are ‘content’, and simply that. They don’t know any better. We would much rather see people gleaming from the comfort of their pack.
Side note: I’ve been there. I’ve personally spent years and thousands of miles with an ill fitting pack. My first day on the job here, Wayne fit me in a Baltoro 70, loaded it with 40 pounds, and I almost cried. All that time on the trail, with hip pain, and blisters, and discomfort, for no ‘good’ reason. I thought it was all part of backpacking. Never again. Sometimes you learn the hard way, but at least you’re learning.
I often get people emailing and calling asking how they can tell if their pack fits, or how to adjust the fit. I tell them all it’s extremely difficult over the phone or via email, and therefore will always recommend seeing their local outdoor retail shop. I then inform them if they are able to send photos, front and side angle, with at least 20lbs in their pack, I’ll take a look. Below is a small collection of photographs I’ve received. In most cases, you can easily see the issues with a packs’ fit, if you know what you are looking for:
Shoulder straps should wrap around the shoulders – not come straight off.
Yolk of pack (where the shoulder straps come together) should be approximately 2” BELOW the C7 vertebrate.
Curve of your harness should match up level with your under arm, allowing you to tighten your straps without bottoming them out.
Waistbelt should have at least 5” between the padding.
Top edge of your waistbelt should sit approximately 1 ½” above your iliac crest. This is how we get the weight ‘on’ your hips, and not around them (which is what happens when your packs’ torso length is too long
If you have any questions, or want our professional opinion email@example.com is always here to help!