Man Backpacking Wilderness


You’ve likely never thought about the proper fit of your backpack until you begin to feel pain in your shoulders and your lower back. Aside from packing efficiently, campers need to think about the proper fit of their backpack. It has to be perfectly tailored to your body so that you won’t experience any pain — even if you’ve been hiking for hours. Here’s what you need to know about how to properly fit your camping backpack.


To properly fit your backpack, it has to be the right backpack for your body type. If you’re shopping at a physical store, try out different backpacks until you find one that fits well and is comfortable enough for you. Meanwhile, if you’re buying online, make sure you have the correct measurement of your torso — which is the length from the C7 vertebra all the way to the midline between your hip bones. Retailers usually have small, medium and large sizes, but look for the exact measurements on the website.


Once you’ve chosen the right backpack for your body type, it’s time to make further adjustments. This is to make sure that the backpack is aligned to the contours of your body.

Frame: Your backpack’s frame should span the length of your back. Read the manual to check which frame adjustment system the manufacturer has: rail, Velcro, loop or others.
Hip Belt: It’s important to adjust the hip belt before the shoulder straps. Most of the backpack’s weight must rest on your hips, which is where your centre of gravity is. Have a little bit of allowance to account for the extra girth from your camping clothes.
Shoulder Straps: Adjust the straps until it feels natural and comfortable. Don’t make it too tight as it will just add pressure on your shoulders. Just make sure that there isn’t any space between the shoulder straps and your back.
Load Lifters: Pull down the load lifters until there is a 45-degree angle between the ground and the load lifters.
Sternum Strap: The sternum strap should be located about an inch below your collar bone. Buckle the straps and tighten—but not too tight that breathing is restricted.


After the initial adjustment, inspect each aspect once more to see if everything appears to be in place. Only you’ll know when the fit is the most comfortable, so don’t hesitate to make further adjustments.


Once your hiking, certain conditions might necessitate further adjustment of your backpack. For example, the hip belt might loosen once you’ve sweat and lost some water weight. Your backpack might also become lighter the more drinking water you consume. Lastly, terrain also has an effect on the fit of your backpack. If you’re traversing uneven and rough terrain, it might be best to adjust your centre of gravity via the backpack straps. This will make you more stable.

It’s important to have the right backpack for your body type. Also, as long as you follow these tips, you can properly fit your camping backpack with ease. In the end, though, only you can say what truly feels comfortable. Listen to what your body is telling you and make further adjustments as you see fit.



Is there anything you would like to add? Share your thoughts below.

Jake Taylor

Jake is a global traveller who has recently called Australia his home again. If he's not travelling, he is writing about it and his experience.