How to adjust your backpack

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If you’re a weekend adventurer, a backpack is probably your most essential item, and even more so if you’re a regular hiker. A backpack that you carry all day should be lightweight and sturdy. In addition, it must have easy-to-use storage compartments as well as pockets. Most importantly, the backpack must fit you well and make you feel comfortable.

How to adjust your backpack

In the event your backpack fits well, it will be able to carry a large load for a long distance. But an ill-fitting pack will feel like a pile of rocks , even if it doesn’t hold that heavy of cargo. When buying their first backpack, many people don’t care if their straps fit properly.

This is why many young hikers don’t bother to adjust their pack’s straps and continue to carry it the way it was (except for infrequent tightening of the straps later) until the pack gets damaged and they decide to buy a brand new pack; then the cycle repeats itself. What many people don’t realize is that when they carry a backpack on your chest, during that time it is an integral part of your body and must be treated accordingly. It can be a pleasant experience or an unpleasant one, depending on how well your backpack is packed.

How to adjust the backpack straps

The advice in this article on how to set up the function of your backpack is designed primarily for hiking or adventure packs. Other packs you may use (for everyday riding as well as at school) may not include all of the features these backpacks offer. Also, for all interested hikers, it is crucial to pick a backpack to take on your hike.

Before we first learn how to adjust the straps of your backpack, let’s note the best way to choose the right backpack.

Choosing your backpack

Similar to clothing, backpacks come in medium, small, large or extra-large sizes and come with a variety of suspension systems that can accommodate torsos of all lengths. Before you decide to buy a backpack, you first need to determine if your torso can handle its length. It’s fairly simple to do, but you’ll need the assistance of someone you trust and a tape measure to measure.

Adjust the tilt of your head to find the point where your shoulders meet your neck (C7). This is where the starting point is. The length should cross the top of the hip bone (iliac crest). This is the area that makes up the length of your torso.

Also, note the length of the torso and the torso length of your backpack. This information can be found on the backpack manufacturer’s website, or written on the label. Here are some general guidelines for determining the size of your backpack (sizes may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer)

20-23 inches. Large.
18-21″: Medium
16-19″: Small
15-17″: Extra Small

It’s always a good idea to test a backpack before you buy it. Some stores will give you sandbags , so you can add them to your backpack to get an idea of how they feel on your back for hiking.

Or, if you’ve already purchased a backpack off the shelf or on the internet, you can make this adjustment by fitting a pouch or canister into the backpack to determine how it will look on your back. Let the backpack hang freely on your back before changing the shoulder straps.

If your backpack is comfortable on your torso, then you can adjust the pack to fit your body with the provided straps.

Hip Belt
In order to do this, we assume your pack is full (as if you were carrying it). In the last step, we changed the suspension so that it is your belt aligned over your hipbone. If you notice that the waistbelt is tilted toward your hips or located around your abdomen, then you must take the backpack down and adjust your straps so that they sit exactly where it should be.

If you think the waist belt is in the proper position at your hips, tighten it, but don’t overdo it. It shouldn’t be loose, otherwise the weight will be able to shift downward and you will feel uncomfortable. Be sure that your shoulders are not carrying too much weight, because the main function of the belt around your hips will be to distribute the weight evenly between your shoulders and your hips.

The purpose of this exercise is to check that the belt around your hips is properly secured.

Shoulder belt
Before you begin, the hip belt must be able to carry most of your weight. Start tightening the straps on your shoulders until you are comfortable with them. They are tight on your shoulders, but not too tight. If they cause pain in your armpits, change them until they are no longer painful.

The ideal size of the straps should be that they must be about 2 inches below the top of your shoulders. There should not be a large distance between your shoulders and the straps. Straps that are too high indicate that you need to adjust the suspension until it is perfect.

Another way to confirm this is to place your fingers between your shoulders and the straps.

Load Strap
Load straps, also known as load lifters, are two straps that are placed on the shoulder straps. To use them, gently move the pack down your back. Be sure it is neither too tight nor too loose, as it may hinder weight distribution and you may experience some slight wobbling while walking.

If you pull them too tight, the shoulder straps may start to catch in your armpits. So, avoid this situation. Please note that the weight straps may be different for various models of backpacks. However, don’t pull them too tightly and cause the shoulder straps to stretch. The ideal angle is 45 degrees to the top of your shoulder. This is a step toward becoming a better backpack adjuster.

Sternum Strap
The purpose of these straps is to hold the straps in place on your shoulders and also to take the weight off your shoulders while allowing your arms to move freely. They also make sure they don’t slip off. The straps will not slip off your shoulders when you move.

Make sure the straps are not too high above your armpits. Don’t pull them so tight that you feel exhausted or put too much pressure on your chest.

Final adjustments
If you feel all is well, take your backpack off and secure the straps. You may have to make small adjustments every few miles as you walk the trails. The most important thing is to be comfortable during the walk. As you adjust your clothing, you may find yourself needing to adjust your straps if you leave after walking a few miles with your coat on.


Our article on how to set up a This concludes our article on backpacks. A few tips to keep in mind when walking with your backpack are: lean your body slightly forward to help you maintain your balance, but don’t overdo it so as not to put unnecessary strain on your neck and back. When you take a break, no matter how long you rest, don’t forget to take your backpack off in order to relax your muscles.

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