Rucksack Sizing and Fit

Plus-Size Rucksack Fitting Guide

Finding the ideal rucksack can be a puzzling endeavor, especially for plus-size individuals who may have faced limited options in the past. As an expert with ample experience in outdoor equipment fitting, I understand that a well-fitted pack is not just about comfort; it’s crucial for maintaining balance and avoiding injury on your adventures.

My professional background includes helping countless hikers of all shapes and sizes select and adjust backpacks that enhance their trail experiences rather than detract from them.

Recognizing the pivotal role of a proper fit, this guide zeroes in on practical steps to ensure your plus-size ruck meets your unique needs. With insights into bespoke packs like the groundbreaking 2x-6x range tailored for diverse body types, you’ll discover that finding your perfect hiking companion is indeed possible.

Keep reading to unlock fitting secrets that will transform how you carry so you can focus more on enjoying every step of your journey. Let’s begin!

Key Takeaways

  • Measure your torso length and hip size to ensure the proper fit for your plus-size rucksack.
  • Adjust the hipbelt, shoulder straps, sternum strap, and load lifter straps to distribute weight evenly and maximize comfort.
  • Women – specific packs are tailored to the female body, offering a more comfortable and secure fit with features such as shorter torsos, curved shoulder straps, smaller hip belts, and extra padding.
  • Regularly check the fit of your backpack while hiking to make necessary adjustments for optimal comfort and balance.

Finding the Right Pack For Your Body Type

A variety of backpack sizes and fits being measured on different people.

Measure your torso length from the iliac crest to the c7 vertebrae and identify your hip size to ensure a proper fit for your plus-size rucksack.

Measuring Your Torso Length

Finding a great plus-size rucksack starts with knowing your back length. Getting the right fit helps keep you comfortable on your adventures. Here are steps to measure your torso:

  • Stand tall and tilt your chin down to your chest. Locate the bony bump at the base of your neck. This is your C7 vertebrae, the starting point of your measurement.
  • Ask a friend to help you. They’ll get a more accurate measure than you could alone.
  • Place your hands on top of your hips, with thumbs pointing toward your spine. Find the spot where the top of your hip bone (your iliac crest) meets your side.
  • Imagine a line running from one thumb across to the other. This is where the bottom of your rucksack will sit.
  • Have your friend take a flexible tape measure from the C7 vertebrae down to this imaginary line across the iliac crest.
  • Keep the tape snug against the curve of your spine as they measure.
  • Write down this number in inches. It tells you what size rucksack will fit best based on torso length.

Identifying Hip Size

Now that you know how long your torso is, let’s figure out your hip size. Your hips play a big role in carrying the weight of the pack comfortably.

  • Wrap a flexible measuring tape around your waist at the level of your iliac crest. This is the top part of your hip bone on the side of your body.
  • Keep the tape snug but not too tight. You want to measure where the waist belt will sit.
  • Write down this number in inches or centimeters. It tells you how big the hip straps should be on your backpack.
  • Choose a pack with a hip belt that matches or can adjust to this size. A good fit here helps spread the pack’s weight across your hips.
  • Look for padding on the hip belt. Soft and thick padding makes it nicer to wear for long times.
  • Check that you can move freely with the hip belt on. You should be able to walk and bend without trouble.

Adjusting Your Pack to Your Body


Make sure the hipbelt fits snugly around your hips, and adjust the shoulder straps to distribute the weight evenly on your shoulders. Ensure that the sternum strap is positioned comfortably across your chest, and use load lifter straps to bring the pack closer to your center of gravity for better balance.

Hipbelt Fit

Getting your hipbelt fit right is key to a comfortable hike. The right fit keeps the weight off your shoulders and on your hips.

  • Measure around your hips at the widest part to get the correct size.
  • Position the hipbelt so it sits on top of your hips, not below.
  • Make sure the padding wraps well around your hips without gaps.
  • Tighten the belt firmly but comfortably; it should not squeeze too hard.
  • Aim for most of the backpack’s weight to sit on your hips.
  • Check that you can easily reach and adjust the buckle while wearing gloves.
  • Look for a hipbelt with pockets if you like having snacks or small items handy.
  • Ensure there’s enough strap length for adjustments in case you’re layering clothes.

Shoulder Strap Fit

Transitioning from ensuring a well-fitted hipbelt, achieving proper shoulder strap fit is equally crucial for comfortable backpacking. Consider the following key points when adjusting your shoulder straps:

  1. Snug but not tight: Adjust the shoulder straps so they are snug against your shoulders, distributing weight evenly without causing discomfort or restriction.
  2. Check for positioning: Ensure that the shoulder straps attach to the backpack a couple of inches below the top of your shoulders to guarantee proper fitting and weight distribution.
  3. Curved for comfort: Plus-size fit shoulder straps are designed with unique contours and specialized dimensions, accounting for wider shoulders and a more substantial frame.
  4. Test for mobility: After adjusting, test your range of motion to ensure that the shoulder straps do not impede movement while providing adequate support.
  5. Regular reassessment: Periodically check and readjust the shoulder strap fit during your hike to maintain optimal comfort and functionality throughout your journey.

Sternum Strap Fit

The sternum strap is designed to sit comfortably across the chest, providing stability and distributing the weight of the pack. It plays a crucial role in ensuring a proper and secure fit for your plus-size rucksack.

  1. Adjust the Height: Position the sternum strap at a comfortable height, typically slightly below your collarbone, to allow for unrestricted movement of your arms and shoulders.
  2. Secure but Not Constricting: Tighten the strap enough to keep the shoulder straps from slipping off but ensure it does not constrict your breathing or feel uncomfortable.
  3. Check Alignment: The sternum strap should align with your chest bone and not rub against it, preventing chafing during extended wear.
  4. Flexibility for Movement: Ensure that the sternum strap allows you to breathe deeply and move freely without causing any discomfort or restriction.

Load Lifter Strap Fit

Load lifter straps help distribute the weight of your pack evenly and reduce strain on your back and shoulders. Here are some tips for fitting and adjusting them:

  1. Adjust each strap individually to create a 45 – degree angle from the top of the shoulder to the attachment point on the pack.
  2. Tighten the load lifter straps gradually while wearing the pack to ensure they pull the backpack closer to your body without causing discomfort.
  3. Keep the straps snug but not overly tight, as overtightening can lead to discomfort and restricted movement.
  4. When properly adjusted, load lifter straps should enhance the fit of your hipbelt by transferring more weight to your hips, optimizing comfort during long hikes.
  5. Remember that proper fit is crucial for ensuring that your backpack sits correctly on your hips and shoulders.

Finishing Touches

Ensure your hipbelt is snugly secured around your hips, resting above the crest. Tighten it until it fits comfortably and doesn’t slide down during movement. Adjust shoulder straps so they rest firmly on your shoulders without digging in or feeling loose.

The sternum strap should sit comfortably across your chest, enhancing stability while not constricting breathing. Finally, ensure load lifter straps are snug to pull the top of the pack towards your back for optimal weight distribution.

Fit Adjustment on the Trail

When adjusting your pack on the trail, follow these steps:

  1. Check the Fit Regularly: Stop every hour during the hike to check the fit and make necessary adjustments. This prevents discomfort and ensures a consistently comfortable fit.
  2. Distribute Weight Evenly: Keep heavier items closer to your back and centered in the pack to maintain balance and stability while hiking.
  3. Adjust Straps as Needed: Make continual adjustments to the hipbelt, shoulder straps, sternum strap, and load lifter straps based on how your body feels and the terrain you are traversing.
  4. Fine-Tune Throughout the Day: As you tire or encounter different terrains, make micro-adjustments to optimize comfort and weight distribution.
  5. Pay Attention to Pressure Points: Be aware of any areas where pressure or discomfort arises; adjusting straps or redistributing weight can alleviate potential issues.

Women’s Plus-Size Pack Options

When it comes to women’s plus-size pack options, it’s important to consider the specific needs of female hikers and backpackers. There are top plus-size packs available that cater to these requirements, providing a comfortable and supportive fit for women with larger body types.

Expert tips and recommendations will help you make an informed choice when selecting the right pack for your outdoor adventures.

Importance of Women-Specific Packs

Women’s specific packs are crucial as they are specifically tailored to the female body, taking into account unique anatomical considerations such as shorter torsos and narrower widths.

These packs provide a more comfortable and secure fit for women by featuring a shorter torso, curved shoulder straps, smaller hip belts, and extra padding. With ergonomically designed features catering to the average female shape including curves and bosoms, women-specific packs ensure better weight distribution and overall comfort during outdoor activities.

Moreover, these specially designed packs incorporate essential elements like hip belt, harness, and torso length customized for the female body. This means that women can carry their gear with ease while enjoying an optimal fit that leads to enhanced performance on hiking trails or other adventures.

Top Plus-Size Packs Available

Recognizing the uniqueness of women’s body shapes, there are commendable efforts to cater to plus-size adventurers with a range of backpack options. These packs are crafted to accommodate and adjust to larger body shapes, ensuring comfort and support. Notably, Gregory’s plus-size packs have gained popularity for their inclusive design. Here’s a look at some of the top plus-size packs available:

Brand/Model Torso Length Adjustability Hipbelt Size Price Range Key Features
Gregory MAYA 20 PLUS SIZE Standard sizing accommodating various torso lengths Extended length £45 – £200 Extended shoulder straps and hip belts for a better fit

These packs are not only functional but also come in a spectrum of price points that cater to different budgets. They’re engineered with the understanding that comfort on the trail is not a luxury, but a necessity. With features like extended hip belts and shoulder straps, plus-size backpackers can find their perfect fit for an enjoyable outdoor experience.

Expert Tips and Recommendations

To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable backpacking experience, consider the following expert tips and recommendations:

  1. Properly measure your torso length and hip size to find the right pack for your body type, considering brands like Gossamer Gear that cater to plus-size adventurers.
  2. Adjust your pack according to your body by ensuring the hipbelt, shoulder straps, chest strap, and load lifter straps fit snugly without causing discomfort during extended wear.
  3. When hitting the trail, fine – tune the pack’s fit as needed for optimal weight distribution and overall comfort throughout your journey.
  4. For women specifically, explore the importance of women – specific packs and check out top options available in plus sizes from reputable brands.
  5. Trust the advice of experienced hiker Sam Ortiz who shares favorite tips and links for plus – size hiking and backpacking gear to make informed choices when selecting equipment.


In conclusion, finding the right backpack for plus-size individuals is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience. The strategies provided in this guide are practical and easy to implement, ensuring an efficient fit tailored to individual body types.

Have you considered how an ideal backpack fit can enhance your hiking or outdoor activities? These adjustments can significantly improve comfort and endurance on the trails. It’s crucial to recognize the impact of a well-fitted backpack, as it directly correlates with improved performance and overall enjoyment during outdoor adventures.

We encourage you to explore further resources if you’re seeking more detailed information on plus-size rucksack fitting. Remember, a well-fitted backpack not only supports your gear but also enhances your outdoor journey!


1. What is a plus-size rucksack?

A plus-size rucksack is a backpack that has more room and fits better on bigger bodies.

2. How do I make sure my plus-size rucksack fits right?

To get a good fit, adjust the straps so they are snug but comfy. Make sure the load lifters pull weight off your shoulders.

3. Can load lifters help my rucksack feel lighter?

Yes! Load lifters help raise the weight and allow you to carry your pack more easily.

4. Where should I look for a plus-size rucksack with load lifters?

Look for outdoor or travel stores that sell bags made for bigger sizes with these special straps.