How To Measure Torso For Backpack

Photo of author

By Steven Hal


Having a properly fitting backpack is essential for both comfort and safety when venturing into the great outdoors. A backpack that fits well will distribute weight evenly, prevent strain on your back and shoulders, and allow for easy movement. On the other hand, an ill-fitting backpack can lead to poor posture, discomfort, and even potential health risks. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of finding the right fit for your backpack, ensuring that you have an enjoyable and safe outdoor experience.

How To Measure Torso For Backpack

Understanding the Importance of a Proper Backpack Fit

An ill-fitting backpack can have a significant impact on your posture, weight distribution, and overall comfort. When a backpack doesn’t fit properly, it can cause strain on your back and shoulders, leading to discomfort and fatigue. This can make even short hikes or walks feel like a daunting task.

Moreover, an improper fit can also affect the way weight is distributed in your backpack. If the weight is not evenly distributed, it can put unnecessary pressure on certain areas of your body, leading to muscle strain and potential injuries.

Step-by-Step Guide: Measuring Your Torso Length

Measuring your torso length is a crucial step in finding the right fit for your backpack. To accurately measure your torso length, follow these steps:

1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Locate the bony bump at the base of your neck (C7 vertebrae).
3. Place your hands on your hips and feel for the top of your hip bones.
4. Using a flexible tape measure or a string, measure the distance between the C7 vertebrae and the top of your hip bones.
5. Record this measurement as your torso length.

It is important to note that measuring your torso length accurately may require assistance from someone else to ensure precise measurements.

Choosing the Right Tools for Accurate Measurements

When measuring your torso length, there are several tools you can use to ensure accuracy. The most common tools include tape measures, rulers, and torso measurement devices.

Tape measures are flexible and easy to use, allowing for precise measurements. However, they may not provide the most accurate results if not used correctly.

Rulers are another option for measuring your torso length. They provide a straight edge for measuring, but they may be less flexible and harder to use on your own.

Torso measurement devices are specifically designed for measuring torso length. These devices typically consist of a sliding mechanism that allows for easy adjustments and accurate measurements. While they may be more expensive than tape measures or rulers, they can provide the most precise results.

Tips for Taking Accurate Torso Measurements at Home

Taking accurate torso measurements at home can be challenging, but with a few tips and tricks, you can ensure precise results:

1. Use a mirror: Stand in front of a mirror while taking measurements to ensure proper alignment and positioning.

2. Maintain good posture: Stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed and your head held high. This will help you get an accurate measurement of your torso length.

3. Take multiple measurements: To ensure accuracy, take multiple measurements and compare the results. This will help you identify any inconsistencies or errors in your measurements.

4. Have someone assist you: As mentioned earlier, having someone assist you during the measurement process can greatly improve accuracy. They can help ensure that the tape measure or ruler is properly aligned and that the measurement is taken at the correct points.

Decoding Backpack Sizing: How to Interpret Torso Lengths

Once you have measured your torso length, it is important to understand how it corresponds to backpack sizes. Backpack sizes are typically categorized based on torso length ranges. Here is a general guide to interpreting torso lengths:

– Extra Small (XS): Typically fits torso lengths up to 15-16 inches.
– Small (S): Typically fits torso lengths between 16-18 inches.
– Medium (M): Typically fits torso lengths between 18-20 inches.
– Large (L): Typically fits torso lengths between 20-22 inches.
– Extra Large (XL): Typically fits torso lengths above 22 inches.

It is important to note that backpack sizing may vary among different brands. Some brands may use different measurements or have additional size options. Therefore, it is always recommended to refer to the specific sizing chart provided by the backpack manufacturer.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Backpack Size

While torso length is an important factor in choosing a backpack size, there are other factors to consider as well. These factors include intended use, load capacity, and personal preferences.

If you plan on using your backpack for day hikes or short trips, a smaller size may be more suitable. However, if you plan on embarking on longer expeditions or carrying heavier loads, a larger size with more capacity may be necessary.

Personal preferences also play a role in choosing the right backpack size. Some individuals may prefer a snug fit, while others may prefer a looser fit. It is important to try on different backpacks and adjust the straps to find the most comfortable and secure fit for your body.

Adjusting Your Backpack for a Custom Fit

Once you have chosen the right backpack size, it is important to adjust it for a custom fit. This involves adjusting the straps and suspension system to ensure proper weight distribution and load stabilization.

Start by adjusting the shoulder straps. They should be snug but not too tight, allowing for easy movement of your arms and shoulders. Next, adjust the sternum strap across your chest to provide additional stability and prevent the shoulder straps from slipping off.

The hip belt is another crucial component of a properly fitting backpack. It should sit comfortably on your hips, transferring the weight of the backpack to your lower body. Adjust the hip belt so that it is snug but not overly tight.

Finally, adjust the load lifters, which are located on the top of the shoulder straps. These straps help to pull the weight of the backpack closer to your body, improving balance and stability. Adjust them so that they are at a 45-degree angle and provide a slight lift to the backpack.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Measuring Your Torso

When measuring your torso length, there are several common mistakes that people often make. These mistakes can lead to inaccurate measurements and ultimately result in an ill-fitting backpack. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

1. Measuring over clothing: It is important to measure your torso length directly on your skin or with minimal clothing. Thick layers of clothing can add extra bulk and affect the accuracy of your measurements.

2. Not standing up straight: Maintaining good posture is crucial when measuring your torso length. Standing up straight with your shoulders relaxed and your head held high will ensure accurate measurements.

3. Measuring from the wrong points: Make sure you are measuring from the correct points on your body, such as the C7 vertebrae and the top of your hip bones. Measuring from incorrect points can lead to inaccurate results.

4. Rushing the measurement process: Take your time when measuring your torso length and ensure that you are following the steps accurately. Rushing through the process can result in errors and inaccurate measurements.

Expert Advice: How to Fine-Tune Your Backpack Fit

To fine-tune your backpack fit for maximum comfort and performance, it is helpful to seek advice from backpacking experts. Here are some tips from the experts:

1. Experiment with different adjustments: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different strap adjustments and suspension settings. Everyone’s body is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another. Fine-tuning the fit of your backpack can make a significant difference in your overall comfort and enjoyment.

2. Regularly re-evaluate your fit: Your body may change over time, so it is important to regularly re-evaluate your backpack fit. This is especially true if you have gained or lost weight, or if you have experienced any changes in your posture or body shape.

3. Seek professional help if needed: If you are having difficulty finding the right fit for your backpack, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Outdoor gear stores often have knowledgeable staff who can assist you in finding the perfect fit for your body type and needs.

Troubleshooting: What to Do If Your Backpack Doesn’t Fit Properly

Even with careful measurements and adjustments, there may be instances where your backpack still doesn’t fit properly. In such cases, it is important to troubleshoot the issue and find a solution. Here are some common fit issues and their potential solutions:

1. Shoulder pain: If you experience shoulder pain, it may be a sign that your backpack is not adjusted properly. Try adjusting the shoulder straps and load lifters to distribute the weight more evenly across your shoulders and back.

2. Hip discomfort: If you feel discomfort or pressure on your hips, it may indicate that the hip belt is not adjusted correctly. Make sure the hip belt sits comfortably on your hips and transfers the weight of the backpack to your lower body.

3. Load shifting: If you notice that the weight of your backpack shifts while walking, it may be a sign that the load stabilizers are not adjusted properly. Adjust the load lifters and sternum strap to stabilize the load and prevent shifting.

If you have tried troubleshooting and adjusting your backpack but still cannot achieve a proper fit, it may be necessary to consider a different backpack or seek professional help.


In conclusion, having a properly fitting backpack is crucial for comfort and safety when venturing into the outdoors. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can accurately measure your torso length and choose the right backpack size. Additionally, adjusting your backpack for a custom fit will ensure proper weight distribution and load stabilization. Remember to regularly re-evaluate your fit and seek professional help if needed. Taking the time to measure and adjust your backpack will result in a comfortable and safe outdoor experience.

Leave a comment