Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania™

Hiking With A Properly Fit Backpack

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I have learned through experience that a properly fit backpack makes a world of difference when you are hiking. A pack that is too short for your torso, or a waistbelt that is too loose will cause undo fatigue and in some cases chafing on your shoulders or hips. A couple things to keep in mind before heading out on your next overnight expedition.

  • Make sure the pack is properly adjusted to your body size. You will want to make sure the pack matches your torso length.
  • Pack light items, such as sleeping bags and clothes, towards the bottom of the pack, with heavier items such as the tent higher and closer to your body.
  • Keep the waistbelt tight. If it becomes too loose during a backpacking trip, use a piece of clothing to fill the gap. Readjust the tightness of the belt often.
  • When putting on your pack, first tighten the hip belt while leaning slightly forward. Then stand-up straight and snug up the shoulder straps. To reduce the swaying of the pack, you may have to adjust the load-lifters and hip stabilizers. Finally, make sure the shoulder straps aren’t so tight that you can’t shrug your shoulders.

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