how to measure torso backpack

From Sore to Soar: Measure Your Torso for the Ultimate Backpack Fit

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Ever found yourself amidst nature’s grandeur, your spirit high but your shoulders sore? That picturesque sunset over the mountain's crest loses its charm when your backpack feels like a boulder. The culprit? An ill-fitting backpack, stemming from incorrect torso measurements.

In this guide, we unravel the mysteries of measuring your torso to find that backpack sweet spot. The benefits? Comfort, reduced strain, and a snug fit that feels like the backpack and you are one.

Ever wondered why your tall friend swears by a brand that feels like a torture device on your back? Dive in as we dissect the importance of torso length and how it plays a pivotal role in turning your outdoor adventures from gruesome to glorious

Military Canvas Backpack
Military Canvas Backpack
Black Canvas Backpack
Black Canvas Backpack
Waxed Canvas Rucksack
Waxed Canvas Rucksack
Cotton Canvas Backpack
Cotton Canvas Backpack

I. Understanding Backpack Fit and Its Importance

Oh, the magic of a well-fitting backpack! It's like finding that perfect sleeping position, where everything just clicks. But what makes a backpack fit just right? And why is the length of your torso the magic number in this equation? Let’s unravel this backpack mystery together!

1. What Makes a Good Fit?

Weight Distribution

Imagine loading all your gear into a backpack only to have it pull you backwards or slide off your shoulders. Not fun, right? The beauty of a good fit is that it distributes the weight evenly across your back. It's like having a helpful friend who carries half the load... but without any of the snack-sharing duties.


A well-fitting backpack is like a cozy hug - snug but not too tight. It sits comfortably on your back without digging into your shoulders or hips. And let’s be honest, who doesn't appreciate a good, supportive hug during a long hike or a day filled with classes?

Ease of Movement

Whether you’re hopping over rocks, maneuvering through crowded subway stations, or simply navigating through your daily routine, a good backpack fit allows you to move freely. It’s about creating a harmony between you and your backpack as you move through the world.

Reduction in Back Pain and Other Discomforts

No one signed up for a side of back pain with their backpack purchase. A good fit alleviates unnecessary strain on your back and shoulders, letting you focus on the adventure at hand, be it scaling a mountain or conquering a semester.

2. Why is Measuring Your Torso Essential?

Ensuring Proper Weight Distribution

The length of your torso determines where the backpack sits on your back. Too high or too low, and voila! You've got a recipe for discomfort and a lopsided trek.

Avoiding Discomfort and Potential Injuries

An ill-fitting backpack is like that annoying pebble in your shoe; it’s a small thing that can cause a big headache (or backache in this case). By measuring your torso, you’re setting the stage for a comfy, injury-free experience.

Enhancing Backpack Efficiency and Functionality

The right fit allows you to utilize your backpack to its fullest potential. It’s about making every pocket, zipper, and strap work in harmony with your body. After all, your backpack is not just a bag; it’s your on-the-go command center!

3. Who Should Measure Their Torso?

The quest for a perfectly fitting backpack is a universal journey, transcending the boundaries between the adventurous at heart and the urban warriors. Measuring your torso isn’t just a whimsical chore, but a pathway to unearthing the epitome of comfort and functionality. Let's delve a bit deeper into the distinctive needs and benefits for different walks of life.

📷 Credit: Trekitt's Youtube Channel

II. Differentiating Needs: Outdoor Adventurers vs. Daily Commuters

1. Outdoor Adventurers:

For those who seek solace amidst the whispers of the trees or the caress of the mountain breeze, a backpack is more than just a storage unit. It's a trusted companion in the wild. The right fit can mean the difference between a liberating hike and a trek filled with incessant readjustments of your backpack. By measuring your torso, you are one step closer to a symbiotic relationship with your backpack, where it complements your adventurous endeavors rather than hindering them.

  • Tailored Comfort: The wilderness is unforgiving, and the last thing you want is a backpack that rubs against your skin or throws you off balance. Measuring your torso ensures a snug fit, paving the way for many comfortable and memorable outdoor escapades.

  • Enhanced Mobility: When you're hopping over streams or navigating through dense forests, you need a backpack that moves with you, not against you. A well-fitted backpack, tailored to your torso length, enhances your mobility, making every adventure a bit easier and more enjoyable.

  • Safety: A poorly fitting backpack can be a hazard in the outdoors, potentially leading to back pain or even loss of balance in precarious situations. Knowing your torso length helps in selecting a backpack that sits well on your back, keeping you safe as you explore the unknown.

2. Daily Commuters:

The daily grind comes with its own set of challenges. From crowded subways to bustling city streets, the urban jungle is a realm that requires its own set of survival gear. Your backpack is your mobile base, carrying your essentials as you navigate through the concrete maze.

  • Ergonomic Comfort: Long commutes can be a drag, especially with a backpack that sits awkwardly on your back. Measuring your torso helps in finding a backpack that distributes weight evenly, making your daily commute a tad more comfortable.

  • Efficiency: Time is of the essence in the daily hustle. A well-fitted backpack, selected based on your torso measurement, allows for easy access to your belongings and efficient organization, saving you those precious few minutes as you transition through your day.

  • Health: The repetitive strain of carrying a misfit backpack can lead to chronic back and shoulder issues over time. By investing a little time in measuring your torso, you're investing in your long-term health, warding off potential aches and pains associated with an ill-fitting backpack.

In essence, whether you’re an avid adventurer or a dedicated daily commuter, measuring your torso is not a frivolous task but a stepping stone towards a world where comfort, efficiency, and well-being reign supreme. So, unfurl that measuring tape, and embrace the first step towards a harmonious backpack-wearer relationship!

Canvas Leather Backpack
Canvas Leather Backpack
Canvas Hiking Backpack
Canvas Hiking Backpack
Waxed Canvas Backpack
Waxed Canvas Backpack
Canvas Drawstring Backpack
Canvas Drawstring Backpack

III. The Step-By-Step Guide to Measuring Your Torso

Embarking on the journey to find the perfect backpack begins with a simple yet crucial step: measuring your torso. It may sound a tad technical, but fear not, it’s as straightforward as a Sunday morning stroll. And the satisfaction when you nail it? Oh, it’s real! Let’s embark on this measuring adventure together.

1. Gathering Necessary Tools

Soft Measuring Tape

Your first ally in this quest is a soft measuring tape. Its flexibility is key as it contours to the curves of your back, providing an accurate measurement. Unlike its rigid cousin, the soft tape is adept at navigating the bends and twists of your body, ensuring a precise readout of your torso length.

Mirror or a Friend to Assist

While a full-length mirror provides a solid reflection of your measuring endeavors, nothing beats the accuracy and camaraderie of a good friend. Their vantage point allows for a more accurate measurement, plus you get to share a few laughs along the way. So, if possible, enlist a buddy to aid in your quest for the perfect backpack fit.

Pen and Paper for Recording Measurements

In the digital age, this duo may seem archaic, but their reliability is unmatched. Jotting down the measurements as you go ensures no figure gets lost in the hustle of the process. Plus, there’s something satisfying about pen on paper as you record the digits that will lead you to a comfortable backpack fit.

2. Identifying Your Torso Length

Finding the C7 Vertebra

The journey to identifying your torso length begins at the C7 vertebra, a bony prominence at the base of your neck when you tilt your head forward. It's the highest point of your spine when you're standing with a straight neck. This little bump is the starting line of your measuring tape as you embark on the torso measurement adventure.

Locating the Iliac Crest

Next stop on this journey is the iliac crest. Place your hands on your hips with your thumbs pointing towards your spine. The imaginary line between your thumbs marks the spot of the iliac crest, signifying the finish line of your measurement voyage.

Measuring the Distance Between These Two Points

With the starting and ending points locked in, it's time to unravel the measuring tape. Stand straight, keep a normal breathing rhythm, and let the tape cascade down your back from the C7 vertebra to the iliac crest. If you’ve enlisted a friend, they’ll be in charge of ensuring the tape runs straight and snug against your back, recording the number where the tape meets the iliac crest.

3. Common Mistakes to Avoid

Incorrect Starting or Ending Points

Accuracy is the name of the game here. Ensuring you’ve correctly identified the C7 vertebra and iliac crest is crucial for an accurate measurement. A slight deviation could lead you astray in your quest for the perfect backpack fit.

Not Keeping the Tape Measure Level

It's tempting to let the tape wander off a straight path, but resist the urge. Keeping the tape level and snug, but not tight, ensures an accurate measurement. A sloping tape could add extra inches, steering you towards the wrong backpack size.

4. Verifying Your Measurements

Cross-Checking Measurements

It’s always a good practice to measure a couple of times to ensure accuracy. If you get a different number the second time, don’t sweat it. Just measure a third time to break the tie.

Consulting with Professionals or Experienced Backpackers

If you’re unsure about your measurement, don’t hesitate to consult with professionals at an outdoor gear shop or reach out to seasoned backpackers. They’ve been down this road before and can provide valuable insights.

By now, you should have a clear idea of your torso length, which is your golden ticket to finding a backpack that fits like a dream. Remember, the right fit is the first step towards many comfortable and enjoyable adventures to come!

📷 Credit: Outdoorguru's Youtube Channel

IV. Matching Your Measurements to Backpack Sizes

Now that you’ve got your torso measurement in your back pocket (figuratively, of course), it’s time to dive into the world of backpack sizing. It’s not just about small, medium, or large; it’s about finding that Goldilocks zone where everything just fits just right.

1. Understanding Backpack Sizing Charts

How Backpack Sizes Correspond to Torso Lengths

Each backpack brand has its own sizing chart, where specific torso lengths correspond to their backpack sizes. It’s like a roadmap guiding you to your perfect fit. Typically, a small might cater to torso lengths of around 16 to 19 inches, a medium for 18 to 21 inches, and a large for 20 to 23 inches. But remember, each brand is a unique snowflake with its own sizing quirks.

Interpreting Different Brand Sizing Charts

When you glance at different brand sizing charts, it might feel like decoding a foreign language at first. But fear not! They all aim to guide you to your ideal backpack size based on your torso length. Take your time, compare your measurements with the chart, and soon you’ll be speaking fluent “backpack sizing.”

2. Trying on Backpacks: What to Look For

Checking the Fit: Shoulder Straps, Hip Belt, and Back Panel

When trying on backpacks, pay attention to how the shoulder straps, hip belt, and back panel feel. The shoulder straps should hug your shoulders snugly, the hip belt should sit comfortably on your hips, and the back panel should conform to the curvature of your spine. It’s like going on a first date with your backpack; you’re looking for a good connection on all levels.

Adjusting the Backpack for a Better Fit

Most backpacks come with adjustable straps that allow you to fine-tune the fit. Play around with these adjustments to achieve a snug, comfortable fit. It’s about making the backpack work for you, not the other way around.

Ensuring Ease of Movement and Comfort

Move around, stretch a bit, and maybe do a little dance to ensure the backpack moves comfortably with you. It should feel like a natural extension of your body, not a cumbersome add-on.

📷 Credit: REI's Youtube Channel

3. Recommendations for Different Body Types

Backpack Suggestions for Short, Tall, and Average Torso Lengths

Different torso lengths call for distinct considerations in backpack styles and features. Let’s delve into the specifics of finding that ideal match based on your stature.

Short Torso Lengths: Compact Wonders

If your torso leans on the shorter side, fear not, for the backpack realm is rich with compact gems that are tailored to sit snugly on your back.

  • Compact Design: Opt for backpacks with a shorter back panel length. They're designed to nestle comfortably on shorter torsos without extending too far down your back.

  • Adjustable Torso Length: Some backpacks come with an adjustable torso length feature, allowing you to fine-tune the fit according to your body. Brands like Osprey and Deuter often offer this feature.

  • Hip Belt Positioning: Ensure the hip belt sits comfortably on your hips and not lower. This is crucial for proper weight distribution and comfort.

  • Hydration Sleeve Accessibility: If you’re into hiking or outdoor adventures, easy access to a hydration sleeve within the backpack can be a boon.

Tall Torso Lengths: Embrace the Length

Being tall might mean you can reach the top shelf, but it also means you need a backpack with a longer back panel to ensure a comfy fit.

  • Longer Back Panels: Look for backpacks that have a longer back panel to accommodate the length of your torso. This ensures the hip belt and shoulder straps sit where they should.

  • Adjustable Harness System: A backpack with an adjustable harness system can be a tall person’s best friend, allowing you to alter the fit to suit your body.

  • Load Lifter Straps: These straps, located at the top of the shoulder straps, help to pull the weight of the backpack closer to your body, aiding in better weight distribution.

  • Ventilation: Tall individuals might find themselves with a larger surface area on their back covered by the backpack, so opting for a backpack with good ventilation can keep the sweat at bay.

Average Torso Lengths: The Balanced Middle

Ah, the golden middle! Most backpacks are designed to cater to average torso lengths, yet the quest for the perfect fit is still a noble one.

  • Standard Size Range: Backpacks with a standard size range usually cater well to average torso lengths. However, it’s always good to check the specific measurements against your own.

  • Try Before You Buy: If possible, try the backpack on before making a purchase. Load it with some weight, walk around, and get a feel for how it sits on your back.

  • Check for Adjustability: Even within the average range, there's variation. Backpacks with adjustable shoulder straps and hip belts allow you to fine-tune the fit.

  • Organization Features: Look for backpacks that come with ample organization features like multiple compartments, pockets, and attachment points to cater to your daily or adventurous needs.

Remember, the key to a great backpack experience is a harmonious blend of a good fit, comfort, and functionality, tailored to embrace the unique blueprint of your body. So, measure up, explore the options, and stride forth into the world, well-equipped and comfortable!


Embarking on the path to find that idyllic backpack is a voyage filled with measures, adjustments, and a sprinkle of adventurous spirit.

Armed with the knowledge of your torso length and the features that resonate with your needs, the realm of backpacks is now an open book, ready to be explored.

So, measure up, strap on, and step forth into a world where comfort and adventure go hand in hand, with your trusty backpack as your loyal companion!

Vintage Laptop Rucksack
Vintage Laptop Rucksack
Vintage Canvas Backpack
Vintage Canvas Backpack
Retro Canvas Rucksack
Retro Canvas Rucksack
Waxed Canvas Backpack
Waxed Canvas Backpack

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is torso length more important than height in backpack fitting?

Your torso length, not your height, is the guiding star in the quest for a well-fitting backpack. It dictates where the backpack sits on your back, ensuring the weight is well-distributed, promoting a comfy and well-balanced carry.

How do I adjust my backpack for a better fit?

Harness the power of adjustable shoulder straps, hip belts, and load lifters to tailor the backpack to hug your body comfortably. Remember, a snug, well-adjusted backpack is a joy to carry, no matter where your travels take you.

Can I use a child's backpack if I have a short torso?

While tempting, children’s backpacks lack the structure and support designed for adult bodies. Short-torsoed adults are better off exploring backpacks with adjustable torso lengths for a snug, supportive fit.

What should I do if I am between backpack sizes?

In the realm of the in-between, trying both sizes or venturing towards backpacks with adjustable torso lengths can unveil the perfect fit. Your comfort is worth the extra mile!

How often should I measure my torso for backpack fitting?

A one-time precise measure often stands the test of time. However, significant changes in body size warrant a re-measure to ensure your backpack adventure remains a comfortable endeavor.

Are there backpack brands that cater to individuals with unique body dimensions?

Indeed! Brands like Osprey, Deuter, and Gregory embrace the diversity of body dimensions with adjustable and varied sizing options, opening doors to a world of comfortable backpacking.

How can I measure my torso if I don't have a soft measuring tape?

Creativity is your ally. A string or a flexible cable paired with a standard measuring tape or ruler can also lead you to your torso length treasure.

Can a well-fitting backpack improve my hiking or camping experience?

Absolutely! A well-fitting backpack is like a trustworthy companion, distributing weight efficiently, and making your outdoor escapades a delightful experience.

What are the signs of an ill-fitting backpack?

An ill-fitting backpack often announces its presence through discomfort, pain, or even bruising. It's a sign that it’s time to revisit the drawing (or measuring) board!

Do I need to consider my chest size when choosing a backpack?

Yes, especially for the fit and comfort of the shoulder straps and chest strap. A harmonious fit across your chest contributes to a comfortable and well-distributed carry, paving the way for many comfy adventures ahead!

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Baptiste is an adventurer with a passion for urban and wilderness exploration and adventure, and a lover of vintage objects with timeless charm. As a Founding member of the Eiken team, he tries to share his passion and expertise for travel and vintage fashion through his articles.

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