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#119767 - 08/23/09 08:04 PM Re: shoulder strap fitting - where is the weight borne [Re: ]
ringtail Offline

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
It depends. confused

At weights of less than 20 pounds I am generally using a virtual frame pack with no weight transfer to the hip belt.

With my "beast hauler", a McHale ZERO-SARC, the weight is all transfered to the hip belt and the only purpose of the shoulder straps is to keep the pack close to my back.

I am not familar with your pack, but suspect it can be solved by packing your heavier items closer to your back.

Edited by food (08/23/09 08:05 PM)
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

#119769 - 08/23/09 08:11 PM Re: shoulder strap fitting - where is the weight borne [Re: ]
BrianLe Offline

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
Hopefully someone with experience at pack fitting for more traditional packing weights will respond.

I hope no one minds a related comment about pack weight, however: as I've lightened my load I've found that various pack fitting issues and related special pack features (load lifters, etc) are just decreasingly important.

For a more casual, infrequent backpacker, getting a more traditional backpack and doing a one-time fitting might make perfect sense. It's certainly a lot of effort and possibly expense to lighten up enough to really make a difference, but it's nevertheless an alternate approach to keep in mind.
Brian Lewis

#119772 - 08/23/09 08:53 PM Re: shoulder strap fitting - where is the weight borne [Re: ]
Andy Offline

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 52
Loc: Ohio
I've worn a Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 all summer. I'm not certain if the load-bearing systems are the same, but I found that I can get the best & closest fit by loosening all the straps, then tightening the hip belt first, then the shoulder straps to snug the load against my back; then the load lifter straps to adjust the load vertically up or down on my back. (The position of the load weight will vary depending upon how many water bladders and which tent I'm carrying). Sternum strap last, to set the shoulder straps into the most comfortable position.

You may need to move the shoulder straps down a notch or two so they are not riding up so high and gapping to your shoulders, but if you've been carrying the pack with no discomfort it sounds like you are carrying most or all of the weight on your hips which is good.

This is a little ritual every time the pack comes of and goes back on. I will admit most of my hiking and backpacking is on roadways or very hard-packed trails and the closer and tighter I can carry my pack, the less impact there is on my legs and knees. Which is also the reason I bought the Deuter ACT Lite to begin with.

#119775 - 08/23/09 09:40 PM Re: shoulder strap fitting - where is the weight borne [Re: ]
Trailrunner Offline

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By ZE1
hi all,

I'd like to ask how weight borne by shoulder straps should be distributed (between the top, front and back of the straps)?

Honestly, I just don't see how any part of the shoulder strap but the top can bear any weight.

Assuming the hiker is standing erect on level ground, the pack is exerting force straight down. This force is counteracted by support from the parts of the body relatively perpendicular to it....the tops of the hips and the tops of the shoulders. Look at my AV.

Imagine a theoretical pack with no hip belt and straps that only go as far as the chest in front and the back of the shoulders in the rear. What would hold this pack up? Maybe a little friction but that's all.

Tightening the shoulder straps may make you feel like the chest is bearing some weight (maybe a small amount by friction) but in my experience it is actually borne by the hips and tops of the shoulders. What tightening the shouldr straps really does is take weight off of the hips and transfer it to the tops of the shoulders. Conversely, tightening the hip belt takes weight off of the shoulders. I feel that is the key to your problem.

The percentage of weight borne by the hip belt is a matter of personal preference. Personally I prefer to carry most of a moderate load on my hips and keep my shoulder straps very loose. This allows air circulation between the pack and my back.

If there is a gap between the top of your shoulder and the shoulder straps, your pack may be too big for you, the shoulder straps are adjusted too high, or you are wearing the hip belt too high.

Could you post a picture?
If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

#119784 - 08/23/09 11:21 PM Re: shoulder strap fitting - where is the weight b [Re: ]
Trailrunner Offline

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Wow a picture really can be a thousand words !!!!

My first thought is that your load lifter straps are too tight. What do you feel when you loosen them? Too much weight on the shoulders? If that's the case take the load off your shoulders by shrugging them and then cinching up your waist belt.

Also....the point where the shoulder straps attach to the pack looks a tad low. Is that adjustable?

I have no personal experience with your pack but it looks like a nice one. However it is possible, as with shoes, that this particular pack does not work with your particular body. But I would play with the adjustments more before drawing any conclusions. If possible I would have an expert (unlike me) check you out in person. We can only guess so much over the internet.
If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

#119821 - 08/24/09 08:40 PM Re: shoulder strap fitting - where is the weight b [Re: ]
Folkalist Offline

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
I don't mean to be inconsiderate, but it looks like you really don't have hips. At least not to the point that you could settle the pack weight on them. How do your hips feel? Does it feel like you are supporting most of the weight? If not, the weight may really be dragging at your chest.
Why am I online instead of hiking?

#119827 - 08/24/09 10:08 PM Re: shoulder strap fitting - where is the weight b [Re: ]
Andy Offline

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 52
Loc: Ohio
The shoulder straps, on your Deuter pack, are set too low and the hip belt is riding too high around your waist instead of on your hips. Raise the shoulder straps, if possible, and take in the slack at the bottom of the straps. You want your hip bones to fit right in the center of the pads on the hip belt. Then adjust the shoulder straps from there. It looks like you are carrying both packs a little high around your waist (beltline) instead of on your hips.

Edited by Andy (08/24/09 10:09 PM)
Edit Reason: SP

#120086 - 08/30/09 04:34 PM Re: shoulder strap fitting - where is the weight b [Re: ]
thecook Offline

Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 541
Loc: Minnesota
An alternate idea from one who wears his backs with the iliac creast in the middle of the hip belt: Try moving the load lifter attachment point on the Deuter closer to the top of your shoulders. From your pictures, it looks like it is down in front rather than at the peak. Then loosen the load lifter, tighten the hip belt, tighten the shoulder straps, and only then tighten the load lifter. The load lifter should bring the pack in tight to your back rather than lifting the shoulder strap off your shoulder.
If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?


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