Loc: boston, mass, usa
My birthday is coming up, and I'm trying to get my family to help me pool some money for a rucksack.
I don't come from people with money, so spending more than forty on something for my back just seemed crazy. After spending six months and two broken bags studying and traveling around Europe, I now understand how crucial having one might have been. So I've been reading - books, websites, magazines, reviews - and visiting - stores, experienced friends, workshops - and saving, and now I'm stuck.
Two important points about me seem to be : 1. I'm a petite female (5'3.5", 125 lbs, 16.5" back, 32" hips) 2. I've become comfortable with sewing and hardware repairs since I wear hard on EVERYTHING I own, but I'm still learning a lot about outdoor materials.
Osprey (maybe the Aura or Xenon) and Berghaus (maybe one of the C7's) have been the two top suggestions (others being Deuter, Eagle Creek, Eurohike, GoLite, Gregory, Jansport, Karrimor, Kelty, Lafuma, Lifeventure, Lowe Alpine, MacPac, North Face, and Vango) here in the US and in the UK. Apparently both make long-lasting bags which accommodate female forms. I've mostly had male salespersons help me fit bags in stores, but the weights have felt the same no matter who was helping me load them. Girlfriends my size who have bought packs either travel hostel-to-hostel and don't worry about long-hauls or trek with regrets in the forms of bruises and aches. I'm not partial to either of these fates.
I would prefer a top-loader because I can't always afford the hostel life. I can only afford one pack. While on the move I tend to expand with souvenirs for my family. Something bigger can help with those oddly-shaped gifts or just bigger loads in general. I don't mind making use of the compression straps for short-hauls. Other features jump and fall in importance. I don't really know where my next travels will take me. All I know is that I'd love to travel on- and off-trail some more.
My passport's good for a while, I'm young and in-shape, I don't have any known allergies, so a sturdy pack is all I need.
Ouch, this was long. Thanks for reading. Any pointers will be greatly appreciated! I'm not looking for the right way -- just some help along my way.
You might look at the Granite Gear Vapor Ki - just pay attention to the rated weight limits, since it sounds like you add weight as you go.
You might also check REI - I think they have some "woman-specific" packs; their stuff appears to be well-designed and reasonably well-built, and they're less expensive since they're a house brand - somewhat.
Don't limit yourself to "women's" packs - also check out some of the packs made for teenagers, and the "men's" packs (probably in size small) - it doesn't matter what the manufacturer calls it, it only matters if it fits YOU.
I'm petite too, 5'3", 105 on a good day with clothes on, 17" back about the same hips. My favorite overnight pack is the Gregory Z pack. I bought it after test driving many packs in a variety of sizes and price ranges. I ended up with a medium because the small compressed the nerves in my shoulders too much and made my hands numb. I have many packs of all different sizes... everything from an XS (Gregory Jug, my fave winter or heavyweight daypack), small (another gregory whose name escapes me) to medium (the Z-pack) etc. I also have a Cilogear pack as my mountain rescue pack (it is a 90L pack - huge but comfortable) which has an infinitely adjustable suspension system. On bigger packs the only thing I usually go small on is the hip belt. I tried on a Osprey pack once... they swapped the whole suspension system for a small and then we realized that it was too small to fit right. So we put the medium shoulder straps back on but kept the small hip belt... it felt nice but at 5# and change I decided it was too heavy for me. This has been a long way of saying that you need to just keep trying packs on until you find one that fits. Packs are like shoes - what works for one won't work for another because we are all shaped in different ways. The length of your back is as important as the slope of your back, and packs just fit differently. Even within brands there can be a great deal of variability.
Have fun searching!
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.
I'm 5ft., 108lbs., 17" torso. I have a ULA Equipment Conduit pack, which is a *unisex* pack. Out of all the many packs I've accumulated over the years (some of which are female specific), I gotta say that my Conduit is by far the most comfortable! I've had it several years now and it's very durable as well. Worth every penny to me for those reasons.
My wife is around 5'2", around 110 and she wears a female specific Kelty pack. She says that if the overall size of the pack were a little smaller it would work okay too but over all she seems to like it quite well. It is a large pack in the event that we venture out on a longer trek in cooler weather, but most of time she never uses it's total capacity...sabre11004... '
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!
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