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#196529 - 09/09/16 10:34 AM Heavy pack and broken collar bone
Clunk Offline

Registered: 09/09/16
Posts: 3
Loc: United Kingdom
Hi there, I'm a newbie to the forum, but I hope you guys can help.

TL;DR I broke my collar bone a few years ago, and somehow need to cushion or pack around the resulting odd shape to distribute the weight of the shoulder strap from a kiddie back pack over the whole bone rather that just the bit that is protruding higher. This is so I can carry the heavier weight that my son is bound to be in the not too distant future.

Back story:

My newborn son LOVES being outside, we're talking full red-faced unconsolable crying to "This is the best thing ever!!" from just walking outside (usually followed by falling asleep, he's only 5 weeks). At the moment we have a sling which works fine, but soon he'll graduate from that and will probably be in a kiddie back pack.

The problem is a few years ago I shattered my collar bone mountain biking (three main lumps and a bunch of smaller ones) and the three main lumps healed back in a kind of "Z" shape which causes me two problems with a heavy back pack. One the lump of the "Z" sits right in the middle of where a back pack strap wants to sit, if I allow the strap to sit wider it pulls my shoulder joint away. Two my right shoulder is about an inch lower than my left meaning most straps are pushed outwards somewhat.

I do a fair amount of hiking, but all effectively day trips, so my pack is at most 10kg (22lbs) if I am carrying water and food for other people I am walking with, and usually a lot less. even at that weight it is uncomfortable by the end of the day. Given my son is already 5kg, a 10kg weight limit isn;t going to cut it.

So any ideas how I can pad my shoulder to spread the weight over the upper and lower parts of the Z. I would really like to fuel my son's enjoyment of the outdoors.

#196530 - 09/09/16 11:34 AM Re: Heavy pack and broken collar bone [Re: Clunk]
BZH Offline

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 907
Loc: Torrance, CA
Are you sure you have this problem with a framed backpack? You mentioned carrying 20+lbs with a day-pack. Personally, that sounds pretty rough to me without asymmetric bone structures.

With a well fitting framed pack, you transfer the weight to the hips and the shoulder straps keep the pack centered. Most of the shoulder strap load should be on your chest. People often have a gap between there shoulders and shoulder straps when they cinch down the load lifters.

#196531 - 09/09/16 01:39 PM Re: Heavy pack and broken collar bone [Re: Clunk]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6560
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Congratulations on the new baby, and kudos on getting him into the outdoors! On the home page of this site you'll find this excellent article, "Hiking with Children."

I agree with BZH, in that with a properly built and properly fitting backpack, at least 90% of the pack weight should rest on your pelvic girdle, via the hip belt, not on your shoulders.

While I don't have the problems you describe, I do have extremely pressure-sensitive shoulders. In addition to requiring a pack that does an excellent job of transferring the weight to the hip belt, I also need effective load-lifters that pull the shoulder straps entirely off the tops of my shoulders. Basically, I use my pack's shoulder straps and chest strap only to keep the pack from zigging when I zag, and/or from falling off my torso. I cannot use an unframed day pack (even one with hip belt) to carry more than 6-7 lbs., so except for short hikes in high summer I use a smaller backpacking pack for day hikes. It must be genetic, because my 16-year-old grandson has the some problem.

You won't need a kiddie carrier (and there are some which will do what is needed--I've seen a number of recommendations for Deuter) for at least 6 months yet. Until the child has developed enough strength in his back to sit up strongly on his own for long periods (usually about 7-8 months), you want to stick with the supportive sling. You therefore have a while to look around.

You may want to check into custom pack manufacturers and do some experimenting yourself to design alterations to the pack harness that avoid the lumps and can be adjusted to fit uneven shoulder heights. Hopefully you have someone in the household to help you with the fitting? There is a section here about MYOG (Make Your Own Gear) and a section accessed from our homepage with a number of articles.

When you are shopping for a stroller or pram, consider a jogging stroller, which, unlike a regular stroller, can be used on unpaved paths, although not rough and rocky ones. While it limits you to relatively smooth surfaces, at least it keeps the baby off your back and does let you leave the pavement! Usually, by the time baby is 2, he's going to want to walk a good part of the time--although this limits you to very short hikes for the next few years.

You are in for some exciting times ahead, particularly when baby graduates to the backpack and discovers how much fun it is to pull your hair while you're hiking! grin

Edited by OregonMouse (09/09/16 04:04 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#196532 - 09/09/16 06:27 PM Re: Heavy pack and broken collar bone [Re: OregonMouse]
Clunk Offline

Registered: 09/09/16
Posts: 3
Loc: United Kingdom
Thanks Oregon Mouse, not sure what I did to get him into the outdoor other than genetics.

Thanks for the info. My day pack is at least semi framed. It has a rigid back plate, but I am not sure if it would count as fully framed though. Its one of the Deuter cycling/walking/running/do it all packs.

I will be getting a jogging stroller as I do plan on taking him running with me, there are some good tow paths and armoured walking trails near me.

It seems that I need to be looking for something with a more serious frame. Even with my 70l camping back pack I struggle to get the weight onto my hips. I am likely adjusting something to the wrong ideal, but in order to keep the top of the pack from swinging backwards I pull the straps reasonably tight, which then has the effect of pulling the hip belt up to being a waist belt. This is also the effect I get on my day pack too. Is there a good guide in what you are looking for in the adjustments? I am quite skinny so don't have much hip to balance on.

Just to be make the search a little more fun, there is an 8 inch height difference between my wife and me, and I have a long torso. so the plan of having a kiddie carrier that works for both of us may have to go out the window.

#196533 - 09/09/16 07:21 PM Re: Heavy pack and broken collar bone [Re: Clunk]
toddfw2003 Offline

Registered: 01/08/16
Posts: 358
Loc: Texas
I run into people all the time who complain about their pack hurting there shoulders lol My shoulder straps never touch my shoulders. Most of my weight is on my hip. You need to get it fitted correctly. Also it should not pull you back

#196536 - 09/10/16 12:20 PM Re: Heavy pack and broken collar bone [Re: Clunk]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6560
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I pull the straps reasonably tight, which then has the effect of pulling the hip belt up to being a waist belt.

Might mean that the pack is too short, and that you need a pack with longer torso length.

Pack fit is almost as individual as shoe fit, and getting a proper fit usually means trying a number of different makes and models, preferably with your gear inside. There are articles on the home page of this site which will help you. REI has several good videos on their site about fitting and adjusting backpacks.

Edited by OregonMouse (09/10/16 12:28 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey


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