How to Measure a Backpack

The best backpack for you is the one that best fits your body. One of the main things that you need to focus on when looking for the right backpack is the correct size – with this being said, your torso length is the key measurement to find the right backpack.

In this article, we’re going to give you a few steps to measure at home so that you can find the right backpack. The best source for measuring for a backpack is to speak to a specialist at a sporting goods store, but you can do this at home by yourself.

Why is it so important to have a backpack that fits your measurements? Think about this: you’ll be on a hike for several hours carrying a backpack full of equipment, do you want to have a pack that is too small or too big during that trip?

If it’s too small, you won’t have enough room for all of your equipment, and if it’s too big, you’ll have much extra space making your bag feel heavy. However, no matter what, having the wrong size pack is going to be super uncomfortable during your hike – which is not what you want.

We will also go over how to adjust the fit of the new backpack and give you suggestions on how to tweak the pack to manage comfort during a hike.

Measure Your Torso Length

To accurately determine your backpack size you need is to get your torso measurements. To do this, you’ll need a helper and a flexible tape measure, then follow these few simple steps:

  1. Tilt your head forward and feel for the boney bump where your shoulders meet your neck. This is the top of your torso length
  2. On each side of your body, slide your hands down the ribcage to the top of your hip bones. Now point your index fingers forward and your thumbs backward, draw an imaginary line between your thumbs; this is the bottom of your torso length.
  3. Stand up straight and have a friend use the tape measure to find the distance from where your shoulders meet your neck, all the way down to the imaginary line created by your thumbs and this is your torso length.

You can then measure the length and width of your body to find the perfect measurements of a backpack for your body.

Dimensions Versus Volume

The dimensions of your backpack are an easy thing to measure and are easy to understand when converting your measurement to your pack – take the length, width, and height and compare it with your measurements.

arrangement of backpacks

On the other hand, the volume of the backpack determines how much space you’ll have for your hiking equipment. Hiking backpacks range in volume from 25L capacity up to 50L. The bag’s volume will depend widely on the overall size of the bag, and the type of hike you’ll be using it for (i.e., day trips or multi-day trips).

How is the volume of a backpack determined?

There is a way to figure out a rough estimate of the volume by calculating the dimensions of the bag – this is not going to give you an accurate answer, but it will help you get a range of what to expect.

Most backpack manufacturers will measure the volume of the pack by adding up the total volume of storage of the bag, such as add up how much the main compartment and any additional pockets that can be zippered or closed can hold. The measurements are taken in cubic inches and then converted to liters to provide the final volume.

The method and measurements that are used to figure out the volume of a backpack can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so if you’re in doubt, we recommend contacting the backpack manufacturers of the bag to figure out their measurement criteria that determines backpack size.

Finding Your Perfect Backpack with Your Measurements

When searching for and choosing the right backpack for you, there are a few things that you should keep in mind while shopping.

Keep in mind that not everyone is going to be able to get by with a single backpack that matches their needs perfectly, so you might want to consider getting more than one different sized backpacks to use on a hike.

Types of Packs

Based on the type of hike that you’re planning to go on, there are several different types of backpacks available.

backpacks in shop

There are packs designed for day hiking trips, called daypacks, which are good for one-day hikes. There are also backpacks designed for longer trips including overnight, weekend, and multi-day trips. Each different type of backpack is going to have different volume sizes.

Your Size

You measured your torso, so now you can use that measurement to find the perfect backpack for you. The backpack that you choose should be of equal or lesser length than your measurements – make sure to look at or ask about size guides when purchasing a backpack because not all backpacks are the same.

What are You Going to Pack?

The final thing that you should think about when choosing the best backpack is what you’ll be using it for. If you’re going just to be using it for a basic trip, you don’t need a huge backpack with a lot of volume. However, if you decide to bring plenty of extras or for a longer trip, then you’ll need one with more volume.

different color backpacks

This is why it’s so important to figure out which backpack is best for you. Your torso size is just as important as the volume of the backpack.

Final Thoughts

Measuring for a backpack can seem very confusing, but hopefully, you’ve learned something from this article that will help you pick the best pack for you.

As long as you keep in mind the three major points in this article, how to measure your torso, how much space you’ll need for items, and what kind of hikes you plan on taking, you’ll be able to measure and find the perfect pack easily.

A properly sized backpack can make a big difference between an enjoyable hike or a miserable hike.

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