To measure your torso size you will need to measure from your C7 Vertebrae down to your iliac crest/hip shelf. To get the most accurate measurement, it is best to have someone else measure your back with a flexible measuring tape. The measurement will most likely fall somewhere within our sizing chart. If you do not fall somewhere in our sizing chart shoot us an email and we can discuss custom torso sizing.
The goal for packs with a padded hip belt is to get the belt to ride so that the center line is close to riding on your hip bones. That way you will get the best load transfer to your hips, removing a bulk of the load from your shoulders.
Torso sizing is not quite as critical on packs that do not have a padded hip belt, as you do not have to line up the belt with your hip bones. It is still best to select a torso size that is close to your measurement despite the fact that there is no belt.
We have three different torso sizes, Sm 16-18", Med 18-20", and Lg 20-22".
If you are on the upper end of a torso size we recommend sizing up.
Measurements on Backpacks
In addition to measuring your back to find your correct torso size, it can also be useful to measure a backpack that you currently own. If you have a backpack that fits you well, you can measure it using the following guidelines and we can compare it to one of our backpacks to find the size that will work best for you.
On frameless Superior packs that do not have a padded hip belt, we measure the torso size from where the straps are sewn into the pack down to the bottom of the pack.
Measurements on Internal Frame Packs
Our backpacks that come with an internal frame have two measurements on them. The first is measured from the center of the hip belt up to the crest between the shoulder straps. This is the torso height on the pack.
The image below is an example of how we measure torso height on one of our internal frame packs.
The second is measured from the bottom of the pack up to the seam that the load lifters are sewn into. This is the frame height.
The image below is an example of how we measure the frame height on one of our internal frame packs.
Example of frame sizes
This photo shows the short frame size. Notice that the load lifters are down lower closer to the shoulders. This is how most modern backpacks are designed.
This makes the load lifters function more like torso height adjusters and will give you some adjustment on the torso size, but won't lift much of the load off of your shoulders when you have a heavy resupply or a long water carry. Some people prefer a shorter frame as it packs down smaller, which is the main advantage of the short frame.
This style is optimized for loads of 20-30lbs or less. You can easily push it up to 40lbs for short stretches, but if you regularly carry more than 35lbs I would look into the tall frame.
This photo shows the tall frame size. The tall frame puts the load lifters higher up, closer to your ears which gives you better functioning load lifters. With the load lifters up high like this they do a great job of pulling heavy loads up off of your shoulders which is very comfortable for moderate to heavy loads.
When the load lifters are up high as in this picture, tightening them down will pull the load off of your shoulders and move it on to your hips.
If you regularly carry 35+lbs, then this may be a good option for you. This makes loads of 50-60lbs much more manageable.
Hip Belt Sizing
We currently offer five hip belt sizes which are 26", 28", 30", 34", and 38". Each measurement is referring to the amount of padding that the belt will have. Each hip belt will come with enough adjustable webbing to fit up to about a 50" waist or so.
To find your correct hip belt size you will need to measure the circumference around your hips rather than your waist size. This measurement should be at least 4" larger than the padded portion of the hip belt.
When in doubt size down, as you do not want the belt to be too large. If the hip belt is too big, you will not be able to tighten the belt down all the way making for poor load transfer to your hips.