choosing right size pack

1:39 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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hey everyone. i will be doing my first weekend hiking experience and have decided on the North Face Terra 60 pack. I will be taking along a small 2 person tent, one spare change of clothes, 1 spare pair of hiking shoes, a down sleeping bag, food and water. i am about 5'10 200lbs and was curious about which would be a better choice between a large and medium. i have a 36" waist and didn't know if that made a difference. if anyone has any suggestions please help me out. thanks.

1:47 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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649 forum posts

Welcome to Trailspace jimn395

Another New Yorker there ain't many of us here

The medium & large you are referring to is your torso size you need to fit the pack. So its not question of what one you want its a question of what one you need.

Everyone's torso size is different and every one carries there pack different. So my advice to you since you live in NY and there are practically no real gears stores around is measure yourself. And try on as many packs as you can and see how comfortable they are before you make a decision. Buying a pack is so much more than the brand or style you are buying. There are a lot of threads on this subject so look around read and ask questions.

1:51 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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i planned on ordering online since the nearest sporting goods store has a lousey selection and is an hour away in albany, ny. how would i know which size to get?

2:04 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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649 forum posts

Jim where in about in NY are you. Yes im in the same boat i have to limited places to try on gear. I take it you don't have too much experience in backpacking which makes it even harder to chose gear.

2:08 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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i live in amsterdam which is about a half hour south of sacandaga lake. ive hiked before but for no longer than 7 hours. ive also been car camping since i was born. but never had a weekend backpacking experience. im new to the backpacking but have spent my entire life in the woods. my only dilemma is finding the right size.

2:23 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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Try looking here it enplanes it pretty good but there are a lot of other articles on this subject.

Here in the Syracuse area we are limited as well but the EMS store at Carousel Mall has a fair selection and there are a few employed that know what they are talking about (Jim).

Possibly look on crageslist maybe you can get lucky with a few in your local area. Also if you are going to buy online make sure who ever from has a return policy.

2:44 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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jimn395 I ma going on a solo trip to outside Gouverneurn NY this coming weekend and I have a external frame pack you can use. It can be adjusted to fit quickly if you would like to join me on the trip you are welcome to.

2:49 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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13 forum posts

thanks for all the help. i appreciate it a ton.

6:26 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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1,902 forum posts

You should be able to find a few websites with "how to" guides to measuring pack sizes. I think Granite Gear has a guide on their site, then call whereever you are getting the pack and ask them.

There are two important measurements-torso and waist belt. There is a chart on the TNF website-

Judging from your description, according to the chart, you need a medium pack with a large waistbelt, BUT, the pack specs themselves suggest just a straight large. No explanation for this discrepancy.

I would call whoever you are getting this from and ask them. If you order from REI, you can return it if it doesn't fit right.

9:23 a.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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123 forum posts

i bought this same pack in a large torso. it is somewhat adjustable, but not very much. my 2-bits worth

oh yeah, my proportions for you to compare to........

5'9" 180 lbs 32" inseam in jeans.

9:47 a.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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168 forum posts

Torso size is pretty simple. Find the vertebra in your neck that sticks out the most when you bend your head forward. It is right above your shoulders. Measure from there along your spine to where it joins the iliac crest -- the ridge on the top of your pelvis. That is your torso measurement. Couldn't be easier.

Torso size doesn't have a lot to do with how tall you are -- some, of course -- but you could have long legs and a short torso and be taller than the guy with short legs and a long torso. So measure as above and you will be fine!

If you know what size pants you wear, then you know what size your waist belt needs to be. Every manufacturer has a different take on this, so Large with one might be XL with another, but that's not hard to figure out. Just go by what they tell you.

1:22 p.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Also note when you are measuring your torso size if you ware your wast-belt around hips in the lower position you need to measure your torso length with that in mind and change where you measure to accordingly.

1:59 p.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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3,901 forum posts

Welcome to Trailspace, jimn395.

You also can check out this video of Wayne Gregory explaining how to find your torso size and fit a pack:

I higly recommend trying on packs with an experienced pack fitter before buying, especially for a first pack, but if you really can't do that be sure to measure yourself correctly.

Tom and Mike also make an excellent point about buying from stores with good return policies. Even if you measure yourself, you may find that a certain brand or model just doesn't suit you. No brand will work for everyone.

You didn't ask for advice on your gear, so you can ignore me if you want, but I suggest ditching the one spare change of clothes and 1 spare pair of hiking shoes. Unless the spare clothes include other layers you just won't need while hiking but may genuinely need at night or in certain weather (like a hard shell or some sort of insulation) don't bring along a duplicate shirt, pants/shorts or whatever, though I usually bring along an extra pair of socks. You'll only be out a few days. It's okay to be smelly.

And an extra pair of shoes will add a lot of weight and space. Unless you really want/need something for wearing around camp (there are many who do), like lightweight sandals, I can't see adding trail shoes to your pack.

Bring what you need, but not extra copies of what you already have on hand.

3:29 p.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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649 forum posts

Alicia has a very good point about the gear that you pack, I agree

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