Help with backpack sizing.

9:18 a.m. on November 11, 2010 (EST)
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1 forum posts

Over the summer me and my wife went into an ems and spent a few hours getting fitted for backpacks. We tried on both osprey and gregory packs and I remember that she was Medium in one brand and a Small in the other.

I am going to get her a pack for her birthday but can not remember what brand was which size. I cannot measure her or anything because I want this to be a surprise and I know she does not remember her sizing either because I asked her if she remembered mine (I was the same Large in one brand Medium in the other).

Is anyone here familiar enough with the difference in the two brands to know which one runs smaller/larger such as if you are a Medium Osprey you would be a Small Gregory or the other way around.


12:33 p.m. on November 11, 2010 (EST)
2,590 reviewer rep
1,630 forum posts

 As long as you buy from a place like REI or EMS you can easily return it for the larger size if needed.

Osprey Torso Length

S <18.5 in.
M 18-20.5 in.
L >20 in.


Torso Length

XS 14-16 in.
S 16-18 in.
M 18-20 in.

I copied those from EMS, checked several different osprey and gregory packs all are the same. These are from WOMENS models, so if she was trying on men's models you will need to look at those.

Still doesn't help if you don't remember her size!

Just tackle her and take a tape measure to her!

1:20 p.m. on November 11, 2010 (EST)
16 reviewer rep
19 forum posts

...what is her torso length?

5:07 p.m. on November 11, 2010 (EST)
4,404 reviewer rep
6,005 forum posts

Here are the instructions from the REI website (look farther down for a sneaky way to get torso length, if you are unwilling to ask):

Find Your Backpack Size


With the right fit, you and your pack can become the best of buddies on short or long hauls. Here is how REI's pack-fitting experts make sure you get into the right pack.

1. Measure Your Torso Length. This is key: Your torso length, not your height, determines your pack size. Here's how to measure it:

  • With the help of a friend, locate the bony bump at the base of your neck. This is where the slope of your shoulder meets your neck, also known as the seventh vertebra. Tilt your head forward to locate it more easily.
  • Using a flexible tape measure, have your friend start measuring at that spot down your spine, following the curves of your back.
  • Place your hands on your hips to feel your iliac crest, the twin pointy protrusions on the front of your hips. Position your hands so your thumbs are reaching behind you.
  • Finish measuring at the point where the tape crosses an imaginary line between your thumbs. This distance is your torso length.

2. Measure Your Hips

While less critical than torso length, this is helpful if you're considering a pack that offers multiple sizes or interchangeable hipbelts. To measure, take your tape measure and wrap it around the tops of your hips. This is the "latitude line" where you can feel your iliac crest, the two pointy bones on the front of your hips. A properly positioned hipbelt will straddle your iliac crest at this line.

The sneaky method - Pick a time when she is wearing a T-shirt, blouse, or jacket that covers her back from neck to hips. Then give her a big hug and fondly caress her back along the spine. The seventh vertebra is easy to identify, since it is the bump at the base of the neck. Make note of where that is on the blouse, Tshirt, or jacket (by feel). Caress your way down to identify where the hip line is and identify where that is on the blouse, Tshirt, or jacket. Jot down a note so you can remember it when you can grab the clothing item when she is out of sight and make the measurement. You can also do this when coming from behind and running your hand down her spine - this gives a visual frame of reference, which may help in remembering. The big problem comes if she is on the borderline between sizes. Which, since she was two different sizes for the two brands, might well be the case.

As mentioned above, EMS and REI have excellent return policies if you pick the wrong one. It is the thought that counts, so if you have to make the change after gifting, I'm sure she will still be pleased.

April 22, 2018
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