It is vital that you adjust all rucksacks before wearing to ensure they fit correctly. Knowing how to fit a rucksack can not only make the rucksack more comfortable to carry, it can actually help reduce fatigue and prevent injury.
Large rucksacks take time to fit correctly due to the number of adjustable parts. More weight will be carried in a larger rucksack so more stress will be put on your body when carrying the load. Before trying to adjust the rucksack you should put some weight into the bag so it will sit correctly, a loaded rucksack is a more realistic guide than an empty one.
1. Loosen all Straps on the Rucksack.
This will make it easier to tighten to the correct level later.
2. Adjust the Moveable Ladder
Undo the Velcro tab near the top of the rucksack between the shoulder straps. In order to know if the back length is correct you will need to fasten the hip straps. These must be in the correct place for the rucksack to fit properly.
This Velcro tab described above is passed through various loops which secure its position. By taking the tab out of these loops you can adjust the positioning of the shoulder straps thus altering the length of the rucksack back.
If you wish to extend the back length you will need to move the tab to loops higher up and the reverse to shorten. This will be very much trial and error until you get the best fit.
3. Position the Hip Strap
This must be in the correct place for the rucksack to fit properly.
For men the top of the hip strap will sit in line with the top of the hip bone. For women the middle of the hip strap will sit in line with the top of the hip.
4. Tighten the Hip Straps to Secure the Rucksack Comfortably
Once you have got the hip strap in the correct place, tighten the straps to secure the rucksack comfortably. This is a very important part of fitting a rucksack as your hips will carry the majority of the weight. Make sure not to tighten too much as the straps can dig in leading to discomfort
5. Adjust the Chest Strap
You will then need to adjust the shoulder straps by tightening them. The straps should not be loose but not so tight that you move the weight off your hips back onto your shoulders.
6. Adjust the Top Stabilisation Straps / Load Lifters
(These are the small straps which connect from the back of the rucksack to the shoulder straps)
These should be tightened to approximately an angle of 30 degrees. This strap ensures the rucksack does not sit too far back off the wearers back causing them to be unbalanced
Be careful not to over tighten this strap as doing so can cause a gap behind the shoulder straps which can rub making the pack very uncomfortable.
7. Adjust the Chest Straps
On many rucksacks this is movable to some extent up and down the shoulder straps. A guide to its position is that it should be in line with the bottom of the arm pit. Once tightened the sternum strap will ensure the shoulder straps do not move about whilst out walking and help to keep the rucksack in place.
You don’t want a rucksack to sit too high as it will cause the weight balance to be off as anything you carry above your shoulders will be carried on your shoulders. As a guide your rucksack should never go above eye level.
To check the rucksack is fitted correctly you can try a couple of things:
1. Ask someone to tug at the hip straps firmly, if fitted correctly, you should move with it and not stay still.
2. If a person tries to move the shoulder straps apart they should move but give a bit of resistance.
Smaller rucksacks (less than 50L) are generally very easy and quick to fit. Small backpacks will have a fixed back and the only adjusting needed will be to the shoulder and waist straps to allow the rucksack to sit properly on your back. To do this follow the instructions above.