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Trek Hacks: Adjusting Backpack The Right Way

Trek: Annapurna Base Camp

On hiking and trekking adventures, your backpack is your buddy. They are an invaluable resource. While you may not pay much heed to the fact, the right backpack fit is quite important. For starters, an improper fit can cause back and shoulder pain.  Without proper adjustments, the weight on your back can slow you down and put a damper on your moods and your adventure. Once the backpack is packed before we start walking there are some points to be considered. 

If the backpack is loose on the back it eventually pulls shoulders and hips due to its weight. This puts undue pressure on body muscles and might even cause injuries in the long run. A backpack comes with many straps and belts that let you adjust the back according to the fit you want. This guide will help you adjust a backpack properly for a comfortable trekking experience.

Understanding The Parts

Hip belt: It helps pick up the bag and reduce the stress and weight on your lower back.

Shoulder straps: Tightening the shoulder straps brings your backpack closer to the body and evenly distributes weight on the back. Also if the bag is loose it keeps swinging as you walk and move, making the trek inconvenient and uncomfortable. The straps keep the bag tight and firmly attached to your body.

Upper straps: These straps keep the upper section of the backpack closer to your body.

Chest straps/Sternal straps: The primary function of these straps is to keep your shoulder straps together. Sometimes the shoulder straps start falling, these straps ensure they are in place. Keep in mind not to tighten the straps too much as it will strain your breathing.

Follow The Sequence

Once the bag is packed well and you are ready to go, begin with tightening the hip belt. It will lift the backpack and put less pressure on your lower back.

Now tighten the shoulder straps and upper straps so that the middle and upper section fits perfectly and the backpack is not loose or dangling.

The next step is to pull the chest straps on to keep the shoulder straps together. Always keep in mind not to tighten the straps so much that they may cause rashes or pain.

Right Way To Test Backpack Fit

A backpack behaves differently when empty versus when it is full. So when you are purchasing a backpack, fill it with some weight to get a good understanding of how it fits. The weight distribution makes a big difference on how the bag fits. Also, put your backpack on after packing before you adjust the straps to find the right fit. 

Walk Around

Once you have adjusted the backpack, walk around for a few minutes to determine the feel. Make sure that when you walk, the weight is on your legs and not on your shoulders or the neck. Also, when walking with a backpack, lean forward a little for balance. If you find yourself changing postures a lot while walking then the backpack isn’t adjusted properly.

Even the best hiking bags need proper adjustment and with these tips, you can adjust your backpacks accurately and enjoy your hike.