2020.05.13

イッシー&ウキコの
教えて!山のワンダー Lesson 4and wander journal #10

第4回
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Lesson 4 Sizing and Fit: Does your Backpack Really Fit You?

kaikai

I'm thinking of buying a backpack for hiking. Would you mind giving me some advice on which backpack to choose?

tateishitateishi

Oh, so you're finally going to be a big-time hiker, aren't you? When you choose your backpack, you start from looking at the capacity..

kaikai

It's the number written with the unit "liter", right? I've seen it before, but I'm not experienced enough to be familiar with using liters for expressing size.

tateishitateishi

Right. 30 liters would be plenty for a daypack. 40-liter backpacks are for overnight trips and the ones with over 60-liter capacity are for multi-day hikes and mountain expeditions.

kaikai

30-liter backpack is the one I have! It's "X-Pac 30L backpack". This is actually convenient for work too.

tateishitateishi

I see. If you're going on a daypack, that's absolutely perfect. Cold-weather protection items, a rainwear, food, water, and a portable camping stove are pretty much all you need. Once you become more skilled and decide to go on an overnight hike where you stay at a mountain hut or a tent, you might want to have "X-Pac 40L backpack" or "X-Pac 45L backpack".

kaikai

What's this slight difference in capacity for? They're both designed the same, right?

tateishitateishi

You have a good point there! Have you ever measured your torso length?

kaikai

Torso length? I don't think so…

tateishitateishi

Okay, I'll start with explaining how to fit and adjust your backpack. The important parts are the shoulder straps and the hip belt. You can adjust the strap length later, so before you start anything, loosen them up. Then, put on your backpack, fasten your hip belt, and tighten it. When you do this, make sure that the weight of your backpack fully rests on your hipbone.

kaikai

The shoulder straps are still loose, but my pack is actually stable, just by properly fixing the hip belt!

tateishitateishi

This way, you can eliminate shoulder pressure by evenly distributing the weight across your lower lumbar. When you're done with the hip belt, tighten the shoulder straps. Be careful not to make it too tight. You need to adjust it just so that most of the weight still rests on your hipbone. Finally, buckle up the chest strap and tighten it to prevent your bag from swinging around.

kaikai

Wow, this makes it much easier for me to carry my pack! …But what about the chorizo length?

tateishitateishi

Are you hungry? Torso length. I'll get back to that. Literally, it's the length of your torso, which determines the size of your backpack. Just like your clothes, it's important for you to properly fit your backpack. No matter how functional it is, it will all be no use if the pack doesn't fit you right. Other brands offer different pack sizes like in "S" and "M" for the same product series, according to the torso range.

kaikai

Oh, so that's what that 5-liter difference was for! The longer the torso, the larger the pack capacity. That's exactly why we offer our backpacks in different capacities such as "40L" and "45L" instead of just "S" and "M"!

tateishitateishi

Exactly! You're making some progress here! In our case, we make minor changes in our pack design according to the torso length, like slightly changing the position of the side pockets. Speaking of "X-Pac 40L backpack" and "X-Pac 45L backpack", they even feature a self-adjustable torso length.

kaikai

Hmmm, that seems difficult.

tateishitateishi

It's not as hard as you think. Hey, let me see your back.

kaikai

Whoa, what for?

tateishitateishi

First things first, you need to measure your torso length. Now, the torso length is the distance between your nape of neck to the top of your hipbone. Let's see… yours is about 45cm. Let me adjust your backpack. There you go, try it on!

kaikai

It's much more comfortable! Now I understand the amazing power of the perfect fit torso length just for me.

tateishitateishi

Yup. You can adjust the length yourself once you get use to it, but it's difficult at first, so you may want to ask one of the staff in the shop for help. It's also important for you to know that your best-fit torso length changes when you have an extremely heavy load. People often adjust the length at the shop and keep using it as it is, but it's actually better for you to check and adjust it quite frequently.

kaikai

Chorizo length… it's pretty deep.

tateishitateishi

Geez, it's torso!

Isshi イッシー

Plays the teacher role in this program. A 15-year experienced hiker who heads out to the mountains under the pretext of a “field test” every time he buys a new outdoor gear. A mid-career staff at and wander, who realized that he gained much more weight himself than the weight he succeeded to save over the past 10 years by lightening the gears.

Ukiko ウキコ

Plays the student role in this program. Although she is interested in backpacking trips, she is a new recruit at and wander and still has a lot to learn. Fluent speaker of English and well-versed in fashion but tends to get panicked when she hears too many technical outdoor terms.

text Takashi Sakurai
illustration Mizumaru Kawahara
translation Masumi Tokugawa