Sizing & Fit
BACKPACK FIT AND SIZING
One of the most important aspects of backpacking and hiking is having a backpack that fits properly and is comfortable to carry. Our promise is to design and produce gear that provides a positive experience while on trail.
Use the information below to know how to properly size a Waymark Gear Co. backpack.
Understanding Pack Sizes:
Waymark Gear Co. offers two different styles of backpack designs, framed with sewn in padded hip belts, and frameless packs without hip belts. How you size a Waymark Gear Co. backpack depends on a few factors. Which model pack you are choosing, your torso size, and your waist size. Other sizing factors to consider relate to the volume of the pack you are choosing, will that pack fit your gear system and handle the weight you intend to carry. All of these factors play into how the fit and comfort of a backpack will be for you.
The steps for sizing a Waymark Gear Co. backpack is to first measure your torso, then your waist, then determine which pack you need based on pack volume.
Step 1 - Measure Your Torso:
Using a flexible tape measure, measure from your pants waistline (which is typically right in line with the top of your hip bones) all the way up to your C7 vertebrae. When you bend your head forward while your back is straight, run your finger down your neck until you feel a bump a few inches above your shoulders. Measure to that spot then straighten your neck up in line with your back. That is your Torso length.
Step 2 - Measure Your Waist Size:
Simply use your pant waist size as your size, we've already done the math on our end to make sure your hip belt will have the proper amount of space between hip pads with the given waist size range. (For instance, a M/L hip belt will have anywhere from 8"-4" of space between hip pads with a 32"-36" waist size).
Sizing a Waymark Gear Co. Frameless Backpack:
Frameless pack models include the MILE and EVLV. These pack models do not have a sewn in padded hip belt, and fit a wider range of torso sizes. A 1" Webbing Hip Belt or Padded Removable Hip Belt may be added to our frameless backpacks as add on accessories. Knowing your waist size will help determine the size to order for these accessory belts.
MILE: The MILE comes in one size and has a technical torso length of 12"-14", and typically fits any torso size from 14"-20". Width between shoulder straps at the top of the MILE pack is about 3", so hikers who are at the top end of the suggested torso size with broad shoulders may find the fit of the MILE to be a little tight. The MILE is our smallest backpack by volume, and is recommended for day hiking and ultralight overnight trips. Adding a 1" webbing hip belt to this pack aids in stability of the pack, but is not designed to aid in distributing pack weight.
Adding a Removable Padded Hip Belt to the MILE is only recommended if your torso measurement is 17" or smaller.
EVLV: The EVLV comes in one size and has a technical torso length of 14"-16", and is designed to fit a wide range of torso sizes of 15"-21". Width between shoulder straps at the top of the EVLV is about 3.5", so hikers who are at the top end of the suggested torso size with broad shoulders may find the fit of the EVLV to be a little tight. In this case, sizing up to the larger THRU UL would be recommended.
The EVLV has 35 liters of total volume, and is designed as an ultralight frameless pack for hikers who have a base weight of gear under 10 pounds. The EVLV has a max carry weight of 20 pounds, but can be increased to about 25 pounds with a Removable Padded Hip Belt added to it.
We recommend fitting the THRU UL to your actual torso measurement for optimal comfort and fit. A 1" Webbing Hip Belt may be added for stability while hiking, or a Removable Padded Hip Belt for added comfort and weight distribution of the pack. Although a larger volume pack, the recommended weight limit is 20 pounds, or about 25 pounds with a Removable Padded Hip Belt.
Sizing a Waymark Gear Co. Framed Backpack:
Two framed pack models are offered, the THRU and LITE, and are our largest volume packs with the highest weight carrying capacity. The THRU and LITE feature an internal frame system that consists of two pre-bent aluminum frame stays, foam core back panel, lumbar pad, sewn in padded hip belt and load lifters. This system is designed to function top to bottom distributing pack weight through the hip belt into the frame stays and up into the load shifters. This creates a comfortable system that allows these two pack models to carry up to 35 pounds of gear, food and water.
THRU: The THRU comes in 4 torso sizes (XS: 13"-15", S/M: 15"-17.5", M/L 18"-20.5", L/XL 21"-23") and is designed to fit a wider range of hikers. Width between the shoulder straps increases as you move up in torso size. These measurements are, S/M: 2.75" , M/L: 3.5", L/XL: 4.5".
With 40 liters of total volume, the THRU is focused as a lightweight pack for hikers that have their gear system minimized to the essentials, and will be doing mostly 3 season hikes. Fitting the THRU correctly is critical to comfort while hiking. The sewn in hip belt is available in 6 sizes to fit a wider range of hikers.
LITE: The LITE comes in 4 torso sizes (XS: 13"-15", S/M: 15"-17.5", M/L 18"-20.5", L/XL 21"-23") and is designed to fit a wider range of hikers. Width between the shoulder straps increases as you move up in torso size. These measurements are, S/M: 2.75" , M/L: 3.5", L/XL: 4.5". There is an increase in height of the load lifters above the shoulders that allow this larger volume pack to more appropriately distribute weight through the frame system.
The LITE is our largest volume pack at 50 liters, and is the workhorse of the Waymark line of packs. While still streamlined with the essentials, the LITE provides enough space for virtually any gear system and is an ideal option for weekend backpacking trips, thru hikes and section hikes.
What should I do if I am between sizes?
For torso size we recommend going with the smaller size, as this will ensure that the pack sits correctly on your back and shoulders, especially on the THRU and LITE. When load lifters are engaged on a pack that is too long or tall, the shoulder straps will pull against your collar bones, and will not be comfortable. This also makes it difficult for the frame system to function as designed.
For waist size we also recommend going with the smaller size. Our hip belts have been designed to have a little overlap in the sizing that allows for a better fit and accommodates for layering clothes and even weight loss that may happen on a thru hike.
How to properly adjust the fit of the THRU or LITE.
Fitting a framed backpack like the THRU or LITE correctly is critical to comfort on the trail. The following steps apply to our packs with a sewn in padded hip belt like the THRU and LITE. With all straps loosened up, put the pack on your back and tighten the hip belt around your waist. Then tension your shoulder straps to what feels comfortable. At this point you should feel majority of the pack weight on your hips. Then pull tension on the load lifters to bring the backpack closer to your back. This will ensure a proper spacing between the top of your shoulders and the pack shoulder straps.
If you tension the load lifters prior to tightening the shoulder straps, the shoulder straps will pull against your collar bones and be uncomfortable.