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Which Pack Size?

The product specification tables show the range of back length sizes that each Hip Loading backpack model is available in. You will see the size designations XS, S, M, and L, and combinations of them. For optimum comfort it is essential that you choose a pack back length size that matches your own back length. If the design spacing between the hip harness and the shoulder harness on the pack matches your torso length you will be able to carry your pack load with comfort and stability once the usual adjustments are made (see Using Your WE backpack). It is not possible to properly set-up a pack that is one or more sizes too short for your back. The compromise when the pack is one size too long is not so serious. In any case, don't worry, getting the size right is simple!

The point needs to be made here and now. Do not confuse pack Size with pack Volume! Whatever your stature or build, if you require a big volume pack then start by choosing a big volume model from our range. If you have a relatively short torso length you will always require a smaller pack back size, whatever the model you choose.

There are two ways to find the correct pack size, both equally effective.

Try a Pack on

This is what your retailer will do. Estimate the size needed, moderately load the pack and try it on. Fasten the hip harness firmly at a comfortable level (more on that follows) and then see how the shoulder harness top stabiliser strap buckles (on the upper part of the pack harness panel) lie relative to your shoulder level.

The hip harness should not sit up over the hip bones. It is designed to hug the pelvis and rest on the upper parts of your gluteus maximus or backside muscles. The top edge of the hip harness wings should lie about level with the crests of your pelvis. On most males this is a reliable guide. Females may find a position a little up or down from this to be more comfortable. It comes down to the shape of your backside, not to put too fine a point on it.

The pack is the correct size if the shoulder harness top stabiliser strap anchor buckles on the upper part of the pack harness panel are not more than 10mm below and not more than 40mm above the level of the top surface of the padded shoulder harness arms where they rest over your shoulders. In the illustration above the buckles are sitting at an ideal level, just a little above the upper surface of the padded shoulder harness arm. The buckles must definitely not be more than the 10mm below level. Go up a pack size if they do. The difference in back length between pack sizes is 50mm. You can see that having the pack loaded (to simulate real use) and firmly fastened comfortably at the hips is very important.

Do it by Measurement

Measure the vertical distance from the crest of your hip bone up to the level of your shoulder surface, where the pack shoulder harness will rest. Find the top of your hip bone (pelvic crest) on one side. Hold the end of a tape measure on the bone. It slopes down as you move along it towards the front centreline of your body. Find a position directly down from a point on the corresponding shoulder at the place where the shoulder harness arm will cross it. Now, extend the tape measure vertically upwards from the hip bone and, at the same time, rest a ruler or other straight edge horizontally on your shoulder, extending forward from where the shoudler harness padded arm will rest. Ask an innocent bystander to help out with this. Read off and note the distance where the shoulder level meets the tape measure.

If your measurement is above 45cm choose a large size pack. If it is between 40cm and 45cm choose a medium size. Between 35cm and 40cm means you need a small. If your measurement falls below 35cm and the pack model you have chosen comes in a combination XS/S size, thread the shoulder harness top sabiliser straps through the lower pair of buckles, corresponding to the XS back length. Otherwise, settle on the small back length and follow the pack adjustment instructions given on the page: Using Your WE Backpack.

The Measurement System is Universal to all WE Pack Models

The above measurements and increments apply to all WE pack models equipped with a hip harness, irrespective of hip harness or shoudler harness type. If, for example, you are a small in a Freycinet model multi-day pack you will also be a small in a Big Day Out active-technical daypack.

Combination Back Lengths

Finally, some WE pack models come in a series of combination back lengths. The WildChild, the Breakout and the Outbreak are the main ones. To illustrate the point at hand, take the case of the WildChild where both parents may wish to use the pack. Choose the pack so that the longer of the combination sizes provided on the pack is a good fit on the parent with the longer torso. Even if the shorter torso parent may be best fitted with a back length two sizes down from this, setting up the pack at the available single size step down will still provide good comfort and stability. If the pack size had been selected for best fit on the shorter back-length parent then it would not be possible to get a good fit on the (much) longer back-length parent. In summary, it is better that the pack be a little too long for the back than too short.

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