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How your backpack fits makes a world of difference in how much you can carry and how long you can carry it. Hiking backpacks should fit just right to properly distribute weight. The pack should rest on your hipbones for maximum weight transfer, and it shouldn't sag or pull on your shoulders. If the pack rests too high on your hips, it could squeeze your kidneys.
Today, most good quality hiking backpacks come in at least two or three sizes. Stay away from brands that offer one-size-fits-all technology, because they may not fit your torso and back the way they should. Good hiking backpacks also offer different hipbelts and shoulder straps that you can adjust to your own particular needs. Your outfitter should offer a trained packfitter to help you with your backpack choice. After you've chosen a few bags, load them up and walk around the store. The one that feels the best, without any rubbing, chafing, or other hot spots should be the one you choose.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|