Now what am I going to spend my dividend on?
March 24, 2010 10:20 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a new backpack!

I need a new backpack and am having a heck of a time finding one that fits. I'm looking for a weekender type pack- internal frame. My old standby is a big 'ol Gregory expedition monster and it fits well but I would like something smaller for short trips.

So far I have tried on about 45 packs at REI and the other two local hiking stores and NONE of them fit. I'm having three problems: 1. the hip belt rides up (75% of them), 2. the pack falls away from my upper back despite myriad adjustments to the frame and straps (most every pack I tried) and 3. the shoulder straps don't lay flat on my shoulders but instead hit at an angle dig in on one edge (80% of them).

I'm tall for a woman with a 19-20" torso and have a skinny ribcage (32in chest) but have relatively broad uppr back and hips. I think a big part of the problem is that everything wants to migrate to my waist. Also, according to REI, I have "funny shaped shoulders" which I think means they slope outwards more than the norm. A flat strap cannot find a corresponding flat spot to sit in. I would like a pack with swivel shoulders or no load lifter straps (if such a thing exists) to accommodate that.

At this point I've tried all the usual suspects, some of the unusual ones and been told REI can't help me. I'm looking for suggestions of lesser-known brands or online stores that carry a wider selection of sized. I suspect some of the Scandinavian brands may carry what I'm looking for. And if anyone knows of a women specific pack that comes in a true tall, I'd be thrilled!

Parameters: I already have daypacks and a monster pack, this is specifically for 2-4 day trips traveling light and fast. I don't really want an external frame or a frameless pack (but am maintaining an open mind) or to spend more than $300. I'm looking to carry 25-45lbs comfortably in something that will last and offers good compression so it's versatile. Prefer waterproof and I'd like one with cutouts on the hip belt 'cause that seems like a cool new feature but I can live without it.
posted by fshgrl to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
McHale Custom Packs probably blow your $300 budget, but their Bypass Strap System might solve your shoulder comfort problems so well, you'll look for some extra bucks to invest in a high quality piece of gear you'll use for a long time. In particular, except for your price target, their Little Big Daypack range (at about $425) sounds like what you're looking for.
posted by paulsc at 2:26 AM on March 25, 2010

Burton has some women specific packs.
posted by k8t at 8:58 AM on March 25, 2010

Thanks paulsc! That looks pretty awesome I'm going to give them a call today. Good to know I'm not the only backpack-strap-inept person out there.
posted by fshgrl at 10:13 AM on March 25, 2010

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