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Torso Size for Hiking Backpacks

Updated on August 19, 2013
Measuring Torso Size Diagram
Measuring Torso Size Diagram | Source


It's important to know how to measure torso size because hiking backpack sizes are based off the length of a person's upper body. The length of the back determines where the pack will ride and how high the hip strap will be on the person's waist.

Packs come in small, medium, and large torso sizes. Most have their own sizing guidelines specific to the manufacturer, but taller people should choose large, medium height people should choose medium torso size packs and so on.

It's always a good idea to measure and get an exact number so, the guesswork will be taken out of the equation. It's better to do a little work measuring than to purchase a pack that won't fit well.


To calculate exact torso size, one must locate the C-7 vertebra on the back of the neck. It's usually the most prominent bone on the back of the neck. This is the fist point to begin measuring from.

The second point, is on the lower back between the iliac crests. It's an imaginary point in line with these two dimples that make up the top of the hop bone.

A partner must use a measuring tape to find the distance between that C-7 vertebra and the point between the top of the hip bones. This distance is torso length.

Apply to Backpack Size

After finding torso length, it's easy to choose the right pack size. The torso size is usually measured in inches or centimeters, and it corresponds to a sizing guide that the manufacturer provides with the description. So, one can simply choose the size that his/her torso length falls into.

Under the description, there will be an option to select small, medium, or large. Height only varies between a certain range for basically any person, so there will be a pack size for everyone.

Pack Size

The actual internal volume differs by several liters between small, medium, and large torso sizes. However, the difference is small, and normally won't effect the perceived size of the backpack. The reason for this is that the height of the pack is shorter for each torso range. Therefore, smaller sizes will less volume than the larger sizes.


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