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White Mountain Backpacks™
619 Plenty Road, Preston,
Melbourne VIC 3072 Australia
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Backpack Selection

Backpack Size Selection

How do you determine the correct size of backpack required?

The maximum length of backpack you are able to fit correctly will depend on your Individual Torso Length. A backpack is then chosen that best suits this Torso Length.

What methods are there for determining the correct length of backpack?

White Mountain recommends two methods of determining the correct backpack length.

In the first method, you can hold the backpack with a straight frame up to the individual with the hip belt level with the Iliac Crest (the bone at the hip directly under the bottom rib). If the backpack does not proceed past shoulder ridge by more than 8 cm (5cm after Internal Stave reduction in contouring), or not lower than the shoulder ridge by 2 cm (5cm after Internal Stave reduction in contouring), then this is a suitably sized backpack for customisation to the individual.

The second method is to Measure your Torso Length, and compare this measurement to the recommended Torso Length for each backpack provided by the backpack supplier, if available. All credible backpack suppliers will list the recommended Torso Length for each of their Internal Frame Backpacks with information supplied on each of these products.

What is the Torso Length?

The definition of the Torso is the upper part of the human body excluding the head and arms. For the purpose of fitting backpacks we further define the Torso Length, as a point along the spine at position level with the top of the Iliac Crest, up to the base of the neck or top of the seventh cervical vertebrae (the prominent bone or large knuckle at the base of the neck, or when bending the head backpacks the crease of the neck).

To assist in choosing which size/length of backpack is best for you, first Measure your Torso Length (This link will open a new window with instructions and diagram for accurately measuring your own Torso Length). You can either measure your Torso Length in a straight line, or measure your Torso Length along the curve of your spine and subtract 3 cm.

How do you measure the Torso Length?

To Measure your Torso Length, begin at a point on the spine level with the top of the hipbone or Iliac Crest. Measure along the curve of the spine up to the base of the neck or top of the seventh cervical vertebrae (the prominent bone or large knuckle at the base of the neck, or when bending the head backpacks, the crease of the neck).

Typically, you would measure the Torso Length vertically in a straight line, and not along the curve of the spine. To obtain a more accurate Torso Length, measure along the curve of the spine between the two points indicated above and subtract 3 cm. This will hold true for all Torso Lengths.

All recommendations, all tables, and all tables of specifications for White Mountain™ Internal Frame backpacks, assume that you have measured the Torso Length in a Straight Line.

How do you set the Torso Length for a White Mountain™ Harness System?

The White Mountain™ Harness Systems incorporate an adjustment that indicates your Torso Length in a straight line measurement. f you have instead measured along the curve of the spine simply subtract 3cm to obtain you straight line Torso Length measurement. The straight line Torso Length measurements are marked on the backpack harness, and the Harness Shoulder Straps have a corresponding marker. To set the Torso length simply align the Harness Shoulder Straps markers to the Torso Length measurement on the backpack.

How do you accommodate for the variation in Torso Lengths?

White Mountain™ uses the extra small to large length of Internal Staves with adjustable Torso Length positioning to facilitate a correct fitting. Each Optimum Torso Length for each Internal Stave Length can facilitate a variation on this Optimum Torso Length. That is, each Internal Stave Length can facilitate an adjustment of 5 cm or 2” either side of the Optimum Torso Length. This allows a range total of 10 cm or 4” for each Internal Stave Length.

Providing a second lower anchoring position for the Upper Load Stabiliser Strap, then further facilitates this range and extends the maximum length by 5cm or 2". We can then fit a backpack to an individual’s Torso Length of - 5 cm (- 2"), to + 5 cm (+ 2"). The first anchor position is at the top of the Internal Stave and the second 5 cm or 2” lower than the first position. By lowering the anchor position of the Upper Load Stabiliser Strap we are then able to accommodate the backpack proceeding past the shoulder by as much as 5 cm (2"), in which case the last 5 cm (2") of frame proceeding past the shoulders would need to bent away from the head at approximately 30º. This lower position when fitting to a smaller Torso Length prevents the Upper Load Stabiliser Strap pulling and lifting the Shoulder Strap from the shoulder and leveraging backwards, which would place excessive pressure on the chest and lower back.

What is the Maximum Torso Length Range for each Stave Length?

White Mountain™ recommends, as the most advisable choice a Maximum Torso Length of no more than - 4 cm (- 1 5/8"), to + 8 cm (+ 3 1/8") either side of the Individual Torso Length (your own Torso Length) for an acceptable backpack size. For example, if the Individual Torso Length were 48 cm, the best choice would be a backpack with a Maximum Torso Range of 44 cm to 56 cm, or a Optimum Torso Length closest to the length of 48 cm.

What is the correct Internal Stave Length selection?

The information provided is based on research into the correlation between White Mountain Backpacks™ Stave Length, Lower Back Length, Torso Length, and Spinal Curvature. Remember the incremental adjustments on the White Mountain™ backpack harness systems assume that you have measured your Torso Length in a straight line. Regardless of Torso Length, simply subtract approximately 3 cm if measuring along the curve of the spine to obtain the comparative figures for the table below.

The Torso Length markings on White Mountain™ backpack harness systems use the Straight Line Torso Length measurement. For example, if your Straight Line Torso Length measurement is 50cm then this will correspond to 50cm on your White Mountain™ backpack harness system. Alternatively if your Torso Length is measured along the curve of the spine at 53cm then this will correspond to 50cm (53cm – 3cm) on your White Mountain™ backpack harness system.

The following table of specifications for Internal Frame backpacks assume that you have measured your Torso Length in a Straight Line, not along the curve of the spine.

What is the Torso Length and corresponding Internal Stave length for each backpack?

The optimum and recommended Torso Length and Corresponding Internal Stave length for each backpack
  Net Stave Length Optimum Torso Length Recommended Torso Length
Stave Size cm Inches cm Inches cm Inches
Extra Small 50cm 19 11/16" 38cm 15 0/0" 34cm to 46cm 13 3/8" to 18 1/8"
Small 55cm 21 5/8" 42cm 16 1/2" 38cm to 50cm 14 15/16" to 19 11/16"
Medium 60cm 23 5/8" 46cm 18 1/8" 42cm to 54cm 16 9/16" to 21 1/4"
Large 65cm 25 9/16" 50cm 9 1/2" 46cm to 58cm 18 1/8" to 22 13/16"
      
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