Mar 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm #1299936
@kmyers1234Locale: Pacific Northwest
Been thinking about getting my significant other a pack and am wondering if female specific packs are really necessary. The reason I'm wondering is because my girlfriend is 6'2" so I'm thinking she might actually fit a men's pack better.. Wondering if anyone's got any thoughts on this?Mar 3, 2013 at 1:45 pm #1960913
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
There are wide ranges in body size and contour within the sex as between the sexes.
If a woman is 'average' for her sex — than a woman-specific park, pad, etc. might make sense. If not, then probably not.
Bottom line — have your s.o. try out the packs herself — and don't let "labels" sway either of you automatically.Mar 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm #1960917
The differences that I know of are curved straps for comfort across the chest, and slightly larger hipbelts. Both of those are relevant for some women and not relevant for others, so you'll just have to try it.
Remember, torso to leg ratio makes a big deal too. I'm 6'2", but all legs, so some large packs are too big for me.Mar 3, 2013 at 2:25 pm #1960930
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
What Ben wrote.
My wife finds the different curve at the lumbar region very important. But you can always bend aluminium stays to match your needs.
CheersMar 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm #1960955
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
We're all built a bit differently (just as no two men are exactly the same.) My answer is therefore both yes and no. It also depends on the way the pack is built. With some packs, including my own, I'm comfy with a unisex version. With others (my day pack), a woman's version is definitely more comfortable. With others, including Osprey packs for either sex, nothing is comfortable for me! IMHO, pack fit is about as individual as shoe fit.
The S-curved straps do help, all other things being equal–they're a bit more suited to the female anatomy. Another thing that helps is a hip belt whose angle can be adjusted to better fit female hips. Of course, some of us have quite ample hips while others are more straight than curvy. A third item, for those of us females who are "vertically challenged" is the availability of shorter torso lengths. So many pack makers think that a "small starts at 16-17 inches torso length. Sorry, mine is 15 and anything bigger is uncomfortable. (I've seen similar complaints from big and tall guys at the other end of the torso length spectrum!) I wish these options were available from more of our wonderful "cottage" pack makers, although I notice they're becoming more common. My own pack (a long discontinued Six Moon Designs model) has an adjustable torso length starting at 15". I actually think the smallest is 14 1/2" because mine is most comfortable at the second-smallest adjustment.
I suggest you have your GF try many different makes of packs (including some from our "cottage industry" friends, though you have to pay return postage), with her gear inside, to determine what fits her–and her gear–the best. Be sure to include a couple liters of water and the equivalent in bulk and weight of a week's food. I got lucky when doing this–the first pack I ordered, which I still have 7 years later, fit as though it had been custom made just for me–but I was fully prepared to order and send back half a dozen packs if necessary.Mar 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm #1961005
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
My wife has tried a lot of packs over the years. I'll echo Mary's comments on torso length, angle of the hip belt, and S-curved shoulder straps. In addition, the width of the shoulder strap is important — lots of straps out there are very wide and dig into her neck.
She now carries an Osprey Ariel 55 that we got in Colorado about 7 years ago. It's a little heavy, but the suspension fits like it was made for her.Mar 3, 2013 at 9:40 pm #1961107
just Justin WhitsonMember
Lots of good points, and i completely agree it's a very individual thing as well as potentially some "average" gender differences. But at the same time, i was under the impression that the lighter you go, generally the less you have to worry about one's pack fitting one like a well worn in glove (or shoe)? Is this a misconception or mis-perception?
…i need to get more sleep…Mar 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm #1961111
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
"I was under the impression that the lighter you go, generally the less you have to worry about one's pack fitting one like a well worn in glove (or shoe)?"
I would say that the less weight, the more forgiving. Even frameless packs will generally feel fine on me when I am carrying 20lbs or less — unless the straps themselves are just shaped wrong for me. And at the extreme end of the spectrum, most all packs feel just fine when carried empty.
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