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Can you handle one more backpack question?

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#1
I know there are backpack threads all over this forum, but I have a specific problem. I am a woman, 5'4", 130 lbs and rather "busty".;) On my first two Caminos I borrowed a men's medium Osprey 25L Atmos pack. It's a great pack, however the front of the shoulder harness cut into the front of my underarms and was rather uncomfortable, although after about the first week of walking my skin probably toughened up because it didn't bother me as much.

Fast forward to now as I will be walking my 3rd camino next month. I finally decided to order a new pack online as I do not have a local retailer near where I live that sells quality packs. After much research and advise I ordered two "women specific" packs hoping to get a better fit on the shoulder harness and plan to return one. I ordered an Osprey Sirrus 36L, and an Osprey Kyte 36L. They both are very nice packs with good features, BUT both seem to still cut into the sides of my underarms. I have watched utube videos on how to fit a pack, have adjusted all the straps in various positions, but cannot seem to get rid of that tight feeling. I carry 11 pounds of gear on my Caminos.

Does anyone else struggle with this same particular problem...men or women??
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes please!
#2
Ouch. My first thought is that all these packs, the Atmos as well, have quite sturdy/thick shoulder straps. I carry an Osprey Talon/Tempest and the harness is a lot softer and thinner - for 11 pounds of gear you don't need sturdy heavily padded shoulder straps, so it might be worth trying the lighter weight Talon 33 or Tempest (women's) 30 models?

You might want to YouTube them too and you will see that they are a lot softer and more flexible. A S/M size of either would fit you.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#3
@ Camino Chris don't know if this will help but worth a shot. The backpack length might be too short. Generally if the back length is too short the shoulder straps will fit too far out on your shoulders, and hence cut into your underarms. Try lengthening the back. Theoretically that should bring the shoulder straps in closer to your neck and also make them a bit looser - sounds counter-intuitive I know. Or go the other way and see if that helps.

Just because someone is short does not mean they have a short back length. And vice versa. I have short legs for my height. Tigger's husband has very long legs but a relatively short back. He looks normal height when he sits down, but when he stands up he towers over 6'4".
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept 2017
#4
@ Camino Chris don't know if this will help but worth a shot. The backpack length might be too short. Generally if the back length is too short the shoulder straps will fit too far out on your shoulders, and hence cut into your underarms. Try lengthening the back. Theoretically that should bring the shoulder straps in closer to your neck and also make them a bit looser - sounds counter-intuitive I know. Or go the other way and see if that helps.

Just because someone is short does not mean they have a short back length. And vice versa. I have short legs for my height. Tigger's husband has very long legs but a relatively short back. He looks normal height when he sits down, but when he stands up he towers over 6'4".
Kanga...did you carry your sleeping bag inside your pack? I'm looking at buying a 35 l Kathmandu pack. Wondering if it will have enough room for bag and other stuff.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#5
Yes, I did/do. But my pack is 50 litres, plus front body packs that take another 12 (roughly). The size is too big and unnecessary for a normal Camino - in my case dictated by what is available in the type of pack I like - it's an Aarn pack, a specialised one.

For a first Camino go with the smallest and lightest.
 
T

Tigger

Guest
#6
@ Camino Chris don't know if this will help but worth a shot. The backpack length might be too short. Generally if the back length is too short the shoulder straps will fit too far out on your shoulders, and hence cut into your underarms. Try lengthening the back. Theoretically that should bring the shoulder straps in closer to your neck and also make them a bit looser - sounds counter-intuitive I know. Or go the other way and see if that helps.

Just because someone is short does not mean they have a short back length. And vice versa. I have short legs for my height. Tigger's husband has very long legs but a relatively short back. He looks normal height when he sits down, but when he stands up he towers over 6'4".
6'6" which is why he looks so ridiculous on a bicycle, yet changes light bulbs with ease!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#7
Kanga...did you carry your sleeping bag inside your pack? I'm looking at buying a 35 l Kathmandu pack. Wondering if it will have enough room for bag and other stuff.
My 31 L pack is just big enough for a cool weather camino, including a sleeping bag. But I admit that there isn't much room to spare.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
#8
Camino Chris, I am a similar size as you and have the Sirrus 36 in the S/M size (not the shortest). My back length was right between sizes so I sized up. I tried both the Sirrus and the Kyte and found that the Sirrus was more comfortable for my back. While trying on packs I was more bothered by rubbing on my neck but that went away as the pack loaded with my own things settled while walking. This past year I noticed quite a few women with the Sirrus and everyone was happy with it.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
#9
I have a short back. 160 cm tall and weigh about 66 kg.
The Deuter Groeden SL is perfect for me for a summer camino. Very roomy and comfortable and only weighs 1 kg empty.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#10
@ Camino Chris don't know if this will help but worth a shot. The backpack length might be too short. Generally if the back length is too short the shoulder straps will fit too far out on your shoulders, and hence cut into your underarms. Try lengthening the back. Theoretically that should bring the shoulder straps in closer to your neck and also make them a bit looser - sounds counter-intuitive I know. Or go the other way and see if that helps.

Just because someone is short does not mean they have a short back length. And vice versa. I have short legs for my height. Tigger's husband has very long legs but a relatively short back. He looks normal height when he sits down, but when he stands up he towers over 6'4".
Thank you, Kanga, I will give that a try. I'm heading out on a test walk this afternoon so I'll see how it goes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#11
Camino Chris, I am a similar size as you and have the Sirrus 36 in the S/M size (not the shortest). My back length was right between sizes so I sized up. I tried both the Sirrus and the Kyte and found that the Sirrus was more comfortable for my back. While trying on packs I was more bothered by rubbing on my neck but that went away as the pack loaded with my own things settled while walking. This past year I noticed quite a few women with the Sirrus and everyone was happy with it.
Hi Sparrow,
Thanks for your input. My torso length is 16" and the sizing chart said I could go with either the xs/small or s/m. I chose the small because I was trying to keep the pack a little smaller and thus try to avoid the possibility of the top rubbing on the back of my head as it is supposed to be 2L smaller than the medium. I'm going on a test walk with it filled and I'll see how it goes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May-June 2016)
#12
I know there are backpack threads all over this forum, but I have a specific problem. I am a woman, 5'4", 130 lbs and rather "busty".;) On my first two Caminos I borrowed a men's medium Osprey 25L Atmos pack. It's a great pack, however the front of the shoulder harness cut into the front of my underarms and was rather uncomfortable, although after about the first week of walking my skin probably toughened up because it didn't bother me as much.

Fast forward to now as I will be walking my 3rd camino next month. I finally decided to order a new pack online as I do not have a local retailer near where I live that sells quality packs. After much research and advise I ordered two "women specific" packs hoping to get a better fit on the shoulder harness and plan to return one. I ordered an Osprey Sirrus 36L, and an Osprey Kyte 36L. They both are very nice packs with good features, BUT both seem to still cut into the sides of my underarms. I have watched utube videos on how to fit a pack, have adjusted all the straps in various positions, but cannot seem to get rid of that tight feeling. I carry 11 pounds of gear on my Caminos.

Does anyone else struggle with this same particular problem...men or women??
I had a similar issue where the straps were biting into my armpits. Loved the bag, but the straps did not work. After much thought, and looking at other bags, I finally went to a shoe repair shop and asked if they could replace the original straps with Gregory Baltoro A3 straps, which had a different shape. Worked like a charm for me.

Look at the packs that you have. If the shoulder straps are sewed in just find a pair of replacement straps that works with your torso and replace the original. If the straps are velcroed in, just find a replacement pair of Osprey straps with a different shape that is also velcroed in place.

If you decide to do either suggestion, congratulations ad you have created your own personalized Camino pack.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
#13
Hi Sparrow,
Thanks for your input. My torso length is 16" and the sizing chart said I could go with either the xs/small or s/m. I chose the small because I was trying to keep the pack a little smaller and thus try to avoid the possibility of the top rubbing on the back of my head as it is supposed to be 2L smaller than the medium. I'm going on a test walk with it filled and I'll see how it goes.
Hi Chris. I'm one inch shorter than you, same weight, I'm a C cup, my torso for backpack purposes is 18 inches. I wear the Kyte sm/med. I had the same thought as Kanga. If your shoulder strap is well under your your arm then it's too long. I had to adjust the shoulder straps a bit to achieve the right fit. That's one of the reasons that I chose the Kyte. I need to be able to adjust height. Play around with the back panel if that doesn't work, go to the store and try on the sm/med with the back in it's lowest position to start with.
It may turn out that the Kyte doesn't work for you but I'd recommend trying the different settings.

If you want you can also take a picture of yourself and post here or in a private conversation with us. It might be easier to help if we can see the problem. Good luck!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#14
Hi Chris. I'm one inch shorter than you, same weight, I'm a C cup, my torso for backpack purposes is 18 inches. I wear the Kyte sm/med. I had the same thought as Kanga. If your shoulder strap is well under your your arm then it's too long. I had to adjust the shoulder straps a bit to achieve the right fit. That's one of the reasons that I chose the Kyte. I need to be able to adjust height. Play around with the back panel if that doesn't work, go to the store and try on the sm/med with the back in it's lowest position to start with.
It may turn out that the Kyte doesn't work for you but I'd recommend trying the different settings.

If you want you can also take a picture of yourself and post here or in a private conversation with us. It might be easier to help if we can see the problem. Good luck!
Hi Alaskadiver,
I just returned from a 2 mile trial walk with the kyte at the 16" mark, which is my torso measurement 20170304_161429.jpg and it was cutting into the underarms. Now that I am home I did what you suggested and changed the velcro in back to the smallest position of 13" and just tried it on. That does seem to help as it keeps the wide part of the strap away from my underarm. Here's a picture...what do you think?
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
#15
Hi Alaskadiver,
I just returned from a 2 mile trial walk with the kyte at the 16" mark, which is my torso measurement and it was cutting into the underarms. Now that I am home I did what you suggested and changed the velcro in back to the smallest position of 13" and just tried it on. That does seem to help as it keeps the wide part of the strap away from my underarm. Here's a picture...what do you think?
Okay, I can see why the strap would bother you.
So the shoulder strap anchor points on your pack should be 1 to 2 inches below the top of your shoulders, roughly at the top of your shoulder blades. The end of the shoulder strap in front should fall lower and under your arm slightly. If you carry your poles in the loops, they shouldn't sit that close your face.
Load-lifter straps when tightened should angle back toward the pack body at roughly a 45-degree angle. They look a little low from this angle. I'm thinking you are going to need to try on the medium pack to get those load lifters higher but still get the straps to seat well on your shoulders.

I can feel the straps under my arm and that's normal. You may just need to get used that. But, this isn't your first hike with a pack so you know what feels comfortable for you. It should be so bad that it chafes.

Did they measure your torso? C7 vertebrae to the top of you iliac crest.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
#16
Hi Chris, I know what you are saying about the possibility of the top of the pack rubbing the back of your head. I did not want my wide brim hat to be knocked off. The Kyte and Sirrus are porportioned differently. If I recall, I may be wrong, the Kyte is a little taller and narrower, you will have to check this. One advantage with my Sirrus was that even loaded, it was just at the size to fit as a carry on bag.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
#17
Hi Chris, I know what you are saying about the possibility of the top of the pack rubbing the back of your head. I did not want my wide brim hat to be knocked off. The Kyte and Sirrus are porportioned differently. If I recall, I may be wrong, the Kyte is a little taller and narrower, you will have to check this. One advantage with my Sirrus was that even loaded, it was just at the size to fit as a carry on bag.
I totally missed that part of the question. The Kyte's straight jacket system allows it to be cinched down so that the top (the brain) sits much lower. If you look at my profile picture you see it completely packed out. Meaning that I had it loaded to capacity. But I can easily pack less and not stuff the brain. That would let me cinch that down flat so it doesn't sit high. I'm used to carry very large packs that sit high so it didn't bother me. But I will be carrying a lot less on the Camino than I had in this picture and the brain will sit lower.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#18
I totally missed that part of the question. The Kyte's straight jacket system allows it to be cinched down so that the top (the brain) sits much lower. If you look at my profile picture you see it completely packed out. Meaning that I had it loaded to capacity. But I can easily pack less and not stuff the brain. That would let me cinch that down flat so it doesn't sit high. I'm used to carry very large packs that sit high so it didn't bother me. But I will be carrying a lot less on the Camino than I had in this picture and the brain will sit lower.
Good point on the pole holder that would sit too close to my face, so obviously not how I'm supposed to wear it...:eek:. Now I tried it on the last space at 17" and it does feel pretty good. I could still consider ordering the medium, which may give me more tweeking adjustments. Thanks so much, you obviously do a lot of hiking in our 50th state!
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
#19
Good point on the pole holder that would sit too close to my face, so obviously not how I'm supposed to wear it...:eek:. Now I tried it on the last space at 17" and it does feel pretty good. I could still consider ordering the medium, which may give me more tweeking adjustments. Thanks so much, you obviously do a lot of hiking in our 50th state!
49th state! Hawaii was last.
Yes, lots of wilderness backpacking experience up here. The thought of an 18 pound pack is wonderful to me after years of hiking days on end with 35lbs on my back through tough terrain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#20
49th state! Hawaii was last.
Yes, lots of wilderness backpacking experience up here. The thought of an 18 pound pack is wonderful to me after years of hiking days on end with 35lbs on my back through tough terrain.
Oops! Been a long time since I've been in school, but now I do remember Hawaii was the 50th. I've been to both states, but would be too afraid to hike among grizzlies...yikes!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#21
Oops! Been a long time since I've been in school, but now I do remember Hawaii was the 50th. I've been to both states, but would be too afraid to hike among grizzlies...yikes!
Carrying 18 pounds sounds like alot to me. I carry about 12, but don't look too classy with such a minimum of stuff I bring! Thank goodness for the pretty scarf I throw in! ;)
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
#22
Carrying 18 pounds sounds like alot to me. I carry about 12, but don't look too classy with such a minimum of stuff I bring! Thank goodness for the pretty scarf I throw in! ;)
My 18 pounds figures in 6 pounds of water for the day without services. The basic pack is 13 pounds including the weight of the Kyte 48. With the exception of the day over the Hospitales and possibly the march into Lugo, my pack will be at 15-16 pounds with water and food.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#23
Yes, I did/do. But my pack is 50 litres, plus front body packs that take another 12 (roughly). The size is too big and unnecessary for a normal Camino - in my case dictated by what is available in the type of pack I like - it's an Aarn pack, a specialised one.

For a first Camino go with the smallest and lightest.
My 18 pounds figures in 6 pounds of water for the day without services. The basic pack is 13 pounds including the weight of the Kyte 48. With the exception of the day over the Hospitales and possibly the march into Lugo, my pack will be at 15-16 pounds with water and food.
I did the Norte/Primitivo mid April thru May. I loved that route and had good weather for the majority. When do you go? The Hospitales section is beautiful!
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
#24
I did the Norte/Primitivo mid April thru May. I loved that route and had good weather for the majority. When do you go? The Hospitales section is beautiful!
We leave Alaska May 11th. Arrive May 12th and start Walking the 14th. We're taking 2 weeks to do it and then spending a week on the coast to rest and sight see. On Illa de Arousa.
 

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
#25
Just because someone is short does not mean they have a short back length. And vice versa. I have short legs for my height. Tigger's husband has very long legs but a relatively short back. He looks normal height when he sits down, but when he stands up he towers over 6'4".
To further illustrate, my wife is 5' 11" and I'm one inch taller. Her height is in her legs while mine is in my torso. When we're seated I look to be 2-3 inches taller, but when we're standing she looks me straight in the eyes. She needs a S/M pack while I need a M/L.
 

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