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I'm planning a trekking in Torres del Paine (Chile) and El Chaten (Argentina) and my actual backpack has 50l and I'm afraid 50l isn't enough for a 20 day trip with 10 days trekking.

A friend of mine is selling a women's Aircontact PRO 55 + 15 SL.

Can I use a backpack designed for women?

I am about 170cm and 86kg.

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Do you need to carry everything in the one pack, or could you carry a second duffel? E.g. if you're also bringing "city clothes" you might be able to find a place to store them in town. (This is what I did for trekking in Peru.) – requiem Feb 29 at 16:58
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Use the smaller bag. Less is more when you have to carry things and you won't need as much as you think. – Loofer Mar 1 at 11:21
up vote 24 down vote accepted

The short answer is, "it depends". Packs sold to women may have only superficial changes compared to the men's version (i.e. the color is different), but there are usually a few common differences:

  1. Shorter torso length (distance from shoulder to hip, often shorter in women).
  2. Narrower shoulder straps (men tend to have broader shoulders).
  3. Shape of shoulder straps (sometimes you'll see S-curved straps to fit better around breasts).
  4. Size and shape of the hip belt.

Except for item 3, which is less common, these differences aren't inherently female-specific. It's not uncommon for women to use men's packs and vice versa. The best recommendation is to try the pack on and see how it fits. An incorrect torso length will probably stand out the most, but be cautious of how well the hip and shoulder straps fit. For extended trekking purposes, it's worth loading your pack with its expected weight and spending a good amount of time (at least 15-30 minutes) walking around with it on.

Finally, if the larger pack doesn't end up fitting, all is not lost; there are ways to do longer treks with smaller packs if you have the time to make some changes to your packing list.

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IIRC, Deuter even states that their "SL" packs are not only for women, but for all people for whom the pack fits well. E.g. people with narrower shoulders, as you said. The mentioned model should be adjustable to different torso lengths, so I think the most important point of this answer is: The best recommendation is to try the pack on and see how it fits. – anderas Mar 1 at 9:48
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I'm male and for me it varies by brand - deuter women's rucksacks have always fit me better than mens but for Karrimor the mens ones fit me just fine. Try it on. – Bristol Mar 1 at 19:04

It all comes down to fit. Try it on as you would any pack. If it spreads weight the way it should... go for it!

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