I'm finally going to take the plunge and trim all the excess cordage and belting off of my pack.

How much strap material should I leave to allow for adjustments in gear (adding layers for cold, etc.)?

2 Answers 2


This is a difficult one. Like you, I always trim down my distance packs because I can't stand excess straps flapping about (for small day packs I just tie them up if necessary)

The way I do it is pack for a worst case cold winter trek - planning for the longest expected time I would go for, and all the clothing and gear, and pack it up as if I was about to leave.

And then add about 3 1/2 inches (I expect to lose 1/2 an inch sealing the end of the strap - most seem to take a bit of flame to melt together to avoid fraying) as 3 inches is long enough to pull on but not so long it flaps annoyingly.

  • This sounds pretty good. Thank you! I've been putting this off for a while. I'm more than a bit nervous about ruining a $100+ piece of gear. Aug 4, 2014 at 22:12

Sometimes it's better to have a bit more than 3 inches left. When you drink/eat a lot in the beginning of a trip (to not carry to much water). And also 3 inches are not that much to pull with gloves.

My tip is to cut the strap so that you reduce the width. Normally the straps are very wide and only for pulling you can use also a smaller strap. So let 1-2 inches normal with and then 4 inches with the half of the width to pull. In the end melt it. So you have a bit more to pull, with (almost) the same weight.

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