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My daughter is going on a trip with me and we bought the backpack for the smallest torso size that we could find, it is a 37 liters Quechua backpack but after many tries fittings it up one of the following would always happen:

  • Shoulder straps would bulge a bit up (no support from shoulders).
  • Shoulder straps would dig in to the front of the shoulders (and chest straps would press directly on her breasts).
  • Hip belt would rest a bit below the top of the hip bone (this time the weight was distributed on shoulders and hip, but since it was below the top line of the hips, I'm afraid the weight was being supported more by the buttocks).

I live in Brazil, so buying another one online is out of question (it would take to long to arrive and if it didn't fit I wouldn't be able to return it). I have to either use it like that (I think the last option is the less troublesome) ou maybe pad the shoulder straps to add a bit of extra thickness, or something.

My daughter is 155 cm high, and her torso length is 42 cm.

What can be done that doesn't involve re-sewing stuff?

EDIT: Here is an album with photos of the backpack and how it fitted. Notice the gap between shoulder and shoulder straps and the gap on the back portion of the hip belt. The shoulder straps are on maximum, the hip belt is tight enough. I also bend a little more of internal frame (an alluminum rod kind of U shaped) to better fit the back contour. On those pictures the backpack is not fully weighted (just about 5 kg).

  • 1
    How much weight is she expecting to carry? If you end up with no choice, the hips should carry the weight and the shoulders straps tight enough to stop it slopping around, but do not need to take weight. – user5330 Mar 30 '15 at 1:11
  • We simulated the full pack today, it weighted 6 kg. – Luiz Borges Mar 30 '15 at 1:12
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    You will get away with a pretty poor fit without too many problems, especially if she can easily transfer weight from shoulders to hip and back by loosening/tightening waist strap. Teach her how to adjust while walking without breaking stride, and don't plan really long days. At 6kg, you could carry her pack if the need arose. – user5330 Mar 30 '15 at 3:19
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    Just a note I'm 155cm and I can carry up to a 60L backpack fine - this may be less to do with height and more to do with body shape / bad design? I always find my waist strap - what you're calling a hip belt, I assume? - sits very high, but then a female waist is much higher than a males. My chest strap is always across my breasts as well if they are not height adjustable. – Aravona Apr 1 '15 at 12:17
  • Having space above the shoulders is not actually a bad thing as long as the backpack doesn't swing left-to-right throwing you off balance. If you can carry most of the weight on your hips you will have a much MUCH easier time for it. – Johan Dec 2 '15 at 12:45
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This is an out there solution but may very well work. Automotive stores sell seat belt pads, they velcro together. From what I remember they aren't too pricey and I know for a fact you can get a pair in Brazil. This is what I'm referring to. http://www.drivingcomfort.com/travel-with-kids/microfiber-memory-foam-seatbelt-pad.cfm

Best of luck and I hope you are able to figure something out!

  • This is what i had in mind, but in my case a need a thicker pad, something like 3 cm. So I would probably do one myself. I just don't know how this affect the feel of the backpack and if might be worst than it is (regarding comfort during use). – Luiz Borges Mar 29 '15 at 20:46
  • @Luiz if that's not going to work you may just have to find some foam and get the duct tape out...You can pretty it up for your daughter with coloured tape and stickers so the pack doesn't look too bad... – AM_Hawk Mar 30 '15 at 1:09
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155cm quite short but not extremely so. I would be surprised if you can't get a decent fit with that sort of pack. To make sure you are fitting the pack correctly see this question or many other guides on the internet.

From your description 3 sounds not too bad and pretty much how my pack is. 2 is the one you definitely want to avoid is straps digging into your shoulders is quite unconformable after a while. 1 may be ok depending on how loose the straps are. it's quite annoying if everything is bouncing around though.

Your descriptions make me think more that you haven't fitted the pack correctly as 1 and 3 seem to describe opposite problems, where the back is too long in 1 but too short in 3. Although without seeing it, it is hard to be certain.

One of my friends is at least that short and seems to manage. Although I do recall her saying she has some problems with bags that are too long in the back, particularly womens bags for some reason.

If you really want to adjust the bag, I would recommend adding some foam padding under the shoulders. You may be able to wrap it in a cloth and tie/sow it on, but I would probably just use duct tape.

  • I will take some pictures with my daugther wearing the bag when i get home. And update the question – Luiz Borges Apr 1 '15 at 9:56
  • I updated my question with pictures of the backpack on her back. – Luiz Borges Apr 1 '15 at 22:31
  • @LuizBorges It looks like the back length isn't adjustable which is probably the problem. If it is shorten it. If not you're a bit stuck. It may be time to get out your foam and tape. – nivag Apr 2 '15 at 10:46
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Worry about the hip belt first, make sure she can carry the load on the hips (sitting above/on the hips, not around/below). Shoulder straps should prevent the pack from falling backwards too far, but should not carry load vertically. For 6kg (or to be honest, even twice that) the shoulder straps should be doing very little work. I find chest straps to be more trouble than use, especially if they are in the wrong place. Leave it undone or remove permanently.

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