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FAQ - Pack Fitting

by Ron Moak November 29, 2016

FAQ - Pack Fitting

  • Properly fitting your pack starts with making the right measurements of your Torso Length and Hip Size. The following video made by our friends at Clever Hiker is your first step.

     

    Now you know how to make the right measurements, you need to select the right components, Hip Belt, Shoulder Harness or Vest Harness to match your pack. Six Moon Designs provides such a large number of options that it might appear a daunting selection. However, despite the variety it's pretty straight forward.

    More Information

    At the top of every pack page is a More Information! > link. It links to a page that provides detail measurements and weights of all of our pack components.

  • This selection of packs include the Fusion, Flex, Flight-Backpacker and the Traveler packs. Each of these packs is designed to be comfortable with loads weighing in at 30 lbs. or more. Each supports our Shoulder Yokes and Standard Hip Belts.

    Hip Belts

    Our Standard Hip Belts are multi-layered and designed to carry a substantial load very comfortably. They are both wide and rigid so that the weight of the pack will be evenly distributed around your waist.

    When wearing this kind belt, you'll want to center it on your hip bone. It is specifically designed so that it will comfortably wrap around and cradle your hips in padding. You'll need to select one of the four sizes we offer that most closely fits your hip measurements.

    Make sure to leave enough gap between the two padded ends so that the hip belt can be adjusted as it wraps around your waist. If you're on a long hike, you'll want to leave enough gap to accommodate a loss of weight.

    For most people with a hip measurement of between 32 and 40 inches, our Medium hip belt will work just fine.

    Shoulder Harness

    We currently have four different shoulder harness available. However, generally either the Regular or Large will work best. If you're at or near the top of our 22" torso measurement, the Large is probably better. Also the Large brings the Shoulder Harness Pockets lower and makes them more usable.

    For short people, the Small is the best choice. We also have the S-Curve Harness. It has a more radical shape that is frequently preferred by women hikers.

  • This section is for the Flight 40-FKT and the Flight 30 running pack. Both of these packs are designed to accentuate your movement along the trail and keep your pack fixed solidly to your torso. This minimizes pack bounce during periods when you're jogging or require precise balance.

    As you can see from the photo on the left, running packs are typically worn higher on your torso. This allows your hips to move freely. Since you're typically carrying a lighter load, a rigid load bearing hip belt is unneeded.

    With running packs, many people prefer not to even use a hip belt at all. Our Vest Harness does an excellent job of spreading pack weight from your shoulders to your core. For those looking for a bit of added support, our soft flexible Ultralight Hip Belt does just the trick. It helps to contain your pack while not inhibiting movement. Plus it's large dual pockets provides access to a lot of trail snacks.

    Hip Belts

    As with our standard belts, our Ultralight Hip Belts are available in the same four sizes. Ranging from X-Small to Large. Unlike the Standard Hip Belts, the Ultralight versions are worn more typically around your waist. This frees up your hips and allows the packs to be worn higher. So you'll need to select hip belt size by your waist measurement instead of your hip measurement.

    Vest Harness

    We have Two Styles of Vest Harness, Standard and Ultralight. There are two primary differences between the two styles of Vest Harnesses. With the Standard version the top of the harness that travels over your shoulder contains a layer of 3/8" foam. This provides additional padding and can be helpful as your load weight increases. In addition, the Standard Vests are longer by a couple of inches than their Ultralight counterparts. This is also to accommodate the different pack placement while using these harnesses. So make sure you select the Type and Size of Vest Harness that best suits your needs.

  • Once you've selected your pack and harness, there are basically two additional adjustments you can perform at home, Adjusting Torso Length and Shaping Your Stay.

    • All 2015 and later, SMD Packs come with adjustable torso length. Our packs are designed to comfortably fit Torso Lengths between 15" - 38 cm and 22" - 56 cm. On the back of all packs are Four adjustment points, labeled 1 through 4. Each slot is set about 1.5" - 3.8 cm apart. Your  Shoulder Harness or Vest Harness will be inserted into one of these slots and secured to the pack with a large Velcro patch.

      Provided with each pack is a plastic Insert to easily re-position your Shoulder Harness or Vest Harness between slots.

      1. Slide the Insert behind your harness to break the Velcro connection.
      2. Then remove the harness.
      3. Place the in Insert into the desired slot (1 through 4).
      4. Slide in the harness into the slot in front of the Insert
      5. Remove the Insert and store for later use.

      All of our harness have a 5" X 5" - 12.5 X 12.5 cm piece of Velcro to secure the harness to the pack. You should allow a minimum of 3" - 7 cm of contact to ensure a solid connection. The Velcro is very strong. Properly secured, the harness won't pull out of the pack.

      The configuration of the harness makes it infinitely adjustable between minimum and maximum torso lengths.

    • A number or our packs, (Fusion, Flex and Traveler) use the Spine Suspension for support. A key component of this suspension is a single Aluminum Stay running up the center of the Spine.

      The Aluminum Stay performs a couple of purposes:

      • Aide the load transfer from shoulders to hips.
      • Provide shape to the Spine so that it follows the shape of your spine.

      No two people have identical spines, so it's not possible to make a Stay that provides a universal fit. However, our Aluminum Stay it pretty easy to mold to follow the contours of your spine. Shaping the pack to fit your body is important.

      • It helps to distribute the weight more evenly.
      • Eliminates hot spots.
      • Helps keep your Center of Gravity inline with your spine.

      Fortunately, it's pretty easy to bend the stay. You don't even need to remove it from your pack. It does help to have someone assist you with the process. While wearing the pack, have someone make a note on any gaps between your back and the pack. Remove the pack and gently bend the stay so that it eliminates these gaps. You may also want to bend the bottom of your pack stay so that it flares correctly with your lower back.

Ron Moak
Ron Moak


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