How to Fit a Rucksack and Pack it Correctly

Correctly Fitting Your Pack

Check COVID restrictions beforehand and enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

Ensuring your rucksack fits your body well on every adventure will mean that you’ll carry the pack’s weight more comfortably mile after mile. A well-fitted pack will distribute the weight, feel great on your back and be more stable when navigating the terrain (meaning you won’t lose your balance). In this article we’ll take you through the key things you need to know when it comes to correctly loading and then fitting your rucksack.

We’re all different. From our body shape to the way we walk, we all need to take our body’s into consideration when purchasing a rucksack. There are different back lengths, sizes, and even gender-specific packs. All of our GO Outdoors stores offer free expert rucksack fitting because we believe that a comfortable pack will mean you get more enjoyment out of your adventures.

Check out the video below where Charlie will take you through how to pack and fit your rucksack.

Top Tips on Fitting a Rucksack

1) Loosen all straps on the pack

2) Starting at the bottom clip the hipbelt. Ensure the hipbelt is over the hips and the pads are touching the hips right in the centre. Tighten the straps to ensure the hipbelt takes most of the weight. Beware not to put too much pressure on your stomach but tighten it enough so that it takes the load.

3) Adjust shoulder straps so that the pack feels secure and comfortable.

4) Position and clip together the chest strap so that it is secure but not too tight. These are designed to allow for some stretch and movement. (If it is pulling the straps in too much then loosen slightly so comfortable across your shoulders).

5) If your rucksack has top tensioners, tighten these to help pull the pack closer to your shoulders. These are sometimes referred to as ‘magic straps’ as they help to distribute the weight effectively across your hips.

Once your pack is fitted correctly, you should feel comfortable with the weight distributed evenly and not dragging you back. A secure pack will mean you stay agile and stable when walking, moving and turning.

Tips on Packing a Rucksack

A well packed rucksack will give you easy access to the gear you need and will also help alongside correct fitting, to improve comfort and weight distribution. There are a few top tips to remember when packing your rucksack.

Firstly, load heavier items at the bottom of the pack and also closer to your back. These can include your tent, stove and food. This will mean that you take more of your weight on your hips, and it will ensure your pack won’t pull you backwards.

In the spare space at the front and top of your rucksack you should then pack lighter items, leaving key items such as your waterproof jacket, map, compass and snacks in easily accessible zones.

A top tip is to split your tent into the pegs, poles and flysheet material to help you distribute the weight across the pack. Also, evenly pack water which adds key weight so you are not left feeling unbalanced.

For expert advice on buying a rucksack, check out our rucksack buying guide.