How to Fit Gregory Packs
Gregory have been making high-end backpacks for the past 30 years, and their simple philosophy is that a pack "must maintain its comfort and stability by effectively transferring the weight of the pack onto the hips."
To achieve this and help you find the perfect fit, Gregory make their medium/large rucksacks in a variety of back-lengths, with some useful fit-features to help you find complete customisation.
Unlike many rucksacks which have adjustable backs, Gregory have different back-lengths (and slight changes in capacity). At first glance this may seem less versatile, but it does usually result in a more efficient overall fit.
The most important thing to get right when choosing a Gregory Pack is your torso length. If this is correct, the rest of the pack will usually fit with minimal adjustment, and properly distribute weight onto your skeletal structure via your hips. This means that your upper body (which has to use muscle instead of bone) does not have the effort of 'holding' the pack and leaves you free to breath properly!
In this guide we'll run through the basics of choosing your size, and how to fit the pack.
How to find your torso length
- You may find this easier with a full-length mirror, or a friend!
- You will need to be standing and have a ﬂexible tape measure with inches.
- Measure the length of your torso from the C7 vertebra to the spot on the spine level with the top of the bony hip structure called the iliac crest.
>> This is where a friend comes in very handy, being able to measure between the two points whilst enabling you to keep your spine in a 'normal' position
>> To find your C7 vertebra, look down at the floor and it's the large lump that appears at the base of your neck, but remember to look up for the rest of the measuring.
>> To find your iliac crest, find the top of your hip bones and 'draw' and imaginary line between the two to meet on your spine.
- Do it two or three (or more if results are not within a narrow spread) times (in inches) to get an accurate measurement. This is your torso length.
- If you are between frame sizes, always go with the smaller size.
Here's a video of Wayne Gregory explaining the measuring and fit of a pack, although luckily the pack fits the model on the first go, so the following should help you if you don't have the perfect fit first time!
How to fit your Gregory Pack
As mentioned, because of the individual set-ups of each pack, rather than a 'fits-all' approach used by adjusting back-systems, your Gregory pack will probably fit 1st time, with only the straps needing tightening.
Here's how to do it.
- You should have selected the correct torso length by using the above steps.
- Set the shoulder harness in the top or bottom slot as indicated by your torso measurement. (See below for further details)
- Load the pack with 7-10kg.
- Loosen all straps and put pack on.
- Tighten the shoulder straps first until pack is supported. (But do not over tighten, basically once the shoulder traps have taken the weight stop!!!...Do not keep tightening them as this will raise the hip-belt, and mean that you're carrying more weight on the shoulders, rather than the more efficient 'more weight on hip' design that was intended), shrug your shoulders and then tighten the waist-belt.
- The top edge of the waist-belt pad should be about one inch above the iliac crest (top of the hip-bone), and usually this will mean that the buckle is over, or very near to your belly button.
- Relax and lift your leg until your thigh is at a 90-degree angle to your body. The bottom edge of the waist-belt pad should be level with the top of your thigh.
- The curve in the shoulder harness should be level with your armpit, and in full contact with the curve of your shoulder. Basically the strap should be contoured to your shoulder, and no space should be visible. (use friend to check this whilst you stand 'naturally'...failing that a mirror will help, but be careful that you keep your shoulders in a forward and relaxed state)
- Pull on the shoulder stabilizer straps until they're slightly tensioned. This stops the top of the pack swinging about.
- As a final test, get a friend to support the top of the pack close to your back and slowly release tension from the shoulder straps. You should not feel much difference.
- If the pack suddenly becomes very heavy you may be using your shoulders to support more weight than the hip-belt. Simply re-fit the pack, but try not to adjust the shoulder straps past 'first-pressure'.
Shoulder harness adjustment
Most people require the same shoulder harness and frame size, when you first try your Gregory pack make sure that the sizes match.
To be sure - With the pack on and shoulder stabilizer straps loose, make sure the main curve on the harness is level with your armpit.
Selecting correct size waist-belt
Many Gregory packs come with a choice of waist-belt sizes. Simply change the waist-belt size until there's a minimum of 5inches between hip-fins and the belt is comfortable.
Problem - The hip-belt is correctly positioned but the shoulder straps are not in full contact around your shoulders.
Solution - Try tightening the shoulder straps slightly, but stop when you feel weight 'coming off' the hips. If this does not sort out the shoulder contour then remove the pack, move the harness adjustment down a notch and re-fit the pack as above.
Problem - The hip-belt is sitting more than an inch higher than the top of your hip-bone.
Solution - You may have overtightened the shoulder straps. Undo the hip-belt and loosen shoulder straps slightly. Re-tighten the shoulder straps until they just support the pack, redo hip-belt and check again. If the hip-belt is still higher than one inch above top of hip bone move shoulder harness notch up a step and try again.
Shoulder Stabilising Angle.
The top shoulder straps help to stop the top of the pack from shifting around when you walk. They are designed to be worn at a different angle depending on your pack.
To adjust simply move the 'slide' forwards or backwards until the strap is at the approximate angle (when tensioned)
Waist Stabiliser Straps.
On most Gregory Packs these are an 'auto' system which will also ensure the hip-belt is in good contact all around the hips. Simply tighten.
Some Gregory packs have a more complicated system, but please refer to the documentation included with the pack for more details on these.
- Always make sure all your straps are loosened before fitting a pack, this will allow you to 'feel' what's happening.
- Always make sure to fit a pack with plenty of weight in it...this will help it sit correctly!
- Always make sure to use the top of your hip-bone for measurement purposes, this is normally on your side in-line with your belly button, and you will be able to feel a very distinct area where you have bone and then soft belly just above.
- Try and ensure that the hip-belt is taking most of the weight, this will save you exerting your upper body and reduce fatigue and back-ache. It will also be more stable. Shoulder straps are mainly present to keep the pack close to your back and keep your centre of gravity as close to your torso as possible.
For more info on our rucksack packing guide please click here (coming soon)
Unfortunately we cannot fit over the Internet, although the process is actually deceptively simple, you may wish to get yourself measured up in a specialist store. Many people may have problems measuring themselves, so if in doubt it's always worth seeking help. All measurement figures are provided by Gregory, and Gear Zone accepts no liability for incorrect measuring of one's own back.