Choosing the right rucksack and loading it correctly will improve your comfort, well-being and performance on the trail. It is crucial that the various pieces of equipment are packed in the proper order. This means for example that lighter pieces like sleeping bag and spare clothing are placed near the bottom of the rucksack. Heavier gear like cooking equipment, food or tent need to go higher and as close to your back as possible, centred between your shoulder blades.
How to adjust your rucksack
Once the rucksack is properly loaded, the compression straps are tightened to secure the load in the bag. As a next step, all straps part of the carrying system should be loosened. This includes the shoulder straps, load lifters, hip belt and hip stabilizers. Now you can haul the rucksack on your back. The hip belt should now rest over your hipbone; close the hip belt and tighten it. Check the padded parts of the hip belt and make sure that they wrap comfortably around your hips.
Now pull down on the ends of the shoulder straps and tighten them (but not too tight). Close the chest or sternum strap and adjust it to a comfortable height across your chest. The sternum strap will pull the shoulder belts comfortably from your shoulders and avoid that they either slip off your shoulders or cause bruises. Pull the stabilizer straps on both side of the hip belt to stabilize the load.
Pull the load lifter straps on top of the shoulder straps, making sure that there is no gap between the shoulder straps and your shoulders. The shoulder straps should rest approximately a hand-width under the seventh cervical vertebra (the one sticking out most visibly). If needed, you can adjust the height of the shoulder straps. The load lifters are ideally located on top of your collarbone.
In case you experience bruising, you can adjust the aluminium props or the back plate (best done by your retailer).