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Best Suggestions for Picking a Pack?

Does anyone else feel that no matter what precautions and preparations they take, their packs just never fit quite right? I've been hiking, climbing, and mountaineering consistently for the past five years and still have yet to find a pack that works well enough for me on long approaches and climbing endeavors. I most often have discomfort and pain in my shoulders, in spite of the fact that I've watched several pack-fitting videos and have spent hours trying to find the best one to fit me in the store.

REI Experts, what are some of your suggestions for the best packs that can serve both hiking and climbing endeavors in an overnight capacity? 

Thanks in advance!

2 Replies

@LeaClimbs great post and keep at it, there is a solution out there!

I'm going to assume that you have used the measuring tool at an REI to make sure the size is right, and perhaps even worked with a Green Vest to find a pack. Without knowing much more detail I would suggest the following:

  1. If you're experiencing discomfort and pain in your shoulders, the first place to start is with your hipbelt: make sure it fits and is in the right position. This could require swapping it out to get the size right or even custom molding one.
  2. Think about scheduling an appointment with one of our Outfitters at the store that has some deep experience with pack fitting. Make sure you communicate your specific needs ahead and they'll be ready to go. Take all the time you need to make sure you find the right pack. You can call your local store or find it on
  3. Don't give up! It may take you some time (I realize it already has!) but there is a solution out there. It took my climbing partner, (and wife;)), almost 9 years to find a pack that fits her just right and doesn't give her collarbone any issues.
  4. Best of luck on your pack and your climbing! 
At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Hi John,

Thank you so much for your helpful and detailed suggestions! I truly appreciate it and will utilize all of your feedback when searching for a pack this month. My climbing partner (also my husbandSmiley LOL) has had no issues finding a pack that fits him well, but I do have hope that I'll find my perfect pack soon!

Happy climbing,