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Choosing a backpack without being able to try it on in-store..

Hello and a good day to you!! My question is a simple one although I am unsure if the answer will be.  I am a newcomer to the world of hiking and backpacking.  I intend to embark on a journey, that one called the PCT.  I have wanted to do this for years but like so many folks, I just worked too many hours. As this is no longer the situation, my dream journey will come to fruition.  I have been compiling my gear and thanks to the good folks at the REI store near me, I have become quite familiar with what will be required. The last two big items I must purchase are my hiking boots and my backpack. Now, REI said that when I was ready, I should come in and try out various backpacks because everyone's physical frame is different. They have those weighted pillows they load the pack with and....Well, I know you are aware of REI protocol.  You guys are the best, by the way.  However, I am sure you see my situation already.  How can I determine which backpack is best for my frame and my needs if I cannot go in the store now?  The hiking boots present the same problem. Suggestions I am wide open to receive.  Thank you in advance for your response.  Blessings to all you good folks at REI!

1 Reply

@Lanzastar ah yes, the struggle is clear. And you're right - backpacks and hiking boots are two of the most important categories of gear we carry for getting the fit right. So, we'll provide a few things to get you started and ask for your patience as helping hone a fit may take a bit of back and forth:

  • For the pack, we'd advise starting with this article - it will help you hone in on what size frame you should pick. The rest of the article can help you narrow down volume of the pack and features you want in a pack.
  • For the boots, can you tell us a bit more about your feet - wide or narrow? High or low volume? Any trouble spots, like bunions?
  • And about the boots - do you want waterproof or not? Are there previous brands/models you've worn that you like? Knowing this will help us make a few specific suggestions. This article may also help get you started.

Thanks so much for your patience as we try to help you make some gear choices through this platform!

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