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Women's REI Venus Pack - how to adjust?

I was recently gifted this pack and can't quite figure out how to adjust it. Is there an online instruction sheet or video for learning to adjust it? I haven't been able to track one down. Thanks for any help/tips!

7 Replies


Not an REI employee but briefly...

I assume you mean this...

There are 6 things to adjust...generally in this order

the torso length - the is the ''rip-and-stick'' (aka velcro) adjustment that sets the height of the shoulder straps.  Probably you need to measure your torso length to set this initially.   This is the length between a horizontal line across you back at the top or your pelvis to the vertebrae that sticks out in your neck.  It is best to get someone to measure it for you and usually takes a few tries to get it right.

Once you have the torso length set loosen the other adjustments and then with the pack on tighten them in this general order...

the hip belt - this is tightened on each side of the clip so that the clip is centered.  The hip belt should sit with the pad centered on your pelvis hip bones where they jut out and the padding should ideally wrap around to beyond your hip bone and end in front of it.  This the main weight bearing structure and it should sit snugly and not slip down.  You may need to tighten it a bit more than is initially comfortable.

the hip belt stabilizers - there is one each side the hip belt connecting the sides of the hip belt to the pack.  They should be tightened evenly once the hip belt is set to prevent the pack from swinging side to side.  Generally once these are set you won't need to adjust them much

the shoulder straps  - these keep the pack upright and bear a small part of the load.  They also set the actual height of the hip belt.  Once the torso length is correct with the hip belt fastened in place they should wrap around your shoulders with no gap and not lift the hip belt.  look sideways in a mirror.  Tighten then to snug them up without feeling like they are pulling on your shoulders.  They should not lift the hip belt off your hips.

the load lifters  - There is on on each shoulder strap connecting the top of the shoulder strap to the pack.  These pull the top of the pack closer to your back and prevent the pack from bouncing back and forward.  You adjust them once the shoulder straps are set.  They should not be so tight to cause the shoulder straps to crease up...look in a mirror sideways.  You may need play with the torso length, shoulder straps and load lifters to make minor adjustments once you try your pack with a load.

the sternum strap - this connects the shoulder straps to stop them slipping apart.  It should be set to the natural shoulder strap width  but should not pull them together.  Adjust the height for comfort.  It makes small adjustments to how the shoulder straps ride.

As you walk you will make small adjustments as needed...probably mostly to the shoulder and sternum strap.  Next load the pack and make minor adjustments.  If you can't get it right take your pack to an REI store and ask to have them help fit it.  They also do virtual fittings now if you can't make it to a store.

Here is an article in case it is helpful...



Thanks! Yes -- I got the basics, but I need some specifics for this pack. I can't figure out how to get the pack to slide on the guides that would allow me to adjust the torso length. I used it on a five day trip and it was comfortable, but somehow the torso adjustment is shifted in such a way that the sternum strap was at my neck. Something's off...



@TonyaH Thanks for reaching out!

@OldGuyot did some great digging for information for you! I am curious, was it the shoulder harness that moved, or did the sternum strap just creep up on the slider? While not impossible, I would be shocked if the harness itself moved on its own. It should be secured in place with some sort of hook and loop (i.e. velcro) attachment. Typically, in order to raise or lower the shoulder harness, you have to separate the hook and loop section before moving the harness. 

If you are able to attach some photos of your pack that might help us ascertain the issue and provide some more specifics.

Hopefully this helps, thanks!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.


Did anyone ever figure out how to specifically adjust the torso length on the REI venus? I understand that it is a "rip-and-stick" method but I can't figure out how to adjust this pack specifically. 



I believe this pack is the women's version of the REI Galaxy from the same era so it might be asking with that name also.  Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anything on line about adjusting these packs.

I don't know specifically so this may be of no help or just the obvious bit but in case it is here is my guess..

It is likely the shoulder straps are attached to a movable "yoke" that can slide up and down some frame stays or something similar.  The velcro is almost certainly between this yoke and the pack that is attached statically to the frame stays.    If you reach behind the yoke you should find the velcro.  The first step is to separate the yoke from the pack by "tearing" the velcro...really prizing it apart.  This may not be that easy.  Gently push and twisting a blunt tool like a stiff plastic ruler or a butter knife between the velcro layers might help.  Once the velcro is apart, the yoke should be be moveable up and down the frame stays.  Hopefully there are markings that tell you were to position it for the various torso lengths it can adjust between.  Position the yoke at the desired torso length  and lock it into place by pushing the velcro back together.  You may need to push from the outside of the yoke and while supporting it from the inside the pack with your arm or some suitable surface like an ironing board.

Here is a video for a Mystery Ranch pack which may be similar.  The yoke adjustment starts at about 2:40.  It uses some sort of included frame sheet as the tool to separate the yoke which the REI pack may or may not have.

Possible variations and problems with that theory are:

  1. If the  load lifter straps that suspend the top of pack from the shoulder straps are very tight they may prevent the yoke from adjusting easily so loosen these before adjusting the torso length.
  2. There might  be one or more straps that attach and suspend the yoke to the pack to relieve the velcro of the full weight.  If so they may attach to the bottom of the yoke and would need to be loosened to move the yoke up and re tightened after the yoke position has been adjusted.  Possibly there is a correspond strap or straps that attach the top of the yoke.
  3. Some systems use a tab with slots or maybe fabric loops to secure the yoke.  If so you may have to release the tab and re secure it through the appropriate slot or loop for the new position.  The tab might be secured with velcro or some other means.

reading the pack specs that @OldGuyot found, this pack weighs in a 5lbs 2 oz...YIKES!  If you're going to go backpacking often, I'd highly recommend looking for a much lighter pack.

That said, the specs did NOT mention the volume of the pack, which makes a bit of a difference.

good luck!

REI Member Since 1979

@allecait and @TonyaH 

Hopefully the good advice you received from @OldGuyot has helped. Based on what we can see from the linked product pages and remembering from personal experience (I used the men's version some years ago) it does sound like the advice given is sound. If you are still experiencing issues getting your pack adjusted, please feel free to upload some photos here in the community so we can look specifically at your pack and make some suggestions that may help.

@Philreedshikes The Venus and Mars packs were the big haulers in REI's lineup of backpacks in the late 2000s, ranging from 70-85 liters. They're definitely heavy by today's standards, but for hauling a heavy load they were pretty comfortable. I mean, as comfortable as hauling a lot of weight on your back can be, of course!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.