Hello @PIMT!

Great to hear from you again! 

In regards to your hip belt question. When you have your hip belt buckled up and tighten around your waist. There should be at least 2-3 inches of space between the pads. The 2 foam pads should not be touching eachother when adjusted around your hips. This allows you flexibility to layer with different clothing options and also allows adjustability during your trip as it is common to loose weight during a backpacking trip. 

If the hipbelt is touching or overlapping then that means the hipbelt is too big and you may need to order a smaller size. You can exchange just the hipbelt and not the whole pack.

REI Co-op Traverse 65 Hipbelt

In regards to the raincover: Yes the grommet hole goes at the bottom of the pack and yes, this allows for drainage. I double checked my personal pack and it has 2 bungy cord attached to the raincover on both sides (on the inside), these go over the hipbelt and it also had the strap to hold it in place. just like the image 3 on here: Raincover

My pack is an older model and since I'm not in the store to check current models, not 100% sure if your raincover has the same features. But it is likely it does. 

In regards to the Virtual Outfitting. The appointment would be scheduled for your time zone and whatever time is convenient for you. 

Thank you! Happy Trails! 

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