Hi I am a beginner hiker and am having a difficult time finding a backpack to fit. I am tall, 5'8", but have a short torso, 15 1/2" and ample bosom 38". I have tried on at least 25 packs at my local outfitters and "settled" with the Osprey Renn 65, though I am going to return it because the shoulder straps still sit above my shoulders and dig into the sides of my breasts. Any advice on steering my toward a pack that might work?
First, what is that pack for and how much total weight and bulk do you anticipate carrying in it.
Your height is not that important...your torso length and hip measurements are what matter.
With the hip belt around you hip bones so it rests on the crest, it should wrap around to the front of hip bones supporting the pack. The torso length should then allow you to adjust the shoulder straps so they wrap over your shoulders. You should loosen any load lifters and other stabilizer first before making these adjustments.
As to what pack...assuming this is for backpacking the Gregory Deva 60 and 70 come in your size. I have a older men's version (Baltoro 70) of this pack and it works very well.
XS = torso length 14-16 inches and has swappable belt and shoulder straps for a more custom fit. It would be best to get fitted and REI can swap out those parts if you need a different size belt fex.
The only caveat with that pack is that it is heavy and fairly stiff...designed to carry a heavier loads...good if you starting out with cheaper heavier bulky gear. Less good if your gear is refined and curated to minimize weight and bulk. However it may be a good place to start if you are hard to fit.
Osprey also offer packs with custom fitting. There may be others but without know what kind of pack you are looking for its a bit pointless to make further suggestions.
I had some issues with finding packs that would fit me as well, but in the opposite way - everything was TOO big. I'm short and have a short torso. For me the packs that were adjustable from XS-S, S-M fit the best. Once I bought the pack, I loaded it up with my gear and then took it to REI and they helped me adjust it. Some packs/brands have the ability to switch out the belt or the straps. So if you are having issues with straps but not the belt, then you can look into getting a different size strap.
I'm pretty loyal to Gregory but I do have one Osprey bag - both brands have adjustable packs. I would look at Gregory Maven, not sure if you have tried this pack or not.
It's already been said but I don't think the value of going to REI to have one of their folks talk with you, look at you (torso, hips, posture, expected carry weight, etc.) and then let ypu try out a couple of packs with some weight in it to see what feels right. I felt kindof like a dork at first but I wandered around the store with a couple of weighted packs on trying to figure put which on felt best AND having the REI folks helpd understand jow to fine tune that pack for me.
When I got my new pack a few years back, to fit my new lightweight "stuff", I did a lot of research. Two things crystalized out of that. Buy local, with a store you trust. *cough REI cough*. And bring all the stuff you expect to carry in it. Even fake up a food bag and water. Those two things made a world of difference in the pack I chose. I ended up with a pack that carried all my stuff, with just a little room left over for things I probably (and did) forgot. I know someone's going to ask me what I got. Might have to wait. Just moved, and I'm not real sure where it is. It's downstairs in The Bunker (nice big cellar) in box O01 (where most of my outdoor gear is. Found the box, but haven't had time to unpack it yet. Soon..... 😊
Before you return it, try setting up a virtual outfitting appointment.
I just bought a Gregory Baltaro last fall and wanted help in making sure I had it set up properly.
took about five minutes to walk me through the adjustments and it ended up feeling even better than when I tried fitting it myself.
We then went through how to pack it for comfort.
I would recommend setting up a Virtual Outfitting appointment here. This way we can make new recommendations and discuss fit. A Virtual Outfitter can narrow down a couple of options, and then you can always go try those options on instore. A advantage of going into the store is the ability for REI green vests to swap out shoulder straps and hip belts to adapt to your body. It sounds like you may need a medium size frame but smaller shoulder straps to adapt to your smaller torso. The Osprey Aether and Gregory Baltoro are two options that have these adjustable parts.
Hope this helps!