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Backpacking Advice: Petite women

Any recommendations for multi-day backpacking backpacks for petite females? 

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@dlamay thanks for reaching out! We actually have lots of options for multi-day backpacking packs for petite women but first, we have 2 questions:

  • Do you know the specific length of your torso? If not, you can follow the steps in this article on how to fit a backpack to know what size pack you should choose. In general, you're likely looking for an XS or SM women's frame.
  • Do you know how much volume you want/need in your pack? This will be affected by how lightweight/compact your gear is or isn't and how much gear you are carrying on your own/sharing with others - again, in general, you probably want to look at a pack that's around 60L.

So, with those 2 parameters in mind (XS/SM women's frame and ~60L), here are a few choices we'd recommend:

How your pack fits is really important for how comfortable you'll be backpacking, so when possible, we always recommend getting fit by one of our employees. You can do this virtually with an outfitting appointment or in person at your local REI store.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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@dlamay Great question! I am also a petite backpacker, but petite comes in many forms. It can refer to height, weight, shoulder/waist/frame size. If your petite refers to your height, as @REI-JenK said below, there are lots of options of packs that come in various torso lengths. 

If your petite refers to your waist size, then when you try on these packs, make sure you can get the hipbelt snug around your waist/iliac crest with a little bit of room to make it tighter as needed. I have a petite waist (24") myself, so when I am trying on packs, that is always one of my first indicators as to whether the pack will work for me, even before I load it with weight.

Some packs, like the Gregory Deva even allow you to swap out the hipbelt for a smaller size. And Deuter tends to fit petite frames really well, even without the ability to swap out hipbelts.

Other tidbits I can also offer is that if your petite refers to your frame size, then you may also be bony. Moleskin is great for keeping blisters from forming, and I use it liberally on my hips and iliac crest where the hipbelt rests. I also have found that high-waisted leggings work the best for me, so that seams are not rubbing against my bony bits.  

Pack as light as possible, but also bring plenty of layers for warmth. And lots of high-fat foods to help yourself stay warm. Trekking poles are also a really great idea for helping you balance and move with weight on your back. 

Hope this helps!

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