Chapter 24: How To Measure Your Torso

Since your torso length is more important for pack fitting than your height, you need to know how to accurately measure your torso.

A tall person can have a short torso and a short person can have a long torso. To measure your torso, you’ll need a soft tape measure, the kind that tailors use, and the help of a friend.

Stand straight with your legs about shoulder width apart. Start measuring at the seventh vertebra, the most prominent bone at the base of your neck. If you bend your head forward it may be found more easily. If you bend your head backwards, you can find it in the crease of the neck.

Measure from that point down the spine following the curve of your back along the way. To determine the bottom point of the measurement, find your iliac crests. These are the tops of your hip bones on each side. With your index fingers on the top of your hip bones, point your thumbs back and level. The point between your thumbs is the bottom of your measurement. The distance between these two points is your torso length.

That’s it! Now that you have an accurate measure of your torso, chip it in stone somewhere near where you keep all your camping gear. It will come in handy if you buy a new pack.

In general, less than 18 inches is a small torso, 18 to 20 inches is a medium torso, and over 20 inches is a large torso.