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Which pack's best for a big-chested backpacker?

Which multi-day backpack do you recommend for a vertically challenged (four-foot-eleven), large-chested female backpacker? Lori Chula Vista, California

A: Two things you're gonna need, Lori. One is a pack that comes in actual sizes, rather than a pack that has a wide adjustment range. That's going to ensure you can find a pack that's short enough to accommodate your torso. The other is a pack that is specifically designed for women. That's going to help ensure that the pack design allows for your, um, chest.


So, what packs? One good choice is the Gregory WM Electra ($299;, a pack that is part of Gregory's women-only series. It's a decent-sized pack (4,350 cubic inches in size small, big enough for a few days up to a week) that has Gregory's always-fine suspension and thoughtful design.

Osprey's Luna 70 ($349; ups the ante a little by offering the same design touches for women, such as a women-specific hipbelt and harness, plus the ability to custom-mold the back panel to your body. It also has a sleeping-bag compartment, several outside pockets and lash-on points, and capacity similar to that of the Gregory. Kelty's Tornado ($175; offers a design for women that lacks the multi-size availability of the Gregory or Luna but begins with a smaller frame so should be adjustable to fit you.

So—get yourself to a good outdoor shop, take the time to have someone measure your spine length, and try on some packs. I'm sure you can find one that you're happy with.

Check out Outside's Gear of the Year winners in the 2005 Buyer's Guide , then get yourself a copy of the issue, on newsstands now!

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Filed To: Backpacks
Lead Photo: courtesy, Gregory Packs