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Gear Guy

How can I stop the hipbelt of my backpack from slipping?

My ne is George, and I a Gearaholic. I know I have a problem, but I cannot control myself. Although I have eight packs, ranging from a Gregory Denali Pro to a Mountainsmith Ghost, I have the se dilemma with all of them. Though of average build, my hips are non-existent, causing my hipbelts to slide down my waist. This problem can be very bad in winter when lugging a heavy pack and wearing slippery Gore-Tex clothes. Are there any gripping solutions that can be applied, or is there another pack that can cure my problem? George Rochester, New York

A: Welcome, George. We're here to help. Everyone, please say hello to George. Like you, he has come to us today humbly, realizing his own inadequacies, looking for guidance.

OK, now it's time to come clean, George! You're probably on first-name terms with every REI or Eastern Mountain Sports clerk within a 100-mile radius. They have a checkout line just for you and personal greet-and-guide shoppers to meet you at the door. Somewhere, some ex-pack salesperson is bobbing on a 75-foot yacht bought with the commissions earned from your purchases.

And, I hate to say it, but I'm not sure there is any gear that will help. We share a similar build and, like you, I have basically no hips. I, too, also find that heavy packs tend to slide down, particularly when wearing Gore-Tex bibs or similar clothing. The solution? None that I am aware of. Aside from just toughing it out, about the best you can do is shorten the pack torso a little, so the hipbelt rides slightly higher than might normally be comfortable. That will give it a bit more purchase.

A real fix, of course, would entail some sort of fabric applied to the clothing that adheres to the material lining the hipbelt. Gregory packs, among others, try to address their half of the equation with a high-friction fabric called "Gription." I suppose you could have an outdoor gear-repair company laminate something to the bibs, offering a little extra friction. Cordura, a very heavy fabric, has a lot of inherent stickiness, and is available by the yard so might be a good candidate for that. Be our guinea pig—give it a try and tell us what happens.

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