Let the Gear Reviews Begin! My Backpack for the Long Trail

Let the gear reviews begin!

Review #1 – My backpack!!!

When choosing the right backpack, I highly recommend a proper pack fitting at a reputable outdoor store.  I have a chronic back issue with permanent disc damage to L3, L4, and L5. So the right pack is key! I got mine done at Breathe Outdoors in Edmonton. I tried on numerous packs. A proper pack fitting weights a pack while checking things like shoulder gaps, lower back, where it rests on the hips, and more.

Something important to note on pack fittings: I am over 5’7, so not a little girl, so I assumed all these years I was a medium in packs. And that was what I had been wearing. But to my surprise, due to my torso length, I am actually an extra small. This makes a HUGE difference to the pressure it puts on your lower back and where it sits on your hip bones. I had been using a pack too long for years with a lot of discomfort! And just accepting that it was part of backpacking! 

In that fitting, I tried at least six packs, and my final pack was the Gregory Deva 60 L. It fit me like a  glove! I have been offered numerous packs from top brands over the years to test for free, but I try them on, and instantly I know they are not the pack for me. I love the lumbar support, how the straps adjust, having waterproof hip pockets, angled water bottle holder I can reach while moving, exterior straps for tent, pads, etc. My Deva also came with a rain cover (most packs do not!!) and an extra pack for slack packing or using for my avalanche gear on my winter hut adventures. 

The downside to requiring such a solid framed pack due to my back issues is that I add weight.  When I was on the AT portion of the Long Trail, I had some great suggestions/advice from seasoned long-distance hikers, and they told me my pack frame was too big and heavy for my frame for long-distance backpacking. But honestly, after five days (and lightening some nonessentials in my pack), the weight and pressure on my hip bones became less of an issue for me. (Although lingering bruises may say otherwise!!) For me, my compromised lower back support was more important…so Iwas just going to be stronger! Just call me a DEVA!

#gregorypacks #hiking #backpacking #longdistancebackpacking #vermontlongtrail #womenwhoexplore #getoutside #adventure #explore #bewild #livingmybestlife 

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Comments 4

  • GroundHog : Oct 25th

    At long last a voice of common sense:
    1st find a pack that fits
    2nd learn to load it properly
    3rd learn to wear it properly
    4th hand said perfect pack back to pack fitting expert and go buy an 11.357 Oz, neon Orange, bag of pain a speedy American set the latest and greatest FKT with.
    At least you’ll look ever so cool…

    • Keri Bowzaylo : Oct 25th

      I wished I had read something like this when I first started backpacking!! But I guess I had to suffer so I knew what a good pack felt like!!

  • Tony Mallia : Oct 28th

    I have struggled finding the perfect backpack for years. And when I finally realized what I needed was a simple pack. I didn’t like having compartments which I never used and zippers that always broke . I needed simple and when I got the Hyperlite southwest 4400 I feel in love. I was worried that it wouldn’t be comfortable at first but when I loaded it up I was surprised how comfy , balanced and supportive it was . It all comes down to the individual and what they need everyone is different. Sometimes it may take 5 or 6 bags before you can figure it out I guess.


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