Coleman® Exponent® Backpacks Tips and Advice
There are three pack types to choose from: external frame, internal frame and technical daypacks (frameless). External and internal framepacks are the most appropriate choices for multiday trips, while frameless backpacks are perfect for day hikes.
External framepacks– Best suited for heavier loads on open, even trails through easy-to-moderate terrain. External packs place the load over your body’s natural center of gravity. This allows you to bear the weight comfortably, without stooping and without undue expenditure of energy. An external framepack also keeps space between you and the load, which accomplishes two things: it allows good ventilation to keep you cool, and it helps make even a heavy load more comfortable while you hike.
Internal framepacks– Designed for uneven terrain and narrow trails, where a hiker needs more agility. Balance and stability are essential on uneven, narrow or slippery terrain. An internal frame pack keeps the weight of the load tight against your body, giving you more freedom of movement. If you’re into off-trail adventures, an internal frame pack should be a consideration.
Technical daypacks – Ideal for light-load activities, where freedom of motion is important. They’re perfect for day trips, first-time hikers and younger trekkers.
Whichever backpack style you choose, fit is essential. Take time to make certain that the pack you choose feels comfortable, especially when loaded.
Fitting Instructions - To get the best fit every time, loosen waist and shoulder straps before fitting. You should also have some load (weight) in the pack while fitting.
Measuring Torso Length
The length of your torso does not depend on your height. Measure from the seventh vertebrae (the bony protrusion at the base of you neck) down along the contour of your spine to your natural waist. To find your natural waist, place a hand on each hip with your thumbs pointing towards your spine. The invisible line connecting your thumbs is the point to which you're measuring. The torso length may be lengthened or shortened by accessing the webbing straps located underneath the lumbar pad. You may want to go through the rest of the fitting steps before determining whether you need to lengthen the torso.
Shoulder straps should anchor to the pack just below the crest of your shoulders.
Now draw down on shoulder straps until they feel snug but not tight. The bottom of the strap should rest at least a hand's width below your armpit so that is doesn't ride up and pinch.
Hip Belt Adjustments
The hip belt should ride on your hips, transferring weight straight to your skeletal structure. Make sure the pads don't touch in front. You need room to cinch tight. Center pack comfortably on your shoulders. Position the hip belt so that the horizontal stitch line on inside of belt is lined up over front hipbones.
Buckle belt and tighten to comfortable circumstance.
Tighten Load Stabilizer straps to bring load closer in to lumbar (lower back) area. These straps run horizontally on each side from the hip belt to the pack. There is also an upper Delta strap running diagonally on each side from hip belt up toward pack. Lower portion of pack should feel snug against your lower back.
The sternum strap connects the shoulder straps, prevents the shoulder straps from slipping off the shoulders, and helps reduce pressure on the shoulders.
This strap is adjustable up or down. The most comfortable position is usually 3-4 inches below the collarbone.
Load-Lifters move the weight toward the front of your shoulders and lift the load off the top of your shoulders.
To transfer weight off shoulders, use shoulder Load-Lifter straps located at the crest of the shoulder, extending from frame of pack. Pull straps until taut. The shoulder strap will no longer be in complete contact with your shoulder.
The Load-Lifter straps should run off your shoulder at a 45° angle. If the angle is less than 45°, then the pack may be too small for your torso. If the angle is greater than 45° then the pack may be too large.
Loosen the shoulder straps from bottom, approx. 1/2" then pull Load-Lifter straps again until you feel the pack's pressure against the upper part of the chest below the collarbone-not on top of your shoulders.
There is a small "tri-bar adjuster" on the top of the shoulder strap that lengthens and shortens the Load-Lifter strap. Sliding this tri-bar up (toward the pack) or down (away from the pack) will adjust the point at which the Load-Lifters "pull" the load off the shoulders.
Adjusting Internal Stays
Stays serve as the frame of internal frame packs. The curve provided by the factory should be sufficient for a comfortable fit for most people. However, if after fitting your pack you feel further adjustments are needed to provide the most comfortable feeling of the pack against your back, the aluminum stays are removable and bendable
Stays are located in pockets on back of pack. Pull down the lumbar pad to locate openings for stay pockets.
Ask a friend for help. Have that person hold the bottom of one stay against your back over one hip. Mark it with a pencil or tape where your spine makes the greatest deviation from the stay. Place the stay over a durable surface and gently bend the stay to the desired shape.