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Fitting Children for Backpacks

It’s important to get the right backpack for your child, especially to protect their growing spine. Find a brand that makes backpacks specifically designed for children as regular backpacks are designed for adult torso lengths.

What to look for

  • The bottom of the backpack must sit at their hips
  • Should straps must sit flat on the shoulders
  • A waist strap to distribute the weight
  • The backpack must not sit higher than their head
  • The backpack must not sag or drag below their hips/bottoms
  • When packed, the bag should weigh around 10-15% of the child’s body weight (20% at the absolute most) eg a 35kg child should only carry ~3.5-5.25kg (7kg tops) / an 80lb child should only carry ~8-12 pounds (16lb tops).

Suggested packs for children

  • Osprey Jet 12L & 18L (for smaller/younger children)
  • Osprey Ace 38L (adjustable harness) (for older kids)
  • Deuter Fox 30L & 40L (adjustable harness) (for older kids and teens)

A child’s frame varies from child to child, even of the same age, so use your best judgement. The child in the first photo is the same one in the green backpack in the second photo, 2 years later. He has a petite frame compared to his sister who is taller and sturdier for her age (at three years apart in age they wear the same clothing and shoe sizes). She is able to handle the same size backpack despite the age difference. All backpacks were weighted correctly.

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