Best Backpacking Pack for Petites
Selecting a pack is a pain in the butt. When you go online, you see all these stats and comparisons. A lot of retail sites give you good information, but don't really give you an opinion.
When you finally narrow down your internet list and go to the store, the process of trying on multiple packs with varying weights, sizes, and knick knacks is EXHAUSTING.
After a while, your shoulders and back hurt and you can't tell which pack is more comfortable. So after 6 months of searching, many REI trips, and a few tears, I found a pack that works for my frame. I absolutely love the Osprey Aura 65L. It fits my frame, it's structured so it doesn't put a lot of pressure on my shoulders, and it's extremely functional.
Why this pack?
Ventilation- your pack doesn't get as sweaty because of the complex ventilation system
Structural load lifter (Shoulder contraption that lifts the pack off your shoulders) - makes it the most comfortable pack I've tried.
You can take the top lid off the pack and make it smaller.
Every pack Osprey makes is well thought out, and the company has an excellent warranty
Why not this pack?
The only negative of this pack is that it's kind of expensive. You're paying for the features: the ventilated mesh back panel, the structural load lifter bars (shoulder thingy), bottom loading. If you don't get this pack, I would try the Osprey Kyte.
If you buy form REI, you have a year to return the pack of it doesn't work for you. Amazon only offers a 30 day return policy.
What I thought about other brands:
Disclaimer: I tried on quite a few packs in these brands and here are my summarized thoughts. These packs may work for you. The main theme with these packs was that there wasn't a smaller size offering with the structural support of a big pack, which made them uncomfortable.
North Face Outlet- the outlet packs didn't feel very quality. They also didnt feel awesome on my shoulders
Deuter - I think this pack is meant for a stockier frame. To me, it felt like a giant beetle was on my back.
Rei - I actually like these packs, but they tend to be a bit big on the frame.
Patagonia - not a traditional pack manufacturer. The packs aren't as comfortable. I love the rest of their stuff though.
Other Ospreys - the other Ospreys were either too big or didn't have the shoulder contraption thing-. Seriously- that system is money.
I cant tell you how much I'm in love with this pack. A few weeks ago- I was forced to send it into checked backage on a plane and it broke my heart. Are you petite and so you have other favorite packs? Let me know!