Using the correct technique for measuring your torso helps to ensure that your hiking backpack will be comfortable throughout a long day on the trail.

Remember that your torso length is not the same as your height. Short individuals can have long torsos, and tall individuals can have short torsos, so it is important to get this measurement right.

Here's how to find your torso length for a hiking backpack:

Use a flexible tape measure, and start where the top vertebra protrudes from your neck. Measure all the way down to the top of your hips (known as the iliac crest). You'll know you have found the top of your hips when you hit a hard spot while sliding your hands down from your rib cage toward your waist.

Most makers of packs for hiking define their sizes as follows: small (up to 15.5 inches), medium (16 to 17.5 inches), large (18 to 19.5 inches), and extra-large (20 inches and longer).

Visit your local Sun & Ski shop for expert advice about which size hiking backpack will provide you with the most comfortable fit.