What are some important features of a small hiking bag?
When selecting a hiking bag, remember that the majority (about 80%) of the weight of the bag should be supported by your hips. This feature is especially important if your backpacking trips last for several days. Have someone wrap a tape measure around your hips to figure out your hip size, then try on different packs for hiking until you find one that fits closely but comfortably to your hips.
Any quality hiking bag for extended hiking and backpacking trips will have padded hip-stabilizing straps on the hip belt to help ensure proper fit. For example, the Osprey Aether 70 Mountaineering Pack features a trademark molded hip belt that is available in different cuts for men and women, as well as different sizes to accommodate extra-narrow or wider hips. In addition, keep in mind that if you are carrying heavier loads in a relatively small hiking bag, you might appreciate some additional padding on the hip belt.
Visit your local Sun & Ski shop for expert advice on how to custom-fit your hiking bag based on both your hip size and torso length.