To make a backpack feel comfortable, you need to set it to the correct torso length. Otherwise, too much or too little weight will be applied to your shoulders, which will result in shoulder pain. When buying a new backpack online, you need to understand what’s your torso length to make sure that it will fit.
This got me thinking – Can you calculate your average torso length just by knowing your height? To find out, I surveyed hikers and did some statistical analysis.
Down below, you’ll find out the results of my research. You’ll also see a chart that shows the average torso length by height, so you can guess your approximate torso length.
Is There a Correlation Between a Person’s Height and Torso Length?
There definitely is a correlation between a person’s height and their torso length, but it isn’t 100% accurate. That’s because every one of us is made differently. Some of us have large torsos and short legs, and some short torsos and long legs. In simple words, you can calculate your approximate torso length just by knowing your height, but in reality, it might be 1-2 inches longer or shorter. In rare cases (for about 12% of people), it might be even more than that.
To calculate this, we surveyed many hikers. We asked for their height, torso length, and gender to find out if there’s a correlation and whether it’s different between men and women.
To be precise, the R2 value, which represents how strong of a correlation there is, was 0.395, which is pretty much an average result. It shows that there is some correlation, but there’s a large margin of error.
Average Torso Length by Height Chart (Men and Female)
|Height (Feet)||Height (CM)||Torso Length (Inches)||Torso Length (CM)|
In the above table, you’ll find an approximate measurement of your torso length. You can also multiply your height by 0.27 to get your approximate torso length.
It’s also important to note that we didn’t see any differences between males and females in their torso length relative to height, so you can use the above chart regardless of your gender.
However, these are only approximate results, and your actual torso length might be different. We noticed that most commonly (for around 88% of people), each person’s torso length was between 0.24 – 0.30% of their height. This is a pretty big margin of error (12%), so it’s a good idea to measure your real torso length for an accurate measurement.
Tip: The most comfortable pack that I’ve ever worn is the Osprey Atmos, which has an adjustable torso length. It basically feels like an extension of your back. Although it isn’t ultralight, it’s pretty durable and comes with a lot of options for organizing everything, so I can’t recommend it enough.
How to Measure Your Torso Length for a More Precise Measurement (By Yourself)
To know your real torso length, the only accurate way is to measure it. It’s really easy to do if you have a tape measure. You don’t even need a second person – you can do it all by yourself.
- Find the top part of your hip bones (iliac crest). You can do that by pushing your fingers into your belly on each side until you start to feel that there aren’t any bones underneath. If you’re doing this by yourself, do this while standing next to a wall, and mark this point on the wall with a pencil.
- Find your C7 (7th Cervical Vertebra). Your spine is divided into several smaller bones, which you can feel by running your hand along the spine. The C7 bone of your spine is located near your shoulders, and you can find it by tilting your head forward and feeling which bone of your spine sticks out the most. If you’re doing this by yourself, do this next to a wall, and with a straight back, mark with a pencil where you felt your C7.
- Measure the distance between both points (The C7 and iliac crest) to get an accurate measurement of your torso length. If you marked your points on the wall by yourself, you probably didn’t mark these points at a perfect 90-degree angle from the ground. You should measure the height in a straight line perpendicular to the ground, as shown in the picture above.
Note: Personally, I’m 186 cm (6’1 ft) in height. By using the chart above to get the average torso length, it should be 19.7 inches (50 cm). By measuring it myself, I found out that actually, it’s 17.7 inches (45 cm), which means that it’s 2 inches (5 cm) below average. Of course, I probably wouldn’t feel much of a difference in comfort if I’d buy a backpack that’s set up only 2 inches above my real torso length, but this just shows how important it is to measure your true torso length.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Precise Is Calculating My Torso Length Without Measuring?
If you want to calculate your approximate torso length, you can multiply your height by 0.27. That said, this won’t be an exact measurement – it will only give you a rough value.
Calculating your torso length without measuring is somewhat unprecise. Based on our data, there’s a 88% chance that your calculated torso length is within 2 inches (5 cm) of your true torso length.
Are There Any Differences in Torso Length Between Males and Females?
There aren’t any differences in torso length relative to the height between males and females. For both men and women, their torso length is on average 0.27% of their height. We asked our respondents to include their gender, and our statistical analysis showed that there aren’t any differences.
That said, there are differences in backpacks that are made for men and women. Some backpacks that are made specifically for women are shaped differently around the breast area to accommodate for the extra space. Backpacks made specifically for women also usually have shorter torso lengths because women are shorter on average.
On What Data Are Your Results Based On?
We got answers from 45 people, and this analysis was conducted over the internet by asking on various forums what was each person’s torso length, height, and gender. We also gave instructions on how to measure their torso length by themselves, but because we didn’t do the measuring ourselves, there could be some inconsistencies from that as well. So overall, these results are by no means the most accurate, but they do give a rough idea of the correlation between height and torso length.
How to Measure the Torso Length of My Backpack?
Usually, manufacturers state the torso length of their packs in the product description, so the best idea would probably be to look at the manufacturer’s measurements. However, if there aren’t any, you can do a rough measurement yourself, and here’s how:
- For the bottom measuring point, find the middle part of the hip belt. The middle part should pretty much sit right on top of your iliac crest (the top part of your hip bones).
- For the top measuring point, find the place where the shoulder straps are attached to the backpack. This should be on top of the pack, near your shoulders.
- Measure between the top and bottom measuring points with a tape measure.
- Add 2 inches (5 cm) to your measurement to get the torso length of your backpack. Usually, your C7 bone is roughly 2 inches higher than the place where the shoulder straps are attached to the pack, which is why you need to add 2 inches to your measurement.
Tip: For beginners, I recommend getting the Teton Sports Scout 3400 backpack, which is really affordable, durable, and super comfortable. The only downside is that it’s pretty heavy, but as a beginner, that shouldn’t be your main concern anyway.
My research revealed that you can indeed calculate your average torso length just by knowing your height. You just need to multiply your height by 0.27. However, this method produces somewhat unprecise results, with roughly a 10% margin or error. If you’ll be hiking rarely, then this is probably enough to get a backpack that fits well, but if you really want to nail the fit of your backpack, you should measure your real torso length, which isn’t that hard to do anyway.
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