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Boy Scout Troop 17
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BACKPACK FIT ISSUES-AMD HOW TO SOLVE THEM:   Chafing on the hips is a common problem, especially with heavier loads and for hikers whose hips have little or no curvature to support a waistbelt. To minimize potential pressure points, wear pants or shorts with a smooth waistband. For extra padding and waistbelt support, tie a fleece jacket evenly around your waist. i» To help reduce shoulder fatigue, load your pack properly, with the heaviest items positioned closest to your body between your lower back and shoulder blades. Do not place heavy objects at or below the level of your waistbelt. > Don't carry loads heavier than a pack is designed for. It can compromise fit and comfort, especially for packs with lightweight waistbelts, which can deform under excessive loads. Go lighter...or invest in a sturdier pack. ® MH


BUCKLE DOWN Most packs feature a few crucial plastic buckles on the shoulder straps (and elsewhere) that routinely take substantial stress. It can be a major hassle if one breaks, especially since many attach to a sewn loop of fabric that makes replacement difficult. Enter the Quick At­tach Tension Lock Buckle from Gear Aid ($4/pair), which has a distinctive open notch for threading it eas­ily onto a closed loop. Reinforce it with duct tape once at­tached, especially for high-stress loca­tions. /qearaid mh

This article was in the MayJune 2014 amcoutdoors (the magazine of the Appalachian Mountain Club)