View Full Version : Scoliosis friendly backpacks

10-15-2007, 17:59
Does anyone know of a brand of backpack that is scoliosis friendly? My father-in-lay may want to join me for a couple weeks on the AT.

Just a Hiker
10-15-2007, 18:02
removed post

Appalachian Tater
10-15-2007, 18:05
If the scoliosis is severe, stay away from anything with a stiff backsheet and go for something with only foam padding. If it is at all possible, have him try it on loaded because the size may make a big difference in how it fits. Remember the weight needs to be on the hips if possible, but certainly not on the shoulders.

10-16-2007, 00:18
My oldest son has a slight case of scoliosis and he found no problem wearing an external frame pack, but his case was slight.

10-16-2007, 05:26
You need the following options in a pack to get fit right with scoliosis. First, you need to have the stays custom bent correctly which will most likely mean that each stay will be slightly different, this is not easy trust me, and it goes against everything fundamental about pack fitting, but it works if you know how to do it.

Second, the hipbelt in the pack needs to either be held in by velcro and adjustable, or have different cant settings that can be changed on each side. I've done a number of fits in my day when we had to angle the hipbelt left or right but when you sit the pack on the person it sits perfectly straight.

Overall this isn't a big problem, and I would second the external frame suggestion, as all the weight will go to the hips and the pack doesn't need to fit snug against the back - you just won't win any fashion awards. An external frame will work fine unless the hips are different height levels.

The suggestion to avoid a rigid framesheet is not the best advice, if you do not have a rigid frame the weight will end up on your shoulders, something you don't want to do if you can help it. A foam pad does not transfer weight effectively and only works with very light loads.

No pack company will make a design to deal with scoliosis despite any such claims, most packs are built for Joe Average and this person ain't him. The key is finding a good fitting pack with good options and someone who knows how to fit very well, you need both to achieve a good fit with scoliosis. But it can be done well, it just takes some time.

10-16-2007, 13:14
I can assume that the pack would need to be lighter than most, correct?

Appalachian Tater
10-16-2007, 13:28
I can assume that the pack would need to be lighter than most, correct?

That was my thought. The ultralight packs with smaller volume do not have a rigid backsheet.

How severe is the scoliosis? What kind of limitations does it cause? Is it normal adolescent scoliosis or something else? Does he have rotation of the spine? What is appropriate depends on his particular situation.

The general rule for anyone, the lighter the pack, the better. I agree with stranger that the pack should be as adjustable as possible.