View Full Version : Dana Design Sizing Question

09-23-2011, 20:50
Dana Design pack owners!

I have an opportunity to get a Dana Designs pack. The pack has a tag saying "M" which I assume is medium.

Tegarding size, the seller says

I just measured the pack from the top seam on the perforated back panel down to bottom seam of the tailbone pad. it is 21 1/2".

The belt has an adjustment of 3" top to bottom. If you set the belt at the lowest point it measures 18 1/4" from the centerline of the belt to the top of the perforated back pad.

Measuring my back from C7 to the iliac crest gives me 23.5" and in my previous pack, I had a "tall" (Arcteryx Bora 95).

Would this pack fit?

09-23-2011, 23:02
There are a few things here...

First - what type of Dand pack is it? (ArcFlex, ArcLight, Killer B, etc...)

Second - the measure measurement of the back panel down to the base is irrelevant. A size medium in Dana is 'generally' for a torso length between 18-20 inches. For example, I have an 18 inch torso, and I wear a small Dana ArcFlex (Alpine, Terraplane, etc).

Third - in all likelyhood, you do not have a 23.5 inch torso, actually this is nearly impossible unless your are extremely tall or have abnormally short legs. My skepticism is increased by the fact that you have done the mesurement yourself - one cannot measure their own back accurately. Lastly on this point, most people who measure themselves are off by approximately 2-3 inches, which would drop you into the larger end of Medium, or lower end of a Large. I worked in the pack industry for 10 years, fit well into the thousands of packs, and have only seen a 23 inch torso two or three times - it's incredibly rare.

ArcTeryx packs are known to run small, Dana's always ran big. Meaning one might wear a large Bora 80 and a medium Terraplane, I put more males into 'small' Dana's than any other pack company, generally because their sizing was more specific, and they ran large. This was partly influenced by the size of Dana himself, who isn't exactly a small individual.

Finally, the hipbelt should always be in the bottom of the pack, shifting the belt upwards to shorten the torso range is meant for fine tuning only, if you move the belt more than a half inch up you are in the wrong pack size. Also remember the iliac crest of your hipbone is literally only a couple inches below your ribcage, most people have no idea how to measure a torso - this would explain your 23.5 measurement, it's very common and I did it myself many years ago, I thought I had a 21 inch torso when in fact it's 18.

As a general rule...very few, and I do mean very few, adult males have a torso length that exceeds 19.5 inches, it's far more common to have males measure 16.5 inches than say 21 inches, much more common. Remember, you wear your hipbelt much higher than you wear your pants, when a pack is on properly the top edge of the hipbelt should be about 2 inches below the bottom of your ribcage, people with 'love handles' will find this awkward at first, but it's much better than wearing the belt down on your ass.

So in short - it's likely the Medium will fit, cause Dana's run big and you had a large ArcTeryx. Getting your torso measured correctly might reinforce this as well. Glad to see the Dana flag still flying. Good Luck.

09-23-2011, 23:08
What I meant early in my post is that although I am an 18 inch torso...due to Dana's running big, I wear a small despite being a medium on paper. There is always overlap in sizes by about a quarter inch or so, where one can choose to go up or down depending on feel, etc...

09-23-2011, 23:17
Your info is golden, thank you! I will try to snag someone to measure my torso proper.

Again, thank you!


09-23-2011, 23:42
Alright, had my housemate measure me. From just below the C7 to the iliac crest was 20 1/8"

I'm 6'2" (give or take a few fractions), so I'm hoping that measurement is more appropriate

09-24-2011, 07:11
Just over 20 inches...you'll be fine in a Medium Dana, good stuff!

09-24-2011, 20:32
Just over 20 inches...you'll be fine in a Medium Dana, good stuff!

Called the Marmot folks, spoke to the tech guys. They said a medium wouldn't fit a 20" torso... however, I'm taking into account they're probably going off overseas-production models and not a US model. In my experience US made gear tends to run large, which goes with what you said earlier.

Gonna sit on it. Hopefully others with a 20" torso and having tried a "M" US-made DD pack will chime in.

09-24-2011, 21:52
If you've never tried a Dana Designs before you might want to hike a kilometer or so in one with some weight in it. Dana and Gregory were very similar in size- not off by more than half inch in almost any measurement you could make. Yet some people loved one and hated the other. One design simply fit better for many people.

I recall swapping packs with my first-time ever backpacking partner for a brief period. She was using an old pack I'd gotten very cheaply when I very broke and hadn't complained much about it (except to say that it weighed too much.) I had a fairly new yellowstone. I was much relieved when she called a halt to the swap in 15 minutes or so (she had to kept trying to adjust things, but it never really worked). As it turned out, she went on to have OK experiences with Gregory, and I had another good experience with a terraplane after the fabric in my yellowstone failed (eventually the cordura just dies, but it was a great pack and lasted many miles!).

I've tried a Gregory pack, and I don't like it if I'm carrying more weight than I need for an overnighter. The difference? My backpacking partner and I are within an inch of each other, can share some clothing, but have a different enough bone structure to have a completely different experience with Gregory and Dana Designs. So if you've never had a Dana (or Gregory or Lowe, or...) before, try before you buy for best results.

09-25-2011, 03:59
On the sizing issue...I would disregard 'Marmot' making comments about a Dana pack, I know Marmot technically owns whatever is left of the old Dana Design, but I promise you that a Medium ArcFlex or ArcLight would absolutely fit a 20 inch torso - no debate. Now, if the Dana pack is a Killer B, then 20 might be pushing it. I fit hundreds of Dana's between 1993-2001, in particular during the heyday of 1995-1997 where it was impossible to keep $400 Terraplanes in stock despite being nearly 8lbs empty - I know these packs well. Dana's always ran big, and it was quite common to have someone in a medium Gregory or ArcTeryx and a small Dana - very common.

Bati is correct - Dana and Gregory had two very different design concepts. Gregory always believed a pack needed vertical integrity before anything else, with torsion flex (side to side movement) coming second. They were one of the only companies to use 2024 aluminum for their stays - very rigid. They also believed the hipbelt needed to be absolutely bombproof, hence the thick plastic stiffener in the belts that are still there to this day. Gregorys ALWAYS carried better than Dana's when it came to sheer weight transfer, Gregory packs never collapsed. They used a much thinner, but stiffer, thermo-moulded hipbelt and shoulder harness, and for many it was a love or hate relationship, many found Gregory's too stiff. Wayne Gregory's 'auto-cant' and 'adjust a cant' hipbelt and shoulder harnesses were the first of their kind, the attention to detail on Gregory packs always impressed me.

Dana was more of a traditional internal design, with torsion flex being more important, and sheer weight transfer not so important. For this reason Dana often had a better overall 'feel' as the pack carried weight more evenly (but more fatiguing) across the torso. Simply put...Dana's make you do more work than Gregory's but are far more stable and versitale. For example, you wouldn't want to go skiing in a Gregory Palisade compared to the Dana Alpine. But under a 80lb load, the Dana would collapse somewhat. This was due to using carbon fiber struts rather than rigid aluminum. The hipbelt was always a weakness with Dana, using open cell foam and two density's of closed cell foam, plus it was very wide, over 6 inches, which was cumbersome for many. The Dana shoulder harness however was probably the best in the world for many years. Some people liked to say "you carry a Gregory, you wear a Dana". I wish I still had my 1994 Alpine, amazing pack.

I owned both and put hundreds of miles on both pack companies - I preferred Gregory over Dana, and I never paid for my packs so price was not an issue. Now I prefer Osprey over both - the Aether in particular. I also own a ULA Circuit, fairly overrated but very light, so it serves it's purpose for most trips.

Packs are very personal, like food...what works for one person doesn't work for another, it's often not a choice.