Backpack info from Tatonka

How to adjust the Tatonka ladder system

The carrying systems of Tatonka's trekking and touring backpacks all have an adjustable ladder system that allows you to adjust the rucksack individually to suit the length of your back.

Use the ladder slats and Velcro flap to determine the adjustment of the carrying system for the length of your back. Thread into the top for a long back, to the bottom for a short back, and the middle for the standard back length.

  • Step 1 // Find the correct position for the length of your back. Find the instructions for this here.
  • Step 2 // Thread the bottom and top Velcro flaps two ladder slats apart.
  • Step 3 // Now attach the two flaps on the middle section, the top one first and then the bottom one.
  • Step 4 // Put the loaded rucksack on your back. Close the hip strap first and tighten it, then the shoulder straps.
  • Step 5 // Check that the rucksack is on properly – the hip strap should be centred over the hip bones, the contact point of the shoulder straps on the seventh neck vertebra. If not, then thread the shoulder straps higher up or further down on the ladder.

Fitting women's backpack

Fitting men's backpack

How to ideally adjust your rucksack

Step 1 // Putting it on your back

Loosen the shoulder straps and lift the rucksack up by the handle and feed your arms into the shoulder straps.

Step 2 // Putting on the hip strap

The middle of the hip strap should end around the hip bones. With the hip strap clasp facing out, tighten both sides of the hip strap towards your navel.

Step 3 // Tightening the shoulder straps

Then tighten the shoulder straps, but not all the way.

Setting the load control straps

Set the load control straps around the collarbones at an angle of approx. 30 – 50°.

Step 5 // Buckling the chest strap

Buckle up the chest strap. This improves the freedom of movement when moving actively and stabilises the carrying system, thereby preventing tiredness.

Step 6 // Tightening the hip strap load controls

Tighten the load control straps on the hip strap. This improves the lateral load control

Adjusting the Tatonka trekking and touring backpacks

Why do I have to adjust my trekking rucksack?

Trekking and touring backpacks that are to carry relatively high weights should be positioned correctly in order for part of the load to be transferred to the pelvic area. In other words, the hip flaps should ideally be positioned centrally over the hip bones. That is why the carrying system should be set to the length of the individual wearer's back.

The carrying systems of Tatonka's trekking and touring backpacks all have an adjustable ladder system that allows you to pre-adjust the rucksack individually to suit the length of your back. If you have a short back, thread the system into the bottom of the ladder, and to the top if it is longer. There are two further positions in between these two.

Can I estimate the length of my back from my height?

No, that won't work because short people can have a short or long trunk, just as tall people can have a long or short one. As a general rule, though, short people will tend to have a shorter back than tall people. It is best if you buy your trekking or touring rucksack from a specialist retailer, because they will able to advise you with regard to the proper fit and will set the rucksack for you. Once the backpack has been set to the length of your back, you won't have to change it again.

What do I do if I want to buy my trekking backpack online?

There are a few general guidelines.

  • First of all, decide what size of rucksack you want. This depends on what you want to use the rucksack for.
  • There are special designs for ladies, who generally have shorter backs than men. If you are a woman who is not particularly tall and on the petite side, you would do well to choose one of these.
  • As a short person, opt for a trekking backpack with a smaller volume, or else go for a touring rucksack, because the transitions between a small trekking backpack and a large touring rucksack are quite loose.
  • If you are a man who is not very tall, you can certainly opt for a womens' backpack. (Tatonka's ladies' models have been designed with this in mind, so are not too eye-catching.)

How do I set it?

  1. Load your trekking backpack, ideally realistically, and with at least 5 kg. You can only decide if the rucksack is in the right position, or set it properly, if it is loaded.
  2. Loosen the shoulder straps. Put the rucksack on with loosened shoulder straps and position the hip strap centrally over your hip bones. Buckle up the hip strap and tighten it, pulling the ends of the strap towards you navel.
  3. Now tighten the shoulder straps, but not so far that they restrict the movement of your arms.
  4. The contact point of the shoulder straps – the point where they move away from the packsack – should only be about halfway up the seventh neck vertebra. This is the little bump that protrudes slightly at the bottom of the neck.
  5. If the shoulder straps are higher up the neck, thread them one or two slats lower on the ladder system. If the shoulder straps are lower, then thread them higher up the ladder system. Follow the instructions provided here (Rucksack tips). Then repeat steps 2-4.
  6. When the (tightened) shoulder straps are at the right level, tighten the load control straps positioned over the shoulders. These relieve the load on the shoulder straps, and you can control the load better when making sideways movements. The ideal contact point of the load control straps is at the level of the collarbones, while the straps themselves should be positioned at an angle of between 30 and 50 degrees to the back and up over the shoulders.

Good to know

The same method is always used to adjust the Tatonka backpack to the length of the wearer's back. The bison print on the ladder is used for comparison as it is always printed at the same height for the various carrying systems and capacities. The womens' backpacks have shorter backs, which means the bison print is correspondingly lower.