How to Add a Hip Belt to a Backpack?

Have you ever wondered if it was even possible to add a hip belt to a backpack? Don’t fret! You definitely can. You just need to learn some tricks and techniques to pull it off. There are a number of factors you need to consider before you even think of adding your hip belt.

Adding a hip belt is easier than you think if you just know the steps to take. It can give you that crucial added support and help to take some weight off your shoulders. If you want to know more, read on to find out how you can add the hip belt without too much of a hassle.

Why do you need to add a hip belt?

The moment you decide that you are getting a backpack, you should immediately make sure that the hip belt is long enough in order for it to transfer most of your weight off your shoulders. This transfer of weight onto your hips will allow you to spread the weight of the bag for a much more comfortable carrying experience.

Of course, there are many backpacks out there that don’t have a hip belt. This may be a design flaw, the fact it’s a smaller backpack, or because the old one broke off. A good hip belt is going to allow you to hike with your backpack further and longer than you otherwise would.

Here we’ll look at the key steps in detail so you know the ins and outs of adding a hip belt to a backpack.

Determine the length of the hip belt

In the first place, it is critical to choose the right length because if you have a hip belt that is too short and doesn’t cover the front of your hip bones, you will not experience full load transfer from your shoulders to your hips and it won’t be as comfortable. Moreover, the pack won’t move with you and you’ll probably feel as if it’s pulling you back a bit as the weight is concentrated on the back of your hip bones, not all the way around. Learn more about what’s the ideal backpack position on your back.

Know the issues with fixed length belts

You shouldn’t invest in a hip belt before doing your proper research. And trust me this is true for anything else in life. Taking a smart decision now will save both your money and time.

You will find that a lot of backpack manufacturers sell modifiable backpacks where you can adjust the length of the torso. A few make modifiable hip belts that can be shortened or lengthened to fit around your tummy and your hips.

More often than not, there’s only one hip belt with one hip belt size available for a given torso length and no option to replace the hip belt with one that’s shorter or longer to fit your needs. If the hip belt does not fit, return the backpack and find one that suits you. You’ll often find that getting the right torso length will mean that the hip belt will be the right size but this isn’t always the case and needs to be double-checked.

Understand the makeup of a backpack hip belt

Backpack Hip belts have three components

  • Padded wings designed to cover your hip bones
  • Webbing straps that begin at the end of the padded wings
  • Buckle

Steps to add the hip belt

The following are the four main steps to add attach your hip belt:

1. Find the front of your hip bones

You can usually find the front of your hip bones by running a finger down the front of your body between your collar bone and shoulders (narrower on men, often a bit wider on women). The front edge of your hip bones will be located above the middle of your thighs approximately 2 inches lower than your belly button.

2. Fit the padded wings on the right part of hips

The padded wings should fit over the bony part of your hips. You can easily find the bony part of your hips next dropping your arms along your sides and digging your finger into your side next to the inside crease of your elbow. The hip bone, often known as the iliac crest, is a bony ledge, that starts near your spine and runs around your side to the front of your body.

3. Add the hip belt

When you are adding a hip belt, you would do well to make sure that the padded wings cover your front hip bones in their entirety. It’s usually fine if they extend an inch or so beyond the inside edge of your hip bones toward your belly button, however, you definitely do not want the pads touching each other or too close together. That introduces too much slack into the fit and limits the extent to which you tighten or loosen the webbing as you remove or add clothing layers under the hip belt.

Anatomically, the top edge of the shelf of your hip bones is about 2 inches higher in the back than in the front, which is why most hip belt pads are at least two inches wide.

4. Final adjustments

When adjusting your hip belt, you should take care to make sure the front hip bones are centered on the hip belt padding, while at the top of the rear hip bones are covered with the upper half of the padding. This should give you maximum load transfer to hips and a proper fit.

Maximize your experience

Adding your own hip belt can be a huge upgrade to your backpack. Making your own will also ensure that it’s customized to perfectly fit you, rather than it being a factory standard addition. You can either make one yourself by sourcing the foam, fabric, and buckle or use one from an existing backpack.

Once you have it attached, you’ll feel the benefits straight away. The backpack will feel more settled and there will be less strain due to the weight distribution.