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 waist belt.
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.
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 waist belt.
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.
Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.