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Large Pack Harness Explained

Our big pack harness looks deceptively simple. Eschewing fancy flashes of colour, irrelevant screen printing and extraneous padding, we have developed a harness that loads well, manages perspiration, and doesn't add unnecessary weight to the pack. We have tested this harness extensively for many years, with both recreational users and professional bodies, such as NSW Special Casualty Access Team Paramedics, who exclusively use this harness on our custom designed packs. We are confident that when fitted correctly, this harness will carry loads of all weight, with comfort and durability.

korowal-harness.jpgThe Summit Gear IntegraLoad harness consists of a number of different components that work together to transfer the weight of the items in the pack to a comfortable position on the wearers body. The harness consists of:

  • The hipbelt;
  • The internal frame;
  • The shoulder straps;
  • The lumbar pad and back support;
  • The load stabilisation straps.

The hipbelt

We use a one piece (continuous) hipbelt with a combination of open cell foam for padded comfort against the skin, dense closed cell foam for load support and a thin HPDE sheet for rigidity and load transfer. The face fabric on the is a 3D mesh soft wicking fabric specifically designed for this application. The one piece (continuous) hipbelt has excellent load transfer because there are no joins in the structural support and padding of the hipbelt. This reduces any sag or misshaping that occurs when the pack is heavily laden. We find that regardless of the load in the pack, the hipbelt will maintain its shape and load transfer integrity. The hipbelt comes in four different circumferences and in men's and women's specific versions.

The internal frame

Our internal frame consists of two 6061-T6 alloy staves in a "lazy V" configuration with a lateral support built in to the top of the pack. This is a proven frame configuration. It allows for close moulding of the frame to the wearers back for custom fitted comfort, flexibility for scrambling and excellent load transfer to the hipbelt. The frame loads directly into the hipbelt, close to the wearers body to further improve the direct load transfer. Once moulded, the 6061-T6 Alloy will hold its shape, and will not flex or distort under heavy loads.

The shoulder straps

The shoulder straps on the IntegraLoad harness feature a supple and forgiving closed cell foam that conforms to the users shape whilst maintaining excellent carrying characteristics. The face material is the same high quality wicking fabric as used on the hipbelt.

Where our system differs from many others is that we sew the shoulder straps directly into the pack as opposed to attaching them to the frame with small plastic fittings. We have two reasons for this:

frame.jpg

1. A sewn-in shoulder strap is much stronger than one attached with small fittings. We have seen many packs over the years where the shoulder strap attachment has failed, and in many cases is not covered by the manufacturers warranty. It would be cheaper and quicker to manufacture packs with separate shoulder strap components but in the interest of eliminating redundancies we will continue to sew the shoulder straps in to the pack.
2. The argument is often raised that users need "adjustable back" packs (where the shoulder straps can slide up and down the frame) to accommodate different back lengths of users. The reality is that the frame length defines the back size of the pack. A frame that is too long with make the pack unstable. A frame that is too short will not allow the pack to sit correctly. The ability to move the shoulder strap up or down (usually by a few centimetres) does not improve the overall fit to any extent. After years of sizing packs to real people we are extremely confident that our sewn-in shoulder straps are perfectly located for load transfer and stability, and that it provides the strongest pack harnessing system available.

The lumbar pad and back support

The fabrics used in the lumbar pad and back support are the same soft wicking fabrics as used on the shoulder straps and hipbelt. If you haven't figured it out yet, the harness contact fabrics are very comfortable!

Our lumbar pads utilise a similar triple laminate construction as used in the hipbelt to provide a seamless load transfer from the pack to the body.

The load stabilisation straps

We strongly recommend the correct use of the top and side load stabilisation straps on the IntegraLoad harness. These straps are vital to improve the pack loading dynamic.