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Thread: Good advice for bad backs

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,271

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    Hi Moley, welcome to Kifaru!

    You've been given some great advice so far and I think you're on the right track in regards to your fitness/back issues.

    Why do you have your mind set on the X-Ray? It is a rather small pack and IMHO very expensive for what you get. I don't think you'll be able to carry much with it (especially extra gear for your family) without adding a lot of external pockets (which will end up costing you more $$$). For a little less than the X-Ray you can get a Express. It's about twice as big and I'll bet you will be able to get some shoulder lift with it too. If you want to spend a little more I highly recommend the Marauder. I've been using one since 2003 and it is still my "go-to" pack for everything. Heck, take a look at the Kifaru Ultralight 2200. I've got a KU3700 on order and can't wait for it to arrive. Remember that none of the smaller tactical Kifaru packs come with waist belts, so something from the KU or Hunting line-up might actually cost about the same since they come with waist belts.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is; don't get fixated on one pack because it has all kinds of cool "bells-n-whistles". Check out some of the other packs that Kifaru offers, you might find something that will actually fit your needs better.

    Take care,
    "Heal with steel"
    Buckaroomedic

    "Noli nothis permittere te terere."

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    337

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    Both the X-ray and Marauder are basically going to be lumbar packs for you, the Zulu (G2 only-the G1 will be too short for you) would work a bit better, but I'd say go with a Navigator. Although way underrated, it is one of the best all-around packs in the Kifaru lineup.
    The stays are taller which should get you some shoulder lift. I know the specs make it seem larger than what you may think you need, but it is a very trim pack for its capacity and compresses down extremely well. I use it quite often as EDC, with no problems. I am often away from home for a few days at a time, so I like the extra capacity, but even with smaller loads it works quite well and you don't feel like you're diggin through a big trash bag. You'll have the ability to expand that greatly if needed, extraordinary organizatiol capability, and the Wraptech suspension will easliy handle heavier loads (80+lbs with no problem). You could even upgrade it to the Wraptech Plus with a Duplex belt.
    If you don't want the PALS or 1000D, then look at the hunting line equivalent Siwash.
    "Pleasure ?" I said. "I don't understand the question."
    I didn't do it for pleasure. I did it for pain.
    -Lance Armstrong

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    utah, usa
    Posts
    5,589

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    I'm 6'4, 36" inseam, and normal proportions on torso length. My Kifaru Siwash with the longest stays they could put in it, gives me "adequate' strap lift off the shoulders, but it doesn't have any to spare. With your torso length I would encourage you to talk to the experts at the Kifaru shop, and buy the pack they advise you to. Most of their packs are amazing at how well they cinch down for EDC use. If you are serious about this venture, then it will be money well spent.

    As to back problems? I have different length legs, which has given me a lifetime of problems, running from my toes all the way up into my back. Chronic ITB for 30 years pounding sand in the Army, I have a benign tumor nearly two inches across that has encapsulated the area where the ITB goes over the outside of my leg. A testament to the protective powers of the human body. I have chronically tight tendons, the lateral vasteris muscles, all of my inner groin muscles, particularly the psoas muscles, piriformis muscle etc, all combine to make me the least flexible man on the planet. Additionally, I have a history of laminectomy and discetomy in the L-4 and L5 region vertebrae.

    Beware of chiropractors! A good one who listens to you, works with you, understands anatomy, massages and otherwise warms you up before treatments, and isn't a snake oil salesman is a rare thing.

    Lose weight, duh?

    Most importantly? Get this book and follow the program in it, religiously, thirty minutes a day, for at least three months, and then report back to us on your condition.

    After my back surgery in 2004, I got this book and was faithful to its regimen. I credit this book as much as my surgery, with saving my (functional) life. I am a disciple of this book. I have purchased and given this little $12 book to at least a dozen people over the last 10 years. It's nothing magic, it's just a series of yoga pilates exercises. But Vad goes into great detail discussing back issues, remedies, etc. and then he presents his exercise program in the back half of the book. It consists of three steps, easy, moderate, hard. Follow them! I would follow this program for at least a month, and then guage my overall lower back well being honestly, before I would ever step into a gym and start lifting weights.

    If and when you do start resistance training, for God's sake, pay a trainer to teach you correct form.

    http://www.amazon.com/Back-RX-15-Min.../dp/1592400450

  4. #14

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    I guess I should add a little bit of information since I wasn't expecting such a response to what I thought, incorrectly, was a fairly uninvolved question! I would like to keep the total cost at or below $400 if possible. I am having some difficulty justifying the expense to the wife, and that would make it a little easier! Also, I would like some webbing which is why I was mostly looking at the tactical packs.

    I'm not really fixated on the X-ray per se, but I like the fact that is has both top and front loading ability. I think the Express is probably in the sweet spot size-wise for what I'm wanting to do with this pack, I just wish it had a front-loading option. I certainly won't rule it out though. When being used as an EDC, it's unlikely this pack will be loaded even close to full capacity.

    I'm getting some really good advice on how to help my back, a lot of which I hadn't really seen before. Maybe next payday I'll be able to check out that book!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    Lots of great advice here, especially on the necessity of stretching and getting your core strength where it needs to be, but as fellow big man who has to work around a classic S1/L5 herniated disk, I'd really encourage you invest in a good physical therapist first before trying to dial-in fit on a high-dollar pack. One issue I think you're going to have is getting a hip-belt to ride in the right position (and I say this as someone for whom the whereabouts of his iliac crests is really a matter of conjecture )--I'm a big believer in the Kifaru belt, but if it's slipped down to where my jeans usually ride, it really can't work its magic. FWIW, once you do get a Kifaru pack--and I hope you do, soon--there will be a learning curve on getting it to fit; for myself, I had to learn to avoid the temptation to really crank down on the power-pulls and deltas.

    Otherwise, best of luck: go slow, avoid further injury, and get back to where you want to be.

  6. #16

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    My 2 cents, I'm 6'1" with a 31 inch inseam and currently 270 (working my way down with weight watchers, it works!) so I too have a long torso. I have both an x-ray and an express (bought the express first) and the x-ray is my everything bag. It goes everywhere I go including business trips to Houston. For my and the wife with 2 or 4 liters of water, light snacks, and lights jackets I can carry this bag all day long. When I was hauling for the family I used the express. It is way longer and as I was hauling more gear used the belt and had no carry issues. Just a few months ago at Disneyland I was carrying for the fam using the x-ray and by the end of the day my shoulders were a little sore because I still don't have a belt. And other than an organizer my packs are clean. I prefer to keep stuff in the bag, its easier to cram into overhead compartments on aircraft. Forgot, I do have a grab-it on the x-ray. It swallows the entire pack making it that much easier to cram into the overheads on planes. If I had to do it all over again and it was just me and the wife x-ray all the way. But since I had the express boy was it handy for the family. Hope this helps and doesn't muddy the waters more.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    337

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    Quote Originally Posted by elmbow View Post
    I'm 6'4, 36" inseam, and normal proportions on torso length. My Kifaru Siwash with the longest stays they could put in it, gives me "adequate' strap lift off the shoulders, but it doesn't have any to spare. With your torso length I would encourage you to talk to the experts at the Kifaru shop, and buy the pack they advise you to. Most of their packs are amazing at how well they cinch down for EDC use. If you are serious about this venture, then it will be money well spent.
    Don't forget, they added 2" to the stays for the G2, so the only packs with longer stays is the EMR. Definitely a good idea to call the shop and get their take. Price is always a concern, but as you already know, the value is extremely high and keep in mind the Wraptecha dn Duplex packs include belts. Don't forget to check the trading post here and on other forums or post up your own WTB.
    "Pleasure ?" I said. "I don't understand the question."
    I didn't do it for pleasure. I did it for pain.
    -Lance Armstrong

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    A few thoughts on chiropractors: Every, and I do mean every, person that I know that uses chiropractors says they do wonders. What I have noticed though, is that once they go, the person is "hooked" and has to go frequently to feel even ok. I have been in the military, construction, and millwork professions my entire life, So needless to say, there are times that I feel pretty beat up. Even with this, I refuse to see a chiropractor because I do not want to be subjected to that for the rest of my life when some simple occasional OTC pain meds do the trick. Granted, every person's situation is different, so a chiropractor might be a lifesaver for some people, just not for me.

    Ryan

  9. #19

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    You have to remember also, that when you order your pack, you are prompted to give measurements. It's not like buying a TNF or similar pack off the shelf at all.

    This ensures that there will be plenty of shoulder strap length available to wear your x-ray in the correct position and take advantage of the lumbar support from the belt, deltas and lumbar pillow... as I mentioned in a thread I made about my x-ray, I carry my autistic son on my shoulders. With all his squirming and weight shifting up there, I'd sooner have the pack on than not when carrying him (he hates walking near roads). It acts like a powerlifting belt, and keeps my back stable.

    I wouldn't rely on this function too much, if I were in your position, as you want to strengthen your low back through activity - if you stabilise it too much you won't get the benefit... but, the option of resting a tired low back by doing up this support when needed is a good option to have.

    I've also had 24kg (@ 53lbs) in mine (battery pack and dive weights to anchor remote wildlife cameras on a cliff face) and scrambled up and down coastal hillsides (serious exercise!) for about five hours, one day. Whilst it wasn't 'like it wasn't there' by any stretch, it wasn't unbearable, like it would have been with the Highlander 'forces' pack, or the surplus bergan that I used to use for the same job in previous years. The weight rode on the waist most of the time, and I had the shoulder straps loose enough to be able to take my arms out one at a time.

    I'm 6'1'' and 280lbs, although I'm quite mesomorphic and not especially carrying excess bodyfat at the moment (around 20%), my upper body size makes some 'off the peg' packs pretty much non-adjustable for me - they have to stay at their max and that usually leaves them riding high. The X-ray came with plenty of strap length - a function of the semi-custom fit I believe.

  10. #20

    Default Re: Good advice for bad backs

    I have also noticed that people that go to a chiropractor need to keep going, which is one of the reasons I never tried it. I have considered acupuncture though - my brother had excellent results after a car accident.

    Seems it will be a harder decision than I anticipated, but it is good to have options! Keep the info flowing, please! Thank you all for the advice you given so far!

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