@OspreyPacks thank you for making a pack that fits a 48 inch waist. @REI thank you for helping me find it last night pic.twitter.com/S5grd9fTOk
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Its appropriate I include the Tweet here, since the pack is named for a bird. The pack I am wearing is an Osprey Atmos 50. I’m carrying a ten pound weight, and despite that I’m comfortable. Admittedly the carpeted floor of an REI store isn’t the same as a hiking trail, but I think its a good sign a guy with a bad back can carry a pack without discomfort. 
The much discussed problem with the hip belt getting around my waist wasn’t a problem. The Atmos has a long belt, and the hip pads expand forward to offer more support. Unlike the Gregory and REI hour brand packs I tried, the Atmos adjusted so the bulk of the weight falls on my hips. I had been told that due to my waist size more of the weight would be on my shoulders, but the Atmos proved that claim false. 
Now that I have the pack, I need to build up muscles so I don’t have to be broken in, or broken, on

the Loyalsock and AT. Last night I took the pack out for a walk at Warwick County Park with a light load – I threw a pair of jeans and a shirt in, and headed out. My back was sore at the start from not sleeping well, and it was sore at the end, but less so, which means the pack is free of blame. Since this was a two mile hike on gentle ground I didn’t bother changing into unnatural fibers or boots, so forgive me for wearing cotton. I promise not to do so on my backpacking trips.