I have returned the shoes because they did not fit me well once I did an actual walk in them; my heel kept lifting and I was concerned that a blister would develop plus the toe box was too long. I had tried on a smaller size but it was tight over the ball of the foot thus the next size up was put on but not having the opportunity to walk any distance, the issues I experienced had not been apparent. I ended up buying a pair of Keen hiking shoes that are waterproof; I wear a lot of Keen shoes as the larger toe box fits me across the ball of the foot while not squishing my toes and they have a full shank which counter acts the pronation that occurs due to to being flat-footed.
The next change was the pack - yes again. The Osprey pack that Jordan helped me select and fit was good, again, in the store but when I went for a test walk 2 weeks ago I had issues with the hip belt. Despite that I felt the belt was small and did not wrap enough (see picture below), Jordan convinced me it was ok. I had looked at another Osprey pack the Aura AG 50 which has an adjustable belt but at 50L it was just too big to I chose the Archeron.
So what happened on the test walk 2 weeks ago?? I loaded it up with most of my stuff, donned the pack and went to the walk. After about a mile the belt was pinching my hip flexor and it was getting painful; worried it was too low, I loosened the load stabilizers, shoulder straps, hip belt and started over in putting the pack on. Pack on shoulder straps loose; bend over and clip the hip belt; stand up and tighten the shoulder straps; tighten the load stabilizers. I walked another mile and nope - the hip belt was more on my waist and not holding the load and the weight was all on my shoulders let alone there as a gap between the top of the shoulder strap and my shoulders. Once again I repeated the process and the hip belt was putting pressure on the hip flexor. I went home and decided this was not right. I then went on-line (YouTube) and watched the Osprey videos on how to fit and put on the pack; just to be certain I was doing it correct. The next day my hip flexors still hurt so this was not good. Yesterday, I decided to give it another try and after 1 mile I was hurting again so I gave up. I started to analyze what was causing the problem and I found that the hip belt has a sewn edge binding that is semi-rigid (see picture below) and along the bottom it is tight against my body while along the top edge, it is loose that is ; so that's why there is so much pressure; the belt might be ok wrapping around my fat hips but it's not the correct shape for MY HIPS.
Back to the web and looking for another pack that has an adjustable belt in a 40-45 liter range. And on a whim I googled "women's back pack plus size" - it's that or go for a men's pack. SURPRISE!!! an article popped up about Gregory Packs having a line specifically for PLUS sized people men and women! I went to the website and looked at the woman's 44L pack, watched the videos on the development of these packs and how to adjust/fit it, and then I bought it. From the pictures and video I could see that the hip belt has a soft rolled edge and this should also be better (see picture below). I will go for another "test walk" next weekend.
The other changes I have made are in a few things I will carry: I have removed the binoculars as i can always use the zoom on the camera to looks at wild life; I simplified the first aid kit I will carry; I bought a 3L water bladder with drinking tube and returned the 3L reservoir; I am also adding a quart size zip-lock freezer bag into my daily food pack so I can put the rice side and boiling water into it and seal it while the rice re-hydrates and warms the added protein and I don't have to worry about it tipping over and spilling which it almost did yesterday during the test cook.
The last "change" is shipping some of the food items I want to Elisa next week so they arrive in time. What am I shipping? I went to the Tesco (grocery store near their house) and looked for the single serving foil packets of tuna and chicken which would be perfect to carry for each day's lunch along with a rice side. They don't have them and when I searched Amazon UK, so I could order them; well they don't have them either. And while I am at it I will add in some of the dry sausage (jerky) I like along with some squeeze peanut butter.