How To Pack A Backpack The Right Way
There are two broad approaches to packing a backpack. There is the just jam pack it all in approach and the more systematic approach, that I’ve called the right way. And within the systematic approach there is some variation as well.
The tips on how to pack your backpack for hiking and camping will help you to pack in an efficient and effective way to get your gear packed and then carrying it in a way to prevent expending more than energy than you need as you hike to your destination.
Tips To Packing A Backpack
Choose a good quality backpack that is suitable for the type of backpacking you are going to embark on.
Get all your stuff into one place. Give yourself plenty of time to do this before you set off. Check it off against your checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Once you have packed all your gear, it is advised the weight of the pack should not be more than 25 to 30% of your body weight otherwise you are going to struggle if you are not used to carry this type of weight.
To help in this regard it is usual to share the heavy stuff around the party so no one is over-burdened.
Your aim in packing is to have heavy stuff close to your spine and centered in your pack to help you with balance and it requires less energy to walk. The stuff you won’t need until night time to be packed in the bottom of the pack and gear you may need to be packed for easy access.
In the bottom of pack it is usual to place your sleeping bag and other items you won’t need until nighttime except your flashlight or headlamp. Some people put their sleeping bag in a compression sack to give them more room.
Next pack your heavier items close to your spine. This includes food, water, cooking kit, stove etc. If you are carrying liquid fuel make sure the top is screwed on tight and it upright. Also store the fuel below your food, so if it does spill it doesn’t contaminate your food.
Many people store food in plastic bags that are see through so it is easy to see what’s in them when they want to prepare a meal
If you are going in to bear country you will probably be required to use bear canisters to store food. These are heavier but are a very good at preventing an unwelcome guest.
Fit in underwear and other items around the big stuff to make the most of the available space and it will help to stop these bigger items moving around in the pack
The items you are going to access or may need to get to quickly should be stored at the top of pack and in the side pockets. These items include your water bottle, snacks, map, compass, GPS, rain coat, warmer clothes and first aid kit, matches in waterproof container.
Some packs include hooks where you can hang things that won’t fit your pack. Although these are handy, it is a good idea not to overuse as these items can get snagged on the brush.
Tighten all the compression straps when you have everything in, this will help to stop things from moving about.
Once you’ve got all the gear in, put the pack on and adjust the straps so the pack is close to your spine and your hips and feels comfortable o your shoulders. It should feel balanced on your hips.
A packcover can be a great piece of equipment to save your gear from the rain. Even though many packs are made from waterproof material, the zips and seams can let in some water when the rain is persistent.
Some items you should have on you are some matches in a waterproof container, snack, mirror and maybe a whistle in case you get separated from your party and/or your pack.
If you make the effort to pack your backpack in a well thought out way your back and hips will thank you for it. You’ll have more energy and a more comfortable and enjoyable time.