Packing Your Backpack
key to taking advantage of a good fitting pack is to pack it properly. Even the most meticulously planned trip can
turn out to be a painful experience for you and an exercise in patience for
your group if your pack is not optimally loaded.
vs. External Frame Packs
Each frame type has distinct advantages. Choose your pack to best accommodate the type
of conditions you expect to encounter while on your trip. Each pack type requires a different packing
the heaviest items above your bag and close to your back such as stove,
fuel, cookware, food and climbing gear.
lightweight gear such as clothing furthest away from your body and use it
to prevent other items from shifting in your pack.
you are hiking on moderate trails pack the heavier items higher in your
pack so your bones support the load instead of your muscles.
you are hiking in the backcountry or in variable terrain pack heavier
items lower in the pack giving yourself a lower center of gravity to
reduce top-heavy pack sway.
you do not fill your pack to capacity, use the
compression straps to slender the load and bring it closer to your
- Externals are
known for carrying large awkward loads well on moderate terrain.
- Take advantage
of the many compartments to organize your smaller items.
- Pack your heavy
items close to your back between your shoulders.
- You may pack
heavier items higher in the main compartment to maximize the load carrying
capacity of the rigid frame.
- Pack clothing
around heavier items to protect and insulate them as well as to take
advantage of utilizing every possible square inch in the pack.
- If you are
using a hydration system in your pack remember that water is the heaviest
thing in your pack and keep the bladder close to your back centered
between your shoulder blades.
- Try to
"compartmentalize" by keeping like items together in light-colored
stuff sacks (to easier see them inside your pack) such as small clothing
items (gloves, socks, hat) or kitchen items.
- Use a small
waist belt pouch to keep essentials close at hand such as: compass,
sunscreen, knife, lip protector, whistle, lighter, ibuprofen.
- Pack small
items that you may need quickly in the pack's top pocket such as: bandana,
camera, extra film, sunglasses or prescription glasses, insect repellent,
snacks or lunch and headlamp. It
can be frustrating to have to dig through your pack for your headlamp
after a long day's hike.
- Pack long items
on the side of the pack underneath the compression straps such as your
sleeping pad, tent poles and fishing rod.
- Get out
there! If you have a trip coming
up, prepare for it by taking short trips with your pack loaded and
experiment with your packing style. Change your load configuration on your
short hike to adjust for comfort and center of gravity.