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How-To Pack a Backpack Correctly

January 16, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 141

I can't remember all the times I have seen someone walking down a trail with a pack on that made my back hurt just looking at them. Once I watched a guy with a massive internal frame backpack walking along with so much weight hanging low that he was bent over at the waist at about a 30% angle. And the worst of it was his sleeping bag was hanging below his rear swinging back and forth smacking the back of his thighs. I got an immediate back ache just looking at him! So here are some tips to help you avoid making the same mistake that gentleman did.

Unfortunately, there are about as many opinions on this subject as there are budget plans in congress, but there are a few basic rules that will help reduce the strain on your body and make your trip to the A-B Wilderness more enjoyable:

1. Get the heavy stuff as close to your body as is possible. This last summer we saw some guys heading up The Beaten Path with heavily loaded internal frame packs. One guy had a large item clipped to the very back of his pack. As they loaded up their packs, the guy very nearly tipped over backwards!

2. Put heavy stuff up high and again as close to your body as possible. It sounds a bit weird, but the heavy stuff should go high up - unless you know you will be rock climbing. The higher up it goes, the more centered you can get it over your hips. Look at the natives in African countries - they carry large, heavy baskets on their heads. This puts the weight straight down on their spine, allowing them to keep their back straight and the load balanced. Others carry two large buckets on a pole across their shoulders - again, the weight is forward and mostly over their spine and hence their hips.

3. Balance the pack. I always seem to struggle getting the weight well balanced. If you put the tent in one side, separate the poles and put them on the other side. If you can't find something to balance out the weight of the tent, put the tent roll and poles across the top of the pack after everything else is inside. Balance is ultra important. Nothing is worse than having a lopsided pack.

4. Utilize space. It is amazing at how much stuff you can get in a pack if you use your head. If you have a pot or container that will be used for cooking, fill it with something before you stuff it in. This is just plain common sense.

5. Leave clothing and other deformable items until last. They can be stuffed into space left in the pack after everything else is in.

6. Add items that you will need to get to periodically in outside pockets or clipped to your shoulder straps. Things like drinking cup, canteen, pepper spray, compass, map, etc. should be readily available so you don't have to dig around in the pack if you are taking a 5 minute water break.

7. Put things that don't get hurt by moisture (and are light weight) on the outside of the pack. I usually add my two sleeping pads (yes, I am getting old) to the top and very back of the pack. These are foam pads and if they get wet, oh well, I can wipe them off before throwing them into the tent.

8. Sleeping bags. These are always tough to get where you really want them. In some cases, depending on the time of the year, your bag may be the single heaviest item you will pack - other than the tent. It also may be the bulkiest item. With our external frame packs, they usually end up in the traditional location - below the bag. If using an internal frame pack, try to get it - you got it - up as high as you can and as close to your body as is possible.

9. Guns. Back when I used to carry a handgun for protection, (I now carry pepper spray), I carried a compact, large caliber auto loader in a fanny pack slung around to my front. This put the weight in front and not on my already overloaded shoulders, but most importantly, it was available in a second or two.

10. Food. No real science here; put food in where it fits and try to plan on leaving the trail mix and items you may want easily reach nearer the pack surface on in outside pockets.

That's enough information to get you started. The bottom line is, use your head - well not literally.

Source: EzineArticles
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Backpack Correctly


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External Frame

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