Loading your Backpack

When travelling, your backpack and everything inside it is your world. It’s your home away from home. It can either please you or frustrate you. That’s why you should meticulously choose what backpack fits you. But no matter how good you think you are when choosing a backpack, if you suck at packing, this may result to a dreadful travel experience.

Size. Brand. Price. Most people are not aware that these may be insignificant if they do not know how to properly and strategically load their backpack. Even the most expensive backpack can be uncomfortable when not loaded properly.

Too improve the comfort of your pack, weight distribution is very important. Thus this photo:

  • Always put your heaviest items close to your back, on the center of your shoulder blades.
  • For on-trail travel, place heavy items a bit higher inside your pack. This helps focus more of the weight over your hips, the area of your body that’s best equipped to carry heavy load.
  • For off-trail travel, place heavy items a bit lower in the main compartment. This lowers your center of gravity and increases your stability on uneven terrain.
  • Light items include: sleeping bag, pillow, clothes
  • Medium items include: stove, cooking and eating utensils
  • Heavy items include: tent, water, canned goods, fuel
  • When packing lay out all your gears on the floor. This will make you aware of what to put inside first or where things get packed.
  • Stuff your sleeping bag into the bottom of your pack’s main compartment first. Squeeze in any additional lightweight items you won’t need until bedtime (e.g., pillowcase, sleeping shirt, but nothing aromatic).
  • Cluster related small items (e.g., utensils and kitchen items) in stuffed sacks to help you find them easily.
  • For clothes, I use zip locks and remove the air in it before closing it. This saves much space.
  • Don’t waste empty space. For example, put a small item of clothing inside your cooking pots.
  • Split up the weight of large communal items (e.g., tent) with others in your group if desired.
  • Use the topload for often-used items such as: trail food, sunscreen, sunglasses, headlamp, first-aid kit, rain gear and pack cover.
  • I learned this from my boyfriend Wowoo – bring a few repair items e.g. duct tape or safety pins in case a strap pops or some disaster occurs.
  • If you’re bag is now hydration compatible, you can use your bag pockets to out on your water bottles.
  • Though some backpacks are made with waterproof fabrics, prolonged exposure to rain can make your pack wet and thus heavier. Before putting your stuffs inside your pack, you can put a plastic sack e.g. reuse a dog food sack just to prevent your things from getting wet.

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