This week’s survival tip of the week is how to properly pack a backpack. These tips will help keep your pack light, your shoulders comfortable and your feet on the trail longer.
The first tip—and easily one of the most important—is to never pack something that doesn’t have at least two uses. For example, a flashlight is a good item to pack. Not only does it help you find your way in the dark, but it also can be used to signal for rescue. Packing one item with two uses helps keep the weight of your pack on the lower side.
The second tip is to choose an appropriately sized pack. Having a pack that’s appropriate for the length of time you plan to be on the trail will help to cut the unnecessary weight of luxury items that won’t fit in the pack.
Weight distribution is the third tip. How you distribute weight in your pack will be dependant upon what kind of backpack you have. For internal frame packs, it’s best to keep the heaviest items against your back, centered high between your shoulder blades. Medium-weight items should make up the top and outward part of pack, followed by the lightest items near the bottom. This configuration will help to keep most of the weight on your hips and not your shoulders or back.
For external frame packs, the heaviest items should be placed high in the pack and against your back. Lighter items should be placed towards the bottom and mid-weight items should fill the gap in between. Again, this configuration will keep most of the weight centered over your hips and be most comfortable.
When it comes to organizing and packing a backpack, it’s best to lay everything out beforehand. This will help ensure you don’t forget anything and will also give you a chance to organize everything by weight before you put it in your pack. Items such as food, flashlights and maps should be stored in a place that’s easily accessible.
Above all, make sure you’re comfortable and well-balanced. Nothing can ruin a day of hiking faster than a sore back or a fall.
Photo Courtesy of
Blaise Vonlanthen on Unsplash