Out on the trail, your backpack can be your biggest resource or your biggest burden. It all matters on how well you pack it. We have compiled a list of 5 clever tips to make sure that your backpack will be your best friend out on the trail.
Build a solid foundation by packing the bottom part first
Most trekking backpacks above 50 liters capacity have a separate bottom compartment. Start by loading this compartment with a thermal mat, a sleeping bag, and some spare clothing. Make use of compression straps for squeezing out all excess air to make it more compact.
Heavy stuff must be packed close to the spinal column
The area where your bag rests against your spine ranging from your shoulders, the lumbar region all the way towards your lower back must be packed with the relatively heavy stuff like the cooking set, tent materials, hydration bladder and so on. Some quick snacks can also be packed in this area of the backpack.
Pack the lightest gear at the front of the backpack to attain stability
To stabilize the backpack, you must pack only the lightest items like clothes and freeze dried foods in the front section. An unstable bag is a nightmare especially if you are hiking on a tricky trail. If the bag is front heavy it will tend to upset your balance by shifting the centre of gravity further back towards the front of the backpack. This will result in you having to compensate by lean forward which will put immense stress on your lower back. This will eventually lead to an injury. To avoid this, you must pack only the lightest things in the front section of your backpack.
Pack Important Things At The Top
To ensure easy access to important things like first aid kit, rain gear, and documents, keep them at the top of the backpack. By placing them on top of all your other things, you can save both time and effort by avoiding the hassle of emptying out the entire contents of your backpack to reach them.
Keep the cover flaps within your reach
Small items that you use frequently like sunglasses, lotion, a knife, some snacks, and a knife can be placed in the cover flap on the outside of your backpack. This will help you access these frequently used items without disturbing the contents of your backpack. Most bags have many such compartments to facilitate easy access.
Other useful tips
The rain covers that come along with most backpacks can only protect against light rain. To keep your important items safe from water, cover them in water-tight bags before putting them in your backpack. You can use different color watertight bags to organize them better.
Portion out your food for the day well in advance preferably during the previous evening. You can use freezer bags to pack them. This will help you better ration your food supply.
Keep only the most important items like a water bottle and trekking sticks on the outside to avoid being slowed down by branches and other vegetation entangling with them.
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