Your Outdoor Skills: How to Pack Your Backpack
You have all the gear you need to head into the backcountry. But looking at all that gear laid out and the space in your backpack, is it even possible to get it all to fit? Don’t panic! With the proper gear (read about what to pack here) and a few techniques, it fits nicely.
As you fill your pack, keep heavier items like food close to your back. Lighter items like your sleeping bag should be stored toward the bottom. This helps distribute the weight in your pack properly, making your pack more comfortable to wear.
The remainder of your gear can fill in the rest of the space in your bag like the Littlbug stove, which slips in perfectly around your gear, helping fill the gaps. You never know when it’s going to rain, so keep rain gear at the top of your pack or in the outer pockets. Other gear you’ll want easily accessible are navigation tools like maps and a compass, trail snacks, and a little bit of toilet paper. Use the exterior of your pack to secure items that don’t need protection from the elements like rope. This keeps vital interior space available for items that need to stay protected.
Try not to fill your pack to the brim. Your gear should fill the pack comfortably without having to force anything in or struggle to close the lid or zippers. If your pack looks like it is bursting at the seams, consider repacking or eliminating some gear. To eliminate, start with non essential gear. You don’t want to ditch the rain gear and find yourself stuck in a downpour, but you may not need that extra shirt.
To help keep everything organized, consider using ziplock bags, stuff sacks, or compression sacks. Compression sacks work well with soft gear like clothing or sleeping bags. Here are some tricks from Littlbug for organizing your gear:
Roll your clothes individually and place them in a compression sack and cinch down the sack. The compression sack allows you to compress your clothes to save even more space.
There are only a few things worse than digging through your pack finding your lunch after a long morning of traveling. To help organize your food, put each day’s set of meals and snacks together in a ziplock. Then, store them in a stuff sack to keep the food organized and together. Each morning pull out your days worth of food and put it in an easy to reach spot for snacks or lunch time.
Instead of using the stuff sack that came with your sleeping bag, use a waterproof compression sack. This guarantees the bag stays dry and allows you to compress your sleeping bag down to its smallest size. Try sitting on the bag while cinching the compression sack. This helps expel as much air as possible.
First aid kit
Most pre-built kits you buy are waterproofed to protect against the elements. If you choose to assemble your own, use a ziplock bag to keep the materials protected. Remember to keep your first aid kit in an outer pocket or close to the top of your pack for easy access in case of an emergency.
You’re tent can easily secure to the outside of your pack. Another option is to use a compression sack for the tent and rain fly and tuck them inside your pack. Store the poles and stakes on the side of your pack, tucked into one of the water bottle pockets.
Once you have your gear all packed, you’re ready to head out on your adventure. Don’t get frustrated if it takes a couple times to get your gear packed just right. Even experienced backpackers have to try a couple times to get it perfect.
Before you head into the wilderness, remember to let someone that isn’t in your party know of your trip itinerary and where you are going.
When it comes to outdoor skills the more you bring along, the less you have to carry. Skills don't break and they're never left behind. They don’t leak, tear, and they don’t get wet!