Generally, there are too many variables and ways to pack
things to give you any one methode. It wouldn't work for me. It
might work for Ralph. It works for Don. And so on...
I have a fairly wide chest/shoulder area. Generally, I used
to like things packed(weight) fairly high. Till I cracked a vertibra
and blew out a couple disks, this is what I did. After I got hurt, I
found that my shoulder strength was much reduced (about 40%
or so) and I was forced to pack lower and rely on the hip-belt.
This is OK, too. After about 15 years, I could again pack higher,
but, by then I had gotten used to it low... Both ways have their
advantages. I do not worry about too much weight between 15
and 45 pounds.
Soo, depending on the terrain, my intended activity and
how long I will be out, my load varies. Ready food is placed in
waste pouches along with the camera. Water is prepared every
evening/morning and put in side pockets along with the stove,
fuel, ditty bag(misc stuff) and fishing gear. Packing will vary a
bit, depending on weight and type of pack.
Assuming some sort of top loader, on a generally level trail:
1) sleeping bag (in a compression bag to fit the pack. The bag
doubles as my bear bag.)
2) food, cook gear, tent (usually the tent slips into the pot)
3) night cloths (in bear country, you need to change your
cloths before bedding down.) In winter this is extra long
johns, coat, leggings, socks...if I am not wearing them. Extra
stuff at night is stuffed into a shirt for a pillow.
4) saw, tent poles, fishing rod are slipped in last alongside
the tent/sleeping bag/cloths and capped by my cup. Tarp/rain
parka is stuffed over all this.
5) If you are using a panel loader, try putting your tarp in first, then
adding gear. Fold the tarp around the gear. Poles, etc get put in
last, just before zipping up.
My sleeping pad is part of the back pack frame (Gossamer
Gear Miniposa) soo, I didn't mention it. My whole kit for 2 nights
out is about 17# after loading everything. A smallish compass,
and mini-light, are attached to my shoulder harness with rubber
bands. The map is last in my pack. Usually, I look it over a couple
times and memorize the days travel, if I can...it gets stuffed in the
most convenient spot...always last (last in, first out.)
There are a number of ways to vary this. If I am climbing and
descending a lot, I will put the tent at the bottom. It's heavier. I will
also put the food down there. Again, weight. For descending, I will
do the opposite. Packing as high as possible. Generally, the goal
is keeping your spine as close to normal as possible. Bending going
up means packing low to relieve the weight on your back. Packing
high on the way down means a more normal walk while headed
I have several packs, each requires different packing
techniques and modifications to the theme. After 20-30 trips with
your pack, you will know where things are. You should be able to
find anything in the dark, by feel. My partner generally carries very
little. Clothes, sleeping gear & pad. Of she says she wants to split
the load, I will give her 5# of food, reserving the breakfast stuff.
Iff you are going with kids, let them carry some weight, about
5-10% of their body weight. Don't expect them to carry 20%...that will
slow them down! Give them a couple whistles, and teach them
SOS. Tell them to repeat it for about a minute. Then turn them loose
on the trail.... ON THE TRAIL....or at least within sight of it. Of course,
you will become the pack animal....oh yeah, take extra bandages and
alcohol (unless you are taking an alcohol based stove...)
Anyway, experiment. Try it and see as someone wrote. The above
is what I do...works for me.
My thoughts only . . .
At 12:47 PM 3/1/2009, you wrote:
>Ok, I have all the permanent stuff I need: Pack, bag, tent, footprint,
>fly, etc. Now I need to figure out how to pack all this, along with the
>disposables (food, drink, etc.) Any suggestions? I figure you guys
>probably have some advice for a newby to this, right? Things you have
>found out in your own travels. Anyone want to share?