Last month we reviewed Leave No Trace Principals for your upcoming backpacking season. Now that you have Leave No Trace in mind, you are just about ready to set out on your first backpacking adventure of the spring. But, before you enter your local wild spaces, you need to pack your pack, right? Here’s where we can help.
Ever been on a backpacking trip before, where you felt like you had to hunch over and lean forward your entire hike? Or, maybe you felt like you were going to topple over backwards from the weight of your pack.
Well, the Hurricane Island Handbook has some great backpack tips for proper fit and loading. Following these tips can turn a potentially painful and dangerous hike into a comfortable walk in the woods, where you can focus on the sound of the soft pounding of your boots on the trail, the light sneaking in through lush tree cover, the smell of fresh rain and other beautiful and energizing stuff like that… not your aching back! Here’s some great advice from our Hurricane Island Outward Bound School Backpacking and Canoeing Handbook:
Fitting the pack
☑ Size pack by length of torso
☑ Pack stays may be adjusted for shape of back
☑ When shoulder straps are on the shoulder, hip belt should rest on iliac crest
☑ Should straps should round over the shoulder evenly, not angle up
☑ Pack weight should not be held on waist or buttocks
☑ Adjust shoulder straps so that ½ to ¾ of weight rides on the hips
☑ Adjust sternum strap to help relieve pressure on the shoulders
☑ Avoid numb arms caused by shoulder straps being too tight or by having too much weight on shoulders because of a too-long pack
Packing the pack
☑ Use stuff sacks to help organize contents of the pack, e.g. food bags, clothes bags, etc.
☑ Pack with accessibility and comfort in mind; sleeping bag at the bottom; heavier items on the top and close to the body; rain gear, flashlight, water bottle should be easily accessible
☑ Attach foam pad vertically to outside of pack to reduce its tearing during bushwhacks
☑ Keep fuel and stoves away from food – outside pockets are a good place for these
☑ Don’t clutter outside of the pack with items that may fall off or be damaged or get snagged on trees.
Now, get out there and enjoy some early season backpacking! And, please let us know what next adventure you are planning or weigh in (pun intended) with your secrets on how to best pack a backpack, in the comments section below.