I know we have some Aarn pack users on this forum, and I know of at least one that has a Featherlite Freedom. The big difference between the FF and other, smaller Aarn packs when it comes to loading it is the center divider. I am in need of some advice on how to arrange the items in my pack. I know this is kinda long, but I wanted to make sure to give enough info.
I am moving to the FF from an SMD Starlite, which carries great for a backpack, but still bothers my back sometimes when hiking. One thing to keep in mind is that I hike in Iowa a lot and drink a large amount of water, which means often carrying 4-6 liters of water between caches.
The Starlite was very easy to pack:
-1/4" thinlite pad rolled up burrito style; pack liner (trash compactor bag) inside that
-rolled Neoair against back of hipbelt; Arc Alpinist long, pillow and XL Down Inner Parka (if the day is going to be warm) stuffed loose in the bottom
-Next layer, arranged in vertical cylinders (best way I can think of to describe it): food bag against back, SP700 w/ all kitchen stuff inside, misc gear bag (FAK, repair kit, flashlight, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc)
-Fill in whatever space there is with clothing bag (balaclava, gloves, socks, rain jacket-if no rain, and, in cooler weather, tights and rain pants)
-On top of all this goes my down jacket if it is very cool that day
-Close and secure liner
-2L platy & sometimes 1L platy
-Rain jacket if it looks like rain
-toiletries go in the small zipper pocket
On the outside:
In long mesh pocket-Tarptent Rainbow w/poles and stakes, pocket saw, Mora
In lower mesh pocket on other side- 2L platy hoser, map
In upper mesh pocket- windshirt, and anything I might need that does not fit it the hipbelt pockets
In hipbelt pockets:
Left- sunscreen, bug dope, hand sanitizer, snacks
Right- camera, camera mount for Pacerpoles
The instructions for the FF say to pack the heaviest/most dense items, and those you want quick access to, in the front balance pockets. In the main bag, medium density items go against the back and low, and lightest/least dense items should be away from the back with the sleeping bag at the top.
I am thinking about a 2L platy in each front pocket along with snacks, sunscreen, bug dope, hand sanitizer, FAK, and any other food that will fit. Toiletries, camera and windshirt will go in the outside mesh pockets on the front pockets.
For the main pack, I am not sure how to load it. It seems that if I put my quilt on top I will have to mess with it any time I need something out of my pack, like my pot if I want some tea with lunch, or a piece of clothing, or something in my food bag. It would also be subject to water if it is raining. I also don't want to put the tent in side mesh pocket like I did with the Starlite (maybe the poles could go there). The food bag will be the most dense thing in the main pack- should I put it at the bottom? What do I do with the 1/4" CCF pad?
If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I would appreciate suggestions from all, and especially if you have a pack with the divider in it. Would also appreciate info on how you cut weight from your Aarn pack.
BTW, glad to see that Aarn and his staff are OK after the big quake in Christchurch.