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How do you pack?
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Andy Goodell
(geekguyandy) - F

Locale: New York State
How do you pack? on 03/12/2007 20:32:23 MDT Print View

I know I've changed my packing method over the years, maybe there's still better ways I haven't thought of yet.

1st: cylindrical items first: Montbell bag, tarptent, prolite
2: clothes go around those to fill the gaps
3: stuff sacks for toiletries, consumables and other small gear
4: any other misc. gear on top of that
5: my pack has a top pocket, and I keep headlamp, some snacks, camera, and rain fly in that

If I am brining little enough that the pack has empty space, I'll keep the sleeping bag and sometimes tent out of the stuff sack(s) and line the outside to keep weight close to my back.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: How do you pack? on 03/12/2007 21:05:36 MDT Print View

That's pretty much how I pack, too. Quilt at bottom, hammock next, then food bag(s). I like to put the food bag(s) in the middle to lower the center of gravity. Then clothing bag, cook kit, and ditty bag. I put small clothing items in a stuff sack to corral them and use the larger items for space filler. Rain fly/poncho goes in a drained back pocket. Camera lives in a pocket on a shoulder strap. Fuel and water stay in drained side pockets along with bear line and pack cover.

I use a relatively wide, flat pack design and use the stuff sacks to keep it that way.

Edited by vickrhines on 03/12/2007 21:06:43 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:How do you pack? on 03/12/2007 22:31:33 MDT Print View

In the old days, when packs were deep black holes, I packed least used items first, at the bottom of the pack, and more frequently, or first used items at the top of the pack. Weight and cg distribution were secondary.

Now, I only buy packs with panel-access, and this seemingly small design element has changed the way I pack and even the quality of my hiking experience. Now I can pack for weight and cg optimization while knowing any item is available quickly and easily. I can do things now which were inconvenient, or time consuming, or previously annoying to my fellow hikers. A few examples; on a winter hike rest stop I can pull my jetboil out of the bottom of my pack and have a hot cup of coffee in 2 minutes flat. I can secure everything inside the pack and leave the side pockets available for a shell, camera, etc. I can more easily change my clothing layers as required, removing and stuffing them neatly into the pack. I can do some of this on the move by slinging the pack in front and inverted as I walk. Also, in camp I used to spread everything out so it is accessable and visible. Now I leave it packed up, and access each item through the panel.

True, the difference in this packing/utilization method is really just the difference in time between using a panel to get your gear, or opening lid+untying and unrolling the extension collar+removing some gear to get down to what you want, then reversing that process. But done enough times, that really adds up. Some people do not access their pack much, and so this would not make much difference.

Recent panel access packs acquisitions are an REI Pinnacle, Lafuma Race28(modified), and now either a BlackDiamond Quantum or GraniteGear Meridian. I do not consider non-panel access packs larger than say 30 liters..

Edited by Brett1234 on 03/12/2007 22:58:04 MDT.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: How do you pack? on 03/12/2007 23:21:58 MDT Print View

First of all: I really like to have everything inside the pack. Ship shape as it were. When I began carrying an internal frame pack I realized that the load was alot of the pack's structure. With framless packs this is even more so. I divide my tent, fly, ground cloth, and pad into evenly weighted groups and make two rolls of the same length (+/- 20"). My sleeping bag goes into the pack first. The two rolls go vertically in the "back, corners, and act as "structural" columns. Various stuff sacks, from heaviest to lighest, fill the void with my jacket and shell on top. I really haul the compression straps tight to make the pack as tall and thin as possible, keeping the weight close to my center of gravity. This makes it possible for the load lifters to work on a framless pack. If I carry my Sling-Light I use a single piece of 3/32" bungee clipped to "D" rings I put on all my "soft" packs.

Edited by redleader on 03/12/2007 23:23:35 MDT.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: How do you pack? on 03/13/2007 03:13:14 MDT Print View

A closed cell pad can be used for the packing staging area. Set the pack harness down on the pad. Put a water proof stuff sack with sleeping clothes and hygiene kit into the bottom. Next place the food flat in the pack. Place a trash compactor bag above the clothes bag and food all the way to the bottom of the pack. Stuff your sleeping bag into the compactor bag and roll the top of the bag. Lay your cooking gear in the pack and stuff your shelter in above the food and cooking gear. Lay your extra water in the pack and stuff your insulated jacket/vest above it. Tip the pack up and put the rain gear on top.

The top lid holds the navigation, flashlight, TP, sun screen, first aid kit, emergency gear, trail snacks, etc.

Sleeping pad is outside the pack. The best place is lashed to the bottom of the pack but vertically under the compression straps is acceptable.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
like a scarecrow re:How do you pack? on 03/13/2007 03:41:50 MDT Print View

Woa, Richard, 'squared away!'.. reminds me of the layout inspections in the military. Which is good, Im not critisizing your method since I still do these layout inspections myself. Back then everything was laid out on a poncho in a particular location and order. Socks "smiles up" (ask if you want to know), etc..
Now, I use the floor of my tatami room, and believe it or not, layout my clothing in the same order its worn, like a little merino and down scarecrow laying on the floor, except each item is rolled up; hats on top, then /gaiters/tops/pants/socks/shoes, gloves on the side. Layers are at the same height, but arranged horizontally base/insulation/shell. Next to this motivated scarecrow is my campsite, also arranged like the actual campsite, with tent, kitchen/stove in front of it, food bag, accessories bag, hygeine bag, pack lid(maps gps, etc..) (again everything packed up of course. It all takes up about one jo* Then I tick off the items on my checklist to make sure I didn't forget anything, but with this layout method, its pretty hard to forget anything.
Strange, I know.. maybe a picture is better; Ill post one next time I do this.


Edited by Brett1234 on 03/13/2007 03:42:38 MDT.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: like a scarecrow re:How do you pack? on 03/13/2007 06:37:00 MDT Print View


I am sure I am not the only OCD backpacker. I find a strong routine allows me more time to enjoy the hiking.

The routine you describe should get your out the door pretty quick.

Thanks for the link on the Tatami mats

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: How do you pack? on 03/13/2007 12:15:30 MDT Print View

I like to pack everything inside my pack -- except for two items which I prefer to attach on the outside: tent and rain jacket.

I first line my pack with a heavy duty trash bag (aka contractors bag / 2-mil). Then the packing begins:

1. Fold my sleeping pad flat and slide into the backpack.
2. Shove the sleeping bag in.
3. Shove clothing -- filling in corners and gaps
4. Food and all other items go in next
5. Small stuff sack containing toiletry, first aid, etc. goes in last.

After twisting the liner bag shut and tightening/closing up the pack, I attach the tent and rain jacket to the outside.

To me, this makes it easier to set up camp in the rain -- I can do that without opening up the pack at all. Once the tent is set up, then the pack can be opened up -- protected from rain.

When striking camp, I pack everything up as above inside my tent. When the pack is all closed up, then I put on my rain jacket and exit out to take down the tent. Once the tent is attached to the pack, I'm ready to go.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
great techniques on 04/12/2007 12:42:01 MDT Print View

I am also in the every thing inside club, though Benjamins tent technique makes a lot of sense!
The only thing I can add to the great techniques above is that in the winter, I will put my snack food and water under my belay parka at the top of my pack so when I stop for a snack or water I first have to pull my jacket out and put it on, then I can eat, drink, and look at a map if neded. When I head outthe food and water go in then last I pull the jacket off stuff it on top (sans stuff sack) and cloce the pack, then off I go.

Johnathan White
(johnatha1) - F

Locale: PNW
How do you pack? on 04/13/2007 14:27:40 MDT Print View

What about water? With the PCT coming up, I will have to carry about 8 liters and wonder where the best spot would be. I am thinking the bottom of the pack. Hard to get to yes, but safe "just in case" the platty springs a leak.

Andrew :-)
(terra) - F

Locale: Sydney, Australia.
Everything inside... on 04/19/2007 22:51:17 MDT Print View

I have a Golite Gust pack (size small) which I don't use to full volume. I fit a garbage liner bag then wrap my short prolite 4 sleeping mat around the inside of the pack. Then I stuff the tent and sleeping bag in the bottom vertically. Other things "not needed till the end of the day" are stuffed between these to keep them vertical. Then other items added in depending on when they will be needed during the day (or how often they are needed). The back pocket gets a tiny firstaid kit, rainshell, map, sunblock, (plus trailmix if I don't have a pocket in my clothing). My drinking water bladder goes on top of everything in the pack (outside the garbag liner bag) and the pack is rolled down so the hose is still accessable. I keep the water close to my body for better centre of gravity.
The whole lot is then compressed by home made compression cord and straps provided. It's stable, and carries very well.