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Backpack Packing Strategy
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Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 10:48:18 MST Print View

I don't see much about packing strategy, besides the burrito method for frameless packs.

I used to pack stuff in side pockets, but now I keep the most dense objects in the center of the pack as close to my spine as possible, with the most dense objects at the lowest point. For me these are tarp tent poles, fuel, pot, stand, ... I also use a bladder bag.

The less dense objects are placed inside the pack on the right and left. The least dense is on the outside (rear) of the pack. Really dense small objects are on the hip belt pockets.
I try not to put anything in the side or back mesh pockets.

Convenience is not part of the strategy.

Thoughts? Analyses?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 11:58:33 MST Print View

Heaviest stuff close to my back, just above my center of gravity. I should point out that since I'm a woman with rather large hips, my center of gravity is quite a bit lower than most people's.

Shelter on top or in side pocket, so I can set it up in pouring rain without having the contents of my pack soaked while I dig out the tent. This is a matter of survival, not convenience.

The placement of items in the pack changes quite a bit as my food bag (the heaviest item at the start of a longer trip) gets lighter and lighter. There are no one or two other items that are significantly heavier than the rest.

EDIT, LATER: I have a lightweight framed pack (Six Moon Designs Comet, discontinued "little brother" of their Starlite, with the stays), which has an internal pad pocket. My dog's sleeping pad (GG Nightlite torso length) goes in the pad pocket as does my folded, completely deflated insulated air pad from the late lamented KookaBay.

Edited by hikinggranny on 11/10/2012 13:19:15 MST.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 12:04:23 MST Print View

I followed the burrito method of stuffing my pack for a while. I got tired of trying to get the CCF pad to uncoil sufficiently to allow me to re-stuff my pack out on the trail. It worked great at home but became a little tedious on the trail.

In the interest of comfort and improving my night's rest on the trail I purchased a ProLite Plus inflatable sleeping pad. This pad is used as my virtual frame in my UL MYOG pack.

The pad is folded while it is deflated and the valve closed so that it winds up about the same width as my pack. Inside of the pack there are two simple elastic straps sewn into the seam allowance across the pack front on the interior of the pack. The upper one is about 6" from the top and the lower one is about 10" further down the pack front (shoulder strap side). I slide the folded pad behind these elastic straps as the first step of stuffing my pack. Next goes in the plastic trash compactor bag with my sleep system (top quilt, wool socks, insulated pants & down vest) stuffed into the bottom.

The rest of my gear follows. Next to go into my pack is my clothing bag, food bag, FAK and cook kit. My Dri Ducks rain jacket is the last thing in so that it rides on top for quick access. Water bottles are on the shoulder straps and my tent is in the left side stretch pocket. The right side stretch pocket houses stove fuel, an extra water bottle if needed and a trash bag. Must keep the trail clean. ;-)

Changing to the new pad arrangement now means that I don't have to empty my pack completely to get to my sleping pad and set up my tent.

Yes my sleeping system is stuffed into the very bottom of the pack but in camp on my last hike I used my clothing bag as a pillow, I wore my Dri Ducks jacket to sleep and my food bag along with the cook kit came out of the pack for supper. On the next rip I think I'll put the FAK in the RS pocket so it is more available for use.

Using this folded inflatable pad method makes loading the pack so much easier. Even though my pad when inflated is 1.5" thick it is so much less bulky and cumbersome than my old 3/4 size Ridgerest CCF pad.

Party On,

Newton

Edited by Newton on 11/10/2012 12:11:29 MST.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 12:05:13 MST Print View

"Shelter on top or in side pocket, so I can set it up in pouring rain without having the contents of my pack soaked while I dig out the tent. This is a matter of survival, not convenience. "

I pack it outside of the pack liner, but with the rain you get there I understand why it has to be very handy.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 12:27:45 MST Print View

I went to a framed pack to help increase the options for packing.

Exos 46:

Trash compactor bag liner
Sleeping bag in compression bag in bottom of liner
Spare/insulated clothing in stuff sack next
Twist liner closed and tuck
Bear bag with food and line on top of liner
Pot/stove/spork in ziplock bag on top/side of bear bag
Beanie/gloves on top of bear bag/kitchen
Lighting/first aid/survival items in top pocket
Hygiene kit in top pocket
Wind shirt, Gatewood cape, sit pad in front outer pocket
Ground cloth, stakes in inner front pocket
Maps in side pockets
Water bottles in side pockets
Suncreen and insect repellent in shoulder strap pocket
Compass and small camera in waist belt pockets

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Convienance vs Weight Distribution on 11/10/2012 13:37:29 MST Print View

I have a 60 L. REI Cruise UL 60. WITH side pockets added. I pack for weight distribution as well as conveniance.



3 CUP COOK POT> on the very top W/ plastic bowl & measuring/drinking cup inside

FOOD> in bag for breakfast & dinner

CLOTHING> In stufsacks

TENT> in stuffcack, pole(s) outside behind side pocket

SLEEP SYSTEM> stuffsacks go in the very bottom (WM Megalite down bag & Thermarest Prolite reg.)


RIGHT SIDE POCKET> canister, stove & other cook gear like pot gripper (TP, SMC snow stake "trowel" & hand sanitizer in outer zippered compartment)

LEFT SIDE POCKET> 1st aid kit, water treatment kit (Steripen & chlorine dioxide tabs) and small toilet kit

LID POCKET> Rain gear, headnet, & lunch food bag.

This is how I do it EVERY time. I can find what I want in an instant.

Edited by Danepacker on 11/13/2012 18:00:46 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 16:07:07 MST Print View

There are many ways to do this.
Since you didn't specify for where or for how long, I will just use a one to two week trip through the ADK's.

Pack: GG Murmur(~10-12 days) or GG Miniposa for ~10-18 days. Either of these allows me to use a 5 layer NightLite pad as a frame. For longer trips, I bring a Granite Gear Ghost (about 20 days) or GoLite Trek with a special pad inside(about 24-28 days.) This all assumes no resupply stops.

Loading:
Bottom: Bag, long johns, 2 pr socks, down jacket All compressed into a small, eVent compressor bag. Weight is around 4 to 4.5 pounds (depends on what weight of long johns and socks.) This bag is the heaviest single item in the "base" pack.
Mid: Food, soap, pills, Aquamira drops, etc. The "live" load or consumables minus water and fuel. About 1.5 pounds per day, depending...
Top: Rock sak/ditty bag, duct tape, spare batteries, spare bandana, 8 stakes(1.7oz total,) spare line, Bic lighter, etc. This fits into a KMart grease pot. Tarp, rolled tightly into a long 24" tube, folded in half. Fleece sweater if I am not wearing it.
Left hand pocket: SVEA 123, windscreen
Right hand pocket: Two .5L water bottles.
Center pocket: Rain Jacket (5.5oz,) fuel, notebook and pencil, steripen.

I don't usually carry spare cloths, ie for wearing. I carry a fleece sweater and rain jacket with can also double for warmth. I have been down as far as 32F with this setup. For early spring and late fall, I will add a second set of long johns for hiking in, and, switch out to a warmer bag.

My base load is between 9 and 11 pounds depending...
Food alone is figured at about 1.1-1.3 pounds per day, depending. Longer hiking only trips I have carried as much as 1.75pounds per day. I carry the identical gear for UL canoeing, but food weight is usually closer to 1.2 pounds.

It will very much depend on duration, since food weight, and pack arangement requires tweaking as I go. Important to me to keep the loads off my shoulders as much as possible.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Backpack Packing Strategy" on 11/10/2012 16:23:27 MST Print View

Interesting: nobody so far mentions a bear canister. Doesn't this alter one's strategy?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 16:54:41 MST Print View

"For longer trips, I bring a Granite Gear Ghost (about 20 days) or GoLite Trek with a special pad inside(about 24-28 days.) This all assumes no resupply stops.

Mid: Food, soap, pills, Aquamira drops, etc. The "live" load or consumables minus water and fuel. About 1.5 pounds per day, depending...Longer hiking only trips I have carried as much as 1.75pounds per day.

My base load is between 9 and 11 pounds depending..."

Hi James,

I don't mean to be skeptical, but I am very curious as to how you manage to pack 42# of consumables for 28 days(28 days x 1.5#), plus water and fuel, plus 9-11# of base gear in a 4500 c.i. frameless pack, let alone carry it without loading your shoulders to the point of dysfunctionality. Am I misunderstanding something here? If not, I would really appreciate a bit more information as to how you manage to pull this off.

Thanks,

Tom

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 18:06:18 MST Print View

I guess I should have said I was trying to keep the CG as low as possible and as close to my natural CG. Keeping the heavy items out of the side pockets reduces the rotational inertia.

Bear canister -- good point. I haven't had the pleasure, but if/when I do, it will just go on top where the y-strap is located.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 20:48:13 MST Print View

Tom, My pack load for the lonest trip mentioned closer to 53-55pounds. Sorry, I didn't have a scale. I use a modified pad to help support the loading, I thought I mentioned that, my appologies. Anyway, at least 3/4 of the load was on my hips. I actually got a blister on my hip, but other than that I was quite comfortable. I *did not* like the heat, though.

1.5pounds per day includes the fuel, ie, it is all live load, ie over and above base load. I seem to remember I miscalculated on fuel for the long trip. I brought a two liter bottle, assuming 1oz per day, but by the time I realized I didn't need that much, I could not get rid of it. I had about a half liter left over.

Water is 2-.5liter bottles, I am sure I mentioned that. There is little to no problems getting water in the ADK's. Indeed, most of the time, *avoiding* water is the problem (at least hiking up rt 28-Old Forge to the Moose River Plains area. I saw rain for 10 days straight.) I don't carry water, generally speaking. 'Corse I did loose weight...around 12-13pounds.

I used three ~15 pound stuff sacks to hold the food. Larger and they became difficult to hang. Stuffed full, they became almost a second frame by laying two in left to right, rather than top to bottom, with one over the two, and, slipping my bag/cloths over them. Really, the pack carried quite well, full. I don't care to carry it half empty, though. I really could not compress it and it would squeek to beat h#ll. Never did figure out why...load lifters?

This year, I have only used the Murmur and Miniposa. I carry the Murmur with a weaker pad structure than the Trek, since I can only get about 23-25 pounds in it, it has a very flimsy 3/4" belt. The Miniposa can handle more, but it maxes out at around 35-38 pounds (way over spec.) (I have alo taken to carrying both the NightLite and NeoAir.)

The consumables or live load is all that really changes. Yes, a few ounces more in bear line, a heavier pack (8.5oz vs 1#14,) and a different pad structure (which really doesn't cost any weight) accounts for 2-3 pounds. Carrying UL doesn't really matter that much if you *still* carry 55 pounds.

With the wife, I have been known to carry more. She really enjoys her picture taking. I get to haul 2 DSLR's 4 lenses, cases, Manfroto tripod, a couple smaller cameras, besides my pack, AND, hauling the old boat up to see our loons.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/10/2012 20:59:24 MST Print View

"Tom, My pack load for the lonest trip mentioned closer to 53-55pounds. Sorry, I didn't have a scale. I use a modified pad to help support the loading, I thought I mentioned that, my appologies. Anyway, at least 3/4 of the load was on my hips. I actually got a blister on my hip, but other than that I was quite comfortable. I *did not* like the heat, though....."

Thanks for the details, James. That is very impressive to a skinny lil' 137 pounder like me. Wow!

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Backpack packing strategy w/ bear canister on 11/12/2012 11:55:21 MST Print View

Jeffrey mentioned that nobody was mentioning a bear canister and asked if that changed the packing strategy- for me, absolutely it does.

I joined a Meetup group this past year that made bear canisters a requirement. My current pack was large enough for my load out, but not large enough to put a bear canister inside the pack. I came up with a couple of creative ways to carry the can outside, but it's not ideal and really messes up the balance of the pack.

I ended up buying a different pack for use with the bear canister- a Granite Gear Vapor Trail, which I purchased from a member here. It's more than large enough to accommodate the bear canister inside the pack, where I will pack it at the base of the pack. As a woman my center of gravity is right at the hips, so packing the heavy items at the bottom of the pack works well for me.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/12/2012 12:11:39 MST Print View

Has anyone carried a ZPacksā„¢ "Blast" Cuben Fiber Ultralight Frameless Backpack that would like to comment on their packing strategy and load handling both with a bear canister and not.

Any advice?

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/12/2012 12:21:23 MST Print View

@James...

Surely you're not referring to your wife as the "old boat"...

Anyway, I appreciated your descriptions of how you load your Murmur. I too use a Murmur for my primary pack and only once have had it up to 25 pounds (and that was carrying about 5 liters of water uphill to a dry campsite).

I'm sure it's not as fragile as it seems, but anytime I'm overloading the pack that way I get someone to help me put it on so I'm not putting excess stress on a single shoulder strap or the lift loop. I carry a sewing kit with me (okay, a couple of needles, a thimble, and dental floss) but the idea of having to re-attach a shoulder strap in the middle of a trip frightens me!

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Blast on 11/12/2012 12:29:33 MST Print View

@Ken I frequently use a blast. I have carried up to 23 pounds, but not with a canister. I put a 1/8 pad against my back, 25 inch wide neoair on bottom, then a trash compactor that has my quilt and any dry clothes, then my tarp vertically on one side and my food on the other. I arrange a ditty bag and cook system on top of those. I carry rain gear, maps, and anything else I want handy in my mesh pocket on the back. I carry water in a side pocket or strap pocket. I was fine at 23 pounds but really wouldn't want to carry much more. For shorter trips(say, 4 days), I usually carry a Zero. I hope that helps.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Backpack Packing Strategy on 11/12/2012 13:27:41 MST Print View

Ha, ha....no. It *is* an actual boat... I would not risk my neck that way.

The pack seems very well sewn. The shoulder straps always held excelently, despite any overload. One of the things I check and repair if needed...never has. Very well built for a true UL pack. I am not real pleased with the buckles, though. Or, changing the straps to something with more texture.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Backpack Packing Strategy" on 11/12/2012 15:16:32 MST Print View

I agree with Dena that carrying a canister up top or somehow outside of a pack creates all kinds of problems. I'm mostly hiking in the Sierras so a canister is pretty much required. Like Dena I carry mine at the bottom of my pack; many people suggest having it in the middle. There's also the "sideways" versus "upright" dilemma. In any case, a canister forces a different strategy.

Edited by book on 11/12/2012 15:18:05 MST.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
strategy on 11/12/2012 16:53:04 MST Print View

The only heavy thing I have is a food bag. And water bottles, but they go in side pockets.

Theres not much strategy in packing when you have little to pack.