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How to pack your daypack for the outdoors

10:05 2nd August 2013 By Jacob Thrall
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Getting the gear into your bag is an often overlooked, but essential little skill. Getting it right can make your day on the hills that much better. In this part of the series we take a look at how to fill your daypack

Deuter_SpeedLite30One man’s day out is another man’s expedition: how to pack your daysack is obviously going to vary enormously according to what you’re doing and what your bag’s like, but there are basic principles which hold true for most circumstances.

1. Planning

  • Collect all your stuff together first. If you lay it all out before packing, you’re more likely to spot what’s missing.
  • Consider if any of it’s a bit over the top. Being prepared is one thing, taking a backup stove in case the other six fail is probably a bit daft.

2. Lining

  • Virtually no rucksacks are waterproof, so a waterproof pack liner is a good idea.
  • A series of small bags rather than one big one can help you to keep your gear organised.

 3. Weight Distribution

  • Keep the heavy stuff close to the spine to maintain balance. If you’re using a hydration system, this usually slips down the middle of the back, which helps: water’s heavy.
  • Some bags are “teardrop” shaped –flared towards the base – which encourages the bulk of the load to the bottom of the pack. This is good for balance on uneven ground and for wrapping the load around your hips.

4. Prioritise

  • Last in, first out. Things you have to get at quickly need to be accessible, not buried. Your spare clothing and provisions won’t be as urgent as your waterproofs.
  • A lot of very important things are fairly little. Compass, whistle, GPS, headtorch, spare batteries, personal first aid kits, gloves, hat. If your bag has pockets, use them for this sort of thing. If not, avoid having to rummage in the depths of your bag by keeping them in a stuff-sack which you can easily retrieve.

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