Are backpack adventures your thing? Whether you’re exploring distant horizons or planning a hike around your own region, these tips are guaranteed to make your next trip easier. Have fun packing!
1. Shoulder to shoulder.
The most important basic rule for packing your backpack is simply that the centre of gravity of your backpack should be as close as possible to the centre of gravity of your body. Because the larger the distance between the two centres of gravity, the higher the leverage effect, which increases the perceived weight of your backpack.
2. High versus low.
Depending on trip you’re planning, you’ll also need to adjust the height of the centre of gravity of the backpack: On easier trips, without major inclines, the centre of gravity should be more or less at shoulder height. On tougher trips, make sure that the centre of gravity is lower, and this will improve the balance.
3. All the trappings.
You should stow most things in the backpack and avoid having to hang lots of things on the outside. This is not only important for getting the centre of gravity in the right position; it also reduces the target area for wind and weather. And if the path gets narrow now and again, you’re less likely to get stuck.
4. Well stowed.
Now let’s get practical. The following way of stowing luggage has proved the most successful:
You should place the light items of luggage, such as sleeping bag, thermal mat, etc. in the bottom compartment or lower area of your backpack if possible. The important thing is to fill the bottom compartment well, because this is what gives the backpack stability.
You should stow all the heavy and medium-weight items in the main compartment. This includes clothing, toiletries, equipment, food, etc.. Depending on whether you are planning an easy trip or a tough one, you should watch the weight distribution here too.
The small items that you need more often (compass, map, sunglasses) should ideally go in the cover compartment.
If your backpack has side pockets too, you can use these for water bottles or small snacks – so they’ll always be in easy reach. If your backpack doesn’t have side pockets, then just fix your water bottle to the backpack with a snap hook. But once again, remember to maintain the balance on both sides of the backpack.
5. Tidiness is half the battle.
If you regularly set off on backpack adventures, you should always pack using the same rules. This you’ll get into a routine and you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it, especially when it starts raining and you have to move fast.
Packsacks are a real pro tip: Just stow little things or even clothing in the packsacks and close them up. Nothing will get muddled up and everything is protected from the rain too. If you use compression bags, you can also remove air via a valve, which also saves loads of space.
6. Sorting the wheat from the chaff.
Don’t take surplus luggage! It sounds easy, but it’s often the most difficult guideline to follow when packing a backpack. But the rule of thumb is: The weight of your backpack should not exceed 25% of your body weight. So, with every item, check whether it’s really necessary for this particular trip. Can you do without it? Or maybe there’s a lighter alternative?
7. Double security.
If two of you are travelling, we recommend “crossover packing”. That means that you divide your luggage over both backpacks. This is a safeguard if one item of luggage ever gets lost. If you don’t want to do this for all your luggage, then you could limit yourself to the things that you need to get hold of fast. In any case, you could increase the number of things that you need to reach quickly.