Last week, we looked at a very helpful article with the basic information for new hikers. In part of the article, you learned about all the items you should be carrying with you on your hike. And of course, you will need to carry those items in a backpack, unless you plan of practicing your juggling along the trail. So today, let's take a closer look at that backpack and how you should go about packing one!
The way a pack is loaded will have a big effect on how it feels on your back. If you just cram everything in without thinking about it, you might feel uncomfortable and unbalanced – plus you could end up unloading your entire pack in the rain to get to a jacket you somehow stuffed at the bottom.Before you start packing, spread everything you plan to take on the floor in front of you. Leave behind the things you may not really need, and remember to include the essentials. Check out this article from Niagara Adventure Club on The 10 Essentials.Make sure your backpack fits you well, it should feel like an extension of your own body. If you have any questions, stop by your local outdoor store for help. Outdoors Oriented, Hiker's Haven, MEC and SAIL are great places to visit for help with fitting a backpack.
Video: How to Pack a Backpack
Whether you need to pack your backpack for hiking, camping, travelling, climbing or ski touring, the main principles are the same. Imagine that your pack is made up of three zones:
Zone 1: Put light items, like your sleeping bag, at the bottom. It gives structure to the bottom of the backpack and is a solid base for other items above it. A compression sack can help reduce the size of your sleeping bag.Zone 2: Pack your heaviest items, such as your tent, food for meals, water or climbing gear closest to your back. If you’re using a bear canister to store scented items, this is the zone to put it in.Zone 3: Place medium-weight or bulkier items toward the top or down the front of the pack. This will likely be things like extra clothing layers, your water treatment system or your first-aid kit.Your objective is to avoid having a top-heavy pack, which will pull you backwards, or a bottom-heavy pack, which will make you feel like you are being dragged down. Packing heavier items close to your centre of gravity (middle of your back) will keep you balanced and make the load feel more natural.
Tips for Packing Your Backpack
Before you leave the house, weigh your pack. As a general rule, your pack weight shouldn’t be more than a quarter to one third of your body weight. Some more tips:
Use your compression straps to bring the load closer to your body and keep everything in place.
Distribute the weight evenly between left and right sides.
Make sure to spread the load across your hiking group (you can divide up your tent into the body, fly and poles so each person can take one part of the tent).
Place frequently used items such as your GPS, map, camera, water bottle, sunscreen or snacks in an easy-to-access place, like side pockets or the top pocket.
When you’re hiking on easy terrain, pack heavy items a little higher for better posture.
On harder terrain, putting heavy items lower down helps give you better balance.
Stuff sacks allow you to quickly pack and unpack your gear and find what you need. Super organized people put each category of items (first aid, kitchen, etc.) in different coloured bags to make them easy to spot. Try not to stuff the sacks full, as a little play makes them easier to squeeze into gaps.
Use your pots as hard metal stuff sacks to protect delicate items.
Make sure all items that can’t get wet are waterproofed (plastic garbage bags are an easy option), and that all liquids are very well-sealed.
Pack your food above your fuel bottle.
Many people will lash on trekking poles or their sleeping pad to the outside of their pack, but don’t go overboard, a well-loaded pack should have minimal items hanging off of it.
Originally posted on MEC Learn
(Sunday, May 1, 2022)
Welcome to the 100th Edition of Adventure Weekly! The very first edition was published on June 7th, 2020, a few months into the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic. The first edition was sent to 328 subscribers and viewed 417 times. Origionally started to keep everyone up to date with club news and events, it hasn't changed much. Today, we now have over 745 subscribers, and the list continues to grow each day. I truly hope that everyone finds these newsletters entertaining and educational while keeping you up to date with all the latest Niagara Adventure Club news and events. I know I won't be able to keep operating this club forever, but even when I can no longer hike, climb or kayak, I plan to continue on with the newsletter. Each week, publishing new educational articles that may help many more get out on many adventures safely and responsibly. Today we are out on The Pinnacle Hike, the next section of the Beaver Valley on The Bruce Trail. The Beaver Valley is exceptionally beautiful and offers a few beautiful waterfalls, prestien forests and more. If you haven't registered for one of the Beaver Valley Hikes yet, what are you waiting for?
That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking!Lenny BurchNiagara Adventure Club