to Pack Your Internal Frame Backpack
A properly-packed backpack can feel lighter than it actually is.
For trail hiking and gentle terrain, pack heavy gear high and close to
your back (Fig. B). Next, layer in
medium weight gear, then light gear farthest from your body.
This will keep the pack in line with your center of gravity without
having to lean forward excessively. For
more extreme terrain, or when climbing or skiing with a heavy pack, drop the
heavy items down to the middle of your back (Fig. A) and layer out the lighter
gear. You will have to lean forward
more to keep the weight in line with your center of gravity, but the balance is
better as your pack will not be as top-heavy.
Always start by packing your sleeping bag into the bottom of your pack (do not
hang it on the outside). This
serves as a good base for the rest of your load, and all of your other gear will
help compress the bag. Packing
heavy gear is easier if you lay the pack horizontally and fill around it with
lighter gear. Keep a pile of
clothing and other soft gear to fill any vacant spaces created by hardware.
Jandd stuff and stash bags can be purchased to color-code gear and make
organization easier; this is especially useful in larger packs.
Bulky items like ropes, tent poles, and foam pads can be attached to the
exterior lash points of the pack, but remember to keep your center of gravity
and balance in mind. For exterior
gear, the best place is under the side compression straps.
The top of the pack is good for light items, such as foam pads. Only as a last resort do we recommend putting gear on the
bottom of an internal frame pack, for it can interfere with walking and will
feel like more weight than it actually is (it pulls the load out of line with
your center of gravity).