While something as simple as packing a backpack might sound straight forward enough, there is an optimal method of doing so. The goal is to have a well-balanced pack that you can comfortably carry for extended periods of time without straining your back. The infographic below visually shows where the optimal positions are for your various gear and why.
In order of the weight of your gear:
- Light Gear: The top of your pack should consist of your lighter gear and gear that you need quick or regular access to, this may include your navigation equipment, first aid, filter straw etc. Have the light gear at the top reduces the weight leverage it has on your back, making for more comfortable wearing of your backpack.
- Clothing / Soft Gear: Gear like your jacket, sleeping bag and towels should be placed at the bottom of your backpack. This ensures that nothing breakable is getting squashed by your gear on top, it also provides extra padding for the rest of your gear should you fall or drop your backpack.
- Medium Gear: Your medium weight gear such as shoes, food or heavy clothing can be put in the middle of you backpack furthest from your back. Gear here can be used to keep your pack filled and structured, this can stop weight shifting around your pack while you’re out walking.
- Heavy Gear: Heavy gear such as a hydration pack, laptop camera equipment etc should be packed as close to your back as possible, doing this will reduce the leveraged weight on your back. Positioning valuables here will also provide your gear protection with padding from the surrounding gear.