Packing for a weekend or extended walk is subjective and open to personal adaptations, but there are some basic principles to achieve comfort and stability.
- As a general rule of thumb you should not carry more than 25% of your total body weight.
- Have/choose the right size pack.
- Too small and you may not fit the essentials.
- Too large and you may be tempted to overload.
- When loading the main compartment of the pack, keep weighty items low and/or against your back. Uneven weight distribution within the pack will cause an unstable and uncomfortable load to carry; no matter how good your pack harness is.
- Avoid hanging items from your pack. They will sway with movement and can cause you to become unbalanced. If you must have gear external to the main pack, secure it well ensuring the item will not slip, sway or become a snagging hazard.
- Lighter items such as a sleeping mat could be secured to the top.
- Heavier items such as a tent should be secured low.
- Group your gear, keeping similar items together in separate stuff sacks then pack in layers according to the weight distribution principles and a little common sense. You won't want to be burrowing for something (i.e. sunscreen), used frequently throughout the day.
Soon you'll have adapted a system of packing just right for your needs and know just where everything lives.
How NOT to Pack