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How you pack hiking backpacks is partly personal preference, but there are some keys to help you balance the load.
• Most hiking backpacks are designed with a compartment on the bottom to hold your sleeping bag, so load that first. Look for a backpack that has dividers that keep your sleeping bag from getting compressed too much.
• Place your clothes in the backpack next, on top of the sleeping bag (or on top of the divider). It's a good idea to keep a few items, like a jacket, hat, and gloves, near the top of the pack for easy access.
• If the tent will stuff in under your sleeping bag in the separate compartment for your bag, then put it there. Otherwise put the tent and the tarp near the top of the bag so you can get it quickly. The best bags have a separate compartment for the tent, so you won't get everything else in your pack wet or muddy during rainy weather.
• The fuel and cooking utensils should go on top, and they should be as far away from your food as possible.
• Personal items can be stashed wherever they'll fit, and use the outside compartments for things you'll need handy as you hike.
Packing hiking backpacks isn't difficult, but you should follow these suggestions to make sure the weight is evenly distributed and you have room for everything you'll be carrying.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|