With lightweight backpacks the way you organize your gear affects comfort as much as what you carry. There are many ways to pack a backpack. Here’s how I pack my ULA Backpack:
My Backpack: Ultralight Adventure Equipment Conduit (CDT)
In The Main Pack Body:
- Thermarest Prolite Sleeping Pad (folded, doubles as back pad)
- Marmot Helium Sleeping Bag (in Sea to Summit 13L Dry Sack)
- Food & Fuel (in Granite Gear Zippsack)
- Spare Clothing (in Sea to Summit 8L Dry Sack)
- Cook System: Trek 700 Mug, MSR Pocket Rocket Canister Stove, fire starter, pack towel, dish scrubber (in a home-made pot cozy)
In The External Mesh Pocket:
- Equinox Silnylon Ground Sheet
- Gossamer Gear Siltwinn Tarp Shelter
- Equinox Marsupial Pouches (essentials, spare batteries, toilet paper, headlamp, etc.)
- Adventure Med Kits 1st Aid Kit
In The Side Pockets:
- Pocket Atlas or Maps
- (2) 1 liter Aquafina Water Bottles
In The Hip Belt Pockets:
- Canon A1200 Digital Camera
- Candy Bars & Snacks
Attached To Pack Strap:
Tips For Packing Your Backpack Comfortably
Organize your gear into logical groups and stuff sacks. When small items are packed loosely they tend to poke you in wierd ways, shift position as you hike and get lost quickly in camp.
Put your sleeping bag on the bottom. This provides a soft cushion for your other gear to ride on top of. It works like a shock absorber to reduce the impact on your shoulders and hips.
Pack large heavy items horizontally across the whole width of the pack so the weight is equally distributed. Put the heaviest items (such as food) closest to your center of gravity (middle of your back).
Carry water bottles in the side pockets (one on each side). If you use a hydration bladder carry it in your pack’s hydration sleeve or lay it horizontally across the middle of the pack.
If your shelter has poles pack them separately in a side pocket secured with a compression strap. Stuff the tent body loose into the bottom of your pack or in the external mesh pocket.
Keep items you’ll use often during the day (such as snacks, maps, camera) where you can grab them without taking off your pack, like in hip-belt pockets or side pockets.
Keep spare clothes near the top of your pack where you can get to them throughout the day without unpacking other gear.
Don’t leave areas of empty space in your pack. Fill nooks and crannies to give the pack structure and prevent gear from shifting as you walk. Use compression straps to cinch everything down tightly. Your fully loaded pack should not sag, lean or bend.