The Importance of Good Rucksack Packing

position heaviest gear at the bottom of the backpack

Most rucksacks have a pocket which is easily accessible. This should be packed with the ‘en route’ items.

You may be planning a once in a lifetime trip, a couple of days in the country or a day trip. Whichever it is, it’s useful to master the art of rucksack packing.

You can fit a lot into a rucksack so it’s important to have some order in the contents.

Items which you may need during the day should be at the top, and the whole rucksack should be packed with comfort in mind. 

Because rucksacks are quite large and you can fit a lot into them, it doesn’t mean that you have to take the kitchen sink.  If however, you are determined to take everything you could possibly need, then rucksack packing is even more important for you.  If you are not sure what to pack, a good technique is to imagine your trip and then you will be able to see what you think you will need.

Do not start to pack your rucksack until you’ve first decided on all the items you are planning to take. Once you’ve collected together everything you think you will need you should then lay them all out and then put to one side any which are ‘would like’ items rather than necessary.

Successful rucksack packing is understanding what and where to pack.

Some things are essential and cannot be skimped on, such as hat, snacks, waterproofs, food, spare clothing, and safety items.

A book, which can be heavy and space hungry, will probably not be read, at the end of the day you will probably snuggle happily in bed and sleep like a baby after all the healthy fresh air in your lungs – it is unlikely that you will be reading to help you doze off.

The type of rucksack you buy will depend largely on the hike you are doing.  Whether a lightweight daypack or a more substantial pack for a longer trip. When you buy your rucksack, it may seem very large and impossible to fill.  Don’t kid yourself, it will fill up fast and you will soon understand the importance of packing your backpack correctly.

When you are carrying your rucksack, if you have packed the heavy items at the top, you will move your center of mass which will affect your balance.

The heaviest items should be at the bottom of the rucksack and the lighter ones at the top.

This means that the heavier items will be around your lower back, this is strong and close to your center of mass.

If you arrange the heavier items at the top, they will be constantly pulling on your shoulders. It’s always a good idea to keep a couple of soft smallish item to use as padding. You don’t want anything hard against your back.  Also, if you have several ‘hard’ items to pack it is useful to put some clothing in between them as any knocking together or clanking will be very irritating.

Remember that comfort is at least as important as content.

Before you pack anything, consider what you may need on the way. Almost all rucksacks have a pocket which is easily accessible.  This should be packed with the ‘en route’ items. Remember to leave some space in it as there are bound to be a couple of last minute items such as keys and pocketbook, pocketknife. Don’t forget the items that you need for hiking safety- be prepared for the unexpected.

Finally, hopefully you’ll have good weather and a great trip.  Most manufacturers will tell you that their rucksacks are waterproof, but this is not something you should rely on.  As a precaution it’s a good idea to make sure that all your spare clothes are not near the outside.  If caught in a bad storm, you don’t want to find that your spare clothing is now damp!

You’re now ready to go.  Have fun and be prepared.

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