Packing your waterproof duffel backpack well for the trek or long hike is a bit like tying your shoes properly: it’s essential. Here are our tips on what to put in your backpack for a long hike, and how to store your things in it.
The physical benefits of good backpack organization
The basis of a good filling is to allow the weight to be distributed efficiently, to maintain greater stability of your bag when moving (avoid lateral imbalances and leverage effects by placing the heaviest elements as close to the back). This stability is particularly important in technical and / or slippery terrain, and without which certain accidents (sprains, etc.) or falls can happen very quickly.
Second interest: the harmonization of muscular solicitation. So make sure that your bag is perfectly symmetrical, otherwise you will subconsciously compensate for your muscles for at the end of the day feeling pain or discomfort on one shoulder or one side of the hips, which can quickly become extremely disabling on trips lasting several days.
The practical benefits of good backpack storage
Imagine a stormy rain storm without warning, no shelter zone within 500 meters, and your hard-shell jacket rolled up in a ball at the bottom of your bag: shower assured, hell on earth. This is why it will be necessary to be strategic: the equipment necessary for the bivouac at the bottom, the small objects useful for everyday life on the “surface”. Bag models with many easily accessible pockets are therefore to be preferred, to save time, and therefore efficiency.
Organize your backpack in 4 zones
The bottom of the bag.
This is the kingdom of your sleeping bag. If your bag has direct access from the bottom, you can then also place one or two pieces of clothing useful for the day, micro-down jacket type. If you have front or side access, your reflex can also be placed there, rather in the lower part.
Along the back.
The heaviest and most dense elements are placed there: stove and gas cartridges, meals, boxes, evening food … The goal is to approach the center of gravity of the bag as much as possible in the middle of your back, in order to minimize the most possible leverage for minimum effort. It is also in this area that your water bag will be located.
The frontal part.
Clothes are mainly stored there, which have the particularity of being light and not very dense. The other advantage is to be able to access a down jacket or a rain cape, for example, by means of a quick opening. Clothing can also act as a “dunnage” for heavy items along the back.
Top and external pockets.
It is on the top of the bag and in the upper and side pockets that we will store all the small items necessary for everyday life such as a map, glasses, sunscreen, energy bars in case of a blow of less well This space can also accommodate your waterproof jacket, a fleece or a down jacket, a camera.
Out of the bag? In order to save space (or to take even more) it may be interesting to hang certain objects outside: tent, mattress, water bottle…. Remember, however, that these objects will be the first exposed to bad weather.
Choose objects that are not afraid of rain and humidity, and if necessary, carry them in waterproof bags (from the ugly but efficient trash bag to the waterproof canyon bag, not so expensive and very efficient). Also watch out for snags and the risk of abrasion: for example, avoid snagging a self-inflating jacket or a pretty down jacket. And nothing too heavy either, the feeling of tossing and imbalance is quickly unpleasant.