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catwoman
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 9:37 am 
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I subscribe to a few daily email things that send little  informational points, etc.  One is for the outdoors.  Today's was how to pack your backpack and I tend to disagree with their philosophy, at least for my taste.  I was wondering what other people's methods are.  

Mine is still not refined, but I always pack my sleeping bag on the very bottom because it's the last to come out.  My tent is at or near the very top because it's the first to come out.  (That way everything else I take out has the clean/dry tent to go into, rather than on the dirt or rocks or logs, etc.)  My cooking things are generally on top of the sleeping bag.  Clothes I try to squeeze into space created by non-squishable things (ie pots and dishes, etc.).  Food would be near the top.  TP and first aid kit and lunch and snacks, etc. usually have a place in the very top separate pouch and side pockets.  Whatever other things are probably mixed in the middle or wherever they fit.  Below is what the email suggested:

Here is a general list of items to go in your backpack, starting at the bottom of the pack.

Tent
Sleeping bag
Rolled up clothes
Food bags
Cooking and eating utensils
Toiletries
Rope
Fuel containers/Water containers
First aid kit
Toilet paper (and any other items for use throughout the
day)


What's your method and any particular reason?
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MCaver
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 10:03 am 
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My packing is only for dayhikes, so there's no tent or sleeping bag. I pack the same way every time, so I know exactly where everything is, and my basic philosphy is that the more often something i used, the closer to the top it should be. Here's how I do my pack (note it's centered around my camera gear) from bottom to top:

in pack:

* foam pad for sitting (against back of pack)
* trail map in waterproof sleeve (between pack and foam pad)
* first aid kit
* headlamp
* toiletry bag
* weather gear (jacket, fleece, etc), if needed
* camera bag
* tripod head

in pack, pockets:

* small bag w/ compass, matches, candle, leatherman, flashlight
* food: sandwich(es), breakfast bars, trail mix
* gloves, if needed

on pack, right side:

* tripod legs, secured with bunji
* toboggan over tripod top, secured with bunji

on pack, left side:

* water bottle
* small umbrella if needed (for camera)

I've probably forgotten something but packing is almost routine now. I don't even think about it when I'm doing it. I also carry a walking stick, and keep an extra set of clothes in the car, as well as snowshoes that I can strap to my pack (with bunji of course) if needed. Although if I need them, I'll probably already be wearing them when I leave the car, just like my rain & winter gear.
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MtnGoat
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 10:12 am 
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I like to concentrate weight in the bottom 1/3 and the remainder of heavy items in the center of the pack against my back, and as you mention, squish everything else into the spaces around gear which won't compress.

From the bottom of my pack moving upwards: space blanket, a couple small bungees, and parachute cord in the bottom. Then tent, boat, fuel bottle and sleeping bag, flyrod packed vertically on right hand inside from top to bottom. Then comes food, jammed into the spaces left at bottom, along with clothes. Then stove and pots go above that gear, by now the pack is about half full vertically. Filling the rest is more food and clothes, and fishing tackle, and a 2 liter pop bottle with smashed flat, to to used as an extra water tank in camp to reduce trips to the water pump.  Left side pocket gets water filter and drink mixes, tea, other small packaged foods. Right side pocket gets whatever is left. Back pockets get first aid stuff, repair odds and end, candy bars, lighters, etc. The top pocket gets sunglasses, camera, binos, sunscreen, hats, gloves, flashlight, things I need quick access to. Boat paddles go in ski pockets on sides of pack, water bottles go in mesh lower outer pockets, plastic sheeted maps get tucked in behind the water bottles in the mesh side pockets for easy access. Tarp and sleeping pad go on last, strapped on with compression straps underneath pack, ice axe in loops on back of pack.

Cripes, reciting that list makes me feel like I'm packin' it right now!

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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catwoman
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 10:32 am 
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Mcaver, you keep your tripod head OFF the tripod and in your pack along with your camera bag?  Now I know why it takes you long at your photo stops!  I won't even use my camera unless it's reachable from my waist.  I have a camera bag with a shoulder strap that leaves the camera in front of me at about my waste for easy access.  I've only ever brought my tripod once because it's just too much of a pain in the ass.  And I even kept it assembled with the head on.  Although, I'm thinking I might get one of those really cheap lightweight ones for hiking purposes and see if I'll use it then.  

Mtngoat - wow, your pack must weigh more than mine!  I don't understand the tent at the bottom - just like the email suggestion thing I got.  I want my tent out and set up first without having to lay everything else out on the ground.  But maybe I'm in the minority.
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Brian Curtis
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 10:43 am 
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Catwoman, aren't your sleeping bag and clothes in stuff sacks? I consider protection from water to be vital and anything I don't want wet goes into a waterproof stuff sack. That also means my pack is more or less modular. I can pull anything and everything in and out whenever I want in whatever order I want and there is nothing to get dirty except the protective sack.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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catwoman
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 10:50 am 
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Brian, some things have stuff sacks, but not everything.  And I still see no point in having everything out laying around in order to get to my tent.  I don't put my sleeping bag in a stuff sack.  I don't roll  it up, either.  I stuff it in the bottom.  That way it fills the corners and things can easily squish on or around it.  I like my tent on top - besides it keeps the weight more balanced.
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MtnGoat
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 11:02 am 
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My pack isn't top loading only, it also unzips so you can get at everything in the bottom too, without unloading everything. It's an internal frame pack but with a few frame like features, such as tons of outer pockets and internal dividers.

http://www.jansport.com/pages....t=46045

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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MCaver
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 11:19 am 
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My tripod head screws very easily into the legs, so removing and reattaching it is no big deal, takes about 3 seconds. If I leave it on the legs when I stow it, it adds about 6 inches in height, which is enough to make it jab me in the side/back head every time my pack shifts weight. Nothing like scrambling over logs or up a hill and having a 20 pound metal object smacking you in the head.  tongue.gif  Plus, the head weighs a few pounds, so I'd like it in the pack instead of strapped to the side if possible, even if it is on top.

It takes me about 3 minutes to get my photo gear set up from pack to ready, once I've found the exact location. Remember, I hike to take photos, so even if it took much longer I'd still do it. I realized exactly how much this is true when my portable storage device broke in the field last weekend. I couldn't take any more photos, so I sat for a few minutes looking at what would have been the shot, then went back to the car (roadside, not trail). If I'd been able to take photos I would have been there up to an hour. And with no way to take any more photos, I drove home -- at least 3 hours earlier than I would have if Id been able to shoot.
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salish
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 11:45 am 
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This is one of those great threads where I just know I'm going to learn something. This is also kind of timely because my hiking buddy and I were just talking about this, in regard to externals vrs. internals. Last week I broke my old external pack out and packed it with my gear to about 25-27 pounds, so I could hike to and from my gym with some pack weight on. I had been using my internal frame, and I'm one of those guys who just tosses stuff in it without much thought. Anyway, I've found that I really miss the ease of packing my old external. My sleeping bag goes in a garbage sack and gets tied to the bottom of the frame, along with my tent and/or siltarp, and my thermarest and/or z-rest goes just above it - all on the outside. In the bottom portion of my pack goes my pot, stove, tiny coffee pot,  fuel cannisters, food, and related stuff. In the top section I have my clothes, rain gear, water bags (platypus) and other stuff. The four exterior main bag pockets carry my water filter, medical kit, gloves, hat, twine/para cord, small flashlight, and apple or orange, small tackle box, small binoculars, TP, etc. There are two more pockets - one fairly large zippered one on the outside under the flap, and another zippered pocket on the flap. In these I carry maps, compass, knife, camera, sunglasses, tracking and wildflower books, etc. My fishing rod case gets strapped to the external frame on either side of the main bag.  This is one of those old frame packs that sits upright on the ground when you take it off (don't have to lean it against a tree) so it just seems easier to load and unload. Anyway, this how I load this pack. I tend to just toss stuff in my internal. These older externals seem to be good for helping to organize stuff more easily.

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My short-term memory is not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my short-term memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
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Tom
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 12:27 pm 
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I find the more unnecessary crap I leave out the easier it is to pack it biggrin.gif.  What gear I pack pretty much goes in the order catwoman listed.  I use the mesh external pockets for quick access to my GPS, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, mini binoculars, and snacks.  I save the internal easy access zip pocket for car keys, first aid, zipka headlamp, and small camera accessories like lens pen, extra memory card & spare battery).  My Canon G2 goes in one of my hiking short pockets - I wouldn't have it any other way (in and out in 10 seconds and fits perfectly).  My mini tripod only comes out when absolutely necessary (waterfall and forest).
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#19
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 12:32 pm 
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Internal frame.  From the zippered bottom up:  freeze dry dinners, (if that is whats for eats) TP, First aid,  sleeping bag, clothes/rain gear, food, boots, thermarest, tent (usually I talk someone else into carrying) biggrin.gif , stove,  small items in side and top pockets.  Have what my wife calls my mountain purse, an OR triple zipper compartmented 6" x 10" thing that I put most small items in.  

And although heavy, I have EVERYTHING in some type of stuff sack.  OR waterproof kind for clothes and sleeping bag.  I'm with Brian on the modular concept completely.  Makes everything so much more efficient and organized.

I try to take keep a few items I think I may need in one of the external side pockets,  sun glasses, skiers head band, gloves, snacks, bug juice, etc.
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Nude Packer
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PostFri Mar 15, 2002 3:25 pm 
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I don't pack anything, I go nude, sometimes I just ware a flannel shirt cause I'm a gooood o'l boy ya know, the tabaco chewing type. Sometimes overnight I stay in Bigfoot caves (secret caves).  Hey that's another topic.  Anyone know of some secret caves not mentioned yet?
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