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Backpacking Packing 101

Backpacking Packing 101
Say that three times fast…

As the weather warms up and we dream of warmer days, we find ourselves planning trips and drooling over new, shiny gear. Backpacking is a popular outdoor activity in this neck of the woods…or really anywhere you go in the Rocky Mountains.

The wildflowers will soon awake from their frosty slumbers and the wildlife will be giddy at the sight of bright, green grass, and roaring mountain streams.

Before you throw on any old backpack, strap some equipment haphazardly to said pack, and stuff it with food, clothing, and water, please read this post.

Step 1: choose a backpack that fits properly.

Step 2: pack your essentials in a coherent manner that allows you to comfortably and safely enjoy your time outdoors.   
~~How to Pack your Pack~~

In a nutshell you want heavy gear close to your back, lighter items away from your back, less used items on the bottom, and frequently used items within reach or close to the top.

The end result creates a comfortable center of gravity for the hiker.

You don’t want to feel like at any moment the weight of your pack could send you toppling over.

A well-loaded pack will feel balanced when resting on your hips and won’t sway too much as you move.

Let’s look at this more in depth:
Bottom: Bulky, soft items that you won’t need all day fill this space and will even provide a little shock absorption. Think sleeping bag, maybe some clothing, down camp booties (if you’re lucky enough to have them).
Core: Heaviest items go in the center, nearest your back to create that stable center of gravity. Think food, water, fuel, and cook kit. Make sure your fuel is stored in a way that it won’t spill all over your gear and food and think about inserting your hydration pack in first, so it slides in easier. Fill all the holes around these items with your tent, rain fly, or clothing.
Top: On top, you want to stash the items you will need most, or in a hurry. For example first aid kit, rain jacket, warm layer, snacks, water filter, and trowel & toilet paper.
Pockets: Luckily most backpack designs today are loaded with fun features and ample pockets. Some pocket stuffers are a map, compass, GPS, sunscreen/bug spray, headlamp, more snacks, and maybe a rain cover for your pack. Some fuel canisters fit nicely in outer pockets too!
The straps on the outside of any backpack can be put to good use too. Think about strapping tent poles (or the whole tent), trekking poles, rope, or a camp chair to the outside of your pack. Once you have reached your destination in the afternoon or evening, you’ll thank yourself for planning ahead if certain items are easily within your reach.
Lifting & Lowering a Backpack

Your adventures outdoors should never be back-breaking endeavors.

To lift the pack onto your back first hold it upright on the ground. Hoist it onto your slightly bent thigh by grabbing the haul loop at the top of the pack (just behind the lid).

Once resting on your thigh, slide one arm through and shoulder strap and slowly swing it onto your back.

Slide the other arm through and buckle straps beginning at the waist, moving up to the shoulder straps, and finishing by tightening the chest strap.

Osprey Backpacks

Here at Basecamp, we think very highly of the folks in Cortez, Colorado who are working hard to design and create some of the best backpacks on the market.

Below are some models we carry in the shop.

Atmos/Aura AG (65 Liter)
-Can handle 30-50 lbs.
-Most comfortable and ventilated packs for
-Top lid becomes daypack.
-Anti-Gravity back suspension system; feels like you’re carrying less.
-Adjustable harness and fit-on-the-fly hip belt.
-Sized in S/M/L

Renn/Rook (50,65 Liter)
-Handles 25-35 lbs.
-Adjustable torso system for easy fit.
-Integrated rain cover.
-Osprey Daylight pack can attach to front panel. 2 bags in 1
-One size fits all with adjustable back panel.

Volt/Viva (50,60,65 Liters)
-Can handle 30-50 lbs.
-Great pack for hauling moderate to heavy loads in backcountry.
-One size fits all with adjustable torso panel and fit-on-the-fly hip belts.
-Integrated rain cover.
-Attachments on the outside for tools and large equipment.

Kestral/Kyte (46,48 Liters)
-Handles 20-35 lbs.
-Perfect for quick overnights to long hauls.
-Made for managing loads in challenging environments.
-Sizes S/M/L but also sports adjustable torso panel.
-Integrated rain cover.
-Side zippered pocket to access interior without having to unpack.
-Rugged Nylon fabric.

Stratos/Sirrus (36 Liters)
-Handles 15-35 lbs.
-Best for light backpacking or long day hikes.
-Sizes S/M/L but also comes with adjustable back panel for a more perfect fit.
-Integrated rain cover.
-A front panel storage pocket for maps, snacks, or first aid kit.
-Zippered access to main compartment through top and side.

(30,40 Liters)
-Carries 25-40 lbs.
-A pack for light backpacking or day hikes.-A bio-stretch harness and a wrap hip belt system provides a stable carrying structure that hugs your body.

-Lightweight and breathable.