Backpacking and hiking are recreational activities that--most of the time--go hand in hand. Though many different styles of backpacks are available for purchase, many outdoor enthusiasts prefer using a military backpack such as an A.L.I.CE. pack or a M.O.L.L.E pack for their backpacking needs. These backpacks are very large, durable, and are constructed to carry a great amount of weight, usually over 100 lbs. Packing a military backpack is just like packing a regular backpack, and you need to ensure that you pack your items for optimal weight dispersion for a comfortable hike out on the trail.
Place your bulky items at the bottom of the pack. The items you place on bottom should be large and lightweight such as a sleeping bag, or lightweight backpacking tent.
Position your heavy items against pack frame, on top of your bulky items. The idea here is to keep them close to your back, and centered in the middle of the pack. Any heavy hardware, liquid stove fuel or camp stoves should be placed here.
Place your less heavy items directly in front of the heavy items, on top of the bulky items. Such items may include your food or cookware, batteries or extra water containers.
Pack your clothing neatly on top of both your heavy and less heavy items. Place socks into any areas not occupied, to keep any other items from shifting around as you walk. You don't want any vacant space in between heavy and less heavy items, otherwise your entire load will shift, and make for an uncomfortable backpacking experience.
Place your most often used items, or the things that you'll need quick access to, directly on top of all other items. A first aid kit is a good item to keep on top, or a lightweight fleece or poncho for changes in the weather. A flashlight, or a few snacks are good items to place on top as well.
Fill the outer pockets with items that you'll need quick access to as well. Such items may include rope, a lightweight shovel, binoculars, maps and GPS unit, or any other items you'll be using frequently.
Attach your sleeping pad to the bottom of the pack frame. You can do this by rolling it up tight, and strapping it onto the pack frame with small bungee cords.
- Ensure that you cinch all your pack straps tight, and button all pocket snaps to ensure that your load stays in place, and doesn't shift as you hike.
- backpacker with the map image by Sergey Mostovoy from Fotolia.com