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How to Pack a Backpack

Placing everything you need to survive in the wilderness in a backpack is more science than art.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Place lightweight items at the bottom Place lightweight items at the bottom of the pack and heavier items at the top. Distribute the weight in the pack so that it remains balanced.
  • TIP: If you plan to hike on rough or uneven terrain, move the heavier items to the bottom of the pack. Lowering your center of gravity will improve your balance.
  • Step 2: Place items you will need during the day at the top Place the items you expect to use during the day at the top of the pack. Beneath these items, place heavy objects, such as your stove, fuel, and food.
  • TIP: Place the items you expect to use during the day at the top of the pack. Beneath these items, place heavy objects, such as your stove, fuel, and food.
  • Step 3: Pack objects that you will use at the same time together Pack objects that you will use in tandem near each other.
  • Step 4: Collect small objects in stuff bags Collect small objects in color-coded stuff bags, so small items don't fall to the bottom of the pack.
  • Step 5: Carry a survival kit Keep a survival kit close to your body, including a knife, flashlight, waterproof matches, survival candle, compass, emergency blanket, water purification tablets, survival whistle, first aid kit, and emergency rain gear.
  • Step 6: Don’t overload the outside Avoid tying too many objects to the outside of the pack. Extra weight can upset the pack’s balance.
  • FACT: Did you know? Knapsacks were issued to soldiers who served on foot during the American Civil War. Most knapsacks were made of cotton cloth coated with a waterproof preparation.

You Will Need

  • A backpack
  • Items to be packed
  • Color-coded stuff bags
  • A survival kit

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