It is estimated that the modern-day infantry solider now carries over 65kg in weight on their back during military operations and that over 15% are returning with long term injuries to ankles, knees and lower spines as a result. It is no wonder then that understanding the best way to pack your kit into a bergan, daysack, backpack, rucksack or whatever you want to call it has become so important.
The most important thing to remember when packing your kit in preparation for long excursions is the distribution of weight in your backpack:
Remember the 5 P’s – Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance. Spending that extra 10 minutes getting this right might seem like a bit of a ball-ache to start with but once you’ve got it right, you’ll feel the benefit and you’ll get faster at packing and unpacking your kit. After some time, you’ll reach the utopia of being able to pack and unpack your kit with your eyes closed. This is an essential survival skill in the event of bugging out at night.
Spend time to consider in what order you are most likely to need your kit. For example: waterproof jacket and trousers should be right at the top. It is going to be needed quickly in the event of a sudden downpour and you don’t want to have to unpack everything from your kit (getting it wet in the process) just to reach the waterproofs at the bottom. Equally it is highly unlikely you are going to need your spare clothes in a hurry so these can be packed right down at the bottom along with your sleeping bag.
Most importantly, consider which items can be doubled-up and used for more than one purpose to save on weight and space; A spare set of clothes makes for a great pillow; a metal mug might be slightly heavier than a plastic one but could double-up as a mess tin; a good quality sharp axe can be used as a knife and a hammer.
By distributing your weight in this way, you will halve your chances of injury and double your energy levels during long hikes (figures estimated based on experience alone).
Top Tip: Use compression sacks to minimise the size of your kit allowing you to position it easier within your backpack.