Hi my name is Marco Johnson I’m the field
staffing director and a senior field instructor for the National Outdoor
Leadership School What we are here to do today is talk a little
bit about pack packing. What I’m going to do is demonstrate taking all of the
gear that I typically carry into the mountains with me and getting it into my backpack.
So I’m gonna go ahead and pack my pack using the three main principles that I follow to get all my gear in my backpack, but I
use the same principles when I’m packing my sea kayak. My friends who are
horsepackers use the same principles when they’re packing their horses and thats “A” for accessibility “B” for balance and “C” for compressed or condensed. You’ll hear other folks use longer acronyms other words, but the ABC:
the accessibility, the balance, being condensed and compressed, that works
really really well. So let’s go ahead and take all this gear and let’s get it in
my backpack. One of the first things I want to do is actually take the larger volume
items that I have, the biggest one being my sleeping bag and turn it into a small volume item.
The easiest way to do that is to use a compression stuff sack. I feel pretty
good about my compression stuff sack being water-resistant, pretty waterproof so I’m
not lining it with a trash compactor bag, although that does an excellent job of
making sure that you have a waterproof sleeping bag stuff sack.
So I packed my sleeping bag turned a large volume item into a really
small volume item just by the use of the compression stuff sack even though it’s on the lighter side
I’ll go ahead and take the sleeping bag and I’ll put it
at the bottom the backpack. Kinda fills out the bottom nicely just
lay it on its side at the bottom and then another item that I put right next to it for a
variety of reasons is my fuel bottle. 1: I don’t need it right away,
it doesn’t need to be accessible, it does help to balance my pack out.
By getting it inside I keep it from being banged up and possibly puncturing but also by putting at the bottom of the
pack I’m keeping it below my food. If you’ve ever had any white gas fumes
or actually gas itself get on your food, you know you don’t want it anywhere near your food. So I keep it below.
Another thing I will put down there is I’ll go ahead and take my sleeping
pad and I roll it up with a nice lightweight chair that I’ve got and I slide that right
down on the outside as well. That protects the fuel bottle a little bit
also takes the space up that’s right down there on the side of
my backpack. So now I’ve got my food left. I’ve got
pots. I’ve got my shelter. and I’ve got my layers. So I wanna
go ahead and now start filling out the bottom, but also wanna go ahead
and start adding weight, because the bottom
layers pretty light. Now I want weight in there because I want
those dense heavier items now to be lower in the pack to give me a
lower center of gravity, helps keep me balanced. Part of my group gear is to carry the pot. Because I got the fuel bottle
I also have the stove I’ll take my bowl and just put that inside the pot, put the stove inside my bowl. I’m
using up all the available space I have and then my part to the rations
I’ll go ahead and again fill as much of the dead space as possible so that I’m just
being efficient. I’ll go ahead and take my pot put it right down in my pack and I’m going to slide it right down next my back because I have a
padded back piece, I’m not gonna feel it
but I’m keeping the weight down low but also into my back.
By being down low and into my back it gives me a better balance, gives me a lower center of gravity which
works really well whether I’m on trail or off trail and I need my balance even more. I’ve got a few extra pounds of food here
that I did not get in my pot and now I’m gonna go ahead and start
filling out those areas of space in my pack with that food. The empty food bag I’ll go ahead
and use again as nice padding. Now I’ve got even more room down there.
Now given I’m in a tent group typically of three or four
folks I may not be carrying the shelter along with the fuel bottle,
the stove and the pot. For demonstration purposes I’ll
go ahead and show you that I can take the fly of the tent that I’m using for my shelter and that, out of its packing bag can be put in all those dead space’s, taking up the
room at the bottom of the pack. What I have also done is I’ve waterproofed all around my sleeping bag. I’ve kept out some trail food for the day. So now the bottom third / bottom half
of my pack is packed. Really light stuff or lighter stuff at
the bottom, but then that dense sort of heavier load right on top of
that in close to my back. Now I can think about some
other pieces of accessibility. As an instructor I want my first aid kit handy so I’m going to put that in the
outside portion of my pack. This makes it easy to get to should I need it.
If you’re out on a personal trip I would do the same thing, for the same reason.
I would want access to my first aid kit. Here’s my rain top and I’m going to want my rain top accessible,
but I also want one warm layer accessible. So what I can do to
waterproof this, even though I want it accessible
and I find stuffing it not in a stuff sack, to be a little bit
easier is I’ll actually wrap it in my raincoat to waterproof it and then
just go ahead and stuff that in my pack. In this warm layer I also have a lighter layer,
I have a warm hat, I have my gloves and I also have my headlamp because this
is typically the layer that I’m using at night as well so all that stuff is
readily accessible. Just go ahead and wrap it real quick like this and then again I can stuff it right here on the outside of the pack and it’s really accessible. A small pair of rain pants, and again right there accessible. Now go ahead and zip that of. Now I’ve got some extra clothing layers and these I’m probably not going to need during the day.
You saw how here is really accessible I’ve got that one layer, that warm layer along with my rain
layers. So my other layers, again I have nice, fairly
water resistant, waterproof stuff sack, but these can also be stuffed in plastic bags or one larger bag to line the
inside and that keeps them waterproof. So that was one bag of extra clothing. Here’s the second bag, right on top. You got that set. My toiletries bag can now go in
because again it doesn’t have to be real accessible. I won’t need my toiletries during the day. A small water bottle that I actually use as my mug, again that’s not necessary for being real real accessible. Then one piece that I do want
accessible here is my Camelback, which I use as a water bottles, as a water bladder. So
to protect this, I’ll up this right at the top. I’ll go ahead and close my pack up. I’ve got the hose coming out, so I’ll go ahead and close my pack all the way up and then
I’ve got the hose out and I’ll just run this down through one of my shoulder straps and I’ll be able to sip on water during the day. It’s accesible for me, easy to get to
which is really nice. A lot of backpacks actually have top lids or
what some people call brains. You can see that mine’s got these little zip side pockets on it. I like those
because I can put some of the things that I want really accessible, real close at hand.
So here’s my trail food for the day. On the other side I can put a
spare set of batteries, a small little pocket knife, compass,
another lighter and my sunscreen. I’ll get that in there and all those things are really close at hand, very easy to get to. One last piece that I’ll put on the outside:
this is the center pole to my shelter. It’s pretty beefy and
tough because it’s made out of aluminum. I’ll go ahead and take my last straps
after I’ve put it in my side pocket and make sure that the last straps are on nice and snug and this will keep the poles from
falling out, and from me loosing them. So here in the end, I’ve got a backpack where things that I need are accessible: Water, food, layers, first aid kit. Its balanced because I started with lighter
things at the bottom. A nice little layer there at the bottom. I went ahead and built on that with some
heavier items that were down low, but also into my back so they give me good balance and everything’s nice and condensed and
compressed so I’m not gonna lose things on the trail. Plus I don’t have things hanging out
that could be punctured, like my sleeping pad or ripped up like any
of my layers or punctured like that fuel bottle.
So now it’s just a matter of putting my backpack on and we’ll go ahead and head on down the trail, because actually we want to spend our time out there not in here dealing with all our gear. So thanks, I appreciate your attention.