Is your backpack too heavy?
The 4 types of Backpacks
If you’re asking yourself this question, your backpack is probably too heavy for the activity that you are involved in. Through my years of experience in the outdoors I have broken down my backpacks into 4 classifications.
Remember that all backpacks should be “activity-specific”, and that this exercise alone will greatly reduce the weight that you carry around all day. For instance, if you are going to be hiking in an area where there are no fishing opportunities, it is unnecessary to carry your fishing kit with you. Leave it at home or better, still in your vehicle.
This concept will quickly whittle away ounces and pounds from your pack. If you are very focused on the available activities and plan for what you will need, you can quickly reduce the weight of your pack. Be ruthless. Remember … you will be carrying it!
1) The Day Pack
This is the “bag” that you place all that you will need to get you back home for dinner. This is the foundation of the 3 other backpacks. This is the bag that you should become the most familiar with.
If you can organize this pack efficiently and keep it well stocked and neat, the other packs will be much easier to control. It includes food, clothing, emergency shelter, and equipment. When considering food, bring food/snacks that you like to eat. Try to bring high energy foods. Plan for 6 meals per day. 3 meals – 3 snack breaks.
Whether you are hiking, paddling a canoe, or prospecting for gold, outdoor activities are more physically demanding than your regular day to day business. This daypack must have a “survival kit” and a First Aid kit. It also includes your cell-phone, wallet, water and whatever else you need to get through “your” day.
2) The 1-night bag
As the name implies, this is a bag that will carry everything you will need to “overnight” at some place of your choosing. Obviously, this carry bag requires all of the “day-pack” plus a sleeping system and 1 extra day of food.
A sleeping system is a sleeping bag and a mattress. It can also include a pillow that will inflate or one that you make from the clothes you’re carrying stashed in a stuff sac. That should be it.
In addition to the sleeping system, add 1 more day of meals.
That would mean 12 meals and snacks … total. Think of food here also as fuel. You fuel up before you leave for a trip and not at the end. If you are bringing food back, you have brought too much with you, and as a result, your are carrying too much weight. This extra weight will make you more tired and less able to enjoy your day.
3) Packing for “Multiple Days”
This backpacking system is very similar to the overnight pack except for the fact that it includes more “bag” nights. Bag nights are nights spent sleeping in a sleeping bag. In my way of thinking, this refers to 2-5 days of camping, hiking, fishing and/or whatever outdoor or wilderness activity you will be involved in.
For multiple day adventures, simply add more meals. Include 6 meals per day and you are done. Have a checklist to keep you focused. When you first control your day-pack, it becomes very easy to get yourself ready and gone!
4) The Expedition Pack
As the name implies, expeditions are much longer, more intense, and more purpose driven. They require more planning and a more intense focus on the expedition “purpose”.
An expedition refers to multiple weeks that could also turn into months. Here it becomes extremely important to have your checklist, to know how many days you will be away and all the equipment you are bringing along.
Chargers, extra batteries, and repair kits now take high priority. Your ability to maintain and repair equipment is going to ensure its usefulness as the days and weeks go by.
After all, is said and done, Backpacks are simply a means of carrying the food, the clothing, the shelter, and the equipment we will require for the period of time that we are away from the comforts of home.
Always have a checklist, and bring it with you so you can make notes while you are out in the field.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about backpacks and their purpose in any specific activity, please do not hesitate to leave them in the space below. I will attempt to answer all your replies in a timely manner.