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How to Pack a Backpack for Backpacking

evanlow

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
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Came across this article. Taking out the tent and such and it fits quite well for a Camino. What was interesting was the counterintuitive part about packing the lighter stuff at the bottom and the heavier on top.


It seems that I was lucky to be doing it without realizing it. I don't fancy things hanging outside the backpack so the first thing I put in is the lightweight sleeping bag, followed by the clothes. Anything I might need quickly like sandals and such (higher density stuff) tends to end up on top.

🤔🤔
 
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LesBrass

Likes Walking
Year of past OR future Camino
yes...
Came across this article. Taking out the tent and such and it fits quite well for a Camino. What was interesting was the counterintuitive part about packing the lighter stuff at the bottom and the heavier on top.


It seems that I was lucky to be doing it without realizing it. I don't fancy things hanging outside the backpack so the first thing I put in is the lightweight sleeping bag, followed by the clothes. Anything I might need quickly like sandals and such (higher density stuff) tends to end up on top.

🤔🤔

I always put the two heaviest bags at the bottom... so I've been doing it wrong :oops: 😂 I can't see the link... would love to learn some more (thank you)
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
The main issue is that heavier items affect balance to a greater degree than lighter items. Packing heavier items toward the top brings them into better alignment with the body's core muscle group, where the muscles help us to control balance.

I will note that the above really does not apply to those with Camino-sized, sub 15 pound/6.8 kg backpack weights. No single item is going to be heavy enough to worry about placement.

A bigger issue is ready and easy access to needed items. Smaller backpacks have limited sizes and numbers of outside pockets, so carefully thought out backpack organization is a good thing and will help limit the need to dig around and rummage thru the packs contents. For example, You don't want your raingear at the bottom of your bag on days when rain is a possibility.

Things you only need at the end of the day go to the bottom, like a sleeping quilt, sleeping bag, clothing bag, toiletry bag, etc. Infrequently needed items during the day form the middle layer, and things you need immediate access to at the top.
 
Last edited:

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
When the Americans prepared for the moon landings they discovered that for stability, reduction of body stress, and improvement in balance heavy items needed to be at the top of their regeneration packs, above their shoulders, so were redesigned that way.

As an aside - NASA also found out, for those in zero gravity situations where muscle tone drops rapidly, exercising every other day was more beneficial than every day .... stress the body, give it 24 hours to remove muscle waste and rebuild stronger muscles, stress the body again, repeat - this is why we can have such problems doing body stress on Camino every day without a break. And also why a heavy daily preparation routine is not advantageous - better every other day.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
If using a large backpack, say 60l, and walking in rugged terrain heavier items are best kept lower so you keep better balance when twisting, turning, leaning and stretching. You can disregard this when on the camino but you can see where this distribution is helpful when backpacking in our neck of the woods.
 
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NYSE

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
Came across this article. Taking out the tent and such and it fits quite well for a Camino. What was interesting was the counterintuitive part about packing the lighter stuff at the bottom and the heavier on top.


It seems that I was lucky to be doing it without realizing it. I don't fancy things hanging outside the backpack so the first thing I put in is the lightweight sleeping bag, followed by the clothes. Anything I might need quickly like sandals and such (higher density stuff) tends to end up on top.

🤔🤔
Funny, just today during my 8 mile walk i contemplated hanging my sleeping bag outside my pack. I carry a Marmot 38 liter bag that opens like a traditional pack, but also opens like a suitcase. I found that to be a sweet option.
 

Laura the Explora

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Good information for backpacking!

When packing for the Camino, there’s usually not anything heavy to carry, especially if you keep your pack to around 5-6 kilos (~10-12lbs). For me, I pack my bag according to what I use most (sunscreen, ibuprofen), will need when I get to the albergue (towel, change of clothes) or might need during the day (rain jacket) and put other things that I use less at the bottom (compression socks, new contact lenses).

Everyone figures out what works best for them along the way I suppose! 😊
 

malingerer

samarkand
Year of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Came across this article. Taking out the tent and such and it fits quite well for a Camino. What was interesting was the counterintuitive part about packing the lighter stuff at the bottom and the heavier on top.


It seems that I was lucky to be doing it without realizing it. I don't fancy things hanging outside the backpack so the first thing I put in is the lightweight sleeping bag, followed by the clothes. Anything I might need quickly like sandals and such (higher density stuff) tends to end up on top.

🤔🤔
This is military packing as the heavier stuff on top forces the lighter stuff down , thus making more room! The heavier stuff would probably be ammunition etc but I forgo this in favour of prayers and incantations now that I am a pilgrim :)

Buen Camino

Samarkand.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
No single item is going to be heavy enough to worry about placement.

A bigger issue is ready and easy access to needed items.
Yes!

Typical pilgrims have one large light-weight item (sleeping bag), a bag of light/medium-weight clothes that could be divided up, a collection of small but denser toiletries, and raingear that needs to be accessible. It does not make any sense at all to try to arrange those items according to weight distribution - i.e. should I put my phone power bank (180g) under, inside, or on top of my sleeping bag? Should I put my rain gear at the bottom or top of my pack? :rolleyes: Sunscreen is heavy, so it goes with the power bank? Or does it need to be far away?

Having said that, I admit that it is interesting to read the theory and practice of military and expedition packing. It just isn't something that new pilgrims should be worried about!

Just as my mantra for foot wear is "comfort is everything", my mantra for packing will be "convenience is everything."
 
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backpack45

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
I am glad this was posted because just yesterday I saw someone advise someone else to put heavy items at the bottom--and that is not how I do it. I put my sleeping quilt there (18 oz., but it puffs out because I usually don't have it in the stuff sack) because I won't need it until the end of the day. If I put heavy stuff at the bottom (my sandals, DSLR camera, toiletries), I really feel like I am being dragged down. Next up I put the items (in a turkey basting bag) that need to stay dry and/or my raingear if I don't think I'll need it that day. At the top, I have my baggie with toiletries and sometimes my down jacket. Since a hike on the Camino doesn't usually require heavy stuff anyway (no cooking pots, camping stoves, etc.), it's not difficult to keep light stuff at the bottom, heavier stuff nearer the top. You can switch things around depending on the anticipated weather.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
OK Rick of Rick and Peg what's the first track on your video?
Well, I don't know because it is someone else's video and he didn't credit a song in the video or his description. I checked the comments to see if anyone asked but no one did. I even Googled for the lyrics and Google couldn't find anything. The best I could do was see that music was credited to https://www.epidemicsound.com/
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
This is military packing as the heavier stuff on top forces the lighter stuff down , thus making more room! The heavier stuff would probably be ammunition etc but I forgo this in favour of prayers and incantations now that I am a pilgrim :)

Buen Camino

Samarkand.
Dang. Just how heavy are those incantations and prayers :)
 
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