A trip has a much better chance of being successful when it is well prepared. Or at least that you never miss anything while you are on the road. If you are about to go backpacking, it is key that you know How to assemble the backpack in the best way, avoiding having a bad time later.
When you go backpacking, conditions can change quite a bit on your way. Some nights you will spend in hostels, others camping and one or another in some means of transport. The important thing is to know how to adapt to each of these situations.
It is important to find out about our route and what variables we can run into. We must keep in mind how long we will be traveling, what type of routes we will use, the weather we will be exposed to, and what services we will have available. It is not the same to do the Austral Highway as to know Cusco and its surroundings.
The most practical thing is to make a list of everything you think you might need. Write down everything that comes to mind, considering any unforeseen events. You will likely end up with a pervasive list, and it is at this point, you will begin to apply “filters” to reduce the luggage to the essentials.
Have you used it in the last month? If not, then it may not be a must. Do you need to wear more sneakers? One pair of trekking shoes and one pair of light sneakers/sandals will likely suffice. Will you wear a change of clothes for each day of the week? Not. An extra change or two will be more than enough if you will be traveling. If you are going to do it with friends, gather your loads when using laundry in a hostel.
Do you need that many layers? A thick jacket and a water cape (or windbreaker) will be sufficient shelter. Consider that ideally, your load will not exceed 20% of your body weight. Once you’ve determined what to wear, it’s time to start weight distribution.
It is a good idea to divide your equipment into categories, such as rest (tent and sleeping bag), food (stove, food, and utensils), clothing (change, cloaks, and towel), toiletries, and travel items. You can separate them in plastic or Ziploc bags to prevent them from getting wet.
In the lowest part of the backpack, we will assemble the base. We will use the change of clothes and the sleeping bag. We can put the tent, although there are people who prefer to hang it outside to take advantage of more space inside the backpack. It is better to avoid wearing the tent exposed. Outside the backpack, it can get dirty, entangled with branches or it can be stolen.
On this basis and attached to the back, the heaviest items that require greater security should go, such as those in the kitchen (do you remember that we separated a bag for food?). Everything heavy must be next to our back, so we will avoid altering our center of gravity. Otherwise, we could easily fall and lose our balance, not to mention low back pain. At the top, we will put delicate objects that we need by hand, such as our camera and the water cape.
We can put knives, sunglasses and all those items that we need to have on hand in case of need, along with a small travel kit. Remember that you have a side pocket on the outside on the outside in which you can carry a bottle of water, as well as there is assigned space for trekking poles. Remember to carry these exposed items only when you are carrying the backpack. If you take a plane or a long-distance bus, you must leave everything in your backpack.
Many backpacks today have fanny packs. If this is your case, do not miss them. Secure the load, use the straps arranged to tighten on your backpack.
You must adjust the belt, shoulders, and chest strap. Remember that the backpack should not wobble, it should be well adjusted to the hips (where most of the weight will rest), and there should be a space on the shoulders where you can only reach your hands.
As we already said, you must reduce the weight of your backpack to a minimum. Keep in mind that you could buy things while traveling. If you plan to travel for more than one season, buy the extra clothing you need while traveling. There is no point in carrying those sandals if there are still two months of winter left, just as there is no point in carrying a thick jacket in the height of summer.
If you will also do activities such as trekking and leave your backpack and most of the load in a hostel or camp, having an exploration backpack can be useful, ideally between 20 and 30 liters. This smaller backpack is often included in the larger backpack so that you can buy two in one. This does not mean that you can include yours if you prefer.
When buying a backpack, you need to be clear about the use you want to give it, the water resistance you will need, and that it fits your morphology. Backpacks have sizes and many other features, so that each person may need a different one depending on their body and goals. Take your time. Consider that they will probably be your companions for years.
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