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How to Fit a Week's Gear into a Weekend Pack

Don't own a massive pack for your big annual adventure? Here's how to make it all fit.
Photos by Jennifer Howe /
  • 1: Use compression sacks for sleeping bags and puffy clothing.
  • 2: Eliminate spare clothing and socks to gain space for food and fuel.
  • 3: Use a tarp, and bug net if needed (L), rather than a full tent with poles (R).
  • 4: Use a half-length sleeping pad that goes from shoulder to hips. Your pack can go beneath your lower legs.
  • 5: Sample sized items and small zip-locks (R) save weight and bulk (L).
  • 6: Repackage your food, and deflate puffy freeze-dried packages with a pin. Tape over the hole after flattening.
  • 7: Strap heavy items outside the pack on top and sides, to keep weight high and close to your spine.
  • 8: Light items like clothing and pads go on the pack front.
  • 9: Water and fuel bottles can go outside the pack, but don't let them swing around; it steals energy from every stride.
  • 10: Make full use of hipbelt pockets and accessory pouches to gain space.
  • 11: SLR cameras can stay in a chest holster, for more room - and better photos.
  • And now you're ready to go!
1: Use compression sacks for sleeping bags and puffy clothing.
Image 1 of 12

1: Use compression sacks for sleeping bags and puffy clothing.


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I am not one who judges, but are those thongs on slide #2? I found that quite interesting, other than that, good article.
— DeadMeat

Any recommendations on a good chest pack for a DSLR camera?

Also, I find that placing the sleeping bag in a stuff sack can cause problems, especially when I need to carry a bear canister in the pack as well. Having a semi-rigid package (i.e. the stuffed sleeping bag) does not utilize all the nooks and crannies of the pack well. I just place the sleeping bag at the bottom and stuff it into corners and into unused space around other things in my pack.
— Luke

uummm... who's thong is that ..??
— brady

Re how to pack a week's worth of supplies into a weekend pack?

Answer: Get a packgoat - a great trail friend who will carry all of your gear (except your own 20 essentials, of course).

— Donna

Yep, those are some good idea's alright! Good for summer packin. But in the winter the game changes with the possibility of Hypothermia. So err on the side of caution, get a bigger pack to start with if your not planning to own two packs right off the bat. Just load the bigger pack lighter in the summer and when old man winter blows his stuff at you, then you've got the room for all that winter clothing you have to have to survive freezin temps out there. Believe me, I tried to winter hike with a smaller summer pack and it aint no fun I gotta tell you. I later purchased an osprey argon 110 for winter camping and it made all the differance! Taking down winter camp every morning with a small 4000cu pack is a hassle I can live with out. But it works great for summer! those are some excellant ideas BP.
— Mountaingoat/Atlanta

really good tips. by the way, i really like the green beanie, if you could let me know what brand and where you got it that would be great. Thanks!
— Kirk

Um, is that a thong in picture two? Like you couldn't find room for that little thing somewhere!
— NewBackpacker

TIP 34: Choose Leather
Hike in leather boots instead of nylon-upper boots to save 23 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Since hiking-boot leather is a byproduct of the food industry, it avoids the carbon cost of petroleum pumped for the fabrication of synthetic fibers like nylon.

Um, plastics are made from the waste products of the oil industry.
— Anonymous

Food for thought or fuel for thought. If you have the lighter or matches and need some fast burning kindling and u happen to have them with you(not sure why you would maybe on a day hike or over niter) use potato chips. They flame like crazy.
— JK again

Just curious on where I would find a DSLR holster like that?
— Liam


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