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Beginner Skills

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.


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

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2: Eliminate spare clothing and socks to gain space for food and fuel.

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3: Use a tarp, and bug net if needed (L), rather than a full tent with poles (R).

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4: Use a half-length sleeping pad that goes from shoulder to hips. Your pack can go beneath your lower legs.

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5: Sample sized items and small zip-locks (R) save weight and bulk (L).

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6: Repackage your food, and deflate puffy freeze-dried packages with a pin. Tape over the hole after flattening.

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7: Strap heavy items outside the pack on top and sides, to keep weight high and close to your spine.

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8: Light items like clothing and pads go on the pack front.

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9: Water and fuel bottles can go outside the pack, but don’t let them swing around; it steals energy from every stride.

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10: Make full use of hipbelt pockets and accessory pouches to gain space.

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11: SLR cameras can stay in a chest holster, for more room – and better photos.

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And now you’re ready to go!

Photos by Jennifer Howe / howephoto.us