So as you begin your journey into the outdoors, you’re going to have to answer one very important question. How do I carry all this stuff?
The answer is simple, a backpack.
What is a backpack? It’s self-explanatory. It’s a pack that you carry on your back. Usually has two straps that rest on your shoulders for even weight distribution.
They come in all shapes, colors, sizes, number of containers, and different degrees of weather proofing. They are very handy for the outdoors. All that gear needs to be carried somehow. Backpacks are the easiest way of doing it.
For the outdoors there are basically two types of packs:
- Framed - pack has a metal frame running through it for better weight distribution and durability
- Frameless- has no frame; Soft pack usually for light gear, food, day hikes
The first thing you need to consider is how much weight do I need to carry. Usually this will depend on how long you plan on staying. Framed packs are usually better for a few day trips. You can carry more weight, more efficiently, and usually has a way to carry a bed roll.
For just a few hours the frameless is the way to go. You won’t need the extra room and weight needed for a framed pack. I used to use my school backpack for those day trips. As long as I knew, without any doubt, it was just for that day. I was wrong a couple of times. Live and learn they say. I would still love to know who “THEY” are. “THEY” seems to know a whole lot about everything, but they wait till after the fact to tell you.
One key thing you should consider when buying a pack is water. How likely is it that everything in it will get wet. There is a difference in water-proof and water-resistant.
- Water-proof - Completely impervious to water. Water will not penetrate this. As long as it’s sealed properly you won't have to worry about the contents getting wet. Perfect for kayaking, camping near water, or any area with a lot of rain
- Water-resistant - able to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely. Good for hiking, deserts, places with a slim chance of getting wet;
You’ll have to use a little common sense on this. Check the weather. Study your maps. Lots of places have trails online now and show the predicted weather for the area. Just remember weather prediction is not an absolute science. They deal in percentages. As in, this is how likely we think this might happen. Nothing with the weather is guaranteed.
The next thing to look for are compartments. There is a lot of difference in how things are stored in packs. Some have packets inside of pockets, inside of pockets.
I found the K.I.S.S. method works best for packing. Keep it simple smarty. Don’t overthink this. Keep things you know you’ll need more often close to the top. The “probably won't but could happens” items put farther away. Or in those pockets, in pockets.
Make a list of everything you think you will need. Lay it out on the floor. Check it twice. Make sure you don't miss anything. Then figure out what you want to get to first and more frequently. These go in last. The last tithing you will need goes in first. This will keep you from having to unload your pack to get to your water or food.
Now that you have something to carry all that stuff with you you'll be a lot safer in the outdoors. I strongly suggest waiting to live off the land till you know quite a bit more about it. Stick to the general rule. If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. Carry food with you. In your backpack.
Enjoy the outdoors.