Getting to grips with carrying gear

When we’re out on the moors and fells, it’s quite important to be carrying our equipment well-the amount of walking (and especially camping gear) that it’s useful to carry around is quite considerable, and ergonomic distribution of kit can help a great deal insofar as comfort and efficiency is concerned . With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to make your life easier when it comes to carrying your gear around.

Firstly, when you’re looking for a bag the litre-based carrying capacity is the most obvious means of gauging how much weight you’ll be able to carry; modern design and production measures have ensured that large amounts can be carried proportionate to the overall mass of the bag. You many need to make an informed guess as to how much carrying capacity you’ll need in the main storage area, to find the best compromise between a bag that won’t take all you need and one that may be too large for what you need it for. Most modern walking and hiking-orientated bags have numerous pouches, sections and meshes where you can place additional items-for example, a bag with a holder for a water bottle may be useful if you’re likely to need to rehydate fairly often. Some are combined into multipurpose extra carrying capacity; for example the Berghaus Vulcan has 2 extra side pockets that can be combined together to make a day sack for you.

Comfort features should be a priority to look for, as well. Padded, adjustable waist belts and well-cushioned shoulder straps can make a great difference to the ease of carrying a load of camping equipment, as can sternum straps-anything that can evenly and securely distribute the carry weight around the stronger parts of your body, so that your shoulders and back aren’t unduly strained. Good quality ventilation is something you should examine in a prospective pack as well, as sweat accumulating on the back can become quite unpleasant over long distances. The materials that constitute the container need to be tough enough to withstand the elements but feel reasonably comfortable against your body and skin; again compromise is the key although most modern materials and fabrics fit both of these requirements comfortably. Knowing your measurements can help in choosing a bag that will fit well to your frame, and if you are female specialised bags can be worth looking into as there are bags specifically designed to cater for narrower shoulders, ladies hips and other subtle differences that can add up in the comfort stakes.
Packing your rucksack well can make your life a great deal easier. Although tips on how to do so depend on the number, placement and type of storage compartments, whether the bag is an internal/external frame pack and so on there are still some things worth bearing in mind. Any items that you’re likely to need often or in an emergency such as first-aid kits, water, your maps and similar important items should be stored externally around the bag or at the top of the bag. Your sleeping bag should be stowed first, either at the bottom of your bag or outside around under it in the case of an external frame. If you can, try and keep the heavier items close to your spine to aid your balance.

If you know where you need to look online you can find rather specialised packs that should suit your requirements. There are plenty of retailers who should have what you need, such as RV ops.

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