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Packing your backpack

Packing your backpack

How do I pack my backpack correctly?

When preparing your backpack, prioritize packing only the essentials and avoiding unnecessary items. However, certain things are indispensable.

The following advice offers useful tips on optimizing your packing system, ensuring all your gear is packed efficiently and positioned correctly.

Packing right is all about distributing the load evenly

To maintain stability and comfort, it's optimal to position the center of gravity of your backpack close to your body, ideally at shoulder height. This positioning ensures that the backpack remains above your body's center of gravity (COG) and doesn't exert a backward pull when worn. For larger backpacks, typically around 30 liters and above, packing is approached as follows:

  • Sleeping bag, down items and other lightweight objects go into the bottom compartment.
  • Moderately heavy items such as clothing go on top on the outside.
  • Heavy equipment – tent, supplies, thick jackets – are packed at upper shoulder height, as close to the back as possible.
  • Small items can be safely stowed in the lid compartment where they are quickly accessible.
  • In order to avoid problems such as snagging, larger wind-exposed areas or wetness, attach as little as possible to the outside of the backpack, and keep this as compact as possible.
  • In general, ensure an even weight distribution, especially for side pockets.
  • Packsacks, providing they are not bulging and thus creating dead space, keep the inside tidy. Waterproof packsacks offer a very secure alternative to a rain cover.

To consider when packing your backpack

When organizing your backpack, it's not solely the size of your backpack that influences your packing approach; the route or type of hike or trek you're embarking on also plays a significant role. Here are some helpful tips to consider:


Gewichtsverteilung beim Rucksack packen

The maximum we should carry is between 20-25% of our body weight. However, the Germed Armed Forces aim for 33%, known for their exceptionally demanding backpacking drills. Utilize these tips to assist in packing for specific tours or routes:


Falsch gepackter Rucksack mit tiefem Schwerpunkt

To avoid being pulled backward due to the backpack's center of gravity being too far from your own, ensure that the heaviest part of the load doesn't shift downwards while packing. This imbalance can make walking difficult, especially with heavier loads. It also increases strain on the shoulders. Improperly packed backpacks can also pose a safety risk over challenging terrain.

Schweres Gepäck bei flachen Wanderwegen im Rucksack höher packen

When you're on easy trails like beginner hiking paths or level terrain, make sure to pack the heaviest items higher up in your backpack. If not, you'll feel like you're being pulled backward because your pack's center of gravity is too far from your own. This can make walking tough, especially with heavier loads, and put extra strain on your shoulders. Plus, if your backpack isn't packed right, it can even be risky on trickier terrain.

Rucksack packen in schwierigem Gelände

When tackling tougher terrain like high alpine tours or climbing, it's advisable to pack the heavier items lower in your backpack. This setup may cause you to bend forward slightly while walking to offset the weight, but it also enhances stability and reduces the risk of losing your balance compared to having the weight higher up. Additionally, consider using folding or telescopic trekking poles for added support.

All packed and ready? Got everything you need?

No matter if you're embarking on a multi-day or single-day hike, ski tour, or high-alpine route, our packing list recommendations and the appropriate backpack will prepare you for the adventure ahead. Add a snug sleeping bag and a reliable bladder, and you'll be set to fully enjoy your outdoor experience.