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Travel Hack Of The Day: How To Pack Your Backpack Properly

Heavy items actually don't go at the bottom of your pack.

Did you know there’s actually a right way to pack a backpack? Sure, when you’re about to head off on a six week trek in South America, the main thing you have to deal with is getting everything in the backpack before you can even think of dealing with things like weight proportions.

But you really should – it’ll save you from toppling over as soon as you pop it on your back, which isn’t that fun (and we speak from experience).

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The main thing you need to know is that heavy items do not go at the bottom of your pack – it seems like the most logical option, but in actual fact you’re better off putting lighter things at the bottom, and the heavy things against your back, right in the middle. This means most of the weight is centred between your shoulder blades rather than your hips, stabilising you on rough terrain.

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This excellent illustration will be your guide (Photo: Osprey)

Your backpack sandwich should include light to medium weight things at the bottom (sleeping bag, clothes etc) your heavier items in the middle (walking boots, pots etc) and then your crushables at the top (basically things that wouldn’t break if they’re smashed against the ground/walls/other people – so no valuables).

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The main thing to remember, especially if you’re full on hiking, camping or wandering with your backpack, is to use every bit of empty space possible – stuff a shirt inside an empty pot, throw some socks and undies in your shoes, and even take your sleeping bag out of its sack and stuff it around other items. It might be messy, but it will definitely keep you balanced.

The main thing is to plan ahead. Give yourself a little more time for proper packing and you’ll thank yourself later on. Now, if only there was an easier way of making sure you’ve packed all the right things… Oh wait!