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Packing Correctly – What Goes Where?

In order to ensure that your backpack fits as comfortably as possible, the loaded pack’s center of gravity should lie directly above your own. Most people’s center of gravity lies somewhere between their waist and hips. Heavy items should therefore be carried in the middle of the pack, as close in to the back as possible, and centered between your shoulder blades.
The closer your pack’s center of gravity is to your own, the better your balance and the less you feel the weight of the load.


1. Lid Compartment: A lid compartment is standard on backpacks of a certain size and above. This is where you pack all small items of gear that need to be close at hand, e.g. mobile phone, GPS, compass, tissues, cap, chocolate bars and first aid set. You should never put heavy, bulky items such as a full water bottle into the lid of your backpack. For one thing you will shift the center of gravity up too high, and for another the heavy object may hit you on your head.
2. Main Compartment: You should take a tactical approach to packing the main compartment: Lighter items such as clothing should be packed at the bottom, top and on the sides. Heavier items such as climbing equipment (carabiners, wedges, quickdraws), the tent, tinned food or water supplies should be packed in the middle, close in to your back.
3. Bottom Compartment: Most larger backpacks (approx. 40 liter or more) have a bottom compartment that is separate from the main compartment. This is the best place to store lightweight, bulky items that would take up too much room in the main compartment, such as a sleeping bag, shoes or dirty laundry bag.
4. Outer Pockets and Mesh Pockets: Side outer or mesh pockets offer room for smaller items and are perfect for all the things you need to have close at hand (rain jacket, cap, tissues, gloves etc.). They should be packed to about the same weight on each side. Be careful about sharp objects – they may easily pierce the mesh material in a fall.
5. Map Pocket: A range of hiking and trekking backpacks have map pockets on the side. These are large enough for all regular sized maps. They are also easily accessible from the outside, so you can get at them without having to open the
main compartment.
6. Hydration System: Almost all VAUDE backpack models are hydration system compatible. The pocket for the hydration bladder always lies close to your back so that it doesn’t offset your center of gravity. The hydration tube port can always be found near the shoulder straps.

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