How to choose, adjust and prepare your backpack for a hike or trek in autonomy? Needtounplug gives you some tips for worry-free porting.
Rule # 1: choose the right size for your trekking backpack
If you opt for a trek carrying your luggage, you will only need a bag of 30 to 35 liters. It will accommodate rain cape, protective jacket, daily rations (water / food) and other cameras. The rest will be transported by your agency.
For a 2/3 day hike overnight in a refuge, you will need a bag of about 50 liters. This dry bag backpack will be able to accommodate your sleeping bag, more food, cooking accessories, a change of clothes and a toilet bag.
For independent treks and long hikes, turn to a liter over 60/70 liters. Your bag should contain the necessary things for several days of autonomy. Be careful to adjust your bag correctly before leaving because its optimal setting according to your load and your morphology is essential for the comfort of your walk.
Travel: the advantages of the “duffle bag”
If you are going on a trip and are looking for a large and practical tote bag (in which you can even put a small hiking bag), forget the “Samsonite” type suitcases and other canvas travel bags with wheels.
The standard capable of going through all situations (with or without carrying your luggage) is the “duffle bag”: a type of peluchon-shaped bag, designed in PVC and enjoying waterproof protection thanks to its heat-sealed seams (attention at the seams!) extremely simple, flexible and resistant assembly.
You must choose a liter greater than 60 liters. The Duffle Bag often benefits from removable straps, useful during the transition stages. Many brands like Needtounplug offer this type of bag.
Rule # 2: Properly adjust and distribute the loads on the bag
The principle of good portage is the distribution of loads . In order for the shoulder straps to hug the shoulders without exerting pressure, the load must essentially be carried by the pelvis. Here are the operations to follow in order:
- Fill the backpack before dialing the fit that matches your body type
- Adjust the distance between the shoulder straps and the lumbar belt according to the size. There are two main families of settings:
– Self-gripping tape system. A Velcro strap is wedged on a graduated staircase to adjust the height of the back. This strap encircles the shoulder straps.
– Tubular systems and sliding rails. The shoulder straps slide on rails and are locked at the desired size. This option allows fine adjustment and cushioning of the bag while walking.
Loosen all straps and straps on the bag.
Put the bag on your back.
- Adjust the abdominal belt around the pelvis. This part of the body should bear most of the load.
- Adjust the length of the straps. They should rest on the shoulders so that the bag is in place on the back. If necessary, adjust the distance between the shoulder straps and the lumbar belt so that the bag is placed at the right level without putting too much pressure on the shoulder straps.
- Adjust the load boosters located at the top of the shoulder straps (sometimes at the bottom) to lay the bag on the back. These reminders define the space between the bag and the shoulders. The tighter it is, the more the shoulders are strained.
- Adjust the chest strap for optimal stability. Take care not to suffer any unpleasant contact points. This adjustment is sometimes a bit laborious the first time. It may take a few tries to find the correct setting.
Rule # 3: optimize the filling of the bag
A good filling of the trekking backpack helps to distribute the weight. Lateral imbalances and leverage should be avoided by placing the heaviest closest to the back. This also allows a good distribution of the content according to the interest of each thing and its frequency of use. The principle is not to have any “dangling” elements on the outside of the bag and not to have to open the bag constantly.
The heaviest should be placed closest to the back and not have any “dangling” elements on the outside of the bag.
How to fill your bag optimally?
- • At the bottom of the bag : light things (sleeping bag). On models allowing direct access to the bottom of the bag, you can also place clothes that are useful during the day.
- Along the back and above the bottom of the bag : the heaviest things (bowl, stove, tent, evening food, etc.).
- In the upper part and the side pockets : useful items for the day, taking care to properly balance the pockets.
- Under the upper pocket : keys and papers.
- In the upper pocket : most commonly used or fragile items.
When the bag has a belt pocket, you can slip in a few cereal bars, a camera or a smartphone.
Do not forget to adjust the compression straps to avoid movements inside the bag.
Plan to take various sub-bags: cotton bags for clothes, waterproof bags for food and any liquid product or odor generator …
Even if your bag is supposed to withstand bad weather, an overbag is very useful to avoid an unpleasant drying time (also applicable for your day bag…).
Sometimes inflatable and self-inflating mattresses are too bulky to carry in the bag. They will often be placed above the main pocket or hung by straps. Be careful, if you have opted for a self-inflating mattress type “Thermarest”. It will be preferable to leave it inside the bag to protect it from tears.
Learn to limit the weight of your bag . This should not exceed a quarter of your weight. Also, be sure to hydrate frequently. A flexible bottle with pipette will be essential so as not to have to “put down” your bag to catch your water reserve. You can also for water filter systems .