Packing a Backpack
Assuming you’ll be carrying it on your back rather than in a canoe, a backpack should be packed in such a way that the load is well-balanced. It will almost certainly be more awkward to carry if the pack is top-heavy or has most of the weight on one side.
Any heavy items such as a stove or cookwear should be packed inside (relatively high up) as close as possible to where your back or spine will be, and not toward the front of the pack. The closer the center of gravity of the loaded pack is to the center of your back, the more likely it will be well-balanced when worn.
Avoid attaching heavy gear such as a tent to the outside front of the pack, or putting it directly inside the front, which is some distance from your back. This would move the pack’s center of gravity outward, and could have a tendency to pull you backward and off-balance when you’re carrying it.
If your pack has outside pockets, use these for keeping the important items that you’ll want easy access to: raingear, flashlight, bug repellent, first aid kit and emergency items, compass, map, guidebook, and water bottle or canteen. Belt pouches or other little zippered bags may also be used to carry smaller items like your compass, knife, small scissors, spare flashlight batteries and bulb, and matches.
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