My Personal Burden

Everyone has their own needs when they pack, it’s a very personal thing, and really it takes a few times to get it right.
One thing you should do when you complete a hike is take a hint from Demming: Plan, Do, CHECK, Act, You planned your trip, you did your trip, and now is the time to CHECK; what did I carry with me that I didn’t use, emergency equipment aside. Act on that learning experience and do better next time.
For my packing I use lot of Ziplocks. For a recent 9 day hike I set up ziplocks with fresh clothing, each bag contained: 1 pr Socks, 1 pr underpants, 1 tee shirt. Suck out all the surplus air. I had 3 of these so whenever I got to an appropriate place to take a shower I took a clean bag and then reused the bag for my dirties (I don’t seal it, or I may as well have throw it away).
One zip-lock for morning stuff, Daily tablets and vitamins, toothbrush, toothpaste, Microfiber towel, coffee bags. Talking of toothpaste, I allow two inches per day, so a nine day hike needs 18 inches of toothpaste, I think that’s about 2 ounces. Whatever you do, don’t take a new toothpaste tube on a hike, buy a small tube a month before you go and when you think you are down to what you need bag it!.Take just what you need to get you to the end.
One zip-lock for critical papers, both passports (US and Euro), national health card, insurance card. Kept it all in one place, kept it safe, that was the only thing I could not afford to lose. If I ever have to abandon my bag in an emergency it’s the one thing I must take
One zip-lock for First aid kit, sharp knife, Corkscrew, flashlights, spare batteries, plastic raincoat, bivvy, padlock. Ok so now you are thinking is this man insane? A padlock. Just to add some perspective it took me a long time to find a suitable padlock, but when I found it, or them, they came in a pack of 3 at the dollar store. Most hostels have lockers, and I always believe that locks are designed to keep honest people off your stuff. Dishonest people will do whatever they want, and a big padlock is an advertisement. My padlock does not register on my kitchen scales, so it’s worth its weight.
I gave up the Swiss army knife a long time ago and replaced it with the components I really used. A real Knife, and a functional corkscrew
1 Pair of trousers to wear, 1 to carry, wrap the spare pair in an appropriately sized plastic bag
Two zip-locks for maps, one contains today’s map and notes, compass, magnifying glass, the second contains everything else.
So now I have everything in bags, but there’s a bit of a compromise, heaviest items at the bottom, or least used items at the bottom. Well I sucked the air out of your spare clothing, so now its quite dense, so all but 1 of those goes at the very bottom, then sleeping bag. Emergency bag goes in a side pocket, today’s food in the other side, important papers go in the roof of the bag, and tent gets tied to the bottom. Actually when you pack you might have room got both the tent and the sleeping bag inside the backpack sincelike me, you are packing light, but remember, if it’s raining when you pitch your tent you don’t want all your gear strewn about on the wet grass looking like a yard sale while you rummage through the bottom of your bag searching for your tent!
And with all those bags, it keeps my gear organized and DRY. Since I know what is in each bag, and where each bag is placed I can find things quickly and easily.


  1. This is really useful info!

    I like the organization system you which you have described very clearly here. Nice!

  2. haha, i suppose its about what you'd expect. 1 week in the cast, 5-7 more to go - then another, smaller cast for another 6-8 weeks...

  3. A suggestion I'd like to make for your sie is to have a "HOME" link from the comments page. It is quite confusing to return to your homepage, at this point i'm just retyping the url in the address bar to get back to your blog....