Packing a rucksack is an art in itself – something that takes a few practices before you figure out how it works best for you, particularly if your rucksack only has one access point at the top. Its like a perfect jigsaw puzzle which utilises every last pocket of air in an orderly fashion to achieve a well balanced, portable result.
Here’s a run down of how I fit everything pictured above inside my 60 litre pack. My pack is designed with one large opening at the top and first in goes my sleeping bag – the rather large Rab Ascent 900. It is compressed in a dry bag which makes it shapeable according to the rucksack cut, and it sits right in there like a floor.
A lot of the time I use a pack liner for habit if no other reason. In the past, I’ve been caught out with a wet ground from a rainy day prior and in the rush to get my pack off, it ended up falling in a puddle of water or damp grass while I fussed over the best place to pitch my tent. A pack liner is the safest way to ensure this never happens.
Next in, my sleeping mat wrapped in the inflation sack, my stuff sack pillow which contains everything I sleeping in/near (PJ’s, jacket, hat, gloves, neck gaiter, book, light) and a lightweight bivy. If space is in demand, the jacket can be used to fill gaps in between these items.
After this I usually close the pack liner if I’m using one – inside are all the things I want to keep dry. The rest of the items don’t mind the rain, or are likely to become wet by the time I repack them: cookpot, food bag and water bladder.
At the top, my tent and pegs for immediate access (or water proofs, if I’m carrying them). On this camp I was using a tarp and ground sheet which take less packing space, so everything fits inside. Often I have to tuck the ground sheet away in some elastic I added to the bottom, outside. My sit mat fits inside this time, too:
At this stage the zip is able to close quite comfortably and anything else gets stored in an outside pocket or strapped to the back, such as tent/tarp poles, fuel, and rubbish if I’m on my return journey. Compression straps are secured and I’m off: