Author Topic: Fine details of gear placement  (Read 945 times)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #15 on: 09:04:46, 22/03/21 »
As a day walker who only carries what he needs for the day, the positioning of my stuff is purely down to convenience. For example, so I can reach behind me to access the lower pouch containing my hat and gloves without me having to stop. I carry things like snacks, keys and phone on the hip belt - again so as not to have to stop.

But whatever one carries, I agree with Richard that balance and posture are the main aims. Having to lean forward isn't good, because it affects the ability to breathe.

As an aside, I never tighten the hip belt. I clip it together at the front of course, but I wear it very loose to allow a good flow of air to my upper body. I don't use the chest strap either for the same reason. So the weight is carried entirely by the shoulder straps and where the corners of the air-frame touch my lower back.

gunwharfman

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #16 on: 10:45:38, 22/03/21 »
We are all so different. Fascinating.

When I put my rucksack on I pull my shoulder straps down to fit comfortably over my clavicle bones but I keep them just about loose. I then position and tighten my hip strap just below my Iliac Crest, once secure (this is the most important decision for me) I then tighten my shoulder straps properly. I then do a little shoulder and hip wiggle to 'feel' how the rucksack is sitting on my back. I then adjust if necessary, and once satisfied I then clip my chest strap, not loose but not tight either. For me it's my little ritual, I can't move on until it feels right.

Patrick1

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #17 on: 10:51:19, 22/03/21 »
...would any among you support the contrary idea that lower placement of heaviest items should prove easier to carry...


The reason heavy things are easier when carried higher up is about centre of gravity. To stay upright your centre of gravity has to be above your feet. Putting a pack on your back moves your centre of gravity backwards, and you need to lean forwards to compensate.

Leaning forwards basically involves pivoting at the hips. So, if the weight in that pack is low down, near your hips, you have to lean a long way forwards before you bring your centre of gravity back over your feet. If, however, the weight is high up, then just a small tilt forwards is enough to compensate and to bring you back into balance. Since walking along bent double is both uncomfortable and inefficient, the higher (and closer to you) you can carry the weight the easier it is to walk.

Extrapolating from this would conclude that, as Richard says above, on your head is the ideal, involving no shift of your centre of gravity at all. But failing this, keep the heavy items as high as possible and as close to your back as possible.
« Last Edit: 11:00:59, 22/03/21 by Patrick1 »

windyrigg

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #18 on: 11:46:37, 22/03/21 »
Sorry to add to the confusion, but I disagree with putting all the heavy kit at the top. I pack to avoid bumps sticking into my back, but so the weight is transmitted through the hip belt. A would expect a heavy weight high up and off the centre line to unbalance the pack and me. It's worse with those packs where the back is padded well off the spine (if they're not already full of snow).

gunwharfman

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #19 on: 12:04:06, 22/03/21 »
I'm with Windyrigg on this one, I prefer the weight at the top, I just cannot function with it at the bottom. I've even seen people with a swinging tube of tent or something similar strapped to the bottom of their rucksack. The feel of that constantly tap, tap, tapping at the base of my buttocks when walking along would drive me mad!

richardh1905

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #20 on: 14:06:07, 22/03/21 »
I'm with Windyrigg on this one, I prefer the weight at the top, I just cannot function with it at the bottom. I've even seen people with a swinging tube of tent or something similar strapped to the bottom of their rucksack. The feel of that constantly tap, tap, tapping at the base of my buttocks when walking along would drive me mad!


Ah yes, the stereotypical hiker with a frame rucksack and tent poles, camping mats, mugs, kitchen sink strapped onto the outside of their pack! Would drive me mad  - the only thing on the outside of my pack would be an ice axe or walking poles.


..although I once did a 'walk in' to a spot high in the Pyrenees with a full sized baguette strapped across the top of my rucksack - that particular brainwave didn't end well.
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain

Perranwell

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #21 on: 14:54:19, 22/03/21 »
Other than bottled water, which gets sort of mid carried in my side pockets, I try to keep my weightier items spread out equally inside the rucksack, so that there is no heavy spot. I split up my inner tent, fly, poles, and stakes to help with that.

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I don't know anything about the science. But I had an external-frame Karrimor from the 70s to 1991 (when it got nicked), and that carried very high on the back and above the shoulders. I remember it being very comfortable; but I presume the scientific thinking behind those has been superseded.


The move to carrying more weight on the hips makes some sense to me. But my instinct is that it's overkill when the shoulder straps do little except hold the pack on straight. I once worked loading sacks at a mill, and shoulders were our beasts of burden, so it's a shame to waste what they can do. Therefore my view is that for pack carrying weight should be shared between shoulders the hips, which is why I try to distribute weight evenly throughout my pack. I'd rather have a bigger rucksack than have to stick items on the outside.

Patrick1

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #22 on: 15:21:13, 22/03/21 »
I think its incorrect to suggest that putting the weight in a rucksack low down means you carry more of that weight on your hips. At least in a framed rucksack, the frame should allow the bag to be treated as a single rigid container, with the weight distribution between hips and shoulders dependent on the relative tightness of the straps. Keeping the weight high up will allow it to have less effect on your centre of gravity while the frame does the work of transferring that weight to your hips. It may be slightly different in an unframed rucksack, but even there there's usually some back stiffening to try and fulfill the same purpose.

Casual Ambler

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richardh1905

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #24 on: 17:04:02, 22/03/21 »
I think its incorrect to suggest that putting the weight in a rucksack low down means you carry more of that weight on your hips. At least in a framed rucksack, the frame should allow the bag to be treated as a single rigid container, with the weight distribution between hips and shoulders dependent on the relative tightness of the straps. Keeping the weight high up will allow it to have less effect on your centre of gravity while the frame does the work of transferring that weight to your hips. It may be slightly different in an unframed rucksack, but even there there's usually some back stiffening to try and fulfill the same purpose.


Agree - in fact, I suspect that a lot of weight down low will make you lean forward more, with bad posture and more strain placed upon the shoulder straps.
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain

gunwharfman

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #25 on: 17:44:50, 22/03/21 »
When I carry my tarp (just a rectangle of material) and my groundsheet, another rectangle, I just wrap them around my 2-piece sliding tarp pole and then slide them all into a 'sausage' shaped nylon bag. The bag is then strapped horizontally across the top of my rucksack, the width is less than the width of my shoulders.

When I hike with my tent I don't take the tarp pole with me, my tent, poles, and tent pegs are slid into a larger 'sausage' shaped nylon bag and secured in the same way horizontally across the top of my rucksack. My groundsheet is folded into one of my rucksack sidepockets and the width is also less than the width of my shoulders.

The rest of my stuff, except for my whistle and small plastic cup, is packed inside my rucksack.

Davidedgarjones

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #26 on: 17:52:19, 22/03/21 »
I only do day walks so: At the bottom are emergency kit and survival bag in winter. Then spare clothing, Drinks in bottles either side of the clothing; then food on top of that. Small items in lid pocket - gloves, buff, windproof specs.
Waist belt pouch has compass, whistle, monocular, magnifier for maps. Map is in the main compartment or around my neck in map case when needed for navigation. Phone with OS mapping is in a jacket pocket. This all fits into a 35 litre pack.
Dave

NeilC

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Re: Fine details of gear placement
« Reply #27 on: 17:16:44, 23/03/21 »
I must say I've not really noticed much difference however I pack it.
I tend to pack it for convenience - stuff I need on the actual walk near the top, camping stuff at the bottom.


I have my sleeping bag at the very bottom as it is soft and conforms to the pack shape making it space efficient. Tent minus the poles on that, poles vertical on one side (inside the pack) then food/stove, clothes and finally extra top and waterproofs on top so they're easy to grab when needed. Side pockets usually have food and water in them. Top flat pocket has loads of crap I would otherwise lose - phone, keys, torch, batteries, first aid - all the small bits.