Packing is fundamental to any adventure preparation but it can be a daunting task if it’s not something you do often. While the contents of your pack is of course totally dependent on the requirements of your environment and the substance of your adventure, there are certain techniques which will make packing and accessing your kit a far more simple and effective operation.
Using a system of drybags is not only a great way to protect your kit but also a fantastic option for separating and categorising specific items in a way that makes sense to you and how you plan to use them. Below we make the case for using dry bags on any overnight adventure.
Perhaps the most obvious use of the drybag is protection. The clue is in the name – if your pack gets soaked, the best way to keep your kit dry is of course to seal it in drybags. But not all drybags are created equal. If you’re just looking to keep kit rainproof inside your pack, most drybags will offer ample protection. If your adventure means you’re close to or on a water course or in the sea, you’ll be after something a little more robust.
An Overboard 100% waterproof bag is a useful addition if kayaking or packrafting for example is part of your adventure. By placing all your kit inside a fully waterproof bag like this you can be confident it will stay dry. For everyday trekking, your pack should offer a pretty good level of protection from the rain, and probably has it’s own waterproof cover, so something more lightweight should do the job.
Either way peace of mind goes a long way for remote adventure. There is little worse than discovering at the end of your day, you have only soggy clothes and food. Being 100% certain you’ve got a dry change of clothes and sleeping system at the end of the day might just be the motivation you need to keep moving day after day.
Packing into separate drybags will make locating specific items and correctly weighting your pack a much simpler task. For example, group together similar types, such as clothes, toiletries, and food will help keep your kit neat and quickly accessible. Colour-coded bags or bags with a clear window so you can see their contents can save you a lot of time and frustration when you’re trying to find a specific cable or pehaps your toothbrush in bad weather at the end of a long day. EXPED Clear Sight DryBags are a great option here.
It’s also well worth taking a spare drybag with you for stashing wet or dirty clothes. Not only will you avoid the inside of your rucksack becoming wet and smelly but you’ll be able to separate so you’ll immediately know what’s been worn and what hasn’t.
By grouping individual items packed into drybags, you can keep separate systems together making packing more straight forward. For example, by grouping your sleeping bag, mat and evening base layers together and packing at the bottom of your rucksack you’ll be able to ensure they stay dry and together for when you need them. It’ll also allow you to form a foundation of bulk and weight at the bottom of your pack to place the rest of your kit around and ensuring the pack remains comfortable and stable for the duration of your adventure. Equally, by grouping awkwardly shaped items together like your stove and cooking equipment means you can keep them at the front of your rucksack and away from digging into your back.
Fitting everything you need for an extended or totally self-supported adventure in your rucksack can be like a real life, stress inducing game of Tetris with the odds stacked against you. In this instance a compression sack could be the key. Softer items such as your sleeping bag or clothing can probably be squashed down in a compression sack by squeezing the air out of the bags. The more air you eliminate from a dry bag, the less space the item takes up.