Thursday, July 9, 2009

Campmor's guide to loading your Internal Frame Pack

Today’s blog is based on Campmor’s Backpacking Cheat Sheet, which has tips on how to pack internal and external frame packs. Each style of pack reacts to loads, the terrain and the wearer differently. Packing each appropriately can be the difference between the wearer having a good time and a great time.

For now, I’m going to go over packing Internal Frame Packs. It is especially important to pack internals correctly, as an unbalanced load will be more readily apparent.

One of the benefits of internal frame backpacks is that they sit close to your body, for a mores stable carry. Packing your sleeping bag, or other soft light items, in the bottom of your pack is important because this area of the pack presses on the lumbar region of your back. Trust me; you do NOT want some heavy lumpy thing pressing into your lumbar area all day.

You want to keep the heaviest items in your pack close to your back, between the top of your hip belt and shoulders. This keeps your pack from pulling you backwards and putting strain on your shoulders. It also helps put more of the weight on your hips, where it is easier to carry. What is the heaviest thing you carry? It is probably your water. I carry the bulk of my water in a hydration bladder, flat against my back. For easy drinking access, you can use a hydration system or keep a water bottle or two in your side pocket(s) for easy access.

In the very top part of the main compartment, you want to keep things you might need quick easy access to, throughout the day. I keep my rain gear and pack cover stashed there, so they’re handy to grab. You never know when a storm will pop up. If rain seems imminent, I put my rain gear in the hood and put my pack cover on my pack. In cooler weather, I also keep and an additional layer handy to throw on at rest stops.
In the top hood of your pack, you want to pack some of your other lighter items, th
at you may need throughout the day. For me, that includes my First Aid Kit, Bug Dope, a Head Lamp, and a Bandanna.

When packing an internal frame pack, try not to tie too much to the outside of your pack, because the additional weight will tend to pull you backwards. The only thing I keep on the outside of my pack is my sleeping pad (on short trips I can fit this inside).

Remember to pack your load firmly. If you don’t, you’ll waste a lot of energy, compensating for a consistently shifting load. If your pack has compression straps use them.


Monday, June 8, 2009

CAMPMOR Back To Basics!

Campmor stocks loads of products you need for just about any outdoor fun, from bug spray and first aid kits to inflatable mattresses - even a kid-powered ice cream maker that you can use at camp, or at your next tailgate (be sure to check your local child labor laws). Campmor has got you covered! Throughout this series, we’ll reacquaint you with the basics for car camping, day hiking, paddle sports, cycling and much more. Yes! Even in today’s tough times, you can still get out and have fun, even though Uncle Bernie stiffed you. Check out the sample selection below. It will get a family of four out car camping, and includes most everything you need to “get back to basics” of having fun again.

A quality tent can make or break your trip. We recommend the Eureka Fourway 9x9 5-Person Tent with 4 Windows. This tent is large enough to accommodate a family of four with, perhaps some room left over for Fido, or Grandma if she’s spry. Protect your investment with these basics: Prevent rips in your tent floor with a Ground Cloth as a cheaper alternative, and apply some Seam Sealer to protect your tent and its contents - less expensive and cleaner than the sleazy motel you passed on the way to the park.

Sleeping Bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, like mummy vs. rectangular, long length vs. regular, or even left vs. right zipper. A great place to get started is this Kelty Eclipse 35 Degree Rectangular Sleeping Bag. Its synthetic insulation should keep you warm, spring, summer or fall.

Camp cooking can be as simple as boiling water or as elaborate as you want it to be. Whatever you plan on cooking, you’re going to need some kitchen basics! The Open Country 6 Person Camp Cook Set will get you off to a great start, containing a few pots and pans for whatever you are cooking, and a some plates to serve it on. And here’s the GSI Outdoors Camp Gourmet Deluxe 23 Piece Kitchen Set which should keep you covered for utensils and your kitchen tools. Should you need some seasonings to spice up your meal, check out the Multi Spice Shaker It’s even great to keep on your desk at work! You never know when you will need to add some cayenne pepper to a Lean Cuisine.

The Texsport Deluxe Dual Burner Propane Stove gets things cooking. It has two burners and uses easy to find recyclable propane cylinders.

After dinner is a great time to gather the family by the campfire for marshmallow roasting, settled into some comfortable Campmor Armchairs. The built-in drink holders are convenient, and our tailgate testers tell us they do a fine job holding a cold one.

A water carrier like the Reliance 5 Gallon Fold-A-Carrier cuts down on water runs, but don't forget to pick up a few water bottles like the Nalgene HDPE Wide Mouth Loop Top 1 Quart BPA Free Bottle for hikes away from camp.

The Outdoor Products Element Daypack is an easy way to carry those water bottles as well as the Campmor Camp Medical Kit – a must have.

Where am I going to keep all this stuff? Try the bargain Deluxe Zippered 24 x 42 Canvas Duffel Bag It will help keep all of your smaller items together, for your next outing.

Now, you just need to find a place to start your next adventure. Check out the National Parks Service website located at and start planning!