Adjusting the weight load in your pack makes it more comfortable to wear while also preventing injuries and discomfort on the trail. Try throwing everything in your pack in a hurry and see how it feels. It might seem ok at first but a few miles down the trail, you will likely feel the effects of a mismanaged weight load. Here’s how to fix it and ensure your pack is optimized on the trail.
Our clients will often ask us about the most important things they’ll need to bring on a hunt. In addition to having quality boots, clothing layers, optics and other fundamental gear, there are three very important things that every hunter needs.
Weight Distribution 101
Pull your binoculars, tripod and anything else requiring regular and immediate access aside. Modern packs often have plenty of accessible zipper entry points, meaning everything is accessible regardless of location. You will still want optics very accessible however.
When loading your pack, look for the heaviest items and position them against your back. Keeping the weight close to your body makes it easier to shoulder and transport the weight. Think about it like this – If you grab a heavy weight or jug of water and hold it with arms stretched out, it’s far more difficult than holding it close to your body. Keep the weight close to your back, and it takes less effort and strain on your shoulders and torso to carry the load.
With the weight tight to your back, fill the outer space with lighter items. Your puffy coat, clothing and anything that isn’t a heavy tent or bulk item can fill this space. Having clothing pushed to the outer edges also makes it more accessible through side and lower zipper access points.
Accessibility to Hunting Gear
Some items require instant access regardless of weight. Things like hats, gloves, headlamp and ammunition are among those critical, in-the-moment pieces of gear. Keep extra ammo close to your body when possible as it weighs a fair amount but also have it zipper accessible.
Hats and gloves can fit in your pockets but can quickly get bulky and awkward. Take advantage of any outside zippered pockets for these items and make sure they are quickly accessible when you need them, without having to rummage around in your pack.
Binoculars are likely your most frequently used pack item. Throw in the rangefinder and spotting scope and you have a complete optics system that can’t afford to be buried deep in your pack. Use exterior lashing and pockets for the tripod. Spotting scopes require a protective case or lens covers at a minimum and they can go inside the pack. You are sitting when scopes are in use and they can afford to be buried a bit more.
It’s hard to beat a chest harness for binoculars and a rangefinder. You can stash a windage bottle in the chest holster as well. Having these things with immediate access makes it so much easier to glass on the fly or assess distance without throwing down your pack in a hurry. The weight on your chest is hardly noticeable as well.