|Whether you're hiking 20 kilometers per day on the trail or portaging 1 kilometer to the next lake, your pack contains your home! It has to securely contain everything you need for your living needs ... shelter, clothes, cooking and health. It must allow you to comfortably carry its contents for extended distances. Part of walking safely with your pack is having both your hands free .. free to grab a tree for support .. free to swat at a black fly .. free to break your fall .. free to reach for your camera .. free to undo the pack's straps in an emergency. Holding an extra bag across your chest, tucking paddles and lifejackets under your arms or lugging a cooler along are not safe practices.
One of the greatest planning challenges is getting everything you need fitted into or strapped on to your pack, within both the pack's dimensions and the weight limit that you can manage. You have to predetermine what weight you can honestly manage on the trail or portage.
The remaining available weight comprises your supplies or "consumables" which vary depending on the season, activity levels and length of your trip ...food, water, fuel, batteries, film, toiletries, etc. Ultimately, the amount of supplies you can carry determines the maximum duration and distance of your trip. The process of "pre-packing" becomes an integral part of planning your trip.
Your selection of the type of pack has to suite your intended activities.