Balance your load

Your trek through the Himalayas is one of the most exciting experiences you will ever have. There is a lot of planning to do: where will you camp, who you will trek with, and what supplies you will need. But remember, even if you bring the perfect supplies, your pack can be out of balance if it is not properly loaded. If possible, you may want to load your pack at home before you even depart for the Himalayas. You can take the time to carefully inspect each item and make sure that you have everything you need before you even depart. Load it correctly, zip it up, then check it at the airport, and you won’t have to think about it until you are ready to trek.

The Bottom Of Your Bag

As a general rule of thumb, load the bottom of your pack with items you won’t need until later in the trekking day. This will almost always mean your sleeping bag and sleeping pad, but could also be sleepwear, a pillowcase, or any items you will want to use at night. Don’t shove your headlamp down there assuming that you won’t need it until night falls. Your light source should always be easily accessible and stored in the top of the pack or preferably in an outside pocket.

The Top Of Your Bag

Many people assume that the very bottom of the pack should be loaded with the heaviest items, but that’s not the case. The heaviest items should be centered, on top of the sleeping bag, and close to the spine. Most modern packs ride close to the body, so if heavy items are too low, the pack will sag on the shoulders, and if they are too high, your center of balance will be affected. Heavy items are usually things like foodstuffs (try not to load anything with a pungent smell directly next to your sleeping bag), water, and any food preparation tools.

Margins and Pockets

Always make sure that the essentials are easy to access. Your headlamp or flashlight, bug spray, sunglasses, sunscreen, compass, and first-aid kit are all things that you will either be using often or will want to use quickly. If possible, stash these items in an external pocket or top pocket. Use lightweight items like rain jackets and your tent body to buffer and stabilize the heavy items in your pack. You don’t want things moving around and shifting as you walk, so try to fill up empty spaces.

Use these guidelines to balance your pack, and you will be one step closer to the perfect Himalayan trek!

Ryan Franklin is a blogger who lives in Teterboro. He writes about adventure travel, backpacking, and jet charter.

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