Pack For Trail And Travel
By Karen Berger
Photographs by John R. Fulton, Jr.
On most outings, Boy Scouts and Venturers load their backpacks into a trailer, car trunk, or SUV and then drive to a nearby campsite. Sometimes, though, high adventure treks take troops and crews farther from home, and the best way to get there is either on a bus or plane. That's why it is important to pack for both trail and travel.
Packing for the trail is all about accessibility and comfort. The general rule is: Pack lighter items toward the bottom of the pack and heavier items higher and closer to your back.
Mesh pockets on both sides of the pack are angled, making it easy to grab a Nalgene one-liter water bottle (BSA No. 02327, $9.50) without taking off the pack.
Kelty's Coyote 4750 internal frame pack (BSA No. 01586, $131.95) features top- and front-panel access and multiple zipper pockets. It is geared for medium-size hikers on multiday treks.
The Coyote pack provides a slot to thread a hydration system hose, such
as CamelBak's 100-oz. UnBottle (BSA No. 12087, $34.95).
Camp stoves and fuel bottles can travel in carry-on or checked luggage ONLY if empty of all fuel and cleaned such that vapors and residue are absent. Simply emptying the fuel container isn't good enough, because flammable vapors remain. Best advice is to ship these ahead of time since they are frequently confiscated due to fuel vapors.
Zipper locked, two-gallon freezer bags make it easy to see what is packed inside. Press air out of bags before sealing to compress their size.
The top lid of Kelty's Coyote converts to a fanny pack. It's a handy place to keep your map and compass, headlamp, and toiletries for easy access.
Keep rain gear and extra warm clothes that you might need during the day's walk in an easily accessible compartment.
Pack your tent somewhere that is accessible without taking everything else out of your pack. That way, you can easily pull it out if you have to make camp in the rain.
Pack your sleeping bag at the bottom of the pack. Stuff it into a compression sack to make it as small as possible.
Ice axes, crampons, trekking poles, knives, and other sharp metal items must be securely packed in checked luggage. If you are traveling with trekking poles be sure they fit inside your duffel. These Black Diamond Gradient Trekking Poles ($79.95) collapse to 26 inches.
Make sure your gear survives its encounter with baggage handlers by stashing all your equipmentpack, trekking poles, and even your bootsinside a large duffel bag.
Liquid fuel and compressed gas canisters cannot be carried on planes, either in checked luggage or carry-on. Plan to buy your fuel when you arrive at your destination. Strike-anywhere matches and fueled lighters are prohibited in both checked and carry-on luggage.
Karen Berger's latest book is the Hiking Light Handbook: Carry Less, Enjoy More (Mountaineers Books, 2004).
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March - April 2005 Table of Contents
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