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Packing a backpack correctly

Subchapter: Pack a backpack

Packing a backpack correctly

Alpine climbers need to pack light. Whether for the approach or on the rock face: To ensure maximum freedom of movement, only take the equipment that you really need. It is important to pay attention to every single gram when packing your backpack. You’ll also need to pack it smartly and ensure it fits optimally.

With large backpacks, it can be tempting to use the full capacity. That’s why climbing backpacks with a volume of 25 liters are ideal. All the important equipment will fit in one of these. For alpine route, it should have a slim fit, be tight-fitting and lightweight. Useful additions such as a side zipper are also helpful, so that you can quickly access the equipment you are looking for. Your equipment should be stored in your backpack so that it has an optimal center of gravity and important equipment is always easily accessible.

We divide climbing backpacks into four “packing areas”:

PACKING  YOUR BACKPACK
1
2
3
4

PACKING  YOUR BACKPACK
1
Lid compartment
PACKING  YOUR BACKPACK
2
Back
PACKING  YOUR BACKPACK
3
Outside
PACKING  YOUR BACKPACK
4
Bottom

LID COMPARTMENT

Small items such as a cell phone, nuts or a climbing guidebook are ideally placed in the lid compartment where they can be reached quickly.

BACKPACK PACKING

BACK

Heavy equipment such as quickdraws, camming devices and other climbing equipment should be as close to the body as possible without the metal parts being able to push into the back (position across the backpack). This optimally transfers the load to the pelvis via the hip belt. At the same time, the heavy equipment should not be too high up, otherwise the backpack will start to sway.

BACKPACK PACKING

OUTSIDE

Medium-weight items such as clothing can go towards the outside at the top. A harness and slings can be placed towards the outside at the bottom.

BOTTOM

Lightweight equipment such as a bivi bag, first aid kit or hardshell should go at the bottom. A circumferential zipper is helpful to keep these items accessible.

Finally, we can push the rope into the backpack from the top or secure it under the lid using the rope attachment (between area 1 and 2/3). A helmet can either be placed on the rope in the backpack or, if it has a rope attachment, attached under the rope as the last thing to go in the backpack.

Check your equipment list

Got everything? Check your equipment with the ORTOVOX equipment list!

Adjusting your backpack

The better a backpack is adjusted to fit an individual climber, the easier it is to carry and provide sufficient freedom of movement on the rocks.

The following five steps describe how to optimally adjust your climbing backpack:

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5

OPEN ALL BUCKLES AND LOOSEN THE STRAPS

This includes the shoulder straps, load-adjuster straps, and the hip and chest straps.

POSITION HIP FINS

2/3 of the weight of the backpack is on your hips. Correctly positioning the hip belt is therefore crucial

  1. Put on backpack
  2. Position both hip fins centrally over your hip bones
  3. Close the buckle and tighten the belt

TIGHTEN THE SHOULDER STRAPS

The shoulder straps should be positioned centrally on your shoulder blades. Don’t adjust them too tightly, as the main load should be on your hips. Your shoulders should bear 20 to 30 percent of the load.

TIGHTEN THE LOAD ADJUSTER STRAPS

The load adjuster straps can be used to adjust the position of the backpack. On difficult terrain, the straps should be pulled tight. This will ensure your backpack sits close to your body and does not swing.

FASTEN AND ADJUST THE CHEST STRAP

This ensures that the shoulder straps do not slip. Only tighten it slightly and position it at a comfortable height.

Backpack advisor

Are you unsure which backpack is right for your tour? The ORTOVOX backpack advisor will help you find the right climbing backpack!

Next chapter

ON THE ROCK FACE

03 - On the rock face

From the approach to the summit and back again safely: The next chapter will teach you essential alpine know-how that you and your rope partner will need on the rocks.

Go to next chapter

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