External VS. Internal Frame
Packs: What is the difference?
Internal frame packs have
soft frames built into the pack. They are basically one large bag.
Different-colored stuff sacks for each section of your gear, such as
food, clothing, toiletries and stove fuel can prevent you from dismantling
everything to grab what you need. The things you use the most during your hike,
such as a camera, map, a jacket, candy bars, compass or guidebook, should be
tucked in aside pocket or on the top within easy reach. Internal frame packs
are invaluable when climbing or hiking difficult terrain because they
well-balanced and hug the body tightly and comfortably. The likelihood of
snagging the pack on branches as you walk is less with an internal frame.
Rigid external frame
packs allows backpackers to carry heavy loads more comfortably than with an
internal frame pack. Many hikers choose this style for extended trips.
They usually have more pockets and internal compartments than internal frame
packs and items can be strapped onto the frame in the back.
What is the
best way to pack a backpack?
Generally, try to keep the
heaviest part of your load centered close to your back and shoulder blades. Each
person's center of gravity is different as is each backpack. How one person
loads a backpack may not be ideal for another.
Some women find that putting
heavier items at the bottom of the pack is best for their balance simply because
a woman's center of gravity tends to be lower than a man's. Some backpacks
designed for women ride lower, with the weight concentrated near their waist.
The sleeping bag rides on top of the pack on some of these packs. Experiment to
see what works best for you.
Washing, Bathing & Keeping
Swim away and downstream from
camp. Do all bathing, clothes washing and pot scrubbing well back from
the shores of lakes and streams. Prevent pollution by keeping soap and
detergent out of all waters.
How to keep clean with a
small amount of water?
Well, first, you can't worry
about staying too clean out on the trail. Here is a suggestion: Take a bowl of
warm water and a baby wipe. Start with your face and work your way down. Use a
backcountry towel for both a washcloth and a towel. You can even dry your hair
When is it safe to drink
All wilderness water taken out
of streams or wilderness sources should be treated through either filtration,
purification or boiling.
Clean up and
How much do I really have to
"carry out" when I go backpacking?
Everything. Burying garbage is
no longer acceptable. Park and Forest Services prohibit digging pits. In most
areas soil is too shallow: animals and the elements expose the garbage, and
erosion starts. Burn everything you can burn. Pack out everything that won't
burn--cans, bottles, old clothing, foil and large pieces of plastic. Cans can be
carried out most easily if both ends are cut out, and the cans washed or burned
and then flattened. Many backpackers use zip-lock bags to carry in food and
supplies. As you consume food, convert the bags to garbage bags for your
wastepaper, toilet paper and sanitary supplies. Make sure your waste is securely
stored, or even double-bagged, so it does not leak or spill onto food or
clothing in your backpack. Double check for litter--bits of paper on the ground
and clothing left hanging on the trees. Leave your campsite cleaner than you
found it. If you have the energy and initiative, carry out any other trash you
What kind of fuel should I
Butane is light, clean and
requires no pumping or priming to produce an instant flame and is good for
summer use. It's easy. Plug a cartridge into your stove, turn it on and
light it. Use white gas or unleaded fuel in the winter. This fuel is inexpensive
and produces a lot of heat for those campers in the winter who melt snow for
drinking water. Don't store fuel in your stove's tank for extended periods and
replace your fuel every season. Fuel should be drained at the end of the
season or burned off to prevent impurities from clogging the fuel lines and
Stoves should be carried to
timberline and all areas where wood is in short supply. The least
possible damage is done when stoves are used. They are clean and do not scar a