A well-packed backpack can enable you to carry around all the gear that you need to get through the day. Weight distribution is critical. Packing items in the right places can reduce the burden on your shoulders, neck and spine.
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1. Know Your Backpack Zones
Think of your backpack as being divided into three zones: top, bottom and core (middle). Proper distribution in each zone ensures that the weight of the backpack is centered on the back and does not put extra pressure on the upper or lower portions of the back. Tightening the straps to ensure good compression on the back also helps prevent the weight of the backpack from becoming a burden.
2. Bottom Zone Items
Bottom zone items are bulky and sometimes heavy. Typical bottom zone items include jackets, notebooks and pen cases. Sometimes a sweater may be used to fill the bottom zone. This creates a soft round bottom for the backpack wearer and prevents pokey items from becoming uncomfortable. Typically, the bottom zone is reserved for the largest items in the backpack.
3. Core Zone Items
Core zone items are usually the most heavy. Often there is a lot of overlap between bottom zone and core zone items. Books and mobile devices like laptops are commonly found in the core zone. When filling the middle and bottom of the backpack, keep in mind that empty spaces in the backpack can make the bag floppy and unstable. Fill empty spaces with small items to ensure that the bag is densely packed.
4. Top Zone Items
Top zone items are lightweight, miscellaneous items and items that need to be accessed frequently and easily. Your battery charger and other EDC are good for the top of the backpack.
5. Accessory Pockets
Accessory pockets are small side pockets and front pockets that can be easily accessed without taking off the backpack. Phones and wallets are common items that people place in the accessory pockets. When thinking about overall weight distribution in the backpack, keep the weight evenly distributed over both sides. This helps prevent either side of the body from becoming strained while wearing the bag.