How to Pack a Backpack Using the ABCDFS Method
How many ways can you pack a backpack? Well, I’m sure there’s endless ways. The ABCDFS Method was taught to us by our videographer Ren Barrus of Mountain Light Creative. He’s a mountain guide. He knows stuff. So, here’s the breakdown:
A – Accessibility
Pack in the reverse order in which you will need gear. For example, you shouldn’t need your sleeping bag until camp, therefore, your sleeping bag is one of the first items packed. You may need quick access to items like snacks, bug spray, sun protection, or a rain jacket so those items are typically packed last, or somewhere accessible from the outside of the pack.
B – Balanced
Hiking for miles on uneven terrain and even sometimes forging rivers, crossing log bridges, and rock hopping, is hazardous with an uneven or unbalanced pack. Ensure that heavy items are either centered, or equally dispersed throughout.
C – Compressed
Utilize all the space available in your pack. Compress your clothes, food, accessories so that no space is unfilled.
D – Dry
You only have to show up to camp one time with a wet sleeping bag, tent, or clothes and that will be the last. It’s miserable. Ensure to keep your gear dry by stuffing items in dry compression sacks, utilizing an interior liner like a garbage bag, and using a rain cover. Also, it’s best to keep your water separate from the inside of your pack if possible. Most Osprey packs now offer an exterior pocket for your water bladder ensuring that if an accident occurs, items inside your pack stay dry.
F = Fuel
In rare occasions, fuel canisters can leak. To prevent fuel leaks affecting your food supply, always pack your fuel below your food bag.
S = Streamlined
Remember that one time you went backpacking and you had just as many items strapped to the outside of your pack as you had inside your pack. If not, well, it happens. Whether we picked a pack too small for our adventure, or we over-planned and tacked on all the extras, it’s easy to see exterior pack straps as opportunities to haul more stuff. Resist temptation, and haul what you need but make sure the vast majority of it is inside your bag. You know, streamlined.
Now you know the ABCDFS’s of packing a backpack. Reciting those letters for some reason reminds me of the Princess Bride’s ROUS’s or Rodents of Unusual Size for the unfortunate few who may be unfamiliar.
This may or may not help when you pack your Granite Gear for a 5 day trip to the Winds, but you should grab your pack, walk into the woods, and sleep under the stars. That helps everything.