What Can You Fit in Your Backpack?
There’s no shortage of ideas, tools and resources that are designed to help us to prepare for a SHTF situation. As we build our stockpile, collect supplies and get deep in the throws of prepping, it quickly becomes apparent that we have a lot of stuff. While all of these things may look good from the comfort of our home, we will have to leave many items behind if we need to bug-out.
We will be forced to make some difficult decisions when that time comes, especially if we need to put all of our resources into the space of a backpack. The challenge is to decide what to take with us and what to leave behind. Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t really think about these details until it’s too late.
Space is at a Premium
You only have so much space to work with, and weight is also a big issue to factor into the equation. While you can stuff your backpack with as much clothing and gear as possible, you may find that it is too heavy to carry long distances without placing strain on your body. Its important to take some time to really assess what you need and what you can do without.
We all know that resources for water purification, food, first aid and some rudimentary tools are essential components to include in a backpack. We also need to include some form of sheltering material, extra clothing, batteries, fire-starting items, cooking supplies and tools to hunt or fish with. All of these items are essential, but they will also take up a lot of space.
Compaction is Key
Obviously, you will want to make everything as compact as possible. One of the best ways to maximize available space is to place items inside of larger items. Look at how much stuff you can shove into an Altoids tin or prescription bottle. Think about what you can put into pockets or between the folds in clothing. Take things out of their original packing, reduce the quantity of certain items and do whatever you can to make good use of existing spaces.
Downsize whenever possible. Buy a smaller flashlight, use smaller or flatter cookware and limit clothing to items that you absolutely need based on where you will be heading. Consider purchasing a simple multi-tool that can fold up and be stored in a pocket of your backpack. Choose one towel that is absorbent and place toiletries into smaller bottles. These simple steps can help you to take only what you need and use that extra space for more essential items. Remember that less is definitely more when it comes to backpacking.
Use the Outside
One great way to maximize space is to secure items to the outside of your backpack. Good backpacks have plenty of straps, loops and pockets on the outside that are just waiting to be used. Take advantage of them and see how a little bit of reorganization is all that you need to free up space on the inside.
Take Little More than What You Need
You want to whittle down supplies so you end up taking just a little bit more than you plan on needing. It may make more sense to include fishing and hunting gear so you can get your own food than to load up on bulky and heavy products. You probably don’t need 100 bandages or a dozen rolls of toilet paper. Chances are that you will get by without those two extra pair of shoes. You get the idea. Go through everything, remove what you don’t need and see how much extra space you are able to free up.
Remember that a survival backpack is intended to provide you with short-term supplies. Therefore, don’t worry about bringing everything but the kitchen sink with you. Take some time to pack, unpack and whittle down your supplies before packing again. Make your backpack as efficient as possible so you end up with items that you really need instead of using that valuable space for dead weight.