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How To… Put On Your Loaded Pack

A common mistake made by beginners is to lift a pack by a shoulder strap. Not only can this damage and prematurely wear out your shoulder harness, it also makes it difficult to control your pack as you try to wrestle it onto your back.

Instead, follow these steps and you’ll be able to smoothly hoist even a heavily loaded pack from the ground to your back:

          • Loosen all of your straps slightly to make the pack easier to slip on.
          • Tilt your pack to an upright position on the ground.
          • Stand next to the back panel; have your legs well apart and knees bent.
          • Grab the haul loop (the webbing loop at the top of the back panel on your pack).
          • Lift and slide the pack up to your thigh and let it rest; keep your hand on the haul loop for control.
          • Slip your other arm and shoulder through one shoulder strap until your shoulder is cradled by the padding.
          • Lean forward and swing the pack onto your back. Now slip the hand that was holding the haul loop through the other shoulder strap.
          • Buckle up and make your usual fit adjustments.

Practice the art of hoisting a backpack at home. If you can easily remove (and re hoist) your pack at every rest stop, you can stretch out fatigued muscles and finish your walk with more energy at the end of the day.