Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Packing for Lapland: McHale Packs

I expect when hiking for 10 days in Lapland that my pack weight including food and water may be as high as 16 kg and as a consequence I need to choose wisely with my rucksack and how it is packed. For this reason I have chosen to stick with a trusted friend who has already seen me through many days of hiking on 3 continents, it is my McHale Pack. This pack may not be the lightest pack, but its flexibility in design and carrying capacity along with “always feeling right” when I put it on has ensured its position as my pack of choice when hiking. The customizability of the pack has enabled me to adjust it to the requirements of the trip. The modular aspect of the pack includes a roll top or removable lid with a pocket, different hipbelt pockets depending on the trip, water bottle pockets, or not. As well I have found that the lid can be removed and made into a simple day pack with sufficient capacity to carry wet weather gear, a litre of water along with food for a day walk from a base camp.

So how does everything go inside? The volume is not a problem but I normally pack everything inside a large plastic bag and to help with decreasing volume Dave Wood (Red Yeti) has suggested that the use of Sea to Summit liners can be used to compress sleeping bags (and tents) into flat “pancake” shapes which use space more efficiently within a pack than the traditional stuff sacks, I have also found this to be true and well worth the few extra grams over the spinn sacks I have used in the past. The remainder of my gear is either packed in spinn sacks or packed loose to fill every nook and cranny of the pack.