Picking and Packing a Rucksack
Picking and Packing a Rucksack
I can’t overemphasize the importance of having a good fitting, well packed rucksack and this “Tip” is to try to explain the best way of achieving this – Based on my own experiences for over 20 years of Long Distance walking, Trekking in Nepal and Camino Walking
First of all, choosing your rucksack.
Rucksacks come in many different shapes and sizes, so you need to have an idea of the volume of the equipment that you are going to carry, I have never seen any reason for buying an overly small rucksack, and then strapping extra items on the outside (Tents and Carry- Mats being the exception to this “rule”).
There are Rucksacks specifically designed for females (After all, Females and Males differ in shape so it’s Definitely not a “One Size Fits All”.
Many rucksacks have double entries and /or are compartmentalised, so these can be useful as t you can keep lighter things like your sleeping bag in the bottom section, while still having it easily accessible at the end of a day’s walking without having to unpack the rest of your rucksack to get at it. The main downside is that you then can’t use a one piece rucksack liner.
Modern Rucksacks have several adjusting points so that you raise and lower the ride height, Lengthen and Shorten the shoulder straps, waist belt and chest strap, as well as adjustments to tension the sides to bring the bottom of the rucksack into the waist belt and also an adjustment to bring the top of the rucksack in towards your back. This all might sound a little confusing at first, so if you are at all unsure then it is worthwhile buying your rucksack from a reputable outdoor shop as then the assistant can explain what all the adjustments do as well as roughly fit your chosen back to your own body.
Packing your Rucksack
The first thing to mention is that rucksacks aren’t waterproof, so you either need to use some kind of liner, or pack things into waterproof bags before putting them into your rucksack (Some rucksacks now have rain covers and these are useful as they keep the outside of your rucksack reasonably dry, but rain still gets down the back of them, so you should still take the additional measures to help ensure that your kit is dry at the end of your days walking, no matter what the weather has thrown at you)
Personally I use the Rucksack Pro-Tector
as apart from it protecting your rucksack on the journey to the starting point of your walk, it has valuable second function as a water resistant liner for the inside of your pack.
The most common myth is that you pack your heaviest items into the bottom of your rucksack
So – Ideally you want have light items in the bottom, the heaviest items in the middle and light items on the top. The reason for this is that the centre of balance of your rucksack will reflect the centre of balance of your body – If heavy items are packed in the bottom, this pulls your rucksack down and increases the weight on your waist strap, therefore you have to keep this overly tight to prevent the rucksack slipping down and when this happens it increases the weight on your shoulder straps causing you sore shoulders as well as an increased risk of back pain.
You also want to ensure that you distribute the weight evenly left and right inside your rucksack, therefore keeping it evenly balanced – You would be surprised at the number of walkers that I have seen wearing rucksacks tilted over to one side, this putting extra strain on one side of the body and again increasing the risks of back and shoulder pain.
Finally, once your rucksack is fully packed, you then need to fine tune the adjustments.
Before putting the rucksack on, ensure that all the compartments are buckled / zipped up and compression straps are adequately tensioned
Then put your rucksack on - The waist strap needs to be snug enough so that it is carrying the bulk of the weight of the rucksack, the shoulder straps need to be reasonably snug, but not over tight so that there is a slight gap when standing between the shoulder strap and the top ofyour shoulders, you should also pull your chest strap reasonably tight to help prevent any movement. The bottom tension adjusters should be pulled in evenly so that your rucksack is a snug fit to the waste strap and the top tension adjuster should be pulled in so that the rucksack is parallel to your body when standing upright.
As you start to walk, you will no doubt find that small adjustments are needed, getting the ride height takes a little bit of doing, there isn’t a simple answer to this but personally, I find that a higher ride height is more comfortable than a lower one
When ascending a big hill, it is worthwhile loosening the top tension adjusters and letting the rucksack fall back a centimetre or two as we naturally tend to lean forwards when going uphill, so by loosening them off a little it keeps your rucksack upright.
I Hope that you find the above info useful - It might well sound like you have an awful lot to do before even taking the first steps of your walk, but I would Definitely Recommend that you choose the right rucksack and pack it carefully as an ill fitting rucksack is something that can Ruin an otherwise wonderful trekking experience
- Hiking and Walking
- Adventure Travel
You will probably have read a lot about the Basque terrorist group ETA. You will even find a lot of posters in the streets supporting its activities. It is even possible that you encounter some demonstrations or even riots, but this is not very usual and is not dangerous for the visitors.
DEUSTO: Lehendakari Aguirre St.
Lehendakari Aguirre Street in Deusto, is the main st. in this neightbourhood. It´s a very active street during the day, many people walking, students going to the university, shopping centers, etc.
But the situation changes at night. In the last year it has become the party area for some marginal groups. South americans, north africans, gypsies, prostitutes, technoes, drug dealers, etc. A pair of months ago a pair of guys tried to robe me, and taxis don´t stop here, so be careful if you walk around this street at NIGHT.
There is no problem during the day.
- Road Trip
San Francisco Street
Bilbao is very save city.
There is only one controversial area. It´s in Bilbao la Vieja, in San Francisco St.
Many marginal groups live in this area, magrebian inmigrants, gypsies, drug adicts, prostitutes, etc.
Avoyd this street, espially at night and if you travel alone.
If you are going there during the day don´t show money, cameras or jewerly.
The party in Bilbao
If You are visiting Bilbao in summer ( July, august or September) and You are looking for fun at nights, this is, party... well, You should know that most of Bars in Bilbao ( in old center city) are void or closed because all people are in the parties of the near villages. Depends of the day (the sant exactly) the party will be in one or in other village...but don't worry because there are good public transports to go to this village's parties during nights, just You should have good information about where is the party ( ask me;)
Anyway, the party in Bilbao is around the 3rd week of august.
Atmosphere for single female travellers
I found the general atmosphere of Bilbao a little intimidating but I have to say that it was probably completely without foundation. People tend to stare (and I don't have 2 heads) and smiles are not immediately forthcoming. However, I think that is probably just the nature of the Basque people and doesn't indicate hostility.
I had read a lot of things about crime and fierce policemen but my trip passed without incident. I guess it is probably like any other city in Europe... be sensible, keep away from unlit areas at night and take care of your belongings at all times.
- Women's Travel
Please be extremely careful...
Please be extremely careful while visiting Government buildings, as the ETA may attack in the city centre.Do also avoid talking about politics in public places, especially if you don´t know what you are talking about.
NOTE TO THIS TIP: Some people living in Bilbao have complained about this tip. This is, simply, what I was told by some friends when I went to the Basque Province (of course I can´t make such a statement having only been there for a couple of hours), and I thought it might be useful as a warning. As this was written a couple of years ago, things may have changed a little. I wouldn´t have considered Buenos Aires a dangerous place for tourists in the past. Now, I´d think it twice. I do not intend to offend anyone, hope this has made things clearer.
Many people thinks that the terrorism is a problem in the Basque Country.
Most of the terrorist attempts are directed to politicians, policemen and enterprise owners.
I have lived here all my life and I have never have any problem.
Think that not all the people feel them like Spanish.
Be open minded, take care of that there is another language, another customs and another culture and enjoy them. ;-)
Learn some Spanish !
I clumsily attempted to spend some time in Bilbao hoping people would have a stab at English. Bilbao is not an area where English is spoken (why should it be?). I felt a bit ignorant not being able to converse. You need a bit more than 'ola' & 'gracias' too.
- Arts and Culture
Red Light District
Behind the railway station, on the streets of las cotes and san fransisco, ther is the area for hookers and pims and addicts. During the day you camn walk thrugh it (just watch yourself), but avoid it after dark, you never know what can happen.
Not the best area at night
The area around C/ San Fransico can be questionable during the early hours with seedy activities ongoing.
The area is generally fine during the day, and indeed, there are some respectable ethnic restaurants in the vicinity.
If you are not a confident overseas driver (like me) I would advise against driving in Bilbao. My hostal was in a part of town which was tricky to get to by car due to the plethora of one way streets. Take care or you may end up driving up the Gran Via the wrong way like me!! If you do get into trouble or lose your way, don't hesitate to ask the locals for assistance.
ETA and Tourists
Bearing in mind the activities of ETA I wasn't sure what to exepct in Bilbao from the point of view of personal safety. In fact, apart from the odd graffitti message and banner, it would be hard for the outsider to guess that there was any trouble at all in the Basque Country. I felt very much at ease in Bilbao and the local people seemed very relaxed.
Bilbao is one of the safest...
Bilbao is one of the safest cities in Europe, besides the political situation...
Bilbao es una de las ciudades más seguras de Europa, si hacemos de un lado la situación política...