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[pct-l] Two packing tips

  Last week someone asked for your best tips on packing.  Here are ours.

My husband and I spent 14 years as Scout Leaders, turning teenagers into
backpackers. (Our apologies to everyone for adding to the overcrowding
in the backcountry).   Two things we learned while teaching novices:
   1.  Dry bag your pack compartments by lining them ( inside) with
plastic trash compactor bags.  These bags keep water out of your gear
when you drop it in a stream, fall in a stream, or get caught in the
rain.  We now line all the panniers and top bags of our llama packs with
these.  The gear stays dry even when the llamas have to swim across
rivers.  Plastic compactor bags are much thicker than trash bags and
last for months.  Look for them at Wal-Mart.
    2.  Everything that is attached to the outside of a pack must have a
positive attachment--a buckle, a keeper strap that the tie down strap
feeds through, or something.  Anything attached by a bungee, a knot or
by being slipped under a strap will eventually fall off.  We've had to
retrieve sleeping bags and bottles that Scouts dropped off Baden
Powell's switchbacks.  Last summer while hiking the PCT and connecting
trails all over Sequoia National Park, we found the following items
along the trail, left behind or dropped from a pack:
a pencil, a pen, 2 Swiss army knife tweezers, a leather glove, a chamois
shirt, a fishing pole, a bag of tent poles,  a lighter, a duffel bag
full of personal gear, sunglasses, 2 sunglass straps, 2 shoelaces,
fencing pliers, tent stakes, batteries, a bandana, underwear, and 2 long
bundles of parachute cord.  We hauled all of this stuff back to the
trailhead, except what we  returned to the owners after catching up to
them on the trail.
   Before we learned this rule we lost a bag of spare shoes and a bag of
wet laundry.  Now everything connects to our packs via fastex buckles.
This year we didn't lose anything.
Marion Davison