My backpack

by Patrick O'Brien

The author ~ Image © New Zealand Herald

We hitchhikers grow to love our backpacks, which is just as well given that we spend our lives in their company — many a long hour standing beside the road, or crammed into cars, and, come the night, we lie down beside them to sleep.

One’s choice of backpack is a personal matter. I use Macpac designs after switching to them in 1993 because, at that time, they were the only company manufacturing canvas bags with twin compartments.

Here’s how I pack my bag:

The bottom compartment is for clothing and change of footwear — the former rolled, not folded, for more efficient use of space and less creasing of the garments.

The top compartment is for stowing my heavy gear, listed here (from the top down) in the order of which I use it come the end of day: two ground sheets; my tent; sleeping bag (loosely stuffed, not bagged); cooking gear; a reserve fuel tank.

There Image: Front packare front and lid compartments on my pack and these hold my sewing kit, first aid kit, toiletries, and other sundries. A water bottle and sleeping pad are strapped to the sides.

I also carry a front pack, or day bag, which serves as my office, and this attaches to the main harness, as shown (click to enlarge).

Once a week I thoroughly examine each pack, looking for any wear or tear . . .


A full list of my road kit is available here: