How to Wear a Rucksack Correctly?

How to Wear a Rucksack Correctly

A rucksack is an incredibly useful and versatile piece of equipment, but it only works if you wear it correctly. Wearing a rucksack incorrectly can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain, as well as balance issues. Knowing how to wear a rucksack correctly is essential for comfort, safety, and ease of access. In this article, we will discuss how to wear a rucksack correctly, focusing on the key elements of weight distribution, posture and fit.

How to Wear a Rucksack Correctly?

As someone who has spent countless hours on the trails with a rucksack, I understand how important it is to wear it correctly. A poorly fitting rucksack can cause discomfort, pain, and even injury. To help you avoid these issues, I’ve put together a guide on how to wear a rucksack correctly. From choosing the right rucksack to achieving a comfortable and secure fit, this guide covers it all.

Step 1: Choosing a Rucksack

The first step in wearing a rucksack correctly is choosing the right one. There are many factors to consider when selecting a rucksack, including size, capacity, and features. When choosing a rucksack, think about what you’ll be using it for. Will you be carrying a lot of gear? Will you be hiking for long distances? Will you need easy access to your gear? All of these factors will influence the type of rucksack you should choose.

For example, if you’re planning a multi-day hike, you’ll need a rucksack with a large capacity to carry all your gear. Look for a rucksack with a volume of at least 50 liters, which should provide enough space for all your essentials. If you’re planning a day hike, a smaller rucksack with a capacity of 20-30 liters may be sufficient.

When choosing a rucksack, also consider the features you need. Do you need a hydration system? Do you need a lot of pockets for organization? Do you need a rucksack with a frame for added support? Make a list of the features you need before you start shopping, and look for a rucksack that meets all your requirements.

Step 2: How to Pack a Rucksack Properly

Once you’ve chosen the right rucksack, the next step is to pack it properly. How you pack your rucksack can make a big difference in how it feels on your back. When packing your rucksack, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Heavy items should be packed at the bottom of the rucksack close to your back.
  • Lighter items should be packed at the top of the rucksack.
  • Use compression straps to keep the load stable and close to your body for better balance.
  • Pack frequently used items in easy-to-access pockets.
  • Keep the weight evenly distributed between the left and right sides of the rucksack.

When packing your rucksack, be mindful of the weight you’re carrying. Overloading your rucksack can cause discomfort and pain, and can even lead to injury. Aim to keep your rucksack weight at 20-25% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim to carry no more than 30-37.5 pounds in your rucksack.

Step 3: Putting on the Rucksack

Once your rucksack is packed, it’s time to put it on. Start by standing next to your rucksack and putting your arms through the shoulder straps. Lift the rucksack onto your back, one strap at a time, and fasten the waist belt. When putting on your rucksack, make sure it’s centered on your back. The rucksack should be snug against your back and not sagging or hanging away from your body. If the rucksack feels too heavy or off-balance, take it off and adjust the packing or straps as needed.

Step 4: Adjusting the Straps

With the rucksack on your back, it’s time to adjust the straps for a comfortable fit. Start by adjusting the shoulder straps. They should be snug against your shoulders but not so tight that they’re digging into your skin. The shoulder straps should also be adjusted so that the weight of the rucksack is evenly distributed between both shoulders.

Next, adjust the waist belt. The waist belt should sit comfortably on your hips, and not on your waist or stomach. It should be snug, but not so tight that it’s restricting your breathing or movement. Finally, adjust the chest strap. The chest strap helps to keep the shoulder straps in place and can also help distribute the weight of the rucksack more evenly. Adjust the chest strap so that it sits comfortably across your chest, and not so tight that it’s constricting your breathing.

Step 5: Checking Fit & Stability

Once you’ve adjusted the straps, it’s important to check the fit and stability of your rucksack. Start by walking around with the rucksack on to see how it feels. If the rucksack is shifting or bouncing as you walk, you may need to adjust the straps further or re-pack the rucksack for better balance. Check the stability of your rucksack by bending forward, backward, and to the sides. The rucksack should stay close to your body and not pull away or shift. If the rucksack feels unstable, make adjustments to the straps or re-pack the rucksack to distribute the weight more evenly.

Step 6: Achieving Comfort & Security

The final step in wearing a rucksack correctly is achieving comfort and security. A well-fitted and stable rucksack should feel comfortable on your back, even after hours of hiking. If you’re experiencing discomfort, pain, or chafing, make adjustments to the straps or re-pack the rucksack for a better fit. To achieve security, make sure your rucksack is fastened securely and that all straps and buckles are tightened. Loose straps can flap around in the wind and can also be a tripping hazard.

How Much Does a Rucksack Weigh?

When planning a hike or a trip, it’s important to consider the weight of your gear, including your rucksack. The weight of a rucksack can vary greatly depending on its size, material, and features. Generally, a small daypack can weigh around 1-2 pounds, while a larger backpacking rucksack can weigh anywhere from 3-6 pounds or more. It’s important to choose a rucksack that is lightweight and fits comfortably on your back, as a heavy or ill-fitting rucksack can cause discomfort and strain during extended periods of use. Before purchasing a rucksack, be sure to check its weight and features to ensure it’s suitable for your needs.

How to Pack a Rucksack for Travelling?

Packing a rucksack for travelling can be a daunting task, especially if you’re travelling for an extended period of time. However, with a bit of planning and organization, it can be a breeze. First, make a packing list to ensure you don’t forget anything important. Pack heavier items at the bottom of the rucksack, closest to your back, to distribute the weight more evenly.

Place frequently used items in the top or side pockets for easy access. Use packing cubes or compression sacks to keep clothing organized and save space. Roll or fold clothes tightly to maximize space and minimize wrinkles. Don’t forget to leave room for souvenirs or additional items you may pick up along the way. Finally, be sure to distribute the weight evenly and adjust the straps for a comfortable and secure fit.


Wearing a rucksack correctly is essential for a comfortable and safe hiking experience. By choosing the right rucksack, packing it correctly, adjusting the straps, checking the fit and stability, and achieving comfort and security, you can ensure that your rucksack stays securely on your back and doesn’t cause any discomfort or pain. Remember, a well-fitted rucksack is the key to an enjoyable hiking experience, so take the time to get it right. Happy trails!

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