Despite that there are hundreds of backpack styles out there, ranging in size, color, pocket placement and more, often no single one quite matches what you’re seeking. Before heading out on the trail, you may want to alter your backpack so it better fits your needs and maybe even slightly lighter.
You can make any number of modifications from simply taping excess strap so it doesn’t unravel to trimming every ounce of extra weight so you can go ultralight.
Here are some common modifications hikers make to their backpacks:
• Equipment straps and loops – Cut off extra loops for gear you never carry. For example, if you're not a mountain climber, there’s no need for the ice axe loops.
• Haul loop – The haul loop often isn't very comfortable to carry. Fold the loop’s top in half then stitch it to allow for an easier grip.
• Pockets – Sometimes pockets aren’t in easy to reach places. You can sew new ones on at just about any spot you desire. The new pocket need not be fancy; just sew three sides of a piece of fabric onto the backpack then add Velcro strips to secure the top.
• Straps/webbing – Clip off or electrical tape the extra webbing from the hip belt and other adjustment straps. This prevents them from coming undone during a hike. Clipping lowers your weight slightly but does limit the backpack’s usability should you gain muscle or weight.
• Zipper pulls – If a backpack has metal zippers, consider replacing the pulls with cloth ribbons. The metal can get cold in wet weather and low temps.
Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.