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#203516 - 10/07/19 12:46 AM Pack Inside or Outside
Bill Kennedy Offline

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 268
Loc: Portland, Oregon
For some reason, I hadn't given this much thought, but it would be interesting to know what others do.

I always leave my pack outside the tent or tarp at night. This is a carryover from the external-pack days, I suppose, and because I've never had a large enough vestibule.

How about you?
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

#203517 - 10/07/19 01:51 AM Re: Pack Inside or Outside [Re: Bill Kennedy]
balzaccom Offline

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1994
Loc: Napa, CA
In the old days with a small tent, pack went outside. Now that we have a three-man tarptent for the two of us, there's plenty of room in the vestibule.

check out our website and blog:

#203519 - 10/07/19 08:26 AM Re: Pack Inside or Outside [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Pika Online   content

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1812
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I use a hip to shoulder sleeping pad. My pack goes on the tent floor or ground cloth under my legs for insulation. By the time I get camp set up my pack is always empty and it lies flat so this seems to work well. I do leave the food outside and well away from where I sleep, either hung or in an Ursack or bear can
May I walk in beauty.

#203522 - 10/07/19 12:24 PM Re: Pack Inside or Outside [Re: Pika]
Glenn Roberts Online   content

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1885
Loc: Southwest Ohio
When I used a self-inflating pad, I used a 3/4; I discovered that my Granite Gear Vapor Trail had an open-cell back pad as part of the suspension, so I just put it end-to-end with the self-inflator, simultaneously giving me a full-length pad and solving the problem of where to store the pack.

When air mattresses came along (again, much improved), they were thicker than the pack, and as a side sleeper, the "drop" hit me right at the knees, putting too much sideways pressure on them to let me sleep comfortably. At that point, I went to a full length pad and a very light frame pack, and stored the pack on its edge inside the tent or inside the vestibule (depending on how much room was in the particular tent and what the critter risks were. I woke one night to find a raccoon dragging my niece's pack from her tent vestibule toward the treeline.) The lighter pack and full-length air mattress was still lighter than the Vapor Trail and short self-inflating pad. And, like you, food always gets hung in a tree - we don't have real bears, but we do have "mini-bears" like mice, squirrels, and raccoons.

#203535 - 10/12/19 10:09 PM Re: Pack Inside or Outside [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Jimshaw Offline

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3966
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I decided it was worth carrying an extra pound of tent to be able to bring in my pack. First off I had a pack that cost over $500 a long time ago. Secondly This keeps the pack, straps and contents dryer and makes it easy to reach anything in your pack in the night. If the pack wasn't valuable enough, the stuff in it was more valuable.

These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

#203570 - 10/23/19 11:57 AM Re: Pack Inside or Outside [Re: Jimshaw]
Glenn Roberts Online   content

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1885
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I also found that switching to an ultralight (or near-ultralight) style also made it easier to keep the pack in the tent. Partly that's because the ultralight pack itself is smaller. Mostly, though, it's that I don't carry very much other gear anymore, and so I don't have to find a place in the tent for it. The only gear I carry anymore is the tent, pad, and quilt (self-stowing), kitchen and food (hung from a branch), water bottle (Sawyer filter stays in pack pocket), first aid kit, repair kit, map and compass, and TP kit. Those all store easily in the corners of the tent by my head. I usually wear most of whatever spare clothing I've brought while I sleep (under the quilt, which is smaller than a sleeping bag); anything I'm not wearing, plus my rain gear, store in a stuff sack which gets used as a pillow under my head. So, there's usually plenty of room in my one-person tent for the pack.

Of course, it also helps that I don't move around much in my sleep!

#203580 - 10/26/19 07:42 PM Re: Pack Inside or Outside [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Jim M Offline

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 354
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
Lately I use a tarp so it is under the tarp for rain protection, but is available to any rodents that might be curious. I do use my pack as an (poor) pillow sometimes. When I use a tent (rarely lately) I certainly do bring it inside the tent. Long ago (ridged frame packs as you may have mentioned) we left them outside with a garbage bag over them. No mice were ever fooled by the garbage bag and on several occasions helped themselves to some gorp or cheese accidentally left in the pack. Okay I guess, we all have to eat.
Jim M


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