Keeping Fragile Items Safe on a Ruck

In order to keep breakables in one piece on a ruck, it’s important to know how to pack a ruck in the first place.

First , it’s important to lay out all of the items that must go into the rucksack. Then, find a way to easily identify your rucksack compared to others in your area. This is to help you find it, assuming your rucksack ever ends up in a pile of others that look similar. Some soldiers recommend placing or sewing a nameplate on the front flap of the cover. Other ruckers attach their dog tags on the handle with a secure paracord.

Fragile Item Preparations

Before packing the rucksack, start by rolling every fabric item to avoid taking up too much space inside the bag. Never fold items like you may for a suitcase or with fresh laundry. Instead, roll and fold over to keep everything tight.

Fragile items, in particular, can be rolled into clothing to prevent damage, but make sure to mark or pinpoint where the fragile item may be at all times. If your fragile items are also water-sensitive, you’ll want to prepare them for water, even if rain isn’t in the forecast.

Once everything is essentially rolled up and waterproof, it’s time to pack the rucksack.

How to Pack for Fragile Items

Bottom: Start by placing a wet weather bag as a liner inside the main compartment of the rucksack so it’s essentially a bag within a bag. Then, pack in order of precedence. Put the less essential items in the bottom of the bag. However, if your fragile item is less essential, do not place it on the very bottom.

A spare change of clothes or additional clothing can likely go in the bottom of the rucksack. Keep one pair of socks and one shirt on top, but everything else can be put into the bottom. You’ll also want to make sure anything heavy is underneath the fragile items.

Middle: Unlike clothing, sleeping bags can be stuffed rather than rolled if you have too much empty space in the pack. This way, they fill the extra, unused space in the bag so items don’t shift around. If you aren’t using a sleeping bag, consider the next softest material in your bag.

At this point, consider including a fragile item. Take an extra shirt or article of clothing and roll the item inside the clothing, then store it near the sleeping bag. You don’t want to stuff it into the sleeping bag, because it can be hard to locate without removing the sleeping bag, and you risk dropping it. Always roll fragile items into something else whenever possible.

By the time you get to the middle of the rucksack, make sure there is even weight distribution within the bag. Also, make sure the fragile item isn’t poking you in the back (while wearing the bag), by placing it on the side or front section.

Next, make sure the fragile item is secure and it doesn’t move around. Then, make sure you know where the item is at all times. This way, if you do drop the bag or get in a hurry, it won’t crush the item.

Top: After storing the fragile item properly, move along to other necessary items. Consider putting a secondary shirt and socks in the top. Then, toss in items like a small first aid kid, warm weather gear like a hat or gloves (if necessary), rain weather top, poncho, and supplies such as food or protein bars.

At this point, be mindful of where the fragile item is located and consider pushing down all of the items to make a little more room in the top of the bag. Use all of the space in the bottom of the rucksack.

Then tie or fold the interior wet weather bag, which will not only keep water out, but act as a smaller “pack” inside the rucksack, keeping your items stable.

Quick Access Items: Finally, add any waterproof items on top or beside the wet weather bag. Items like waterproof chow bags can be stuffed in next. For military personnel, a smaller bag or assault bag can be stuffed in the very top and a weapon cleaning kit should be stored in an exterior compartment for easy access. Items like water hydration packs should be wrapped on top or worn separately.

If the fragile item is something you need fast or repeated access to, it could be rolled in a shirt, then stored in the side of the bag in a secondary compartment.Otherwise, leave exterior compartments empty for spare ammo or extra food.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Brock Swinson

Brock Swinson is a writer living in North Carolina with his wife, Jess. As a writer for Creative Screenwriting and the host of the Creative Principles Podcast, Swinson frequently interviews creators such as Mel Brooks, Aaron Sorkin, Taylor Sheridan, and William Monahan, on storytelling. Outside of work, Brock is currently training for an Iron Man, practicing jujitsu, and looking for new trails to run with his husky mix, Tessa.
Brock Swinson

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