How to pack your pack: it’s not just what you pack, but how you pack it.

Taking a few extra steps in how you stuff your sack makes a difference on the trail, or the climb, and it’s as easy as one, two, three. Here are some tips on how to pack your pack from pro climber Marcus Garcia

1) Size matters

“The big cams [spring-loaded camming devices], they go in first,” says Garcia about packing his climbing pack, the Osprey Mutant 28. “And that way the heavier stuff is at the bottom, closer to your lumbar section.”

2) Layer up

“Then I put my other slings in there, and I take my quickdraws and create a layering system,” Garcia says. “You fill up the voids and get the maximum amount of space in the pack.”

3) Kicks

Garcia pushes the tongues down so it makes them a little flatter, getting more space out of the pack. He also likes to put them against his back to create even padding.

4) Keep it coming

Smaller gear goes next, as well as Garcia’s harness, which he folds neatly.

“I create the layering system to keep things pretty well padded, whether it’s climbing gear or camera gear,” he said.

5) Stuffers

Soft miscellaneous items like a chalk bag (make sure it’s closed) can be stuffed down on the sides to take up any remaining space.

Inside the hood of Garcia’s Mutant is where he keeps items like tape and a small first aid kit.

A smart feature of the Mutant is the helmet net, a concealed mesh that can be pulled out to securely carry a helmet outside the pack while keeping it from dangling about.

Take it from a pro. You’ll feel the difference on your next outing.