When you go on a hiking trip, whether on a mountain or in the woods, you need to pack some essential things so you can survive out there in the wild. These items will make your trip easier. But let’s not forget that you can’t take everything you want to.
When you’re on a hiking trip, you travel on foot. So, you need to limit what you’re going to carry so it won’t tire you out. And at the same time, you need enough to get through the trip. All you need to do is know how to pack a hiking backpack and what to pack in it.
Let’s dive in.
How To Pack A Hiking Backpack: Complete Guide
There are many things you’ll want to pack in your backpack for your hiking trip. Instead of being indecisive or confused about this, just follow the below steps of how to pack your bag. It will include what sorts of items you will need to pack, and how to pack which item where.
Step 1: Laying Out Your Items
If you have a friend you’re going with, you can try asking them what they plan on packing. Another way would be for you to try looking up various sites online about hiking.
Once you bought the items you want to take with you, you have to lay everything out in an open space. You can try laying them out on your bed or on the floor. Doing this helps you have an overview of what you bought.
This way you’ll know if you’re missing anything, and at the same time, you can divide them into categories so packing becomes easier.
When it comes to clothes, you should pack less. Because hikers or campers don’t tend to change clothes that often when they’re out in the wild. It’s better for you to just pack base layers and water-proof clothing for rainy weather.
Step 2: Packing The Bottom
You should always start your packing from the bottom and then work your way up. When packing from the bottom, you should remember that the item at the bottom will be the hardest to get since everything else will be on top of it.
For that, you should choose something like camping gear to pack. Among camping gear, there can only be one thing that you’ll be using once a day. When you’re setting up camp the last thing to come out of your bag is your sleeping bag. So, pack that at the bottom of your backpack.
When you’re doing this, make sure you put your sleeping bag in another dry bag so that it doesn’t get wet when you put it on damp ground. After the sleeping bag is put at the bottom, you can add on the rest which is a sleeping pad and pillowcase.
Step 3: Packing The Middle Area
After the bottom of the backpack is filled, now move on to the middle area. On top of your camping gear, you can place the heavy gear on. This includes cooking stoves, crockeries, food, and water supplies. But make sure to put the food supplies over the cooking gear since cooking oil or fuel might spill and damage your food.
While packing your items, always keep balance in mind. You need to pack the items in a way so that it’s evenly distributed and leveled. This is important because you want to be able to walk straight and not end up leaning to a side because it ended up being heavier on that side. Having equal weight on both sides and the middle is important.
After fitting in your heavy gear, you can place other things like your tent, clothes, rainfly, etc. on top of the food. You can try wrapping your clothes in your tent body to prevent it from getting wet. This also saves space.
Step 3: Packing The Top
Since the top is the most accessible area, you can put the things you might need quickly or suddenly. Items like a compass, sunglasses, first aid kit, raincoat, small snacks, or little water bottles are included. When you have stuff like that, you’ll want to pack them on top of everything else.
Step 4: External Areas Of The Backpack
If you have extra gear left over after packing then you can latch them on to the outside of your backpack. Things you can put on the outside are hiking poles, tent poles, camp stool, ice axe, crampons, rope, etc. These can be attached to the external area of your bag with various styles of fastening.
To latch them onto your backpack, you can buy some tool loops, straps, fasteners, chains, lash patches, etc.
But it’s best to avoid having to latch on extra things on the body of the backpack because it will get caught on branches or scrape against trees and rocks. You might even lose the items if they get unattached and fall off after being jerked too much. So it’s best to keep your list of camping items to a minimum.
Step 5: Pockets
Hiking backpacks are generally quite large and have various pockets here and there, aside from the main large pocket where you pack up most of your important items in.
The types of pockets you’ll find in any hiking backpack are lid pockets, hip belt pockets, and lots of side and front pockets. These pockets are small in size so you can’t fit much into them.
But items like maps, GPS, sunscreen, lip balm, flashlights, bug spray, identity card, cash, keys, etc. can be stashed away in these small pockets.
Packing up a bag for hiking might sound like a lot of work, but if you know what you need and what sequence to follow when packing, then it won’t be that tough.
After a few tries, in no time you’ll be packing your backpack like a hiking pro every time you plan a trip. Not everyone follows the appropriate steps of packing a hiking backpack.
But following a proper and safe sequence reduces the time and energy you’ll use for taking out the items you need. And when you’re out in the wild, being organized has its merits on the trail.