How to Pack Your Hiking Backpack | Step By Step Guide

Have you ever found yourself packing your hiking backpack and realizing that you have no idea what to do? You’re not alone.

Many people find themselves in this situation, which is why we are here to help! We will discuss the different items that should be included in your pack, how much of each item should go into your pack based on a day hike versus an overnight trip, and other considerations for packing.

How to Pack Your Hiking Backpack 

how to pack your hiking backpack

Discuss what items should go inside the pack and why. Include a list of things that people may need, such as food, water, extra clothing, first aid kit. You can also talk about how many days you will be hiking or camping and discuss if different packing needs are needed for one day versus more than one day. For example, overnight trips require additional layers of clothes because they won’t dry out during sleep time like they would during a single night’s stay on an overnighter. However, day hikes don’t require those since it doesn’t take much longer than sleeping time to get them. There are many places for hiking.

Pack the bottom

So what should we pack first? Let’s start at the bottom.

The first thing you want to put in your pack is a ground tarp to keep everything dry and clean, as well as keeping it out of puddles (especially if you’re going on an overnighter). The next item should be a sleeping bag or mat, depending on what type of trip you are doing. This will give some cushioning from the cold hard ground. If that’s not enough for warmth, then bring along extra clothes like socks and sweaters so those items can double up – one layer inside the backpack and another outside against your skin when needed. 

Pack the middle part of your backpack

The next part of the pack is where your heaviest items go. This includes clothes, food, and any gear you are bringing as well.

Most people should have a sleeping bag in this spot because it’s not moving around like clothing will when it is packed at the top and bottom. Everything else – including extra clothes for layering if needed-should be placed near the back or sides depending on how much room there is inside your backpack to spare 

Pack what belongs up high

Now that everything has been put into place, make sure all those things belong with their corresponding groupings: heavy stuff down low, lighter weight higher up, so nothing shifts out of its proper position during transit. It may take some time to get them all arranged properly.

Pack the top of your backpack

If you have room at the top of your pack, additional items can be stored in that area. This also helps to keep your sleeping bag from flopping out over an edge and getting dirty or wet while on a long hike.

We recommend packing smaller things near the opening for easy access during breaks between hiking days. 

Pack what needs quick retrieval

Stuff like first-aid kits, water filters, garbage bags should all go up high because they’ll need regular attention every day as well as when it’s time to break camp for the night. It is always best to put these things into resalable plastic bags so the liquid doesn’t seep through something else inside your backpack if they leak, no matter how hard you try not to!

Place the equipment outside.

After filling you have all your equipment packed, it is time to place the lightweight items on either side of the backpack. If you are a very clever hiker who has strapped an extra jacket or rain pants outside somewhere else on their pack, then I applaud your ingenuity and resourcefulness!

Gear that needs regular access should be placed inside.

Takedown any tents or tarps from around them if they’re attached with stakes; then locate where each item will go in order according to what would need to come out first if something goes wrong and you need to make repairs quickly. These tools may include shoelaces, duct tape, needle & thread for clothing tears, bandana for head coverings (if necessary), sunglasses/goggles, sunscreen lotion, etc.

More Tips on packing a backpack

You’re well on your way to tackling the trail! Hiking is an amazing activity, and with these tips in mind, it will be easier than ever before. Just make sure you stay hydrated and keep a lookout for any wildlife near the trails!

Last Words

At last, we can say for packing the backpack on your hiking trip, make sure that you have all the essentials for your day hike.

Packing a backpack can be tricky and frustrating at times, especially when it’s time to pack up camp. But with these tips in mind, the packing will be easier than ever before! Just keep hydrated on the trail and alert any wildlife near the trails to ensure an enjoyable hiking experience from start (preparing) until finish (packing). 

Alix Johnson Romi

Alix is the Co-founder of Easy Trip Guides. She started with Michael to share her love for the outdoors with people from all around the globe. She started as an outdoor lover while skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry of New Zealand with her future husband, Antonio. They shared a dream to see the world, so in 2013 they set off to cycle from California to Argentina. The freedom of the open ice route, living close to nature, and the total annihilation of her comfort zone fueled Alix's desire to keep exploring long after the bike trip was over. Her adventure addiction has taken her scuba diving with hammerhead sharks, hiking to the K2 base camp, kiteboarding in Sri Lanka, and kayaking in Antarctica. Through these experiences, she has developed a strong belief in the power of adventure to reconnect people to nature, provide meaningful jobs to impoverished communities and promote the conservation of wild places and animals. At Easy Trip Guides, she covers snowing, skating, snowboarding, and skiing as she loves to do these outdoor adventures a lot.

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