It is crucial for novice or even seasoned hikers to understand how to pack. I’m positive that for a number of years, I packed improperly, causing my body needless tension and strain. I’m going to take some time today to offer you five backpack packing suggestions that will help you stay organized and comfortable while hiking.

Start By Making A Packing List

Many of you probably do this when you travel for vacation. You start with a list of everything you’ll want while you’re gone and then you check, double-check, and sometimes triple-check that list before you leave. The usefulness of a backpack packing list can’t be understated.

Firstly, it will help you make sure you don’t forget anything. I’ve been backpacking for years and, because I feel experienced, I rarely make a list. What does this result in? Only minor anxiety prior to every trip because of the possibility of forgetting something critical (i.e. headlamp, which leads to a mountain lion encounter! Yes this really happened. Feel free to email me if you want to know more!).

Secondly, it will allow you to document the weights of all the items you’ll include. Understanding which items are your heaviest items will ultimately help you decide the order in which you pack your pack and where to put certain items.

Sleeping Bag Positioned At Bottom

Managing weight distribution in your backpack is crucial for comfort and efficiency during your hike. To optimize this, it’s essential to organize items strategically. One common mistake is placing a bear box or food at the very bottom of the pack, causing strain on the hips and inconvenience when accessing snacks. A better approach is to start by packing your sleeping bag at the bottom.

Many backpacks come with a designated zipper pocket for quick access to your sleeping bag. Placing the sleeping bag at the bottom not only aids in weight distribution but also ensures the accessibility of this essential pocket. On top of your sleeping bag, position medium-weight items, such as an extra pair of shoes.

Typically, the heaviest items, like a bear box or foodstuff sack, should be in the middle of your pack closest to your spine. This arrangement directs most of the weight to your hips rather than higher up on the pack or unnecessarily on your legs. Finally, place the lightest items on top and around larger, heavier ones.

However, it’s important to note that the optimal weight distribution may vary based on the type of pack you’re using. The provided visual on the right serves as a useful reference for this purpose.

Fill Empty Space with Light, Compressible Items

Utilizing the empty space within your backpacking gear is a smart strategy to maximize efficiency and space. Take, for instance, your cooking pot, which may initially seem large and awkward in relation to other items in your pack. However, experienced backpackers recognize the potential of this empty space.

This vacant area can be employed to store small, compressible items, preventing them from occupying unnecessary space elsewhere in your pack. An effective example is storing your backpacking stove, lighter, extra matches, bowl, and utensils inside the cooking pot, creating a compact and convenient kitchen set-up. This not only optimizes space but also streamlines the process of grabbing what you need when it’s time to prepare dinner.

Attach Big, Heavy Equipment to the Exterior

Certain items like a sleeping pad or tent poles don’t necessarily need to be placed inside your backpack. They don’t require protection from the elements, and their unconventional shapes make them less suitable for fitting seamlessly with other items. This is why quality backpacking packs typically feature numerous external attachment points.

When securing items to the outside of your pack, it’s crucial to maintain an even distribution of weight. For instance, avoid placing heavy tent poles on one side and a lightweight jacket on the other. If you have a heavy item like tent poles, you might offset the weight by attaching a full water bottle or a similar item on the opposite side. Another example is attaching a sleeping pad horizontally to the bottom of your pack since it is lightweight and durable. Careful consideration of weight distribution and strategic attachment points ensures both balance and convenience during your hike.

Keep the things you require close at hand.

Ensuring easy access to items you may need throughout the day is a simple yet crucial tip for an enjoyable hiking experience. There’s nothing more frustrating than craving a snack, like that Snickers bar you packed, only to find it buried in your bear box under a chaotic assortment of other gear. Many hikers have made this mistake, and it’s one to avoid.

While it might seem like common sense, keeping items like a raincoat, rainfly, extra socks, and a towel easily reachable can make a significant difference. These items often become necessary on the trail at a moment’s notice—whether it’s for unexpected stream crossings, addressing blisters, or handling sudden thunderstorms. My personal recommendation is to organize these essentials within easy reach, ensuring you’re well-prepared for any unforeseen challenges during your hike.

Concluding Remarks on Backpacking

Your final thought on developing and sticking to a packing system is invaluable and extends beyond backpacking into various aspects of life. Your personal experience with misplacing your passport emphasizes the importance of consistency in systems, reducing unnecessary stress and potential complications.

Having a reliable and consistent packing system not only makes you more efficient in and out of camp but also ensures that essential items are readily available when needed. Deviating from established systems, as you experienced, can lead to moments of panic and inconvenience.

Thank you for sharing this insightful tip, and for those who prefer visual guidance, the REI video you mentioned can be a valuable resource to complement the advice provided in the text. Developing good habits and systems can contribute significantly to a smoother and more enjoyable backpacking experience.

Similar Posts