How to Pack a Backpack

When getting ready for any type of hike whether just for the day, or even a multi-day hike, it’s important to learn how to properly pack your backpack.

Effectually packing your backpack will make it exponentially easier to hike. Reduce stress on your hips, shoulders, and knees, and offer additional comfort when ascending and descending terrain.

Not to mention just make it feel like you can carry more stuff.

Four Things to Remember when Packing a Backpack

First, before packing your backpack separate your gear into four main categories; heavy items, light items, frequently used items, and less used items. Then following the four steps below, pack your backpack!

1. Heavy Gear Close to Back

Any large, bulky, or heavy objects should be put closest to your back. These items are water bladders, tents, food, etc. Keeping these large items near your center of gravity will aid massively when going up and down hill. If these items were placed away from your center of gravity you would notice severe balance issues.

2. Lighter Gear Away from Back

This is where all of the lightweight non-bulky items come into play. These items are jackets, clothing, utensils, etc. Much like the reasoning for #1 above, keeping these lightweight items on the outside and the heavier items on the inside aids in your center of gravity thus increasing your balance with a heavy pack.

3. Frequently Used Items, at the Top

Okay — now that we got the ergonomics of your pack sorted out, and it’s properly balanced lets think ahead for the day to come.

Any item that you think you’ll use again before setting up camp should go towards the top of your bag. I’m talking snacks, jackets, warmth layers, headlamp, etc. Pretty much any of the 10 essentials. It would be a royal pain to have to totally unpack your backpack mid hike because you really want that jacket you stuffed into the bottom of your pack in the morning.

4. Less Used Items, at the Bottom

Finally, any item that won’t be used until camp is put towards the bottom. Items like sleeping bags, camp furniture, camp cookware, etc. Just like mentioned above it’s important to keep things efficient throughout the day. Keeping these items on the bottom will greatly help your hike and sanity as your out on the trail.

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So, there you go. An extremely easy to remember and common sense way of packing your backpack. Using this method has helped thousands of hikers stay more comfortable out in the backcountry and now you know the secrets too!

In the comments below, let us know how you pack your backpack. What are typically the items you keep towards the bottom or top of your pack?

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