How to pack a hiking backpack

Before you decide to go hiking, it is necessary to properly pack your backpack. Our choice of items will be detrimental for efficiency of our hike. Both weight of a backpack and utility of items are crucial so make sure to pack properly.

The list may different from trail to trail. Length of the journey is usually the most important factor but difficulty also shouldn’t be neglected. Lastly, you need to consider time of the time year when you plan on hiking. Here is the list of things which are necessary for such an endeavor:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Lamp
  • Matches or some other item for lighting fire
  • Cookware and dishes
  • First aid kid
  • Knife
  • Spare socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Food and water
  • Map and compass
  • Product for disinfecting your hands
  • Trash bags
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Additional clothes

Although this seems as quite a list, it is possible to pack light or even ultralight effectively reducing weight you need to carry.


How to pack your backpack?

You always need to pack things from bigger to smaller. Before you start packing, it is necessary to put all things on floor, in front of you and slowly start putting them in. In this case, the big items would be tent and sleeping bag while food and water would be smaller.

By placing heavier things near our back, close to the hips, we are ensuring that the backpack is well balanced. This will lead to a better balance of the entire body during hike which can be crucial during the difficult sections of the trail. It can also reduce pressure on your body while on slopes or going uphill.

When it comes to water, some backpacks have a special compartment which is sewn into a backpack, usually on the side. This is a great solution given that water bottle is the most frequently used item.

We should also pack light and easily compressible items on the top, such as food and clothes. Food can especially be tricky as it is prone to squashing and leaking. This is why experienced hikers recommend carrying only dry food. This type of food also saves a lot of space in your backpack making it lighter.

Frequently used items, such as the compass and the map, should be kept in an accessible place. Similarly to water, we should pack them in lateral compartments or on the top of everything else.

Now that we’ve finished packing, we need to put it on our back in order to make the final adjustments. However, even with all the preparation, you will get the real feel while on the trail.


How to adjust your backpack for hiking?

            Rule of the thumb is that we shouldn’t carry more than one third of our weight. Back in the day, people would carry excessive weight which often resulted in injuries and even tragedies. As the time went by, hikers slowly started packing lighter and lighter and nowadays, there are a lot of people who swear in ultralight hiking. Nevertheless, you will always have to adjust your weight according to the trail and condition. In the end, it is necessary to feel safe with items that you’ve brought.

When it comes to potential injuries, as long as your backpack is centered on your hips, there shouldn’t any problems.

Given that our legs, as the biggest groups of muscles, are capable of carrying majority of the weight, there is no reason to transfer entire weight of the backpack on our hips. Lastly, make sure you can stand up and walk unassisted. If you pass this test, you are ready for the hike.


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