Introduction: How to Pack a Pack.

Picture of How to Pack a Pack.

Before going backpacking it is important to know how to properly pack your backpack. Backpacking is an amazing experience but can be very difficult. To get the most out of your backpacking experience make sure, before starting your trek, that you back pack is properly packed. By following these easy steps you can have an awesome time backpacking enjoying the view while relieve the stress on your back. The first thing to do is stet out all the stuff, that you will be taking on the trip, out in front of you to see. Make sure that everything is in visible sight.

Step 1: The Pack

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Set your pack out and make sure that nothing is in it. Make sure that it is completely empty. Put the pack in a place where you can easily put things into it.

Step 2: The Sleeping Bag

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Place the sleeping bag at the bottom of the bag. It is something that you do not need to reach for every five minute and it will be comfort on your back while hiking.

Step 3: Clothes

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After pack your sleeping bag fit your clothes in anywhere possible. Do not fold your clothes, it is easier to pack them away if you can just place them anywhere. Plus who need nice clothes while backpacking.

Step 4: Stay Fresh

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Next pack away all your soups, shampoos, and deodorants. Be careful because sometimes while hiking bottles may open and spill in you bag. To prevent this from happening but any liquids in a plastic bag.

Step 5: Shoes

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Place shoes on the top so that they are easy to access if necessary, While on a hike you may need to change shoes for some reason and it helps if they are easier to find.

Step 6: Food.

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This is one of the most important part of the trip, food. Pack food away so that it is easy to reach in any situation. You never know when you're gonna get hungry. Also be aware that the constant movement of you pack may cause food like sandwiches to get smashed so try and pack them carefully.

Step 7: The Goods.

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Supplies like a flashlight, cell phone, and toilet paper are all small things but very important. In case of any emergency this items should be placed away from any thing else so they are easy to grab.

Step 8: H2O

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Last and possible the most important is water. On a trip it is very important to stay hydrated. You should be ding at least 32oz of water every hour on a trip. Make your water easily accessible so that you don't have to remove your pack. Once you put everything away you are ready to go out in to the wild. Remember to enjoy every minute of nature and not take it for granted. To learn more about backpacking and different trials look online. Backpacking is a great way to get away and have a relaxing and fulfilling experience.


lukeyj15 (author)2010-11-27

I just come back from a 3 day hike, and learnt a fair bit. Firstly, when hiking, unless you are in the desert you won't drink that much water an hour. When you hike for pretty much 8 hours a day, That's a hell of a lot of water. Most of our drinking needs came from meals. And don't guzzle water when you stop. You'll throw up. Also, it was quite wet, so our shoes reflected that fact. When you put on clean socks in the morning, they aren't dry after about 2 seconds in wet shoes. Carrying dry shoes wasn't an option. It's too heavy. Also, you didn't go into much detail about cooking food or what foods to bring. Tins are a massive no no. You have to carry the weight of the tin, the water in the tin, and the can opener. You also have to carry the empty tin out.

BartholomewH (author)lukeyj152015-06-08

that's how we all learn :)

surya raju (author)2014-11-27

can you please mention the link where you bought that hydration bladder?

BartholomewH (author)surya raju2015-06-08

I would love to take a peak at that as well

paracord rules (author)2013-07-17


acepilot32 (author)2010-06-03

Folding your clothes in half with the sleeves tucked and then roll them length wise so they're like little cylinders. it has always worked for me and i was able to fit half a weeks worth of clothes in a 2x2x1/2 pack easily with extra and side pockets for toiletries. just a little suggestion.

Pickles5000 (author)acepilot322011-11-11

This is a good idea, not only does it organise everything but it takes up less space than just stuffing everything in.

Xthinker (author)Pickles50002012-02-13

Yeah, folding my clothes always seems to give me more space.

lauralbaby (author)2011-08-29

I use this soap - very convenient!

NomadBushman (author)2011-08-14


sbarker2 (author)2011-07-14

I have noticed a lot of hiking bags have little 'pockets' on the underside that hold a bag cover. If you's doesn't have one try to either get one or find a very, very large shower cap. Good for a rainforest hike and not getting your bag wet/moldy.

Honora (author)2011-07-08

Just discovered soap nut powder. Being completely dry, it's very light. I've been using it as shampoo and body soap. About a teaspoon is enough for both jobs. It can be used for washing your clothes too.

Usually, where I hike ( the back country of New Zealand) there's abandoned soap around the place and sometimes shampoo as well.

phblj (author)2009-05-13

Good start, but be careful with some of your advice-- keeping shoes accessible isn't nearly as important as keeping heavy things low and close to your back for stability and to fight fatigue. I wouldn't want 2L of water on the back of my pack like that when trying to navigate uneven terrain. Also, you might want to clarify your 32 oz/hour guideline. Seems a little high, even for warm weather on a steep trail. It'd have to be pretty hot and strenuous for me to keep up with that kind of drinking.

lauralbaby (author)phblj2011-06-17

Agreed. Water is usually the heaviest item, and in a bladder it should be closest to your back. and I think 16oz/hr is probably fine.

Wolfix (author)phblj2010-05-03

 Thanks for mentioning the water, phblj

It is important to pay attention to the type of pack you are carrying.  I use an Aarn Bodypack and therefore water is stored at the front of balance pockets which attach to my shoulder straps and counterbalance the pack weight.

With a regular backpack, water is best stored behind the pack against the back in a camelback or similar, or inside the pack at about the shoulder blades, right against the back.  This will not only keep you stable and help transfer weight to the hipbelt but will also keep the water and plastic reservoir cool.

Bjorno (author)2011-01-27

You should probably clarify your water drinking suggestion.

Drinking 32oz of water an hour is for desert or extreme scenarios. Try that up in the BWCAW during march and you will just be stopping ever 20 rods to urinate.

ilpug (author)Bjorno2011-02-14

thats true. i just normally stick with 2-3 litres a day if im doing level walking.

lukeyj15 (author)2010-11-27

Oh, and everything had it's own plastic bag to keep it dry. From toilet paper to sleeping bags

3leftturns (author)2010-10-10

This is great! I like to pack similar items into small stuff sacks of different colors so I can easily find items for specific tasks- cooking, clothing, cleanliness, etc.

co1973 (author)2010-09-23

Nice guide, but I think you're missing some really important stuff. You talked about making things accessible that you might need in a hurry, but you missed a big one. How about a First Aid Kit? When I'm backpacking or hiking, it is the only thing that is _always_ easily accessible to me. I keep it in a top pocket (on the lid of the pack) or in a side pocket, either one of which I can reach without taking the pack off.

sockless (author)2009-12-17

I'd personally skip packing shoes and cleaning gear. Also you only need one change of clothes, no matter how long your gonna in the field for.

banjobob (author)sockless2010-05-26

I personally can't have enough dry, clean clothes and shoes. Worse case scenario is wet shoes and socks on a long hike.

Devin.Major (author)2009-05-13

actually, not to be too hard on you, but you'd need to pack the sleeping bag nearer to the middle, as it is big and bulky, but not too heavy. Otherwise, you did a pretty good job on this. I'm in scouts, so I noticed that mistake right away!!

Wolfix (author)Devin.Major2010-05-03

 Devin.Major, I disagree with this.  Sleeping bags need to fill the space at the very bottom of a hiking pack, promoting heaviest items to the middle (depth) against your back. This is why many hiking packs have a separate zip pocket at the base of the pack - sleeping bag access.

mondaymonkey (author)2009-09-24

Just a few points Tents weigh a ton,. and they are usually overkill I went hiking with 8 other people, we slept under a big tarp, with two side small tarps blocking the wind. ANd it howled and rained for 10 of the 18 days we were out there, yet we didn't get wet at night.

jmalin (author)2009-07-16

Everybody will have his or her own ideas of the necessities of backpacking. IMHO, one small article on backpacking won't cover everything. Some comments: - I have a pack with a separate sleeping bag compartment, but I use this compartment to store food and put the sleeping bag just above the divider. This feels like a better balance of weight to me. Your mileage may vary. - I use one pair of "shoes", plus something really lightweight like sandals. Even if it's raining cats and dogs, sandals plus socks will give your feet a rest. - I drink water in small batches throughout the day, and I make this easy by using a hydration bladder. How much to drink is always in debate, but most people don't drink enough. If you're in water territory, don't pack much with you. If not, then carry as much as you can. Again, no single rule applies. - Leave most stuff at home. Don't get dragged into all those gimmicks you see at REI. - Strive for light weight. Down sleeping bags, lightweight tents or bivvies, lightweight foods, small rather than large, integrated cooksets, small headlamps, a lightweight pack, one set of fast-drying clothes (with two pair socks). If you can't stand being grungy at the end of three days of wearing the same clothes, you have to ask yourself if backpacking is really right for you! - If you're trekking, then many of these rules don't apply. Still, keep things simple.

verence (author)2009-05-13

Good advice! But I think, it is mostly for people that will go hiking with their backpack (i.e. carry it on their shoulders for a longer time).
I like to use a backpack on all of my trips (even if I do rarely hike, but most often use planes and trains) as it is the easiest way to carry your stuff around a crowded train and even on a short walking distance in a town.
From my own experience:
- put anything slightly liquid inside a (possibly sealed) plastic bag. Even if you just put your sun screen into the plastic bag from the convenience store or not - it _will_ make a difference if the security control procedure (or your mis-step on the trail - or whatever) opened the sun-screen-container (trust me, been there, done that )-;
- if you have to carry your backpack a lot/a long time (i.e. real hiking) put the heavy stuff low and as close as possible to your back
- on the other hand - if you just use a backpack for convenience (i.e. no real hiking): put the stuff you'll need the most often (your pyjama, your tooth brush etc.) close to the surface (easily accessible) and bury the stuff you will not need often (or perhaps not at all). You wont probably need any water/liquid in that case (airlines wont take it anyway).
- put any liquid/creme into a sealed container or bag! (Just in case I do repeat myself: Yes, some spilled sun screen _is_ a nuisance.. :-)
- if you take a plane: don't put anything you will need on your destination into your backpack / checked in luggage. Keep it in your hand luggage as the checked in stuff might be delayed.
Keep on travelling/hiking!

haroman145 (author)verence2009-06-11

lolz..."Anything slightly liquid"...very nice

cougmtsam (author)2009-05-17

Nice guide, although you could pack a little lighter (i.e. HUGE shampoo bottles/hand sanititizer). The main thing that keeps me from packing properly is the fact that when you wake up before a long day of hiking, the last thing you want to do do organize everything in your pack, I normally just throw everything inside and hit the trails.

Yerboogieman (author)2009-05-15

Also be careful to eat and drink water a lot. I accidentally went too long without both of these and playing basketball with pretty much no rules. You will not feel good AT ALL.

lebowski (author)2009-05-12

Where are you going?

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