Introduction: How to Prepare Your Pack for an Upcoming Camping Trip

These instructions will help you prepare yourself for an upcoming adventure beneath the sky in the wilderness!

As human being we are all vulnerable to our earth’s elements, and it is important to prepare ourselves against the challenges that can appear while exploring its vast wonders.

These instructions are not difficult to understand because we all know what we need in order to live: water, food, shelter, and protection.  We will stay close to these points while preparing you for your time in the outdoors.

The time to prepare should take you approximately 45 minutes, depending on what supplies you already have on hand. 

This is something you can do because it is something you WANT to do!  After following these instructions you will be ready for almost any challenge the earth can throw at you!

Step 1: Get a Good Durable Pack for Your Things

It is important to find something rugged to house your belongings.

Step 2: Place a Large Garbage Bag Inside the Pack

Ensuring that the entire space of the pack is being utilized, fold the lip of the bag around the outside of the pack allowing access into the pack.  This will protect your gear from rain and water, so the thicker the garbage bag is, the better.

Step 3: Find These Essential Items:

1) Tarp      
2) Tent      
3) Sleeping bag and mat     
4) First aid kit        
5) Extra pair of clothing
6) Twice as many socks as you think you’ll need
7) Multi Tool      
8) Knife      
9) Flashlight
10)  Batteries
11)  Matches
12)  Poncho
13)  Compass
14)  Ziploc Bags
15)  Toiletries
16)  Food
17)  Rope
18)  Water Container
19)  Pen and Paper
20)  Communication (cell phone)

Step 4: Group Together Like-items

Separate like-items into separate piles.  Keep in mind the items’ intended use.  For example it might be a good idea to have your toiletries grouped with your towel, and your batteries grouped with your flashlight.

Step 5: Waterproof Your Gear

Place your like-items together in Ziploc baggies, or other watertight sacks.  You don’t want to be the sorry camper that wasn’t prepared after a rainstorm.  Its no fun trudging around in wet socks.

Step 6: Take Advantage of Your Outside Pockets for Emergency Items

Most packs possess small pockets on its outer shell. Be sure to utilize those pockets for easy access to your emergency items.  At the very least, place your First Aid Kit and Poncho in those easy access pockets, but I would also suggest storing any tools like your knife or multitool in the outside pockets as well.

Step 7: Pack Your Gear in Order of Relevance

Just because you’re hiking to a crisp mountain lake for some fishing doesn’t mean you should spend the whole trip fishing in your pack.  Place your least important items in your pack first.  This way your more frequently used supplies will be most accessible on top.  A hint: place your food and sleeping bag in last.

Step 8: Pack Your Tent

Your biggest item in your arsenal is probably your tent.  If you don’t have room inside your pack—don’t try too hard to cram it in—then strap your tent to the outside of your pack.

Step 9: Add Additional Items

Didn’t see your iPod on my prescribed packing list? No problem!  Go ahead and slip it into your pack, along with any other gear you can’t live without.  Just remember your weight limit: if you can’t lift your pack you can’t take your pack, so think twice about what you take!

Step 10: Put It On!

Adjust your straps, distribute the weight evenly, and tuck in any loose items you may have added.  Whether you are carrying your pack up the side of a mountain or just out to the jeep, it’s a good idea to have a comfortable pack that is ready to Grab n’ Go!

CAUTION: Always lift pack with your knees.  To prevent injury, do not bend forward while lifting.

Step 11: Done!

Remember, if your pack is too heavy to lift, you may want to reconsider what you're packing.  Make sure you have the basics with you before you reach for nonessential gear.

Congratulations!  You are now ready to venture out on your own!  Do not forget to enjoy yourself while you're properly prepared for any challenge that comes your way!