We know all about how to choose our hiking backpacks after reading my post “Choosing The Perfect Hiking Backpack To Fit Your Needs”. After we have purchased our perfect backpacks and are preparing for our hiking trip, the next Big Question is “Just how do I pack my backpack correctly?” The 3 basics to always keep in mind are: we pack for comfort, stability, and convenience.
Before we begin putting anything in our backpacks, we should take a really good look at the entire pack. We just may find a few secret compartments, pockets, and additions in the pack that will come in very handy!
Our next step will be gathering all our items and laying everything out. This will give us a good mental picture of our heaviest to lightest items along with the items we will need frequently down to the things we will not need until much later into our hike.
Taking these steps will help us determine if we are packing any unnecessary items. If we are in doubt about certain items, visualize ourselves on the trail. Do we really see ourselves using this item, or is it something that we could really do without? Some things will come with experience, and if the item is not too large, heavy, or bulky, it may be in our best interest to pack it and just see how often we find ourselves reaching for it. There ARE times when it is better to be safe than sorry . . .
After we decide what will be going in our backpacks, it is time to determine the packing order. We will start with the items that will be used infrequently and pack these items on the very bottom of our main compartment for convenience. A list of these infrequently used items are:
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Extra Clothing (thermal underwear, underwear, socks, towel, an extra layer)
Try to store items on the bottom that we are not planning on using until it is time to set up camp for the night. These items will be easily accessible at this point.
Next on our list comes the heavier items. They should be packed in the main compartment close to the center of our backs for comfort and stability. These items include:
Food For Main Meal
Our next layer to pack will be the lighter items. They will be placed in the main compartment further away from our backs for comfort and stability. These items include:
First Aid Kit
- Columbia Men's Tipton Peak Insulated Jacket
- Price: $99.99
- Columbia Women's Tipton Peak Insulated Hooded Jacket
- Price: $99.99
- Gelert Women's Coast Waterproof Jackets
- Price: $41.99
- Karrimor Men's Orkney Waterproof Pants
- Price: $34.00
- Karrimor Women's Orkney Waterproof Pants
- Price: $34.00
The items we will be using most often during the day should be very easy to get to. The best place for these items is preferably in the side or top pockets of our backpacks for our convenience. If we do place these item in the main compartment of our packs, they should be on the top where they will be very easily accessible.
Here is a list of what these frequently used items will be:
Headlamp and/or Flashlight
Toilet Paper and a Ziplock Bag
- Compass - Military Prismatic Lensatic
- Price: $20.00
- 16 Function Pocket Knife - Swiss Army Style - Award
- Price: $8.00
- Petzl Reactik+ Headlamp