So, you plan to spend some time outside and take a hike. It is an excellent decision, as this activity offers numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness and stress relief. However, you need to prepare before moving out. One of the most overlooked aspects of preparing for a hiking trip is packing your backpack.
While it may seem trivial, knowing where to place each item in your backpack can significantly impact your hiking experience. If you do everything by the book, you will have a much more pleasant time carrying heaps of stuff on your back. Conversely, if you jam tons of items into a small packing space, it may cause several issues.
To become a packing ninja, you should first choose a suitable backpack and assemble the necessary gear for your trip. Next, place everything in the proper order — midweight items at the bottom, the heaviest in the middle, and the lightest at the top. This way, you can fit more things inside your backpack and better organise your gear.
Here is the ultimate guide on how to pack your backpack with efficiency and comfort in mind:
Put the Midweight Items at the Bottom
If you want to enjoy a comfortable hiking trip, put the midweight items at the bottom of your backpack. These could include a tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, or extra clothing.
At the same time, keep in mind that placing fragile stuff at the bottom is a big no-no. Instead, putting things like vape tanks, sunglasses, and magnifying glasses in a secure container near the top of your backpack would be a much wiser choice.
By packing midweight items first, you create a solid base for the rest of your equipment without putting too much strain on your back. Thanks to it, you will find it easier to distribute the weight evenly and balance your backpack.
Place the Heaviest Items in the Middle
If you plan an overnight hike, your backpack will most likely be full. Pack the heaviest items right after the midweight ones to make sure everything fits. Following this advice is one of the most straightforward ways to prepare a backpack for hiking without overwhelming your back and shoulders.
Putting the heaviest items in the middle and close to your back will help you maintain balance. This position will shift the weight towards your hips and prevent it from pulling you backwards.
For example, if you are heading to a campsite and plan to cook lots of food, you should place a large pot in the very centre of your bag. You can place smaller cooking utensils on top of it in preparation for meal preparation or food storage.
Fill the middle section with the tent body, cookware, food other than snacks, and other heavy gear. This way, your shoulders will not be overburdened by the weight of your backpack, and you will enjoy your trip without any issues.
Add the Lightest Items on the Top
Last but not least, add the lightest items to your backpack. These include things like a map, a flashlight, and your sunglasses.
For example, suppose you have a rain jacket that weighs next to nothing and a heavy sleeping bag on the bottom of your backpack. In this situation, it will be much easier for you to take out your rain jacket in case of rain if it is at the top.
Use Compression Straps
Most backpacks come with compression straps that allow you to cinch down the pack and make more space inside. Nevertheless, you can use them not only to compress your gear to create more space but also to distribute weight evenly.
Make compression straps as loose as possible before placing your equipment in the pack to increase space in your backpack and better organise your gear. Then, tighten the straps at the bottom of your bag. Doing so will reduce the volume and give you extra room to place other items.
Balance Your Backpack
Many people pack their bags in a way that makes them uneven, leading to back pain and muscle strain. To not share their fate, take some time to make the necessary adjustments before hitting the road.
Once you have packed everything inside your backpack, take a moment to adjust the straps until the bag feels snug and comfortable on your back. The goal is to distribute the weight evenly so that your backpack does not pull you to one side.
Now, you know how to pack your backpack like a hiking pro. Remember that packing for a hiking trip is one thing, but packing for an ultralight hiking trip is another. For this reason, it is crucial to know how much gear you need for your hike and how to pack it properly.
We highly encourage you to put the heaviest items in the middle while stuffing the bottom of your backpack with midweight stuff like camp clothes and sleeping bags. You can place the lightweight items at the top of your pack in easy-to-reach places.
Just because you are going on a hiking trip does not mean you have to bring everything you own. Defining your needs beforehand and packing accordingly can help save weight and space.