How to Pack a Backpack for Hiking? (Ultimate Guide) – 2022

A backpack can be a real pain in the ass at times. That’s why learning how to pack a backpack for hiking and properly divide the weight is essential so you can hike for more extended periods without suffering.

Getting arranged and balancing your work isn’t impossible, but it does take some time and effort to find a solution that works for you. There are, however, some effective strategies and basic rules that you should always try to follow when packing your bag. We are here to get you covered whether you are new to hiking or want to catch up on your packing skills.

Articles for You!

How To Pack a Backpack For Hiking?

If you have planned for your hiking trip, then many questions will arise in your mind, like how to pack a backpack for hiking and what to pack in a hiking backpack.

If it is a day hiking trip, you will think about how to pack a backpack for day hiking. But if it is for camping, you will think about how to pack a backpack for camping. You gather all of your essentials for the trip and your backpacking gear. Now comes the time when you have to pack it all up in one of the best hiking backpacks.

The main question here is, does it really matter how to pack a backpack since all of your stuff fits in the bag? Well, yes, it matters a lot. If you keep stuffing your bag with everything, it will make it difficult for you to take a step without falling in the backward direction. Also, it will cause many problems for you in emergency conditions, like if you need toilet paper and have to dive deep into your bag to take it out. It would be challenging and time-consuming as well.

To help avoid such situations, you have to know the proper way how to pack a backpack for hiking and camping. If you know the right way to pack all up, you will face no problem on your trip and definitely enjoy it more.

We have written a complete research guide on commuting backpacks, click on the link and visit.

Some Basics About Packing You Need To Know

there are different types of backpacks. But you have the one that suits you and can carry all of your stuff. This means you have to pick a bag that is ideal in all aspects.

Take an Actual and Perfect Pack

Your fantasizing backpack for school may look cool and be capable of carrying a lot of textbooks, but it’s not built for overnight hiking adventures.

A backpack with at least a 30-40 liter capacity is required for a hiking journey. A comfortable hip strap, comfy shoulder straps, and a strong frame should be provided (internal or external).

Do a Demo Pack

Do a trial run before the big day when you’re heading out into the wild. Gather your items and pack your backpack. Take a walk with it after picking it up, belting it on, and taking it for a walk. Try climbing and walking a set of stairs—test by putting it on and off.

How does it make you feel? Do you need to adjust anything? does the top of the backpack feel heavier than usual? Might very well you have to choose between your favorite bottle and your tent if you can store everything or if you shall have to leave anything behind?

Plan Well

Buying the right backpack gear and deciding through all the stuff which you are going to take with you for the trip will help you efficiently pack everything without taking any unnecessary items with you.

Buy yourself one of the affordable yet functional backpacks like hiking backpacks under 100.

what to put in hiking backpack

How To Pack A Backpacking Pack?

Even if you have many items, a well-packed bag can make you feel like you are holding a heavy load. Being selective in where you arrange specific things for management help you feel more at peace on the path, but it would also help you feel much more comfortable.

When camping or hiking, an excellent key recommendation is to pack your backpack in three main sections: bottom, middle, and top. Always fill the bottom first, then distribute the load by keeping heavy items in the middle and your daily essentials on top. This way, the things you need are always within reach, and you don’t have to take your pack off and search through it.

Below is mentioned the best way to pack a backpack. The things mentioned below may differ from yours, but they will still give you a proper guideline that will help you arrange your goods for the hiking trip.

Enlist Everything You Will Need for Your Backpacking Trip.

Pack your backpacking bag in three main steps, which are discussed in detail below. In the first step, lay out all of your goods and pieces of equipment to see if you can skip any of them. Then arrange them into separate piles of sleeping clothes, shelter, food, cooking equipment, and every other thing that you are going to need during your hiking trip.

Getting arranged before packing your backpack will allow you to go over your hiking checklist and confirm that you haven’t forgotten anything, and prevent you from packing unnecessary items with you.

Items From The Bottom of The Pack

This section is for items you won’t need until you are at camp. This is where you put everything big, bulky, and “squishable” that can fit into the bottom of your pack. Consider it your “non-essentials” when out on the trail.

  • Your sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow if needed
  • Extra layers of clothes
  • Other things you need for your trip

First of all, pack your sleeping bag in the compression sack and place it on the very bottom of the bag. Now take all your loose clothes or the extra layers of clothing and place them on the sides and edges as you won’t be needing them on a regular basis.

Items From The Middle of the Pack

Heavyweight things should be kept in the center part of your pack. You can relieve needless tension on your back by placing heavy items in the center and as near your back as possible. It also prevents things from shifting and causing you to bear an inconvenient and unequal load.

The Items May Include

  • The stove and the fuel
  • Food, which is apparently the heaviest thing in your backpack apart from water
  • Camping mug
  • Camping shoes, if not enough space is left in the bag, can be strapped on the outside of the bag. So, must use a backpack with a shoe compartment.

Items at The Top of The Pack

The uppermost section of your backpack, as well as “the brain,” the part that is on top when you close your pack, makes up the top of your gear. When hiking or going on a trip, it is generally a zippered compartment that can be removed and is also used as a daypack.

here is a list of stuff that you should keep in the top section of the backpack:

  • A rain gear, if you are going to an area where there are chances of rain, then it is important to have easy access to your rain gear on the top of your pack. And if there are very few chances of rain, then you can put it on the sides of the bear canister.
  • First aid box, first aid is a very important thing to keep when thinking about how to pack a backpack for hiking. It should be accessible in case of any emergency and any need.
  • On-the-go snacks for the tour, if you have a long trip or hiking, it is preferred to keep on-the-go snacks and food so you can easily take them out when you feel hungry at any time of the hiking trip.
  • Your water filter
  • Your bathroom kit, including your toilet paper, sanitizer, shovel, and plastic bags to put the used toilet papers.

Lid Packed Items

here is a list of things that you can place in the lid or brain of the backpacking backpack for easy access.

  • travel size insect repellent spray
  • travel size sunscreen
  • map
  • your mobile phone
  • camera
  • quick on the go snacks
  • lighter
  • a torch or headlamp

The pockets on the hip belt are also a good spot to keep all your small stuff like your chapstick, sunglasses, or other essentials. If you have to put anything other than those mentioned above, deciding when to use them is preferred.

By doing this, you will get to know the right place for each of them. If you do not need them in the daytime, you can place them in the middle section, and if required urgently, they can be placed in the top area.

Some Key Tips And Tricks For Packing Your Backpacking Bag

Multi-day hiking is a great opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature. Your pack can easily make or break the journey on longer trips. Here’s a checklist to help you make sure your hiking bag is properly equipped and packed.

You can click on the link and read what to put in your school backpack.


Make sure your hiking backpack isn’t too heavy. Hikers frequently make this mistake. The pack of healthy individuals should be one-third of their body weight. A less fit hiker should limit the weight of their hiking load to one-quarter of their body weight.

Women’s packs should weigh about a quarter of their body weight, ideally less than 12kg (including water bottles.)


To keep the items from becoming wet, line the pack with a thick, waterproof lining. Choose bright orange colors for the lining since they can signal for help in an urgent situation.

Packing Order

The side pockets should be packed before the main body of your hiking backpack. Then, start with the bulkier, lighter goods, such as your sleeping bag. Heavy objects should be kept close to your back and higher in your bag.

Sharp things should not be carried close to your back. Make sure you have waterproof and warm clothing readily available in case the weather turns bad.

Organize Your Bag

Your hiking pack should be well-balanced and placed around your body’s center of gravity or close to your back. If the backpack isn’t completely loaded, use the compression belts to secure the load and keep it from wobbling or swinging here and there. This could lead to exhaustion and extra stress.

Keep Your Stuff Dry

the area in which you are hiking can change the weather at any moment. It can rain unexpectedly, which can even stop your hike. It is preferred to pack your clothes in waterproof bags to keep them completely dry and protected from any unexpected rain, water streams, or weather change.

Prioritize Your Items

Always make sure to place all your essentials in the most easily accessible pockets or part of the bag. These important items may include a whistle, a first aid kit, a torch, a compass or map, a small water bottle, a lighter, and most importantly, your mobile phone.

how to pack a hiking backpack

Bottom Line

How to pack your backpack for hiking is a very confusing question for people when they have to pack their bags for a hiking trip. But here we are to help such people out and solve all their issues.

Well, this article might have cleared all your queries about packing your hiking backpack and the important tips and tricks you need to remember before going on a hiking or camping tour.

So whether you are going to a forest or a mountain, you have to know how to pack a backpack. A poorly packed bag may get you in trouble. On the other hand, a perfectly packed backpack will make you enjoy the hiking trip more.

So always remember to pack all well so you can completely enjoy the journey. After packing a backpack the next step is the best way to wear a backpack. You can click on the link to read the article.

I am Lily-Rose, an outdoor gear staff expertise with tons of practical knowledge. My favorite hobby is moving around the world and being adventurous in all the parts of the earth. I have been a worldwide traveler for over 5 years now with no sign of slowing down. I’m happily espoused and residing with my kids.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.