How To Pack A Backpack For Hiking

With so many trails to hike and so little time, you may be wondering how to pack a backpack for hiking. Packing a backpack does not have to be hard and your pack does not have to be impossibly heavy. Follow these easy steps for how to pack a backpack for hiking and you’ll be good to go.

1. Organizing your things. This is a good place to start packing a backpack for hiking to ensure you’ve got everything you need and are not forgetting something. The essential things to remember to take include:

  • extra clothes 
  • food 
  • water 
  • a map and compass 
  • sunscreen
  • first-aid kit 

The clothes you take should allow you to dress in layers for changing weather conditions and temperatures. Avoid cotton because it will become wet, uncomfortable and fail to keep you warm and comfortable. Include a rain jacket or windbreaker for more stormy weather. Bring enough food and water for the distance you plan to hike and to be prepared for the unexpected. It is a good idea to take at least two liters of water and food that is high in carbohydrates; nuts, fruit and energy bars usually do the job. A map and compass is essential to find your way out in case you become lost or disoriented. Sunscreen is useful to protect your skin from UV rays, even in the winter. A small first-aid kit is a good idea to take of minor cuts, scrapes or sprains that may occur during a hike. The American Hiking Association recommends including things like:

  • antihistamine 
  • antiseptic ointment 
  • bandages 
  • sterile gauze pads 
  • Moleskin 
  • tweezers 
  • a pocketknife and more.

Once you have everything in order you can start packing your backpack for hiking.

2. Start with the bottom. When you pack your backpack for hiking, start at the bottom. The items you are less likely to use should go in the bottom, such as extra or heavier clothes and extra food.

3. Move into the top. The top section of your backpack is a good place for the things you will more readily need. These items include a rain jacket or warmer layer, food and your first-aid kit.

4. Exterior and extra pockets. Exterior pockets are perfect for the essentials and things you will most often need. Water should go into these pockets so that each time you need a drink you could easily get one. Snacks, sunscreen, a camera and your map and compass also work well in these pockets.

5. Weight distribution. There are different schools of thought on the weight distribution of your backpack for hiking. Some insist that the heaviest things should be at the bottom, with lighter items in the top. However, others argue the exact opposite. The weight distribution does not matter as much as your comfort. Experiment and find what works best for you.

6. The pack is too heavy. It is easy to pack too much for a hike and for a pack to be unnecessarily heavy. Experience is the best help for this problem. The more you hike the more you will learn about what you use and do not use on a hike. If your pack is too heavy, try to remove extra clothes, heavy gadgets or excessive food, just be sure that you are still appropriately prepared. Lightweight clothing and gear is a huge part of the outdoor equipment industry, and if you want to spend the money you can buy hiking clothes that are exceptionally light and compact. 

Now that you know how to pack a backpack for hiking, it is time to hit the trail!

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