How to Pack a Hiking Backpack

How to Pack a Hiking Backpack

If you are an avid hiker or even a beginner into the game, portability, and mobile and probably two of the most important things to keep in mind for any hiker out there. Walking up to all those mountain tops is surely a blissful experience, however, it doesn’t take long for such a pleasant event to turn haywire if you are hiking in a backpack that is heavy, unbalanced, and weighs you off on your hikes.

While packing your regular travel luggage is what we all are familiar with, when it comes to hiking backpacks that is different. However, there is nothing to worry about as by the end of this article you will be able to fully learn how to pack a hiking backpack.

We will also throw in a few recommendations from our end about a few hiking backpacks that we think are the best to travel with. Without any further delay, let’s get into it.

The New Era Of Hiking Backpacks

In the old times when hiking was casually taking strides the backpacks that were available back then weren’t the state of the art. They were heavy, clunky, uncomfortable, no utility pockets, and most importantly had no weight distribution at all.

This is why learning how to pack a hiking backpack in the 70s was useless. Regardless, times have changed and hiking gear is more advanced than ever. The most major change that has come forward is the huge number of pockets and space is available.

Many of you might be well aware of them, but it is still very important to learn about the function of these different compartments and what to pack in them.


This is usually the smallest pocket that you will find on any hiking backpack. Keep in mind that this will be used to keep easy access to tools and accessories that you will need to use on the go.

Compact items like your emergency first aid kit, navigation tools, headlamps, and all the other trivial things will go here.

You can put your cellphone and your snack packs and wallet on the hip pouch which can also be used as a fanny pack. This will be very common but in addition to filling the water reservoir, carry an extra bottle of water on the side bottle pocket on the backpack.


When you will be hiking and you will have your hiking backpack with you, you wouldn’t want it to have an unbalanced weight to hamper your hiking

. This is why when you are looking to know how to pack a hiking backpack, you must put your sleeping bag, sleeping pillow, and clothes at the bottom-most compartment of the bag.

This will not only keep the weight of the backpack balanced but will also prevent any lower back pain that might have happened if you didn’t know how to pack a hiking backpack.

Hence, keeping the lightweight stuff at the bottom of your backpack will ensure everything stays nice and stable.


To keep the shape and structure of your backpack nice and rigid, the middle part will not be able to keep the shape stable if it is not packed with the right stuff. On top of your sleeping bags and clothes, you will need to put heavier gear.

Things like the cooking gear, tin canned foods, and all that other heavy stuff. The reason why we are suggesting to put these heavy things in the middle is that the weight will be kept very close to your bag and you won’t be bothered with any lower back pain from your hikes.

A FEW TRIPS AND TRICKS ON HOW TO pack a hiking backpack

Trips And Tricks On How To Pack A Hiking Backpack

As we mentioned before, in addition to filling up your water reservoir always make sure that you have a water bottle filled in as well. There are several different types of water bottles for hikers that you can find online.

Make sure to check out the reviews first before you go on to make your purchase. Keep in mind to get something that is lightweight and made of silicone as that will not add weight to your baggage and will also be durable.

Speaking of hydration, while you are packing your bag, you must fill in the water reservoir of the bag at the very first before you put anything inside the bag. This will help in maneuvering everything properly without any hassle.


When hikers come across the part on how to pack a hiking backpack, most of them tend to get nervous and start thinking of it as a very difficult affair.

Well, that surely won’t be the case once you follow what we tell you to do over this article and that just follows the A, B, C, and the Ds of packing a hiking backpack.

A For Accessibility

It won’t matter how many things you have stuffed inside your backpack if you are not able to access them when needed. Always make sure to put your snacks, first aid kit, and other emergency stuff in your hip pockets for easy access

B For Balance

Even though backpacks these days do very good at balancing weight, you would still need to manage your stuff properly. You will need to evenly pack items of the same weight on both sides so that everything stays balanced out or else you will just be dangling from one side.

C For Compression

You need to keep in mind that you are going hiking and not on a trip to get glamour shots for your Instagram. Regardless, while you are packing clothes in your hiking backpack you need to roll them up and squeeze them inside, as neatly folding them won’t get the job done.

D for Dry

Try to get a hiking backpack that is waterproof and will keep every piece of your gear nice and dry. However, if a waterproof hiking backpack is beyond your budget then try to waterproof your gear separately.

Make Sure You Aren’t Overpacking

Make Sure You Aren’t Overpacking

When we are going out on hikes, often our inner paranoia kicks in and we tend to pack more than we will ever need. Well, while this can be dealt with on regular trips, you will surely struggle if it is during a hike.

You need to understand that you will be having this backpack on your back at all times and if it is too heavy it will result in chronic backpains. Well, now the question arises, that how do you not overpack anything? Here are a few simple tips to help you out.

First put everything that you will be needing, flat in front of you so that you have a better look at everything. This will help you out to keep the essentials differently and put the unnecessary stuff aside.

Pack the essentials first in case you miss them out. And now comes the hard part and that is putting the luxury or irrelevant things aside that is not important for your hiking trip.

However, if you are carrying a pretty big backpack that can hold a lot and you still have space for something extra then you can surely go ahead and pack that designer shirt you so wanted a photo in.

Make Sure To Keep Everything Waterproof

On your hiking adventures, you will come across many different terrains and weathers where water will not be your closest friend and will rather make you face a huge ton of problems. To keep yourself as well as your hiking gear safe, you need to ensure that your hiking gear is waterproof.

Even though all of it is not necessary, having a waterproof sleeping bag is a must. Because while you can dry every other piece of gear down, you cannot do the same for the sleeping bag. Get a sleeping bag that is waterproof and made from high-quality polyester material with a coating so that your sleeping arrangements are kept safe at all times.

Stay Safe

No matter if you are an expert or a beginner hiker, the risk of accidents and injuries happening is much too often and you would need to be able to cure such injuries immediately.

However, because of the compatibility factor, you can’t possibly put a huge first aid kit in your backpack.

There are many different mini first aid kits available online and getting one for your hiking trip is a must-have.

Do not judge them by their size though, because no matter how small it might be, most of these tiny boxes hold the necessary first aid supplies to help you treat cuts, scrapes, or any other minor injuries. This is surely a must-have for every hiker out there.

The Different Hiking Backpacks That Are Easy To Pack And Travel With

Everything that we went through till now will surely be able to give you a more than enough idea on HOW to pack a hiking backpack next time.

You will know that the number of different backpacks out there is huge and in this plethora of different backpacks, finding one that is easy to pack is often a challenge as most of them focus more on performance and functionality.

Get a hiking backpack that is lightweight, but also has a lot of space inside otherwise you won’t be able to carry even the necessary items. Most hiking backpacks these days have a lot of extra gimmicks and whatnot. Try to avoid those and rather get something that is simple and will get the job done.

How To Get The Best Use Out Of The Compression Straps

On most hiking backpacks there are usually a lot of more straps here and there in comparison to a regular backpack. However, most hikers do not have an idea of what these straps do and how to use them

. Most compression straps on hiking backpacks are found on the exterior of the bags and they are there to maintain the weight balance of the bag as well as keep the backpack stable with your body.

So now comes the part on how to use them. Once you are done packing the backpack with everything inside you need to buckle the straps and pull them tightly.

Once it is nice and tight, there won’t be anything else to worry about because anything inside won’t shift around inside the backpack.

This might not seem as much of a problem, but when you are up on the tracks and everything will start stumbling inside, that is when you will realize the importance of the compression straps.


A common question amongst many new hikers regarding backpack is the external loops that are found on the backpacks. These questions often get unanswered and that is why we are addressing it now. Well, the loops are there on the bag to help you keep heavy items attached to your pack.

For example,- trekking poles, tent poles, or gear of that sort won’t fit on your backpack and you would need to fit them on your loops.

A small tip for using loops properly is to use hook carabiners and clips that are small and compact. Do not use anything heavy as it will add weight to the backpack and make it sway back and forth.

Try To Carry As Much Hydration As Possible

Hiking trips won’t be like your regular backpacking trip to tourist destinations. As fun as it may surely seem to be, it will be a very tiring and gruesome one.

However, to keep the fun part alive you would need to always stay hydrated at all times.

Even though every hiking backpack more or less has a hydration pack that won’t alone do the job at times.

Besides, hydration packs in backpacks will make your backpack hard to carry as well. In this case, try to carry an external hydration pack. It will surely make your trip more pleasant.

Keep It Simple

Many hikers tend to make the overall thing of how to pack a hiking backpack very complicated while it isn’t.

It is something very easy and simple if you follow everything that we talked about and you will be good to go. Pack light, pack necessary items, stay hydrated, and most importantly have fun.