How to Pack a Backpack
There really is not a correct way to pack a backpack. However, if you are going to be hiking off-trail, over rough terrain or on snow there are a few tips that can prevent a lot of problems.
- As a general rule you might want to pack heavier items a little lower in your bag to bring down your center of gravity. This can help prevent falls from an unbalanced pack.
- Sleeping bag. Most hiking packs have an area at the bottom of the bag for your sleeping bag. It’s a good idea to keep your sleeping bag separated from heavier gear because compressing some bags can cause damage resulting in warmth.
- Clothes Next. Just make sure you have a few items that can be easily accessed if the weather changes. Hat, gloves, and rain gear should be stashed in an outside pocket where you can grab them if things get rough.
- Shelter – Some bags have enough room in the sleeping bag compartment to stash a small tent or tarp. If your pack has a separate compartment try to stuff your tent under the sleeping bag. The last thing you want to do in a rainstorm is unpack your whole bag just to get to your tent. Tent poles can be strapped to the outside of the bag. (Tip – Some tents or tarp systems can be made to work with your walking sticks, thus freeing up space)
- Food – Store in spill proof waterproof materials. Can be placed throughout the bag
- Cooking Fuels – Store any fuel upright and as far away as possible from your food. If you have pockets outside your bag this would be a good place for fuel.
- Personal Items – Outside pockets are great for things like rain gear, water filters, water bottles, snacks,sunscreen, insect repellant, and your camera.