How to Pack for a Hike

How to Pack for a Hike
A correctly packed backpack will contribute to a more enjoyable trek and help you maintain your balance and agility on the trail. When preparing for a backpacking trip you will want to pack your backpack so that the items inside are accessible, balanced by weight and compressed as much as possible to reduce the volume of your load. There are a few additional things you need to consider before you begin to pack for your next hiking trip, for example the nature of the trails you will be hiking and the weather conditions forecasted for that day. Having the supplies and equipment you need for a successful hike will make the experience a pleasant one.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Make a list of all of the items you will need to pack for your hiking trip. Sort the list by supplies, equipment and food. Keep this list handy until everything is packed securely and ready for use.
Step 2
Gather all of the supplies and equipment from your list and lay them out on a solid surface or table. Separate them weight, from the lightest to the heaviest and also by convenience, keeping the most-used items--such as water, sunscreen and knives--in outside compartments or on the top of the inside of the backpack. Remove as many unnecessary items and duplicates as possible, and set them aside. These items can be added later if there is room in the backpack to accommodate them.
Step 3
Put items into the backpack, beginning with the heaviest at the bottom and interlaying with lighter to medium-weight objects until you have reached the top. Keep items that are lightweight and breakable or fragile at the top inside of your backpack or gear bag. Bottled water or binoculars can be stored on the outside of the backpack if there are compartments to accommodate more items. Now you may fill in empty areas with unnecessary items you had put aside earlier. Lastly, fill in the sides and outer compartments with ready-to-use items, such as sunglasses, sunscreen, Swiss army knives, bottles of water, cameras, and extra lightweight clothing.
Step 4
Use bungee cords to attach bulky items--such as trek poles and rock-climbing gear--to the top of the backpack. Maximize efficiency and space by wrapping rope and climbing gear around trek poles and walking sticks. Insert lightweight items like blankets or even jackets into this bundle; this will free up room in your backpack or hiking bag.

Tips & Warnings

If you intend to camp out, you can use bungee cords to attach a tent or sleeping bag to the backpack.
Keep bulky items proportioned correctly to avoid physical strain or injury. Keep the largest amount of weight to the middle back area of the backpack and distribute excess weight throughout.
Do not strain or pick up heavy objects if you have back injuries or extreme discomfort.
Never go hiking without a first-aid kit, trail map, and a compass. Being unable to treat painful blisters, cuts, and scrapes, or getting lost in the woods will significantly diminish the enjoyment of your backpacking experience.

Article Written By Julie

Julie is an outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer. She enjoys hiking and camping the North Woods of Michigan, as well as remote regions of Canada. She spends her free time backpacking and exploring new and unchartered territory on all of her outdoor expeditions.

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