How to Take a Hiking Backpack Through an Airport

How to Take a Hiking Backpack Through an AirportBackpackers often choose to fly to distant hiking destinations and, although their gear is well-organized, large backpacks and equipment can be difficult to clear through airport security and baggage services. By carefully packing stoves, tools and other pieces of gear, you will be better able to avoid hassles at the airport.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Check your backpack as luggage. Items like pocketknives, stoves, ropes and water bottles will likely not make it past airport security as carry-on items, and they are generally too important to leave at home. If you must carry on your pack, check your airline's security listings for specific regulations and follow them closely.
Step 2
Remove fuel bottles from your pack and purchase them at your destination. Make sure items like water bottles are empty and open to inspection.
Step 3
Secure pack straps to avoid snagging during baggage loading. Tighten all adjustments and tuck the straps in pockets. Be sure to tie the loose ends. Check that all fasteners are closed.
Step 4
Request a luggage cover from your airline agent. These (generally free) plastic bags fit over your pack and will protect the straps from conveyor belts and other snags.
Step 5
Complete a final check of your pack before dropping it off at security. Make sure all contents are inside a fastened section of your pack, not on daisy chains, in mesh pockets or otherwise attached to the outside. Double-check the name and destination on the luggage ticket, and keep the stub and receipt in case of mishaps. Keep items like cameras and film in your carry-on bag.

Tips & Warnings

Taking hiking boots, dusty packs and dirty clothing through security screening may cause delays. Work with all security personnel and allow extra time to clear security checkpoints.
If you bring a day pack or hiking clothing as carry-on luggage, double-check the contents before you arrive at the airport. Small tools like pocketknives and cigarette lighters are easy to forget and will not pass the security screening.

Article Written By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson earned his Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from The Ohio University. He has been a professional writer since 2008, specializing in outdoors content and instruction. Johnson's poetry has appeared in such publications as "Sphere" and "17 1/2 Magazine."

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