How To Arrange Supplies in your Backpack

How To Arrange Supplies in your Backpack
Proper packing is essential for comfort on the trail. A sloppy load can shift, throwing you off-balance, or put uneven strain on your back, shoulders and legs. Although packing is one of the least pleasant parts of mornings in the backcountry, learning to arrange your pack correctly will save you time, energy and discomfort during a hike. In general, bulky, heavy objects should be arranged toward the bottom of your pack and close to the frame. Lighter items can be packed according to size and fit.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Stuff your sleeping bag into your pack's bag compartment, if it has one. Most internal frame backpacks have a zippered section at the base of the pack for sleeping bags, but some older models require you to lash the bag to the outside of the pack.
Step 2
Pack any food that you do not plan to eat on the trail. The food should be organized in a stuff sack or bear can. Push the sack into the bottom of your backpack's main compartment so that it lies flat, or on its side.
Step 3
Place your stuffed tent on top of the food and against the pack frame. Leave tent poles and stakes separate from the tent itself, and slide in these items beside the pack walls.
Step 4
Arrange cookware, stove, fuel and other camp items around the tent and food. Keep the heavier items close to the pack frame; lighter objects can be fitted together. Nest things such as pots, utensils and stoves together to save space.
Step 5
Wedge in your clothes to pad bulky objects. Some larger garments can be rolled, but most lightweight clothes use less space when they are stuffed tightly into a pack.
Step 6
Close the main compartment. Tighten any compression straps to stabilize the load.
Step 7
Disperse any small tools, clothes and food that you will use on the trail among the outside, easy-to-reach pockets on the pack. If your pack does not have outside pockets, place these items in the main compartment on top of your clothes for easy access. Lash your sleeping pad, camp shoes and sleeping bag (if you did not stuff it in Step 1) to your pack's gear loops.

Tips & Warnings

Take extra time to pack at home before you hit the trail. If you get it right before you start hiking, you can simply duplicate the arrangement each morning.

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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