How To Pack A Backpack
If you click and purchase with one of our links, we earn a commission. Thanks.
Packing for a backpacking camping trip can be tough.
You need to pack enough gear, food, and clothes for the duration of your trip but you also want to make sure that everything is lightweight and compact so it’s not too heavy or bulky.
One of the reasons I want to take a backpacking camping trip is to be outside. I love being in nature. Plus, every time I go on a backpacking camping trip my mood improves because it gives me a break from the stresses of everyday life.
To better prepare myself for any potential hazards that might arise, it’s important to know what dangers are common in the area you’re going to be traveling through and how to avoid them.
We’ve got some tips on how to pack a backpack for a backpacking camping trip in this article!
Check out our top packing list items below.
Select Your Pack
The first step is to choose your pack.
When picking out a pack, make sure that it’s lightweight but has enough space and pockets to fit everything that you need for your trip.
You should consider looking into packs made out of different materials – some are designed with lightweight nylon while others have a durable cotton canvas coating.
Also, there are also internal frame packs and external frame packs.
While each type of pack has its own benefits, the main difference between these two is that an external frame pack offers more back support but can be difficult to use in areas where there isn’t a lot of room for your gear.
Internal frame packs are easier to carry and offer more room for larger items like tents.
Choose Your Backpacking Tent
You should also consider what kind of backpacking tent you’ll be using during your trip: a single or multi-person tent.
We have a complete article about choosing a backpacking tent.
If the weather is going to be nice, I have a compact one-person tent. The biggest downside is that there isn’t a vestibule for keeping my pack dry.
This is why I take a two-person tent on longer trips because there’s a little more space for laying stuff out, getting changed and a vestibule to keep the pack dry.
Put A Pack Liner In Your Pack
Unfortunately, most packs are not waterproof so I usually put my sleeping bag and sleeping clothes inside a waterproof sack within the pack.
While you can buy bags made explicitly to be dry bags, you don’t need to do this.
You can use heavy-duty compactor bags which are thick, cheap, and durable to keep your sleeping bag and clothes dry.
If you don’t have a waterproof sack inside your pack, your gear will be susceptible to getting wet.
A wet sleeping bag and wet clothes at camp is miserable at best but deadly at the worst.
Pack The Bottom
We pack our backpacks in the order of when we need the items.
At the bottom of the pack, we will place our sleeping bag because we won’t need it until we set up camp.
If you have clothes specifically for sleeping, you could put them here. While it might seem like a luxury item, there is a benefit of having clothes specifically for sleeping.
First, they will be dry and this will keep you warmer. And if you are brown bear country, you don’t want to sleep in the clothes you ate in.
Pack The Middle
The middle of our pack is where the food, fuel, and cooking kit goes. This is also the heaviest and bulkiest part of the backpack.
It’s important to be realistic about how much food, fuel, and water you’re going to need.
I backpack in Texas and I get jealous watching the people who hike the AT or the Rockies because it’s like water is everywhere you look.
Water can be scarce on Texas trails.
If you are in bear country, you may be required to carry a bear canister. Check with your local regulations.
By keeping the bulky parts in the middle you will keep the heaviest stuff close to your back and lower center of gravity.
Pack The Top
We are now going to pack our top with items that we want to get out fast and that are easily accessible while hiking.
You will want to pack it in the order you might use the items. For example, I would put my rain gear at the top. Then my puffy coat. Under this would be my tent.
Here’s a pro-tip I learned from another backpacker, your rain jacket like a Frog Toggs can double as a mid-layer because it’s not breathable thus does a good job of holding warmth.
Utilize The Exterior
The exterior pockets and straps is where you put everything else including the First Aid kit, sleeping pad, water filter, water bladder, and extra fuel canister.
Packing your backpack is a lot of work.
It’s important to pack your backpack properly so you don’t end up with sore shoulders and back, or worse, an injury.
We’re going to show you how to pack a backpack for camping in the wilderness without forgetting anything!
How To Attach A Tent To A Backpack?
How to attach a tent to a backpack? Put your tent into a stuff sack. If you have tent poles, you can put them in your pack or keep them in the stuff sack. Most packs will have straps for holding your tent on the bottom, or it might have a storage compartment for your tent. Put your stakes in your pack to avoid ripping your tent.
How To Attach A Sleeping Bag To A Backpack?
How to attach a sleeping bag to a backpack? Put your sleeping bag into a stuff sack. If there is going to be rain, cover the sleeping bag with a dry bag or poncho to keep it dry. Then use the external straps on your backpack to hold the sleeping bag.
Follow these steps and make sure not to leave out any essentials!
I used to hate going camping when I was a kid because we would always go to the same place and I got bored. I remember my dad packing the same old canned food, marshmallows, and sometimes stuff I didn’t even like to eat like a canned fruit cocktail.
But now backpacking is an entirely different experience for me. I love getting out there into the unknown wilderness and experiencing all the things that most people don’t get to see in their lifetime.
This article is going to show you how to pack a backpack for a backpacking camping trip. This includes choosing the right size, packing the right stuff, and using the outside pockets to store any extra gear you might need.
The best part is there are no right or wrong answers on how to get it done. What works for me might not work for you so just follow the steps in this article.
If you want to learn more about backpacking and outdoor survival check out our course.