tips for packing a hiking bag

5 tips for packing a Hiking bag

Need help packing your hiking bag? We are here to help, these basic tips for packing a hiking bag may be useful to you.

If you’re planning a multi-day hike carrying all your kit, you’ll need a good hiking backpack that is big enough to pack it all into, tough enough to endure the inevitable abuse that comes with outdoor use, and yet be comfortable enough to walk with all day.

Here are five tips for packing a hiking bag. 

1. Center of gravity

Make sure the centre of gravity is as close to the lower back as possible. If you pack the bulk of the weight too high, then the pack will be unstable. If you pack it too low it will pull unduly on your shoulders. And if the weight is too far back then again the pack will be unstable, uncomfortable and pull you backwards.

2. Smart packing

There are few things more frustrating than having to empty your pack in the middle of a rainstorm to try and find your waterproof jacket. Make sure you pack things that you may need quick access to in places where you can reach them in an instant. This goes for snacks and gadgets like head torches and cameras as well.

3. Use the compression straps

These are so often over-looked, but if you tighten the pack’s compression straps once it’s loaded it will hold everything in place and improve stability while you’re on the move.

4. Contamination

If you’re packing liquid fuel for the stove there’s always a risk that it could leak and contaminate the rest of your rucksack, so pack it somewhere that a spill will do as little damage as possible, like a wand pocket. Also, carry a stuff sack (or even a plastic bag) to separate smelly or wet clothes from clean ones.

5. Rain covers

While rucksacks can be water-resistant up to a point, in bad conditions your kit is going to get soaked. To keep your gear dry it’s best to use a rain cover for the outside of the pack (many rucksacks will come with these as standard) and dry bags on the inside, to make completely sure your kit stays dry. We find rain covers have other uses too, like groundsheets in camp.

Also, remember ABCDE while packing a hiking bag. These are additional tips for packing a hiking bag. 

A= Accessibility
Make sure any items you may require during the middle of the walk is accessible. Putting essential items (Suncare, camera etc) which are used often should be packed somewhere easily accessible. 

B= Balanced
Keep the centre of gravity in mind while packing the bag and make sure you have packed everything in a balanced order.

C= Compressed
You will be able to pack more even in a little space if you compress everything before packing. Make sure you compress and pack in order to save more space in our backpack. 

D= Dry
Keep the wet and dry items separately in your backpack. Always carry a dry pack or a laundry bag to separate dry and wet items.

E= Everything Inside
Do not leave any items tangling and hanging to your backpack as not only does it looks bad it can also be tangled with other objects. Put everything inside in your backpack.

Read also:

Best hiking boots for trekking in Nepal

Image source:

This piece first appeared as part of our rucksack group test in Adventure Travel magazine issue 119.


About Author

Highland Expeditions is a high altitude adventure travel company based in Kathmandu, Nepal founded by local alpine experts with over 30 years of experience in trekking and mountaineering in the Himalayas.

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