How to Pack a Backpack for Camping

Going on a backpacking trip would require proper packing of your things. Putting them pell-mell inside your backpack isn’t really the way to go. Your pack should be balanced and organized. Pack things in order of the things that you need. Rain gears at the top, sleeping gears on the bottom. This way you won’t have a hard time getting things out when you need them.

SLEEPING PAD – Roll it up and strap it to the outside of your pack. If you attach it vertically it will snag less on trees and other objects, but horizontally on the bottom is best for weight distribution, keeping your center of gravity low.

SLEEPING BAG – Put your sleeping bag in first. If you use a compression sack, this will also save you room as your bag will compress down well beyond its normal size. If your bag is down, use a waterproof sack or other waterproof liner to keep it dry.

TENT – Heaviest items go in the middle and closest to your back. Most tents made specifically for backpacking are small and light enough to fit in one side of your backpack.

COOKING GEAR – If you’re want to have some hot meals during your trip, you’ll need a portable stove. You can store cooking gear inside of your biggest pot or pan. Just make sure that your fuel canister is sealed tightly and stored underneath your food

FOOD – Separate your food into groups. Snacks such as trail mix, string cheese, and sandwiches should go in an easy access part of your backpack like the fanny pack or outside pockets. Other food that you may be using for larger meals should be placed in a storage bag on top of your camping gear.

DRY CLOTHES –  Bring an extra set of clothes (especially socks), even if you don’t think you’ll need it. It can vastly improve your comfort levels in the event of a minor incident like falling into a creek, or will keep you alive after a more serious fall like into a partially frozen creek in the winter. Dry clothes can also be rolled up and used to fill empty pockets in your pack, so the packing space used will be minimal. Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck camping with wet clothes.

MEDICAL KIT – Consider the environment you’re entering. Buy a first aid kit; or assemble one yourself, with some advice from those who know. Carry ID and make sure it includes your DOB and next of kin contacts.

Keep survival gear on your person.

If nothing else, always keep a granola bar, knife, a packet of waterproof matches, and some bandages in your pocket. Other items such as a space blanket, packable warm layers, signaling devices and a waterproof shell, could increase your chances of survival in the case of an emergency.

Balance it out.

Secure the items in your backpack so they don’t rattle around as you walk. Once your bag is full, throw it on and see how it feels. Is one side heavier than the other? An unbalanced backpack can affect your stride and cause lower back and shoulder pain if you walk with it for too long.

Stay organized and keep a checklist of the things you need. Some people may pack things differently depending on who they’re going with. Just remember, pack accordingly. From what you’ll need at a later time, to what you need to be easily accessible. Stay safe and happy camping!

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