How to Pack a Backpack for Backpacking

The basics of backpacking are simple: carry everything you need in as small a space possible, and don’t forget the right-sized clothing. But it’s not always easy to know what size backpack or clothes will be needed for any particular trip.

The “how to pack a hiking backpack diagram” is a helpful guide on how to pack your backpacking gear. It includes tips and tricks on what you should bring, as well as packing diagrams for different types of backpacks.


Kate and I will be going camping in Colorado with a buddy next week. We’ve had a few travels in the last several years, and each time we go, we come up with a new way to make the following trip even better. 

One aspect of my backpacking endeavor that I’m continuously improving is how to load my backpack so that it’s as comfortable as possible while trekking.

Below, I’ll share what I’ve learnt on this topic, as well as other packing recommendations that can help you have a more enjoyable camping trip. 

The Best Way to Pack a Backpack


On the bottom, there’s light stuff, and on the top, there’s heavy stuff (And Close to Your Back)

This is the most life-changing and paradoxical advice I’ve ever heard. When I first began hiking, I thought it was preferable to load heavy items on the bottom and light items on the top. That weight distribution seemed to make sense for some reason; it’s how I load my grocery bags (don’t break those eggs!) and how I learnt to pack a truck while assisting someone with a move. 

When hiking, however, you want the lighter items on the bottom and the heavier items towards the middle/top of your pack’s core (the actual top of your pack is almost always a different compartment, which we’ll explore in the following section). Furthermore, the heavier items should be as near to your back as feasible. The weight of the pack is distributed in such a manner that the burden is directed downward rather than backward, offering better comfort and stability when hiking. 

A common packing order for your bag might look like this, from bottom to top, if you followed this guideline:

  • Bag for sleeping
  • Apparel (clothes can also be wrapped around various loose items to fill in gaps and keep things from shifting around)
  • Pad for sleeping
  • Stove 
  • bladder of water (if your pack has a special bladder compartment it will probably reside in this core area of the pack)
  • Tent
  • a meal (food ends up being the heaviest stuff on a backpacking trip)

Remember to load the heavier goods close to your back and in between your shoulder blades, not only towards the top. This will assist you in maintaining your center of gravity, resulting in a more balanced and enjoyable hiking experience.

Finally, ensure sure your backpack isn’t heavier on one side than the other. As you move, you don’t want to be dragged to the left or right.

Convenience Packing 

Use your backpack’s various pockets to load goods for convenience after you’ve packed the large stuff with light on the bottom and heavy on the top. That is, put the items you’ll use first and foremost in easy-to-access pockets. You don’t want to have to go through your whole bag to locate the stuff you’ll need during the day. The larger things, such as the following, may be stored in the top section of your backpack:


  • Filtration system for water
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp
  • Toilet paper is available (shovel, toilet paper, hand sanitizer)
  • First-aid kit (hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s a good idea to have one)

My pack features hipbelt compartments where I keep minor on-the-go necessities like my knife, compass, emergency whistle, and sometimes some extra food.

On the exterior of the main compartment of my bag, there is also an external pocket. For quick and easy access, I keep my rain jacket in there. When I put the jacket back in the pack after wearing it in the rain, it saves my other belongings from becoming wet. 

Water bottles may be stored in compartments on most contemporary backpacks. Make use of them. While trekking, it’s critical to stay hydrated.

Tighten everything in a compressed package using those straps.

A slew of straps will likely run this way and that on your bag. Tighten the straps as much as you can once you’ve gotten everything packed. This will keep everything near to your center of gravity, resulting in a more pleasant and steady trek. 

Don’t Forget a Rain Cover for Your Backpack!

While hiking, you never know how the weather may change. If you’re trekking in the mountains, this is particularly true. It might be bright one minute and then be soaked by an afternoon downpour the next. Make sure to bring a rain cover (in an easy-to-access pocket!) and use it whenever the rain starts to fall to keep your bag and the items inside from getting wet. 

Hiking is fun!



Backpacking is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It can be fun, exciting, and relaxing all at once. The “how to pack a backpack for backpacking” article will help you get started on your next trip. Reference: how to pack a backpack for a weekend.

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