Planning for a vacation or family reunion? There is nothing wrong with throwing your stuff in a backpack and saying you are all done. But missing out on your backpacking essentials can cause you trouble later. And that’s something you don’t want.
Let’s accept it, the way your backpack is loaded will determine how you feel it on your back. That being said, it is mandatory to know how to pack a backpack especially if you are a first-time traveler.
Find The Right Size!
There are a variety of backpacks in the market, however, we will talk about a few widely used backpacks according to your needs that also stay easy on your budget.
- Day trip: for a one-day motorcycle road trip, with weather or winter conditions, you may need a 20 to 30L backpack.
- For a weekend trip: a weekend trip can long between 1 to 3 nights and for that, you may need a 40 to 50L backpack. A day’s pack will not work because it is small and cannot accommodate your sleeping gear.
- Multi-day trip: for a trip lasting for 3 to 6 nights 50 to 75L bag is a suitable option to store more food and clothes.
- Expeditions: if your trip will span for six or more nights, a 75 to 110L bag should be your choice. These bags are substantially big and will accommodate more tools, food, and gear while making a room for your tent and sleeping bag. Although, experienced travelers opt for expeditions or long trips however it is still a good idea to consult a guide on how to pack a backpack.
While purchasing a backpack, it is important to look for the manufacturer that fulfills your needs. You can also bring your gear to see whether it fits into your potential backpack or not. Moreover, consider your fitness and endurance level to distribute weight in your backpack.
How to Pack Efficiently and Avoid Overpacking?
The organization is the first step toward one of the best packing strategies. Speaking of the basic rule of thumb, put heavy items against your back. At the bottom keep the items that you don’t need most often. Whereas on the top, place the medium-weight items you need frequently.
This rule of organizing your backpack is supported by human anatomy. A backpack loaded with your gear puts weight on your body and adds to it. So, a wrongly organized or overpacked backpack can also cause back injuries.
So here is the step-by-step guide on how to pack your backpack:
- Begin with light items that can easily compress and you don’t require them frequently. These items include your sleeping bag and clothes. Make sure you keep less frequently used items at the bottom of your bag. You will need them only when you are resting and setting up your camp.
- The middle section of your bag is for heavy items. These types of items should be as close to your back as possible. These heavy items include cooking equipment, food, a hydration bladder, liquid fuel, etc. Keep these items centered above your hips and beneath your shoulder blades.
- Few additional lightweight items such as rainfly, additional clothing, or a tent around the heavy gear against the back panel of your bag.
- Now, on the top area, pack frequently used items such as first aid, snacks, light jackets, headlamp, cameras, etc. This is to avoid unpacking every time you need a small item during travel.
- Now come the small items you may want frequently such as a map, sunglasses, and a compass. Pack these items in the external pockets dedicated to accessories.
- After finishing, tighten the belts and straps to prevent the stuff from shifting inside your bag.
Backpacking Essentials – What To Pack?
Knowing what to bring with you on the trip is very important. And it heavily depends on the destination, weather, and how long your trip will last. Usually, the more remote or longer your trip/hike is, the more rough the weather and the more gear you would need. So, before you implement strategies on how to pack a backpack, make a list of the items you will need.
Your backpacking essentials list includes:
- A lot of food and drinks
- Energy bars
- Water bottles
- Clothes (quick drying clothes, shorts, pants, long sleeves shirts, socks, raincoat, jacket, gloves, warm hat)
- Hiking shoes/boots
- Sleeping bag
- Kitchen supplies
- Stove and fuel
- First aid and personal hygiene supplies
- Sun protection and insect repellents
- Navigation tools (compass, map, watch, torch, satellite messenger, GPS, guidebook)
- Fire ignition tools such as lighter or matchsticks
- Small repair/tool kit (knife, duct tape, scissors, bottle opener)
- Camera and cellphone
- Book, cards, games, journal, pen/pencil
Gear to carry outside your bag:
- Trekking poles
- Axe/ice axe
- Rope/climbing rope
How to Carry a Backpack? The Right Way
It may seem a simple aspect of your backpacking journey, however, if wrongly done it can cause harm to your back and shoulders. If it is not carried the right way, you will lose control of it and find yourself struggling with your pack. NEVER carry it by shoulder strap – a common mistake by beginners. This can damage your shoulders.
Follow the steps below on how to wear a backpack properly:
- Loosen the straps a bit to make it slip on easily on your back
- Keep the pack upright on the ground
- Move next to the back panel of your pack
- Keep your legs apart and bend your knees
- Hold the haul loop
- While keeping your hands on the haul loop, lift and slide your pack and rest it on your thigh
- Slip your other arm through the shoulder strap until your shoulder is held by the padding
- Bend forward and swing your pack onto your back
- Slip your hand, holding the haul loop, through the other shoulder strap
- Now, buckle up, make minor adjustments and you are good to go
Practice makes a man perfect. So, practice how to pack a backpack at home as much as you can till you become a master of it.