Find out what to pack in your sack!
Adventuring by Backpack? Whether you’re going to Peru, Thailand, Nepal or the Grand Canyon, destinations by backpack may be the best way to experience our world–to see nature at its best. Packing that pack the right way though, may make all the difference in comfort during your trip.
The key to comfort for multi-day packing is with organized balance and keeping your essentials to a bare minimum. We all know the concept of balancing needs vs. wants. Packing your pack is similar in that we need to choose what we bring with focus: essentials vs accessories. You will find that careful selection of what to pack and where to place it in your pack will keep unwanted aches and pains at bay, thus making your trip so much more enjoyable.
Once you’ve narrowed down your trip and know the climate and terrain, you will have a good idea of what is needed. Take all the gear you think you will need, and spread it out all across your room. Arrange everything in piles of essentials vs accessories. Place the accessories to the side and group the essential gear by category and weight: cooking, sleeping, clothing, toiletries and so on. Don’t overpack, and try to save some room for trail souvenirs.
When packing your pack, think first in, last out–meaning your sleeping bag should be the first item to pack because it will be the last out. Also, your base layers such as long underwear and shoes should go in the bottom of the pack. Lighter gear should also be placed in the bottom. Most importantly, be sure to choose a pack with solid back support.
Helpful tip: Use an extra large, heavy duty garbage/leaf bag to layer the inside of your pack to protect from moisture.
Remember the importance of center of gravity in keeping balance. For men, it is usually a bit higher than for women, so you may need to personalize by placing items at different heights to see what feels best. Even so, generally you will want to pack your heaviest items centered between the shoulder blades and closest to your back. Heavy items will be your bear canister (filled with food), cooking equipment, pots (stuffed with food or other), and the water bladder (fill first and then pack).
After the heavy items are well centered, carefully fill in the empty spaces and pack to the corners. Clothing should be rolled to be long and thin to maximize space and minimize wrinkles.
Helpful tip: If packing cooking fuel, place it upwards and under your food in case of leaks.
The top of the pack should be saved for items needing quick access such as first aid or for a bulky coat. Raingear or an extra layer should be accessible. Organize your side pockets so that you know where everything can be found. Compass and trail map, flashlight, sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen, bug spray, snacks, swiss army knife, toilet supplies and cash should all have easy access.
Consider separating your tent from poles. Use the body of the tent to wrap clothes or to create support by filling in empty spaces in the pack. Poles can be removed and tied to the center or sides of the pack.
Helpful tip: Leave a trip itinerary with family or friends.
Suggested Items to Pack for Multi-day Backpacking
- Tent or camping hammock
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Compass and trail map
- Stove and fuel
- Matches or lighter
- Cookware, dinnerware, utensils
- Dishwashing kit with biodegradable soap
- Dry bag for electronics
- Backpack cover for rain
- Freeze dried food and snacks
- Water bladder
- Water treatment
- Clothing with quick dry fabric
- Cushion socks
- Fleece, beanie and gloves
- Rain jacket and pants
- Hiking boots
- Bear canister
- Headlamp, flashlight with spare batteries
- Multi-tool (Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman)
- Expandable Towel
- Insect repellant
- Ziplock bags
- Journal and pen
- cash/credit card
- camera/phone/portable charger
First Aid Kit suggestions:
Bandages, safety pins, tweezers, wipes, antiseptic, antidiarrheal, antacid, ibuprofen, oral rehydration sachets, etc.
To get the most out of your trip, be sure to pack smart. Be organized, keep weight distributed and remember to have fun. Enjoy the adventure!