The basic process of packing a hiking backpack is quite straightforward, but using a preferred system to pack the essential supplies can achieve better results.

A well-packed backpack will make sure the weight is even and balanced and supplies are packed to avoid issues with swaying or shifting.

Whether walking on the easy or difficult terrain, the hiking pack should feel comfortable, predictable, and stable when moving.

Hiking Backpack

Start by packing the backpack in the home. Use a hiking checklist or similar to confirm everything is in place.

Lay the gear and equipment on the flood and carefully check the right equipment is in place. Avoid leaving things behind which might be essential to you when out in the backcountry.

Top-loading access

Most hiking backpacks come with a top-loading access panel to load the essential supplies.

Other options include a front or side panel with zipper opening. The style of backpack chosen is usually down to personal preference.

Also, a backpack can include a bottom stash spot and compartments for a sleeping bag – but if only going on a day-hike, this area is great for accepting other items of equipment.

Pack the bottom

The items packed first in the backpack should be those items of gear used the least. A common item stashed first is the sleeping bag or similar gear (sleeping pad, pillowcase, sleepwear, etc.) that is only used when stopping at camp.

Most of the nighttime items can be kept at the bottom of the pack, although items like a flashlight or headlamp should be kept within easy reach at all times.

Extra caution is needed in bear country. Make sure to carefully pack and separate hiking supplies to avoid issues with transmitting a fragrance.

Pack the core

A preferred area to place heavier items (stove, cook kit, water supply, food stash, etc.) is near the center, which is the most effective option to help achieve an acceptable center of gravity.

Packing heavy items near the top often results in a pack feeling tippy, while packing too low has the unwanted effect of leaving the backpack feeling saggy.

Plus, be more careful with items that can spill such as water bottles or liquid fuel. Pack these items below food and in an upright position to avoid more difficulties in the event of a spillage.

Also, heavier items can be packed or wrapped with a rain jacket or similar item to help fill space and prevent the packed load from shifting.

Hydration reservoir

Most of the latest hiking backpacks on the market  include a hydration sleeve or reservoir to provide a simple solution to hold enough water for the planned hike.

In most cases it is easier to have the reservoir installed in the pack when the backpack is virtually empty.

Pack the top

The top of the hiking backpack is often equipped with a variety of zippered pockets and pouches.

Use these pockets to hold the most frequently used kit such as a pack cover, first-aid kit, bug spray, headlamp, sunglasses, sunscreen, GPS, compass, snacks, and map.

With the addition of special straps it is possible to attach extra kit such as a sleeping bag or pad.

A variety of kit can be attached to the outside of the backpack to easily up the volume of the portable load.

Recommended Hiking Backpacks

Product Brand List Price
TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack, Hunter Green Teton Sports $129.99
Mountaintop Outdoor Waterproof Hiking Climbing Backpacks Pro Black Mountaintop N/A
Coreal Large 35L Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack Lake Blue Coreal $25.99
TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Backpack, Orange Teton Sports $39.99