A well-packed backpack means the difference between an exhilarating 10K hike and an uncomfortable, painful, very long walk. By organizing the contents properly, you’ll never suffer from discomfort or find yourself searching for that essential item at the very bottom of your pack.
Take the time to do a full inventory of everything you need to pack. If you’re hiking with a group, make sure to share the load with common items.
Use dry bags
Most camping backpacks are water resistant but not waterproof, so it’s a smart idea to put your items in dry bags inside your pack, in case of a storm or if your bag suddenly goes overboard. This also protects you, containing any internal spills.
Nighttime gear at the bottom
Start with the things you won’t need until the end of the day, including a sleeping bag or pad and sleepwear. Do not, however, pack your light source. Keep your headlamp or flashlight easily accessible at all times.
Heavy gear in the middle
Create a centre of gravity by packing heavy items, like your cooking gear, stove, food and water supply, in the middle of your pack, close to your spine. Wrap them in softer, lighter items to give your back some cushioning and keep them stable.
Most often used gear in the top
Be sure to keep everything you’ll need during the day close at hand, in the top of your pack. This could include your map, compass, sunscreen, light source, first-aid kit, bug spray, toilet paper and sanitation trowel. Keep your rain gear accessible for unexpected weather. You’ll also want to pack plenty of snacks to keep you energized while exploring.