Learning how to pack for a backpacking trip is the key to a rewarding and enjoyable hike.
Over pack and you risk fatigue setting in as your energy and enjoyment of the hike drains out; under pack and you may find yourself without essential items. Although experience is going to serve as your best teacher, here are a few things to consider when preparing your pack.
How you pack your pack is always going to depend on 4 factors - the length of your trip, the weather, the location of your hike, and your own personal preferences.
The best way to pack for a backpacking trip is to make a list, check it twice and then check it again before ever putting anything into your pack.
Section the list into things you “will need” and things you “may need”.
When purchasing and packing, keep in mind each item’s weight, and always choose gear that provides a dependable balance of durability, flexibility and weight.
How to Pack for a Backpacking Trip: Clothing
Clothing is always going to depend on the climate and your personal preferences. All experts recommend that you stay away from cottons when possible, break in your boots before the hike begins, and buy heavy wool or synthetic socks to protect your feet. Aside from the clothes on your back, we recommend that you also pack a waterproof windbreaker to keep you dry when it rains and a bandanna, great to block the sun and for emergencies.
How to Pack for a Backpacking Trip: Food
Freeze dried meals provide the nutrients and energy your body needs, without the weight and clumsiness of other types of packaging like cans. Pack enough for your planned trip, and then add a meal or two in case an emergency arises. For cooking, take along utensils and one titanium or aluminum pot that have a non-stick surface, a handle and that is large enough to prepare your meal.
How to Pack for a Backpacking Trip: water
By having sufficient water for your backpacking trip you can prevent unnecessary dehydration during your hike. Plan your water supply according to the mapped locations of the natural and man made water sources found along the trail. And don’t forget water purification tablets for natural water no matter how clear it may appear.
How to Pack for a Backpacking Trip: Gear
Essential gear for your backpacking trip should include a hand-held flashlight, as well as one that does not require holding (use your head instead), fire starters and tinder, a sleeping bag, tent, map, compass, a knife, and a few plastic bags for wet clothing and garbage. Emergency gear should include a whistle, signal mirror, insect repellent, a cell phone and a first-aid kit.
Useful things to remember when packing for a backpacking trip:
When packing, it’s best to use a backpack that is up to the task of your trip. It should have straps for your poles and a place for your tent equipment. Place heavy gear, such as your cooking supplies, and less needed items toward the bottom of the bag, and keep frequently used smaller items (like your compass) inside your pockets.
Always plan ahead before venturing out on your backpacking trip, no matter how long you plan to be out. The time spent making sure that your pack is light and yet ready for any situation will set the foundation for an enjoyable backpacking experience.