Hiking is hard enough without a cumbersome back pack. Organizing and packing your hiking backpack can make all the difference in your hike-it will either make it fun and easy-or painful. Whether you are planning to be out for a week or only a day, this article will help you pack your hiking back pack.
To pack a hiking backpack you need to set up a staging area. Gather all the items you plan to pack (clothes, hat, food, first aid kit, etc) and place them on the ground. Separate them by size, heavier items in one pile, and lighter items in another pile. This will be a tremendous help when you go to pack your hiking back pack.
Begin packing your hiking backpack by placing the food and water in the bottom (unless you have something heavier). Placing the heaviest items in the bottom will distribute the weight more evenly. If you don't place the heaviest things at the bottom of your pack you will feel top heavy and it will be harder to walk and keep your balance. Tightly pack all the items at the bottom of the backpack using all free space.
That's the hardest part of packing a hiking back pack. Next you will want to pack in your excess hiking items. These can include tents, tarps, and first aid kits (although these are necessary). Generally these items are heavier, and accordingly, they should be placed at the bottom of the back pack.
On the top of your hiking backpack place your sleeping bag and clothes. Some guides showing how to pack a hiking backpack may suggest placing your sleeping bag at the bottom of your pack-that's not a good idea. This will place something light and fluffy on the bottom of your pack, and will force you to put heavier items on top. Your clothes are usually pretty flexible and are a good choice for the top of the pack, because they can fill all the empty space around the sides of your pack.
When you pack a hiking back pack, remember to include a compass, water bottles, and anything else you might need constant access to in the side pockets. It's always a great idea to have a water bottle on hand in an outside pocket. To avoid losing small accessories (pocket knife, compass, map, etc) place those in outside pockets, that way they won't get mixed up with your gear. When you pack a hiking back pack, putting in these items last will make them easy to find in case you need them.
Now that you have everything packed, take your backpack for a test run. Put it on and walk around the house or outside. If you have packed your hiking backpack correctly, the majority of the weight should be on your hips and your lower back (these can withstand the most weight). Some of the weight may even be channeled to your knees (a helpful coincidence). This should take a lot of the weight off of your shoulders. If your pack feels uncomfortable, make adjustments as necessary. You might need to repack parts of your hiking back pack.