The Art of Packing a Backpack

We all love the idea of packing our bags and leaving for a vacation at will. Although when it actually comes to packing a backpack most of us become grumpy. We perceive the process of packing a backpack as the most daunting task and on most occasions end up stuffing our things in it without any organized approach.

Packing a backpack is an art that requires organizing skills and improves each time.

Packing a backpack in a messy way could be the most regretful thing of your entire trip. A forgotten item may end up haunting you, during your entire trip. Moreover whilst you are hiking/trekking you want to make sure to cut down on extra items to maintain a certain weight.

Packing a backpack is an art and we would like to share some insight.

The Art of Packing

We’ve broken the entire process down in few points. These points will ensure that there are no forgotten items, no unwanted products, no chaos, no discomfort and no back pains. Here it is:


The first and foremost thing while packing a backpack shall be its size. Start by analyzing the duration of your trip. Whether it is a multi destination trip or just to a single place and back. You must have the proper pack size to fit in the backpacking gear. You would need to draw a line between certain luxuries. Having the latest upgraded equipment will always be lighter and will help keep the pack size down. Shorter trips would require lesser essentials and gear than longer ones.

Create a List and Separate Items

The Art of Backpacking

First and foremost, you’ll need to know what you are going to carry in your backpack. You can be generous on yourself while making this list as eventually it will reduce considerably.

Next, segregate all the items into subsets/similar categories. Toiletries in one place, food items at the other and so on. Certain items like eatables for examples should be wrapped up in plastic bags and the air should be squeezed out before sealing it.

Weight Distribution

Distributing weight in a specific manner helps you achieve better comfort, convenience and stability. Instead of simply stuffing your backpacking gear inside your bag, follow these guidelines.

The Art of Packing a Backpack

Internal backpacks :

These have recently become the standard backpacking frame type. While trail hiking with an internal-frame pack, heavier items should be centered high between the shoulder blades and close to the back. This ensures that the majority of the weight of the backpack is supported by our hips. When off the trail, items should be placed a bit lower. That will help lowering your center of gravity and stabilizing you on rough terrain.

External backpacks :

These are lesser used than the ones with internal frames. They are recommended only for trail hiking wherein the heaviest items go on the top and close to the back’s center. This helps you maintain an upright stance.

Ensure that your pack is not overloaded. A loaded backpack shouldn’t exceed 30% of your body weight. If you’re a beginner or not really fit, then you should begin light’.

Pack it Horizontally

Against the general conception, a rucksack should be packed horizontally instead of vertically. While packing it vertically precision in spacing and placement can not be ensured and eventually things get displaced.

Go Heavy to Light

Start packing your rucksack with the heaviest items first and work your way to the lighter items. So, you are stacking items from the heaviest to the lightest in your rucksack in a horizontal fashion while it is on the ground. At the top of the rucksack should be socks, underwear, and other very light items.

Strings Pulled but No Strings Attached

Once you’re done packing everything, you can pull tight the drawstrings of the backpack to make it more compact. Although just before doing that you would want to do one thing. Think of all the things that are packed and think of things you could do without on your trip. There will be ambiguity and you will think many times but you need to be strong. You need to let go of things that are not of prime importance because in the end you would want to leave some extra space in the backpack.

You’re fully packed and still good to carry stuff on the outside. Sleeping bags, Tents and mats can be wrapped around your backpack symmetrically.


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Joy Mandhotra

A renegade engineer. Breaking social constructs, exploring places, riding new adventures and discovering myself amidst it all.