Custom Backpacks - How to Pack

How to Pack a Backpack the Right Way and How to Choose the Best One

It’s finally time for your hiking or camping trip and you don’t want to put a damper on that fun time with a poorly packed backpack. Most campers just throw their essentials into their backpack, but you should have a method behind the items you plan to take with you and how you pack them.

You will also want to bring the best backpack possible for your trip. There are different types of backpacks for the type of trip you plan to take.

If you’re going hiking or camping you may be carrying your backpack for several hours, so you should want it to be packed efficiently for balance and comfort. Packing your backpack correctly can even make you feel safer out on the trials.

Keep reading for an important guide on how to pack a backpack as well as how to choose one to take on your next outdoor adventure.

The Pockets

Any good backpack will have a variety of pockets for you to use. These pockets can help to balance your backpack or even make the essential items more easily accessible while out and about.

The main pocket on your backpack is referred to as the brain because it is the most important and will hold most of your stuff. It will also be the easiest when you need to grab an item and go.

You should store compact items in the main pocket, such as snacks, navigation tools, and headlamps. By using this pocket correctly you will be able to save time on your trip especially if you’re looking for something specific. Nobody wants to waste time looking for the trail mix on a trip.

Another important pocket is your front pocket. The weather is often hard to predict so if you’re planning to bring a wet rainjacket the best place to put it would be in the front pocket.

You do not want to put heavy items in the front pocket because they could offset your balance so the front pocket it the perfect place for a jacket. You will be happy if it starts raining and your jacket is easily accessible. Then after the rain, you can store your jacket in the front to keep this wet item away from your other items.

If your pack has a hip belt pocket, then this could be the best place to store your personal snacks. You won’t even have to take your backpack off to get them.

A good idea is to store food and liquids in a plastic bag to avoid any unnecessary spilling. You can also find some great travel accessories here.

The last pocket that is typically on a backpack is the water bottle pouches on both sides. Store your water here for easy access on your journey. You’ll definitely need it!

Zippers and Distributing Weight

It’s possible that your backpack has many secret zippers to different compartments within your pack. Make sure to utilize these well as they can also help to keep you and your stuff safe.

Also before packing your backpack make sure that everything you’re planning to bring has a specific necessity. Sometimes you may have to forego a luxurious item so your backpack is more comfortable and easy to handle.

Distributing weight can be a bit challenging but you will want to do this to make you more comfortable in the long run. Start by putting the heavier items in the pockets and zippers closest to your back and in the center. By doing this, most of your backpack’s weight will be carried with your hips and be easiest on you.

The gear that is only a little lighter, such as a first aid kit, navigation tools or water filter, should be stored in the zippered pockets toward the top and outside portion of your backpack. Keeping the medium heavy items here will also help to balance the weight in your backpack.

Then lastly, your lightweight items such as your sleeping bag or clothing should be stored in the bottom. Sometimes backpacks will have a secret zipper in the bottom of the pack to store your sleeping bag. If you need more room for other items you can also unzip it completely.

Using Your Backpack’s Straps

Many backpacks geared towards outdoor trips will have a plethora of straps. You will want to make sure you are using these straps efficiently because they’re all there for a reason.

These straps are used to compress your gear inward to help give you a better center of gravity while on the trail. This will help you keep your balance while walking especially if you need to navigate a treacherous trail.

Avoid Overpacking by Organizing

The worst thing you can do that could possibly ruin your outdoor trip is overpacking your backpack. Everything inside your backpack becomes an extension of you when you’re out on the trail.

You should aim to pack your backpack at about 25%-30% of your ideal body weight. More experienced backpackers could carry a bit more but if you’re just starting out you will want to carry a lot less.

Organizing your backpack is a great way to save some weight and space for your trip. There are many different tips and tricks for organizing but keep reading to find a good one to start with.

You should start by laying out all your gear before putting it into your backpack. This is so you can separate your items into two piles. One pile is for the essentials and another pile is for your luxury items.

Don’t cheat by putting some of the luxury items in your essentials pile, such as an extra sweater, because you really don’t need that stuff anyways. Then you should eliminate at least half of the things in your luxury pile to make it easier on you in the long run.

If after you have completed this exercise and you feel like you can carry a few more things in your backpack, then you can treat yourself by putting in some of those extra luxury items that you eliminated.

Attaching Extra Gear

If you believe you have packed your backpack efficiently, then there shouldn’t be any reason to attach any extra geat to the outside of your pack but sometimes it is necessary. You should avoid doing this because it can majorly throw off your balance when on the trail, but sometimes you have some gear that is an odd shape or just didn’t fit in your backpack. Make sure you balance the items attached to your backpack as well as the ones inside your backpack.

You could attach bulky items, such as a tent, sleeping pad, or sleeping bag to the top or bottom of your backpack horizontally. Overall, make sure the heavier items are higher on your back.

Be sure these items are secure as well. They can swing or rattle while you walk and that could affect you in a major way. You also want to avoid snagging any items on branches as it could damage them.

Finding the Right Backpack for You

Deciding on which backpack you should take on your next camping or hiking trip can be rather difficult. But we’ve narrowed down the options for you. Keep reading for a guide on which backpack you need for your next outdoor trip.

If you’re planning a big trip with lots of people, then all of the backpacks below can also be customized to have your logo on them. This would be great so everyone can stick together and know who else is in their group while out on the trails.

Your backpackers will also love these stylish backpacks and you can have them as advertising for your company. With Perfect Imprints, you can order the perfect backpack for your camping or hiking trip.

Day Pack

If your trip is only going to last a day then the best backpack for you would be the day pack. This backpack is small and compact making it so you cannot overpack if you’re only going to be out for a day.

The black mountain day pack is also water resistant making it the best to protect your items in case it happens to rain on your trip. No one wants everything in their backpack to be ruined for the entire day because it got wet.

When empty, this backpack can also be condensed down to fit in the small pouch it comes with making it great to also bring on longer trips. If you’re going on a long camping trip, then you can easily bring this backpack in your regular backpack to use on small adventures during your long trip.

Trail Backpack

The precipice trail backpack is great for that long camping or hiking trip you’re planning. This backpack will be very comfortable because of the padded shoulder straps as well of the sternum strap making it easier to carry and balance along your way.

There are also many internal and external pockets with zippers so you can balance all of your gear in the most efficient way as possible. You can also fit a good sized water bottle in the water bottle pouches so you don’t get dehydrated on your trip.

Tactical Havoc Backpack

The tactical havoc backpack is another great backpack for your outdoor trips. This backpack also has padded shoulder straps as well as a sternum strap to make carrying this backpack on a long journey much easier.

There are also plenty of pockets in this backpack where you can store all of your essential camping gear and will make balancing the weight in your backpack much easier.

You will find this backpack very easy to carry on your next camping or hiking trip. It will be easy and efficient to pack this backpack by using all of our tips from above.

Waist Back

If you’re going on a quick hiking trip you may want to look into only taking a waist pack with you. This will eliminate unnecessary items and will be even easier to carry because all of the items will be around your waist and not strapped to your back.

The north vista trail waist pack is a great option for a quick trip. It is water resistant and will be comfortable around your waist with its badded mesh pack.

Even though it is smaller than a regular backpack, you can still store all the essentials you would need for your trip in the waist pack.

Another option would be the table rock waist pack cooler. You can store up to 6 cans around your waist for easy access on your outdoor trip. There is also two side pockets and a front pocket to bring along any essential items you may need.

Learning How To Pack a Backpack

Learning the steps it takes to pack a backpack can be rather difficult when you are just starting out backpacking. But as time goes on and you take multiple trips it will start to get easier and easier.

This goes to show that practice can help in every element in life. The more you do something the easier it will become.

Now that you’ve learned how to pack a backpack and picked the right backpack for your outdoor adventure go out there and start exploring.

If you’re planning a hiking or camping trip for a group of people you may want to invest in a great backpack from Perfect Imprints and even get your logo attached for everyone.

Make sure to explore all of our other camping apparel and find what’s great for you and your fellow campers when it comes to your next big camping or hiking trip.

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Patrick Black
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Patrick Black, MAS, is the founder of and has been in the promotional products industry helping businesses and organizations since 1999. When not geeking out over the newest and greatest promotional items, you can find him paddleboarding at the beach or hanging out by the pool with his wife, three kids, and his basset hound in Fort Walton Beach, FL.