Taking a hike in the near future? Not sure what to bring? When planning for a hike, it is crucial to make sure all scenarios are considered during the bag packing process. Whether it’s a day-long or overnight trip, being over-prepared is definitely a good place to start. There are a few aspects of packing to consider such as what items should come along or the actual packing technique. However, making sure the essentials including; enough water, food, first aid supplies, and proper attire are crucial places to start when filling your carrier of choice.


What To Include:

The contents of the bag should be a reflection of the type of hike being endured. Of course, for an overnight hike, sleeping gear is necessary, along with enough nutrients to suffice for the time away from civilization. For a multi-day or few hour hike, there are a few essentials that crossover. Making sure ample supplies of water and food should rank high on the priority list when packing a bag. Climate conditions are unpredictable, therefore having plenty of liquids is wise, because when humidity spikes, dehydration is likely to occur quicker. A first aid kit is always a good idea, even for the most avid hikers. Being prepared with the fundamentals for any injury is ideal, especially when the hike ventures a long way from where they have left their car.


For those who frequently hike, packing a backpack may come naturally, but those inexperienced in the hobby may not consider vital items to include. Again acknowledging unpredictable weather by having the proper attire not only on, but included in your backpack is a smart move. Luckily most rain gear is light and flexible and won’t take up too much space in the bag. If the trail being taken is new, bringing a map and compass is definitely recommended. Though most hikers prefer shutting off from the outside world during their hike, at least bringing a cell phone along in case of emergencies is a good idea, even if it stays inside the bag the whole time.


Packing Technique:

As there are best practices for many attributes of life, packing a perfect hiking bag has also become a learned skill. Key components to optimizing the space in the bag include; weight distribution, knowing where to attach any external gear, and knowing the location of every item you have included.


Backpack experts Wild Backpackers shared a quick guide to successfully accomplishing all three components listed above. They stress upon the fact that simply throwing gear into the backpack can ultimately lead to a negative hiking experience. By using simple household items such as Ziploc bags to store smaller items, hikers can achieve complete optimization of the space. Wild Backpackers also suggests utilizing essential items as storage space. For example, if you are doing an overnight hike, putting certain items of clothing inside a pot or rolled up in a sleeping bag will make room for more supplies.



There are many resources hikers can use to ensure they are completely prepared for their adventure. Sites such as REI, Active, and American Hiking Society provide detailed lists of the essentials for any style or length of a hike! Making sure the individual hiker’s needs are met through the packing process is important, and knowing exactly what to pack and how to pack in the backpack is a great start!