Every hiker knows their backpack is important—but did you know the way you pack it is equally crucial?
That’s right, there is a right way (and a wrong way) to pack your hiking bag. Whether you’re headed out for the day or the whole week, there are some rules you should follow when putting together your supplies. To get the perfect setup every time, read on for everything you should know about how to pack a hiking backpack.
Bring the Right Supplies
Every hike is different, and your hiking gear is going to reflect that. Consider these factors when packing for your next hiking trip:
Length – How long do you plan to be out there? This will determine how large your bag should be. Longer trips may require additional supplies, such as a tent, extra clothes, and cooking tools.
Season – Hiking in the summer looks a lot different than hiking in the winter. The supplies you bring should appropriately reflect the weather you’re hiking in. Winter trips will involve supplies like gloves, hand warmers, and snowshoes. A summer hike will fill your backpack with extra water, stronger sunscreen, and a brimmed hat. Fall and spring may bring unexpected rain showers, so always pack some water resistant clothing and gear when hiking during these months.
Difficulty – Moderate and difficult trails may demand more supplies than easy ones. Keep this in mind when packing for your next hike, and invest in supplies like hiking poles, emergency shelter, and a water filtration system.
In a nutshell: Consider the type of hike you’re going on before packing a bag. If you tend to stick with the easier trails, you may only need the basics (snacks, water, and first-aid). Overnight trips and advanced hikes may require more forethought when packing. Creating an itinerary before your hike will ensure you have all the supplies you need. To support your wallet in the process, be sure to utilize RebateKey for cash back rebates on the essential hiking gear.
Layering Your Backpack
You’ve probably heard a lot about what to wear hiking, specifically the necessity of layering your clothes when hiking or backpacking. But, your backpack is just as important as the clothes on your back. In fact, your lightweight backpack should have some layers, too. When your hiking bag is stuffed to the brim, you’ll want to make sure the essentials are easily accessible.
Here’s a breakdown of how to best pack a hiking backpack:
The first layer – The first layer of your backpack will rest at the very bottom. This means packing items that you won’t be reaching for throughout the day, such as a sleeping bag, a change of clothes, and cooking equipment. Think of this layer as the campsite area—only pack supplies that you’ll need once you’re stationary.
The middle layer – Your next chunk is the middle layer. This is typically where heavier items should reside, since the middle part of the spine can handle the most weight. Your backpack’s middle layer will be home to your tent, cooler, and bear canister. Place heavier items close to your body, while lighter items can be stored on the outermost edge.
The top layer – On the top layer of your hiking pack, you should pack the items you’ll be reaching for most often during the hike. This may include snacks, a light rain jacket, a flashlight, and first-aid supplies. Think about any unexpected circumstances that mother nature may throw at you—this layer should have everything you need to handle them.
Outside pockets – The best hiking backpack will have additional accessory pockets for important items. Look for bags that offer a water bottle slot, a front pocket for small items, and a hip belt pocket for your phone.
Straps – Some hiking bags are equipped with helpful straps on the outside. These features can separate certain items and free up more space within your actual backpack. Search for a bag with a sleeping bag strap, trekking pole loops, or a sternum stabilizer (to help lighten the load).
In a nutshell: When packing your hiking backpack, always think about the items you’ll be using most. Store essentials at the top and campsite gear at the bottom. You don’t want to stop mid-hike and empty your entire bag because you packed your granola bar at the bottom!
RebateKey: Your One-Stop-Shop for Hiking Essentials
Whether your hiking checklist includes the perfect hiking backpack, or the supplies to put in it, RebateKey wants to be your money-saving trailblazer.
When you use RebateKey, you’ll get access to exclusive deals, coupons, and cashback rebates from hundreds of popular retailers—including Amazon! Both our website and our Google Chrome extension offer countless discounts on essential camping equipment, spacious backpacks, and even some energy-boosting hiking snacks.
Search for the products you want on our website, claim your rebate, and make your purchase. After that, you can leave the rest to us—just wait for your items and your rebate to arrive. With RebateKey, you can stop clipping coupons and start hitting the trails with some extra cash in your backpacking pack!