How to Prepare For a Hiking Trip: Packing Your Backpack

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Prepare For a Hiking Trip: Packing Your Backpack

Leaving the hustle and bustle of the city for a while, or simply going to a green space to get away from it all, is almost always a good idea. Going on a hike with friends or family provides the perfect opportunity to spend some quality, fun time together whilst also doing a bit of exercise.So there are plenty of benefits to going on a hike or trek, but you should always be well prepared so that you get the most out of your getaway. To help you perfect your packing and planning, we at OneHowTo will explain exactly how to prepare your backpack for a hike.

You may also be interested in: The Best Hiking Apps for iPhone
Steps to follow:

First of all, find the right backpack, making sure it is specifically designed for hiking and walking, especially if you're going for several days. Backpacks for hiking and walking are arranged by the litre: the largest are between 55 and 70 litres, whilst the smaller ones are between 20 and 35 litres.

If you're just going for a few hours, as opposed to days, an everyday bag should be fine, providing that it's comfortable, given that you might be walking long distances on potentially difficult terrain.


Before preparing the backpack, check inside to find out how much space it has, as well as how many pockets, zips, etc. By doing this, you'll be able to optimise the space you have.


Make a list of everything that you need to carry in your backpack for the journey. Apart from water and non-perishable food, you'll need:

  • Very comfortable clothing: shorts or trousers of suitable material and cotton t-shirts and socks for breathability.
  • Even in summer, always bring a jumper or something warm because temperature could drop overnight.
  • A Swiss Army knife or any other useful tool useful in an array of different circumstances.
  • A lighter
  • First aid kit: analgesics, muscle relaxants, bandages, iodine, gauze, stomach medicines, insect repellent and ointment, and, neutral soap to wash any wounds.
  • Sunscreen, especially during summer.
  • Other useful equipment such as a map, compass, GPS, etc.
  • Sleeping bag for overnight trips.
  • Fully-charged mobile phone in case of any emergencies.

Before preparing your backpack, find a well-lit, spacious place where you can lay out everything you need for the trip, making sure you have everything you need.


Think about how you arrange the contents of your backpack. The things that you will use most should go on top and the things you will use less frequently should be packed at the bottom. Bear the following in mind:

  • External and internal pockets and zips are ideal for storing small bits and pieces, so make sure you make the most of them.
  • Organise your backpack meticulously and keep your clothes together, e.g. keep all your t-shirts together, your trousers together, etc.
  • Underwear and socks should always be in a resalable plastic bag. This will keep them dry if you happen to spill anything onto them. As they are small, it will be easy to find space for them in our backpack.
  • It can be useful if you store your entire set of clothing in a resealable bag, particularly if you're going on a more strenuous trip.

Keep in mind that the backpack should be balanced: keep the heaviest items in the middle and on the top part of your backpack. Be careful not to pack one side with more things than the other.

Also, avoid packing sharp, hard or cylindrical objects where your back will be resting against - this could prove to be extremely uncomfortable for the length of your trip.


Before leaving for your hiking or walk, try on your backpack and adjust the weight accordingly. Walk around with it and make sure it's perfectly comfortable before starting your trip. If you are planning on going trekking in the mountains then you should probably read this article to help you stay safe.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Prepare For a Hiking Trip: Packing Your Backpack, we recommend you visit our Recreational activities category.

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How to Prepare For a Hiking Trip: Packing Your Backpack
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