Pack a Backpack for Camping

Edited by Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Graeme, Eng, Monika

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Answering the call of the wild is no easy thing. Packing a backpack for camping isn't either. We've all been there, waltzing around the camp store/retailer, wondering where the tools and gears you need should be and picking out the biggest bag you thought you 'might' need. Now you are in your living room, camping bag in and all your gears spread out in front of you. So you painstakingly stuffed it all your pack, hoping that you possess or carry everything, and all else is sorted out only to find out later on in your hike that you forgot your flint, rain-shell and worse, your fuel seeped in and soaked your food. But here's the upside, loading a backpack for camping is very simple with the right guidelines and a comprehensive packing checklist; this lessens the chance of leaving behind any important gears/items and ensures your safety as well.

Packing Basics

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You searched the internet for gear reviews, checking out the best gears for the cheapest price, lowered your pride by borrowing tools from your friends. You might have even borrowed or bargained stuff. But if you don't know how to pack it, then it will be for vain. Therefore, it will do you good to know packing basics for camping.

The Right Backpack

You have to make sure that you have the right backpack first. You will need a bag that not only fits your figure perfectly but also suits your gear-packing needs. For the right fit, check the length of your torso and not your height. When browsing packs, keep it in mind that every manufacturer is different, ask the store attendant for sizing instructions or check it yourself in the pack's label. After picking the best fit, check the bag's features for your personal and specific needs. A backpack who has a panel-loading will better allow you to access your things easily due to its zips which open down each side and the the top. A top loading pack may be difficult because you will have to unload half your pack to get what you need. Therefore choose an internal-framed backpack, which is more popular than external-framed pack anyways. Internal-framed backpack snuggles your body closely, making it easier to balance, and it enables you to carry about 80 percent of the pack's weight onto your hips. On the other hand, external-framed packs are less expensive and because it holds the pack away from your body, it's cooler to use during hot days (dry season).

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    A quality backpack should possess padded straps that go over your shoulders, across your chest and around the hips
    Woman's packs differ in that the straps are narrower and the torso lengths are shorter. If you're planning to carry water bottles, keep in mind that the pack has the right external carrier for this. If packing a hydration or bladder system is your plan, you have to make sure that the backpack is compatible for it. Some backpacks has a built in hydration system.
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    Once you narrowed down the backpacks you want, try each one of it with added weight
    Check with the store if they have weighted bags to put in the backpack. These bags will contain lead or other dense materials, so they won't really feel the real thing though it will give you some idea. Walk throughout the store, look up, squat down, and/or walk up and down your stairs if the store has one. Good packs won't hit the back of your knees when you squat, hit your neck or head when looking up or shift around uncomfortably when moving.
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Packing your Backpack

Packing a backpack is not an exact science because everyone packs their backpacks differently. However, it is good that there is a general guideline that will make it for campers like you to easily access the things you need when you need it. You will also have less trouble when carrying your pack in an extended amount of time.

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    When packing a backpack for a trip which you suspect will gave moderate terrain, its best to pack lighter items in the bottom of your pack and heavier ones towards the top
    This will keep the center of the gravity relatively high, which most people find makes the packs weight easier to manage. Heavier items should be packed closest to your back as possible.
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    If you're planning to hike on rough terrains or off-rail put the heavier things you have in the bottom of the pack
    This will lower the center of your gravity, improving your balance. Most women utilize this set-up because they naturally have a lower center of gravity.
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    Most backpack sports a separate compartment for sleeping bags
    However, if yours doesn't, you should put the sleeping bag in the bottom of your pack. This will keep it out of your way during the day because you're unlikely to use it until you stop for rest or camp-in during the night. Once you pack your sleeping bag, you can now put/slip your tent underneath the pack. Use your straps to connect the tent poles to the backpacks outside areas.
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    Wondering where to put changes of clothes
    Put it toward the bottom of your pack near your sleeping bag. It's very unlikely that you will use it while it is yet day anyways or until you stop for the night. If there's a changing weather when you are hiking, stash your hats, gloves and rain-gear in the top of your backpack or even in its outside pocket where you can utilize it easier and faster.
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    If you're a seasoned hiker, you'll know that food and cooking is one of the biggest concerns you have
    Both this items are heavy, yet you wouldn't want to take much of it either, but the problem is you want to have sufficient amount of it when hiking. The answer to this woe? Always plan your meals before your trip just to be sure you have enough food for your travel. Testing your stove before backpacking it will do you good too as you'll know exactly how much you will need. Or consider bringing compact food for your travel.
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Loading Food to Backpack

You wouldn't like your food to taste like fuel, right? Therefore it is extremely important that you store your food separate from the fuel. Always pack you fuel containers upright to avoid spillage; also consider putting it outside your pack, preferably in the side pockets. Put your food inside the pack. Do this for extra protection aside from fuel spillage. This prevents moisture from reaching your food. Remember to pack your food in either zip-lock bags or air/water tight food containers.

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    Consider preparing a bag for every day's food/meals
    However you may consider compartmentalizing your foods, having it looked after in separate bags helps it easier to grab and offers it with a few extra protection. But keep in mind that these plastic bags may not be enough to completely protect your foods from hungry dogs. They're not airtight as solid plastic ones.
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    If you're bringing cookware with you, pack it inside
    Or if not, put it to the outside of your backpack with straps. It's always important to pack as much as you can inside your backpack You have to carefully consider the fact that straps and clips can make your backpack extra susceptible to being snagged in the brush.
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    Hiking in a bear country
    Then your food will need extra protection during the night, and it will do you good to bring a bear canister with you when camping. Therefore you will need to consider the size and location of the canister in your backpack. If you ever happen to travel or hike in areas with black bears, a soft sided container might be enough. Hang the container in the air, suspend it by utilizing two trees about 20 feet (meters).
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    Hiking in an area where grizzly bears are common should prompt you to take more aggressive measures in keeping your food (and yourself) safe
    Grizzly bears are less concerned confronting us humans than back bears do. They are larger so you'll need a hard-sided food container. Consider eating/finishing your meal before setting up camp. Also, be careful to clean up and the b hike 200 yards or 183 meters before setting up your camp. Once settled in, don't try eating anything and store your consumables at least 100 yards or 91 meters away from camp.
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Packing Sleeping Bags

Sleeping bags irrevocably takes up a large part in hiking backpacks. So it will do you good to consider this when packing your things. Some backpacks come with separate compartments to store sleeping bags. These types of backpacks are an excellent choice as they put the weight of other gears off you. You will perform better and utilize the sleeping bag better in this case. Your sleeping bag, like insulating gears keeps you warm by tapping air inside it. Therefore when the fill becomes compressed, your sleeping bag will not be able to insulate at the same time. Put that in mind when using a compression bag for your sleeping bag.

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    A compression bag is utilized to reduce the bulk of your sleeping bag (obviously, freeing up more room in the backpack
    Compression bags will not cause the same problems that packing heavy item on top of sleeping bag does because it makes the sleeping bag compressed evenly on all sides.
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    You might be also carrying a sleeping bag along with your sleeping bag
    Most people fold it and then pack it on the side which is closest to the backs. When packed against the back, a sleeping pad can provide good protection against sharp items that can poke you as you are walking. If the sleeping pad won't fit inside your bag, then put it securely outside, however, it will make it more likely to be snagged or tangled when you walk through trees and shrubs.
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Packing Clothes

When it comes to clothes, the duration of your hiking, camping needs must come to mind first and foremost. if, say you're packing items for a 7 day trip. You will have to pack in the least, a complete change of clothes and a change for when you're sleeping. Prepare 3 extra set of underwear. Using microfiber blend clothing is an excellent choice when packing your clothes. It can be washed easily aside from its ability to dry faster than other fabrics. Bring three pairs of socks, one you wash, another one that's dry, and one to wear.

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    Consider weather conditions
    In summer or mild weather conditions, a complete change of clothes is sufficient. You can also add cotton fleece and hooded sweatshirt for the early mornings.
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    During the rainy days however, you should consider bringing rain gears, long and short sleeve layers, hat, a pair of gloves and even a long underwear
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    Always plan on experiencing a colder, hotter weather than you originally imagined
    A good deal of variety may not be necessary; it can even add useless weight to your backpack. Consider packing clothes that offer flexibility.
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Packing for Wet Weather

Comfort is relative when you're on the trail. It's not necessary to be 'too clean' or for you to have as much slept as possible. However, you should make it a goal to keep dry as much as possible. Wet clothes expose you to the danger of blisters and wet backpack items are very heavy indeed.

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    Your sturdy backpack, even waterproof ones are no much for a heavy downpour
    There are hundreds of covers available in the camping store although most hikers just use garbage bags to keep their backpacks dry during rainy hiking seasons.
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    Make sure that everything in your bag is packed with a zip-top plastic covering bags or you can just stack a sack for an added protection against rain.
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    If you are camping in a wet area or if it's raining when you set up camp, you must do all things possible to keep your materials as dry as possible, you can hang it up, cover I, or at the very least elevate it a few inches from the wet ground
    Refrain from opening/checking your bags while raining unless extremely necessary. This way you discourage moisture from being trapped there. When the weather dries out, put everything in your backpack out and let it dry, this way no molds or mildew can grow inside.
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    If the weather sets in while you are packing your things, you can either hike through it or set down in a camp until it breaks out
    It makes a lot of sense to stay in the camp for the day and wait for the weather to improve.
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Clever Packing Ideas

If you're a rookie backpacker, budgeting backpack weight and making best use of the space in your pack is the biggest challenge you can face. Some packers utilize ultra-light bags and end up with much regret later on while hiking while many packers' over-stuffs their backpacks, causing them pain while on the trail and ultimately missing out on the fun of the journey. Carefully follow below instructions to avoid this from happening to you too.

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    Carefully considers what to take choose your options and pack thoughtfully
    Set aside necessities first before putting in additional things. Necessities are sleeping bags, fuel, tent and stove. Now you can add food/consumables to that pile. In the spaces which remain, put in your clothing.
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    Out small items where you can easily reach it, like the side pockets of your backpack, remember to return it where you get it so reaching the same items will be second nature when you need it next.
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    If more rooms are available after packing all above things and your bag isn't that heavy yet (congratulations), you can now add any personal items you would like to bring -- your favorite book or a journal perhaps?
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    Worried about carrying more food/drinks as necessary
    Eat any fresh fruits, bagels or other heavy foods in your pack for the first day or two and just save your dehydrated meals, noodles and other consumables for later on while traveling. This strategy will lighten your load as you move on and become fatigued over the course of your travel. Learn to read maps accurately and look for stops and water supply stations to avoid bringing more water than necessary; it's one of the heaviest stuff hikers carry.
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    Before hitting the road, practice carrying your backpack throughout your house, up and down the stairs and/or in your backyard as well
    See if anything is uncomfortable, bulging, shifting or anything that will make the bag uncomfortable when walking and rearrange it accordingly. You will be surprised what you're willing to leave at home when you walked a few miles with a weight one-third of yours.
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  • Backpacking Essentials/ Checklist

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      For Shelter
      1. Tent
      2. Dust pan/brush
      3. Ground cloth/tarp
      4. Mat for tent entrance
      5. Shade tarp/poles/rope/stakes
      6. Axe or hammer
      7. Extra stakes
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    2. 2
      For Bedding
      1. Sleeping bag
      2. Utility bags for storage
      3. Sheets/blankets
      4. Air pump
      5. Air mattress/sleeping pad/cot/tarp
      6. Repair kit for air mattress
      7. Pillow
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    3. 3
      For Cooking
      1. Coolers/ice
      2. Ziplock bags
      3. Napkins
      4. Dish rags/towels
      5. Seasonings/sugar/condiments
      6. Cooking oil/Pam spray
      7. Containers for food storage
      8. Potholders/oven mitts
      9. Thermos
      10. Stove with fuel/propane
      11. Matches/lighter
      12. Charcoal/firewood/buddy burner
      13. Dutch oven/tin can stove/box oven/etc
      14. Campfire grill/BBQ grill
      15. Pots and frying pans with lids
      16. Large water jug & water bucket
      17. Soap for outside of pots and pans
      18. Cook utensils-spatula, knife, spoon
      19. Tongs
      20. Skewers/grill forks
      21. Can opener/bottle opener
      22. Folding table
      23. Dutch oven
      24. Mugs/paper cups
      25. Fire starters/newspaper
      26. Plates & bowls/paper plates & bowls
      27. Silverware/plastic silverware
      28. Heavy-duty aluminum foil
      29. Paper towels
      30. Trash bags
      31. Dish soap
      32. Mixing bowl
      33. Cutting board
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      For Clothes
      1. Underwear
      2. Sleep clothes
      3. Rain gear
      4. Swim suit/towel
      5. Laundry bag
      6. Jeans/pant/belt
      7. Shorts
      8. Bandana
      9. Sweatshirt/jacket
      10. T-shirts
      11. Socks/extra socks
      12. Hat
      13. Shoes/boots
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    5. 5
      Personal Effects
      1. Shower bag or 5 gallon bucket
      2. Camping shower/shower pump
      3. Other personal items
      4. Personal medications - take extra
      5. Soap in plastic case/shampoo
      6. Tooth brush/tooth paste
      7. Deodorant
      8. Comb/brush
      9. Razor
      10. Shower shoes/flip flops
      11. Towels/washcloth
      12. Feminine products
      13. Toilet paper
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    First Aid-Kit

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      Your first aid-kit should have the following
      1. Latex gloves
      2. Antibacterial soap
      3. Thermometer
      4. Antibiotic soap
      5. Road flares
      6. First aid manual
      7. Scissors
      8. Bug repellant
      9. Sunscreen
      10. Sterile compresses
      11. Splinting materials
      12. Ipecac
      13. Razor blades
      14. Blanket
      15. Personal medications
      16. Roll bandages
      17. Adhesive tape
      18. Antiseptic wipes
      19. Sterile gauze pads
      20. Tweezers
      21. Safety pins
      22. Other personal needs
      23. Triangular bandages
      24. Misc. Band Aides/bandages
      25. Antibiotic cream
      26. Aspirin/Ibuprofen/Tylenol/Naproxin
      27. Hydrogen Peroxide
      28. Sunburn lotion
      29. Burn ointment
      30. Snake bit kit
      31. Eye drops
      32. Heat/cold packs
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    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


    Article Info

    Categories : Travel & Leisure

    Recent edits by: Eng, Graeme, Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo

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