If you ever find yourself rooting around for what you need, or with an uncomfortable strain on your back, then you may need to learn how to pack a backpack for camping. It may seem obvious, but packing a camping backpack isn’t as straightforward as just cramming everything in. In fact, this can be very impractical and could stop you from fully enjoying your camping experience. Read on to learn how to pack a camping backpack in a way that will improve all of your camping trips.
What do you put in a camping backpack?
Before we tell you how to pack your camping backpack, let’s run through what you’ll actually need to bring with you. These will just be the basics – check out our essential camping checklist for a full rundown of camping gear you may need.
So, what do you need to put in your camping backpack?
Bungee cords and bungee straps are used to compress your backpack or attach additional items to the outside of your bag. Plus, our guidebook of bungee cord survival hacks covers the many ways a bungee cord can come in handy in the wilderness.
First aid kit
Torch and spare batteries
How to pack a backpack for camping
When packing a camping backpack, there are certain techniques that will make the whole process much quicker and easier. Packing your camping backpack in this way will minimise the strain on your back whilst carrying your bag. Follow these steps to pack your camping backpack in the most efficient, space-saving way that’ll make it easier to carry too.
1. Lay out your equipment
Take the time to gather all of your equipment and lay it out so that you know where everything is. Because it helps to pack your things in a certain order, it’s important that you can grab whatever you need to pack next rather than cramming things in at the last minute. Plus, this means it’ll be easier to spot if you have any equipment missing – it’s better to realise whilst packing, rather than when you’re trying to set up camp!
2. Loosen all compression straps
Compression straps are the additional straps on your backpack other than the shoulder straps. They might seem unnecessary, but these straps actually make carrying and packing your backpack a whole lot easier. When the straps are tightened, they keep the weight of the backpack together, making it much more manageable for you to carry. However, for this step, you’ll need to loosen the straps as much as possible in order to utilise all of the space in your backpack. Check all areas of your backpack for these, as there could be some hidden straps that are compressing parts of the backpack where you could be fitting lots of camping equipment.
3. Pack your sleeping bag right at the bottom
Now that you have all of your gear ready, it’s time to fill the bottom of your backpack. As a general rule of thumb, stuff your sleeping bag or any other sleeping items right to the bottom of the bag. This includes pillows, duvets, or other sleeping items that you won’t need until you’ve reached your resting point. If you’re bringing pyjamas or sleepwear, these can also be packed down into the bottom of the bag.
4. Place heavy items along the back
With all of your equipment laid out, it should be easy to determine which items are the heaviest. Have your backpack positioned so that the shoulder straps are face down. Heavy items should be laid out along the bottom of the backpack, so that they’ll be closest to your back when you have your backpack on. You may want to place your tent here, as well as any other weighty equipment such as a camping stove. This is a really important tip for packing a camping backpack, as it will give you more balance and keep your backpack close to your back, minimising strain.
5. Put lighter items furthest away from your back
You should now have your heaviest items lined along the bottom of the backpack, with space left to fill with the rest of your items. This is where all your lighter belongings will go, including clothes, toiletries, towels, or other gear. Be sure to prioritise these items, positioning the things you’re most likely to need near the top for easy access.
Should I roll or fold clothes in a backpack?
Clothes will take up a lot of space in your camping backpack, especially if you’re heading on a long camping trip. To make the most of your space, you may be wondering whether to roll or fold your clothing items. The best way to pack your clothes in a camping backpack is to roll them, as this will reduce air pockets, allowing you to fit more into your backpack. Roll clothes as tightly as possible, and use smaller items like socks and underwear to fill any small gaps.
6. Fill the top with things you’ll need often
The very top of your backpack should contain the most essential items that you’ll find yourself reaching for most frequently. Items like snacks, sun protection, and a first aid kit are best kept at the top of your backpack. Rummaging through a camping backpack every time you fancy a quick bite will only slow you down, which is why these items are best kept near the top.
7. Pack all pockets and external items
If your camping backpack is full but you still have some items left over, don’t worry. Most camping backpacks feature pockets on the outside of the bag, and also have space to strap additional items to the backpack. External pockets are helpful for storing a water bottle and some extra snacks that you can quickly grab without needing to open up your backpack. You can make use of this extra space to pack things like tent poles or toiletries that wouldn’t fit inside your backpack. Use the cords and pockets already on your backpack to hold these items in place, or use your own bungee straps to secure them.
8. Tighten compression straps
With everything now packed into your camping backpack, it’s time to compress it down as much as possible. This will make it far easier for you to carry, compacting your backpack down so that the weight doesn’t pull you backwards. Most camping backpacks will feature compression straps, but if they don’t, bungee straps make the perfect substitute or addition to your existing straps. They’re helpful for attaching larger items that may not weigh much, such as a sleeping mat or some waterproofs. Pull the compression straps or bungees as tight as possible whilst still letting you access things in your backpack.
What order should I pack my backpack in?
Fill the bottom of your backpack with things that don’t need to be easily accessible. This is usually your sleeping bag, sleepwear, and pillow.
Heaviest items should then be laid out along the back of the backpack, so that these are closest to your body when you wear them.
Lighter equipment then makes up the rest of the space in the backpack, including clothes and other items.
Things you will often reach for should be packed last at the top of your backpack. Snacks, sun protection, water, and a first aid kit should be packed here.
With your camping backpack now expertly packed, you’re all ready to set off into the unknown. For all kinds of bungee cords and accessories that are perfect for lovers of the outdoors, contact us.