How to Pack Backpack Gear?

Elvis Elvis

The way you pack your backpack gear is important. While hiking the trails you want your center of gravity to be in the proper location. Too high and you can end up top heavy and easily lose your balance on rough terrain. Too low and the load will seem heavier than it is.

So, how should you pack it? It does depend on what backpack gear you have and how heavy it is.

How to Pack Backpack Gear?

Sleeping Bag

The sleeping bag is usually a no brainier. A lot of packs are designed to have the sleeping bag tied on the bottom. Some have a built in compartment to separate the bag from the rest of your gear. Whatever the design of your pack, the sleeping bag should be at the bottom or below the backpack. Because it is lightweight for its size, that is a good location.


Your camping tent and any tarps you have should go in the bottom of the pack.

Try to stuff it in the compartment with your sleeping bag, if you have that option. Most of these compartments have a zipper access so you can get into it quickly. When packing up, use a waterproof sack for both the tent and any tarps. Use a separate one for your sleeping bag. This will keep everything dry.


Most of your clothing should go in next. You may want to store rain gear, gloves, a hat and one piece of an insulating layer in an outside pocket, if you have one. That way if the weather changes quickly, you have easy access and don’t have to take a lot of things out to get them.

Cooking Supplies

Next would come your cooking supplies. Things like your food, camp stove, cookware, utensils, fuel, etc.

Make sure you separate the food from the fuel. The fuel should be in a leak proof container and below your food, in an upright position that won’t shift. If fuel gets on your clothing it’s not nice but you can live with that. If it leaks on your food, you don’t eat….not good.

Make sure nothing sharp will poke you in the back.

Everything Else

Your mattress, depending on its size, can either go inside or tied on the outside. All your personal items can be stored anywhere you can squeeze them in.

If you have outside pockets, put things in there that you will need during the hike. Snacks, rain gear, sunscreen, water, bug repellent, camera, etc. Tent poles can be tied on the outside. Some packs have a spot just for them.

That’s about it. You may have to adjust certain items, to make things fit. At the end, you want to keep the weight close to your back and balanced..

Hopefully, you will store all your backpack gear neatly and have a great hike.