The backpack is your best friend when it comes to hiking, camping, hunting, or being deployed if you are part of the military. Having the right backpack is imperative when going out on an adventure, but it’s just as important to know what to pack. Naturally, this will depend on several factors such as the following;

  • Purpose of Trip: Hiking, camping, hunting, being deployed, etc.
  • Length of Trip: Single-day up to two or three weeks
  • Distance on Foot: A walk in the park up to dozens of miles
  • Expected Weather Conditions: Hot, cold, or wet weather
  • Shelter & Sleeping Bag: Do you need to carry it with you or is it being provided?

All of these factors will determine what you will need to carry in your backpack. To have the necessary items means that you will be as comfortable as possible while traveling and camping.

Our Top Ten Picks for Tactical Backpack with Reviews

Necessary Items

The items that are necessary for your trip will be based on the type and length of adventure that you will experience. However, for most hiking and camping trips the necessary items will usually include the following;

–    Sleeping bag
–    Change of clothes, including socks
–    Appropriate clothes for the season
–    Fire-starter
–    Non-perishable food
–    Flashlight
–    GPS
–    Rain gear (if rain is expected)
–    Shelter (if needed)

Remember that the total weight of the backpack should not exceed 30% of your body weight. The more you can strip down what you carry, the better off you will be. For example, instead of bringing a book, a deck of cards can help pass the time, and that weighs next to nothing.

How to Manage Items?

How to Pack the Backpack
Don’t Overload Your Backpack with Unnecessary Items. Be Specific and Smart in Picking!

It’s not just what you carry, but how you carry it that makes all the difference with your backpack. The way you carry the items will be based on whether your backpack has an external or internal frame as that will determine where the load or weight is best handled. However, the sleeping bag should always be rolled up and placed on the bottom.

The heaviest items should be at or near the top and against your back with the lightest items on the bottom. Items that are in the middle should be evenly distributed from the top to near the bottom in the outer part of the pack. The weight should be balanced as well so that you will not have to favor one side over the other.

Ideal Backpack Features

Again, depending on what type of trip you are going on, the best backpack features combine having enough space for your gear while offering easy access. You will need space for your sleeping bag which most backpacks offer.

However, you will want a larger central compartment to pack your clothing and other large items with at least two sides and one top compartment for your other gear. While having places to hang items externally is not good as you can snag something while hiking, a place for immediate items such as a flashlight or GPS will work nicely.

Overall, understanding how to pack a backpack will help you better prepare for your next trip out into the wilderness.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.

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