3 Secrets to Packing Your Backpack Efficiently

Rock spiralTrimming weight from your pack is a constant effort. Every ounce counts when you’re on the trail, and you want to get rid of as much unnecessary weight as possible. It can take you a few backpacking trips before you finally dial in the perfect way to pack your pack. Ultimately, it’s all about efficiency. Here are three tips to help you pack for your next backpacking trip.


Getting rid of unnecessary items and leaving the luxuries at home is one of the most important things that you can do when trying to whittle down your pack weight. You definitely want to try and find a balance between packability and comfort, but the less you carry, the lighter your pack will be. Examine what you want to bring, and think about what you can confidently do without.

Also make a point to find items that can serve multiple purposes. For example, a tarp can be used as a poncho, shelter, and a pack cover. Taking one item instead of two or three will help you pack more efficiently.


Lay out what you’re going to take along with you instead of throwing things into your pack at random. Think about where you want to distribute the weight, and how accessible you want your items to be. Weight should be low and centered, pack your big items first. Sleeping bag should be on the bottom (although some prefer to pack their stove fuel at the very bottom) followed by the tent. These are typically going to be the biggest and heaviest items you have, plus you should only need to access them at the end of the day when you’re setting up camp. A pocket knife, headlamp, lip balm, snacks, etc. should be stowed in the head compartment because they are light, compact, and may need to be readily accessible.


Tossing all of your gear into your pack 10 minutes before driving out to the trailhead is not conducive to packing efficiently. Once you have chosen the gear you want to bring, and have planned out how you’re going to pack your backpack, spend some time practicing. Things may fit better one way than another. Maybe you will want to change the order or orientation of your backpacking gear. The important thing is to spend time with your pack and your gear, and figure out the most efficient way to pack your pack

Of course, the gear that you have is important as well. Lightweight and compact gear is easier to pack than bulky, burdensome gear. Stop by Uncle Sam’s in Evelyn Hills, Fayetteville, and see us if you’re looking to upgrade to some lighter and more packable equipment.

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