How to Pack a Backpack For Travel, Hiking and Camping

Though preparing for that big photoshoot, or an amazing trip overseas can be an exciting experience... It can also be a hectic and stressful one too. 

After all, there are so many things you might need: clothes, hiking gear, food, and more. Really, how do you pack a backpack when there’s so much you could need?

Luckily, this article will tell you everything you need to know about how to pack a backpack.

Let's dive in! 

How to Properly Pack a Backpack

How to Properly Pack a Backpack for Backpacking - Hiking Pack Setup Tips - Sunny 16

When it comes to how to pack a backpack for travel, there are some things to consider. Does your bag have all the compartments you need? Is it safe and secure? You can’t learn how to pack a backpack if you don’t have a usable one!

We recommend the Voyager camera backpack. It’s a midsize bag; versatile for travel, hiking, and more. It’s also got special compartments for camera gear or your laptop, making it a great camera and lens backpack. By far, this is one of the best camera backpacks.

It’s even made of a weatherproof material, making it perfect for any of your travels, rain or shine. And, on top of that, you’ll have quick access to everything you need. The Voyager has multiple access points to equipment with both rear access, side access, and a top pocket for your convenience. Having side access as the primary bag opening keeps your equipment safe and close to you.

Next up, it's time to learn how to properly pack a backpack!

What is the Best Way to Pack a Backpack?


The first step in how to pack a backpack like a pro is to split your bag up into different sections. Sounds a bit weird, right? But it works!

  • Bottom Section. This is where your bulky stuff goes, and make sure you don’t pack anything you need to access quickly!
  • Middle Section. This is a good place for dense and heavy items, as the weight of your bag will remain balanced.
  • Top Section. While this area can still hold some bigger things, this is mainly where you want to pack anything you might need while you’re out. 
  • Accessory Pockets. Even better for quick access! Pack all your small essentials and urgent-use items here. 
  • Loops and Straps. Have you ever wondered: “What are the loops on my backpack for?” Well, they’re essential or oversized and long items that you can’t fit in your backpack!

How to Pack Clothes for Travel

How to Pack a Backpacking Pack for Travel - How to Pack a Pack - Pack Camping Bag

Given that clothes are one of the biggest things we pack, the answer to the question of: “How to pack clothes in a backpack?”, is an important one.

When it comes to how to pack a backpack, are some tips for clothes:

  • Roll Them up. If you need to save space, try to roll your clothes up instead of folding them. You’ll be surprised how much more space you’ll have.
  • Stuff Socks in Your Shoes. Ever been annoyed with how much extra space loose socks take up? Try tucking them in your shoes!
  • Only Pack the Essentials. As much as you’ll want to pack an outfit for every occasion, it’s better to only pack what you need. Consider the weather, temperature and formality of the trip. Only pack relevant clothing, and maybe one extra set clothes. 

  • How to Pack Camera Equipment to Backpack

    How to Pack a Hiking Backpack for Camping - Packing a Backpack for Hiking - Pack Backpack Efficiently

    Whether you’re a photographer with a tripod or a hiker trekking poles, it’s important to know the best ways to attach gear to your backpack. So, how do you pack a backpack with extra gear.

    Many backpacks provide loops on different sides that allow you to attach gear. When using the loops on your backpack, simply clip on extra. 

    If you're attaching bulky or heavy gear, be sure to use multiple loops so you can balance the center of gravity. You can also use elasticated cord to create custom rigging for squishy items, like sleeping bags.

    What Should I Pack for a Day Pack?

    Day packs are all about simplicity, while also bringing all the essentials. You might want a change of clothes, depending on the type of trip. Packing food can be a good move too!

    How to Pack a Hiking Backpack

    How to Pack a Backpack for Camping - Best Way to Pack a Backpack - Loading a Backpack

    One of the most common reasons to day pack is going for a hike. But, what should you bring?

    Here’s how to pack a backpack for hiking:

    • Spare clothes (especially waterproof or layed ones)
    • Hiking boots or shoes
    • Easy, quality food (granola bars, trail mix, nuts, veggies, fruits)
    • Water Bottles
    • Map and Compass
    • First-aid kit
    • Knife or multi-tool
    • Portable Power Bank

    How do you Pack a Backpack for 3 Days?


    Packing for only 3 days is all about finding ways to prioritize what you need, so you don’t pack a bunch of unnecessary stuff! So, what’s the secret to how to pack a backpack for 3 days?

    Of course, you’re going to want enough clothes, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want your clothes to eat up all your space. Here are some tips we have for managing space:

    • Plan your outfits ahead of time
    • Wear your bulkiest clothes
    • Use smaller bags to organize things, like a tech pouch

    How to Pack a Backpack for Camping

    One of the most common reasons to pack a backpack for a few days is going camping. But, how do you pack a backpack for camping?

    Here are some things to include:

    • Hiking boots or shoes
    • Bug Spray
    • Tent
    • Sleeping bag
    • Pots, Pans, Plates and Silverware
    • Non-perishable food
    • Water bottles
    • Weather-appropriate clothing
    • First-aid-kit
    • Multi Tool or Knife

    While this might seem like a lot, there are ways to manage it. Try to attach your tent or sleeping back onto the outside of your bag, instead of the inside. 

    Also, only pack what you know you need. You’re camping so there’s no need for overly fancy clothes!

    How do you Pack a Backpack for 2 Weeks?

    You’re probably wondering: How on earth do you pack a backpack for 2 weeks? But, there is a method to the madness.

    Here are some tips for how to pack a backpack for 2 weeks:

  • Make a List of Everything you Need. You’d be surprised how much a list can help. You can look over what you think is important and potentially scratch out things that aren’t essential. 
  • Lay Everything out Before you Pack. Being able to visualize everything goes a long way, so lay everything you’re packing out before you start!
  • Consider Using Packing Cubes. Packing cubes are a great tool for compartmentalizing. You can put all of your food in one cube and all your clothes in another. 
  • Minimize Non-Essentials. Anything you can buy on your trip instead of bringing, buy. This includes things like food and water. After all, you can’t bring that many liquids on a plane anyway. 

  • Up Next: Best Carry-on Backpacks for Travel

    Now that you know how to pack a backpack, let us know in the comments where you plan on taking your next trip.

    And, if you have some flights in your future, check out our article on the best carry-on backpacks for travel. You can find all kinds of backpack tips, products and advice at Sunny 16

    Up Next: Best Carry-on Backpacks for Travel →

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