Step one: Decide to go backpacking.
Step two: Decide where to go.
Step three: Get the gear.
Step four: Pack your pack.
Step five: Go backpacking.
Above are five easy steps to going backpacking. Seemingly simple, right? Let’s dive a littler deeper into the fourth step; pack your pack. Because there are different backpacks available, it depends how you pack your backpack. If the pack is an external frame, the weight should sit low. Balance is the key to hiking. If you are on a trail for two or more days, you do not want to be unbalanced by a heavy backpack. Another type of pack is an internal frame. With this pack, you want to place the heaviest items close to the middle of your back because it sits close to your body.
Now it’s time for the actual packing. If you do not have one already, a compression sack would be great to put the sleeping bag in (as well as clothes). This reduces the size of the sleeping bag to be put into the internal frame pack near the bottom. With external frame packs, sleeping bags are attached to the bottom of the pack because they generally have less room inside the pack. Tents should be kept at the top of the pack so the entire pack does not have to be unpacked to get to the tent.
There are going to be open spaces in between the bulkier items in your pack. This is a great place to stick shoes, socks, or anything that will fit. Remember to pack water and snacks where you can easily get to it. Food for lunch or dinner does not necessarily need to be at the top of the pack, since usually those are good breaking points to sit and relax before journeying on.
Now you are ready for step 5! Enjoy your backpacking experience! And don’t forget what you take into the woods, please take out!