How do you effectively pack your backpack when going backpacking ?

You have gathered together your hiking equipment! Now the time has come to pack your backpack, you need to know which equipment to pack first and how to make the best possible use of the available space? Our solution in detail and in pictures.

Hikers are well aware that packing one's backpack can be a tall order! For a bivouac camping expedition lasting several days, we recommend a backpack with a minimum capacity of 40, or even 50 L.

Once you have completed the thorough selection process of the equipment you are taking with you, you need to decide on the best way to pack it. To do this, you need to be mindful of creating the correct front/back and left/right balance of the load. If your pack is leaning to one side, your body will waste energy and tire itself out in compensating for this imbalance. You are also increasing the risk of falling, when walking uphill as well as downhill. It is equally important to maintain a compact load in order to prevent knocking or sudden movements, which could cause a fall.

What is the secret to optimising the load? The heavy items should be placed at the centre of the pack close to your back. The mid-weight items should be placed at the bottom and around the sides and the lightweight items on top.

You should place your bedding equipment (duvet/mattress) and your spare clothing at the bottom of your backpack. Put your hydration pack along the length of your back. Your spare footwear should go in the pack's base pocket.

Your tent should be stored (vertically) with your camping stove, cookset and food in the middle of your backpack. All of this should be located as close as possible to your backbone.If you do not have enough space for your tent and this tent is lightweight, you can fasten it to the base of your pack using external straps.

Your fleece, waterproof jacket and first aid kit should be stored close at hand at the top of your backpack. As for the groundsheet, it should be placed under the flap or beneath your backpack and fastened using external straps as well.

The sun cream, maps, compass and sunglasses can be put away in the different pockets of your backpack. Cereal bars and cameras should go in the waist pocket. Your telescopic poles should be stored vertically on the outside of the backpack.

What if you are hiking as a group? Why not divide up the shared equipment?

The final step you need to take is to adjust your backpack. Firstly, before putting it on, you need to adjust the back height. Then, once it is on your shoulders, the waist strap is the first element which needs to be adjusted. Then adjust the shoulder straps and finish with the tightening of the load adjuster straps.