So you have bought the best daypack that you can find, and now you are ready for the hike that you have been looking forward to for ages, but there is something important that you have to do before you leave… Packing…
Sure, packing isn’t the most exciting part of a trip, but how you pack your daypack can make your hike or trip much easier than if you do not plan it correctly and find yourself missing something important or carrying too much stuff it can ruin your trip. In this guide, we will show you how to pack a daypack correctly to make the most of your hike.
What are the most important things to pack in my daypack?
1) Water – You can’t live without it and you don’t want to be miles in to your hike to find out that you don’t have it as you will have an unpleasant journey home. Even if you pack nothing else, make sure that you pack water!
2) Waterproof Jacket & Trousers – The sun might be out, and the birds singing, but when you are hiking the weather can change in an instant. Make sure that you are prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions.
3) First Aid Kit – Getting blisters and other minor injuries while hiking can ruin your day, while more serious injuries can be…. well … more serious… Make sure that you have a good first aid kit, there is a great list here of what a hiker needs in a first aid kit.
4) A spare pair of socks – Do you like walking for miles and miles in wet socks? Neither do we! Always pack a spare pair of socks in your daypack.
5) Change of clothes – Just like the socks mentioned above, hiking in soggy clothes is no fun, always pack some spares. Also, keep them in a waterproof bag, you otherwise you will be exchanging wet clothes for slightly less wet clothes.
6) A Thermos flask filled with a hot drink – If you get cold and wet on your hike, you will thank me for this one!
7) A waterproof liner – While your daypack may be water-resistant, it is often necessary you line your bag with something that is waterproof to protect your things from heavier rainstorms and incase you end up falling in or walking in a river.
8) A rain cover for your backpack – I know that we seem to endlessly talk about making things waterproof, but a good rain cover for your backpack can help to keep your stuff dry during a downpour.
9) Your cellphone – I know that hardly anyone goes anywhere without their cellphone these days, but make sure that you have packed it into your daypack! A mobile phone can get you out of some sticky situations when hiking, whether you get lost and need GPS to find your way, or if there is an emergency and you need help.
10) Food – As another one of life’s essentials, you do not want to leave without food. The food that you take with you should have a good combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to make sure that you get what your body needs. Trail mix is great for this as it doesn’t spoil easily and contains lots of nutrients.
So how should I actually pack my daypack? Should I just throw it all in at once?
How you pack and organize your daypack is extremely important, not just so it is neat, but because some items will need protecting from the elements and others may cause you discomfort if they are in the wrong part of your bag. Other items that you will need regularly, such as food and water, should be packed somewhere easily accessible on your hike so that you don’t end up having to pull everything out of your backpack to get to it. Doing this in a rainstorm is not fun.
1) Pack your spare clothes at the bottom of the bag, they should be packed at the bottom as hopefully you won’t need them and because they will be better protected from the elements there. If possible, put them in a waterproof bag for better protection.
2) Next, you should pack the items that you will be needing on your trip, but not regularly. This can include items such as your dinner, camera, cellphone & first aid kit. For valuables such as cameras & cellphones you should pack them in a waterproof zip-lock bag to make sure that they are not damaged if you fall into a river or it rains heavily.
3) At this point you should pack things that you are likely to need regularly on the hike including items such as waterproof clothing, your coat and rain covers for your daypack. While packing them at the top may not initially make sense as you may think that you might need your camera or cellphone more often, you will thank me when it rains and you don’t have to dig through your bag while getting soaked in the rain!
4) Other items such as your water bottles, thermos flask can go into the mesh pockets on the side of your bag (if it has them). This will make the items far easier to access while on the move.
Do you have any tips for packing a daypack, whether it is for hiking, running, cycling or just day to day? Please let us know in the comments below!