How To Best Pack Your Camping Bag

One of the most important pieces of equipment that you can bring with you when you are going on a camping trip is a bag. While many may not consider a bag to be a piece of equipment, you will find that it is just as much of a part of your camping kit as a tent, stakes, food supplies, and everything else.

Your bag is the one piece of your equipment that will influence the amount of gear that you can bring along. A larger backpack will allow you to carry more things with you when you are camping. Of course, there is always a tradeoff; you will find that a larger bag will leave you encumbered.

Heavy Large Backpack

This is why you need to make a compromise between the size and weight of your bag and the amount of equipment that you want to bring with you on a camping trip.

If you are looking to save space when packing your bag, you will find that there are few better options besides packing intelligently.

This is why we are going to be looking at the best way to pack your camping bag. We will go over how to pack different elements of your kit to save space and to ensure that they are not damaged while in your bag.

What Are The Loops On My Backpack For?

You may be wondering what the loops or the backpack attachment straps that can be found on your bag are for. You will find that backpacking straps are some of the most useful parts of your bag as they will allow you to carry a wide variety of objects.

There are many different types of straps that can be used to improve your bag’s carrying capacity. The most common type of strap that you will find on camping backpacks is a set of compression straps. These are straps that wrap around the back of your bag so they can hold items on the exterior of your backpack.

How To Use Backpack Loops

Backpack loops are rather easy to use. All you have to do is use them to brace anything you need against your bag. There are different types of loops that you will come across, and you will find that they are all rather intuitive. The most common type that you will find is the horizontal compression strap.

Tying things to your backpack

These straps use backpacking clips to attach to each other, which ensures that they will always have a secure hold on what you choose to place on your bag. These are adjustable with friction cinches, which ensures that they can expand to accommodate many objects.

How To Attach A Sleeping Pad To Your Backpack

sleeping pad is one of the most valuable objects on your backpacking checklist as it will allow you to sleep on a comfortable surface which keeps you off the ground. Nobody wants to have to lie down in the dirt and mud to get rest.

Sleeping pads are too bulky to fit inside of your backpack without taking up most of the space. You will find that the ideal option when packing your sleeping pad is to attach it to the exterior of your bag using the attached loops.

Man with a sleeping pad packed on his backpack.

You will usually want to roll your side-sleeping sleeping pad into a form which is as compact as possible, and then you have a choice of attachment points. The most common option for a sleeping pad is actually at the top of a backpacking bag.

If you have ever seen a backpacker, you may have wondered what the roll at the top of their bag is. You will find that this is their sleeping pad, simply rolled up into a more convenient shape. Most camping backpacks come included with a specifically designed set of loops at the top for this purpose.

How To Pack A Backpack

One of the most important parts of your preparation is ensuring that everything fits into your bag while you are packing it. This means that you will have to fold up everything which can be folded in an efficient manner. This includes portable camping chairs and backpacking chairs, which are meant to take up a minimum of space.

Another object that should be folded up and placed inside of your backpack is a pocket tarp or blanket, which can be used to cover the ground or you in the event of foul weather. Backpack camping requires a large variety of supplies, such as water, food, and many other things.

The general rule is that you will want to put items that are compact inside of your bag. You will want to stack them efficiently to ensure that they do not take up more space than they should.

What To Pack For Camping

The objects which should be placed outside of your bag are usually oversized pieces of equipment that will take up a large amount of space if they were placed inside of it.

These items can include snowshoes, shovels, and other pieces of heavy equipment. You will also want to avoid placing dirty objects inside of your bag while you are camping, and it is almost assured that at least one part of your equipment will end up dirty.

It is for this reason that you should always save space on the exterior your bag, so you have room for items that were originally placed inside of your bag. Keep in mind that every hike will have a different bag, so these rules may shift a little bit depending on the size of your bag and the number of options it comes with for additional storage.


We hope that we have been able to share some helpful advice with you on how to best pack your backpacking bag. There is a reason that this activity is so named; your backpack carries everything you will need, and the art of packing it is the first thing you should learn.


National Park Service