How To Pack A Day Pack For Hiking

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Hiking is an excellent pastime that all can enjoy. However, packing incorrectly has the potential to sour your entire trip. Lugging a heavy, uncomfortable day pack isn’t something any hiker would want. Therefore, we have researched the best way to pack a day pack for hiking and what to bring when going for a day hike. This is how to pack a day pack for hiking.

To pack a day pack for hiking, you must first select a suitable day pack. Then, gather all the items you wish to take on the hike. Start by packing the heaviest items in the bottom of the bag, followed by lighter items towards the top. Pack the essential things at the top of the pack for easy reach.

To have a successful and enjoyable hike, you must have the right equipment and pack your day pack correctly. We have compiled a list of items to bring along on your day hike, how to pack your gear, and the best type of day pack to bring when hiking. To understand how to pack a day pack for hiking, simply continue reading.

How To Pack A Day pack For A Hiking Trip

Some people prefer just to shove everything into their day packs when hiking. However, this will lead to constant unpacking when you desperately need something at the bottom of your pack. Therefore, packing your day pack correctly will not only save you time, but it will also make the backpack more comfortable.

When packing a day pack for hiking, the biggest thing to consider is even weight distribution. To evenly distribute the weight of your backpack, you must pack certain things in certain places. This is how to pack a day pack for hiking.

Step 1: Packing The Heaviest Items In A Day Pack

The first items you should pack in your bag are the heaviest items. When going on a day hike, you might not have many heavy items, so pack your first-aid kit and lunch box at the bottom of the pack. Pack these heavy items close to your back, allowing for better weight distribution.

Step 2: Packing Loose Items In A Day Pack

Loose items, such as extra clothes, socks, and sunscreen, can be packed around the heavy items to fill in the empty spaces in the day pack. However, don’t pack anything you need to use frequently near the bottom of the bag, as this will lead to rummaging through the day pack to find the right items.

In addition, pack all loose items into smaller bags. Doing so will make things easier to find and protect the rest of the pack from leakage or water damage. For example, place sunscreen and bug repellent in separate bags. This way, should one of them go open and leak, it will not spill on everything in the day pack.

Step 3: Packing Essential Items In A Day Pack

Essential items are the things you will need to use often or things you must reach at a second’s notice. For example, a waterproof jacket, snacks, and a camera are some essential items. These items should be packed in the top section of your day pack to reach them easily. If the day pack has a top pouch, this is an excellent place for these items.

Step 4: Packing Water In A Day Pack

Some day packs have a designated area for water, such as a pouch for a camel pack. These pouches are great if you intend to use a camel pack for the hiking trip. However, if the day pack doesn’t have space for a camel pack, use the outer mesh pockets to keep water bottles.

Bring more water than you will need if you cannot refill your bottles along the way. Purification tablets are also good to carry with you if you need to purify the water you get.

Step 5: Packing The Outer Pockets Of A Day Pack

Fortunately, most day packs have outer pockets. These are great for storing things such as your cell phone, wallet, keys, and any documents or permits you might require for the hike. Don’t forget to pack your day pack’s rain cover in one of the outer pockets for easy reach. If you need hiking poles, these can also be strapped to the outside of your day pack.

Apart from packing your day pack correctly, you should also choose a suitable day pack for your needs. We will now discuss how to select the best day pack for hiking.

Choosing The Best Day Pack For Hiking

Before assembling your equipment and packing your day pack for hiking, we must first talk about the right day pack to bring. Choosing a good day pack will allow you to pack everything you need while also being comfortable when hiking.

The capacity of the day pack is the most important aspect of packing for a day hike. First, the pack needs to be big enough to carry all your belongings. A day pack that is ten liters or less might seem tempting, as it is small, lightweight, and compact. However, there isn’t enough room to pack all the essentials for an entire day’s hike in such a small pack.

Therefore, pick a backpack between eleven- and twenty-liters’ capacity. This will allow sufficient space for all your belongings, without being uncomfortably big. The second thing you must consider is the size of the day pack. The day pack must sit comfortably on your torso, or the pack will become highly uncomfortable while hiking.

Another helpful feature of a day pack is hydration compatibility. If it is, you can put a camel pack in the designated area. However, if there isn’t a slot for a camel pack, be sure the pack has mesh outer pockets suitable for water bottles. 

Trying the backpack before a hike is crucial to ensure it sits comfortably. Once you are satisfied that the day pack is the right size to hold your belongings and sit comfortably, you can start assembling what you will need for the hike.

What To Pack In A Day Pack For Hiking

Although you might think that you hardly need to pack anything for a simple day hike, there are still some essential items you cannot go hiking without. Here are the things you should always bring when hiking:

  • Water. Experts advise that you bring at least a gallon of water per person for a day hike. Hiking is a tiring exercise, and you are likely to become dehydrated. If there are water filling points along the trail, you can refill your bottles, but rather bring too much water than too little.
  • Sun protection. Regardless of the season you are hiking; sun protection is essential for any hiker. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect you against the harmful UV rays.
  • Waterproof clothes. No matter the time you are hiking, wet clothes make for a miserable hiking experience. So bring a lightweight waterproof jacket and pants. Also, bring a waterproof cover for your Day pack in case of rain.
  • First-aid kit. Always bring a first-aid kit with bandages, antihistamine, and rehydration medication.
  • Food. For a day hike, you can easily pack ready-made food such as sandwiches. Or you can bring protein bars and other snacks to fill you up while you hike.
  • Extra socks and clean clothes. If you are hiking in winter, extra socks and clean clothes are essential to ensure you stay dry and warm while hiking.

When you have assembled all the gear and items you want to bring hiking, you can start to pack your day pack. Packing a day pack correctly for hiking is crucial to ensuring a pleasant and comfortable hiking trip.


When packing a day pack for hiking, the most important thing is to ensure even weight distribution. This will make your hiking trip a lot more comfortable. Packing your pack to make it easy to reach essential items is another important tip. Choosing the right day pack in terms of size and capacity will allow you to bring everything you need for a day’s hike.