How to Pack a Backpack for a 3-Day Hike

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Hiking allows you to see the great outdoors from a new perspective. Moreover, it enables you to get a break from the hustle and bustle of the real world. At the very least, it allows you to get some exercise and burn excess calories.

Now, if you’re hiking for a single day, the items you carry are not all that important, especially if you stay close to home. However, what you bring along is very important if you’re going on a multi-day hike, especially if you’re spending nights outdoors.

Moreover, packing equipment to last for three days can be a challenge, especially since hiking backpacks generally aren’t all that big. So, this article discusses how to pack a backpack for a 3-day hike.

Order is Important

We’ll discuss what you should bring for a 3-day hike and the order in which you should pack your gear. This will make a big difference to your overall comfort.

If you don’t correctly pack your backpack, you won’t be comfortable and will be carrying around a lot of weight that can really hurt or injure your back, shoulders, and neck. Therefore, the order in which you pack your backpack is essential.

The Bottom of the Backpack

You might think that the heaviest items should go at the bottom of the backpack, below the main compartment.

However, this is not the case, because you should put large and bulky items that are also lightweight, like sleeping bags, sleeping pads, pillows, loose clothing, and other such camping items, in this bottom section.

These can go in the bottom because they are not essential while hiking, and you will only need them when you make camp for the night. You don’t need quick access to these items, so their location is not essential. One tip is to put your sleeping bag in a compression sack and put that at the bottom and then use clothing to fill the gaps.

The Middle of the Backpack

The middle of the backpack is the main section with the most space. This area is designed for the heaviest and largest supplies because it will help take some weight off your shoulders.

Putting the heaviest items in the middle of the backpack will allow for a good weight balance. Also, having the heaviest items close to your back will make it easier to carry them for a full day.

Water, food, camping stove and fuel, bear canister, other heavy camping supplies, and even camping shoes should go in the middle.

How to Pack a Backpack for a 3-Day Hike

The Top of the Backpack

By the top of the backpack, we mean the top of the main section. However, here we could also mean the third zippered section on top of the backpack. This also functions as a small daypack that can be removed from the main backpack and carried for short hikes.

Store items that are essential or things you might need at a moment’s notice. They’ll be easy to access.

This includes your first aid kit, snacks and water for your hike, a water filter, a bathroom kit, and a first aid kit. Other things might include a multi-tool, a knife, a camera, a headlamp, a map, a phone, and sunscreen.

The Outside of the Backpack

People forget that you can also put items outside the bag. There should be various loops and straps on the exterior of your hiking backpack you can use to attach additional gear.

These loops and straps are generally best for hanging or securing bulky, long, and stiff items. For example, you can secure shovels, ropes, collapsible seating, tens, and trekking poles.

However, remember that you don’t want anything too heavy or long dangling off your backpack’s rear because this will affect your balance and bang into you with every step.

Hiking Backpack Essentials to Pack

Now that we have discussed how to pack your hiking backpack from bottom to top let’s look at the items and gear you need for a 3-day hiking trip.

  • A rain poncho or high-quality rain gear
  • Warm weather clothing to keep yourself cool
  • Extra socks in case the first pair gets wet
  • Tent, sleeping pad, pillow, and other sleeping gear
  • Bathroom and toiletry kit
  • Knife and a multi-tool
  • Firestarter, matches, a lighter, and small tinder
  • First aid kit
  • Fishing gear
  • Hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses
  • Enough food and water to last for three days, and another day on top
  • Signaling mirror and a whistle
  • Tent
  • Some extra rope
  • GPS watch, a map, and a compass

Final Thoughts

If you have the right gear and pack it in the proper order, packing a hiking backpack for a 3-day hike is really not that difficult.

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