Pacific Northwest Hiking - Gear Packing Tips

by Joe Buchmann May 11, 2018

Hiking Gear Packing Tips - Article - PNW Journey

Hiking is one of the most enjoyable activities we do here in the Pacific Northwest. As much fun as it can be, it can also be incredibly frustrating if things don't go as planned because of poor preparation. In this article we're going to find out how to best pack our gear for a good hiking trip!

Be Organized

This seems like common sense, but all too often we find ourselves miles into a hike and digging around a full backpack to find that one thing that's buried somewhere in there.

Whether that one thing is a snack, pocket knife, flashlight or anything else, you want to make sure you know exactly where everything in your bag is. Do your best to put things in places that makes sense, and keep like items together. 

One way to do this is to use different colored bags for different types of items. For instance, food can go in blue bags while clothes are placed in brown bags. Each type of item goes in the color bag that you choose for that type.

Pacific Northwest Hiking - Gear Packing - Color Bags - PNW Journey

That's just one approach, but the idea is the key. Keep things together that make sense so you can easily identify and find them. 

Light Items

Start by packing light items such as clothes at the bottom of your bag. Keep these items low or away from your back so that you can place the heavier items on top of them and closer to your back. 

Pacific Northwest Hiking - Gear Packing - Light Items - PNW Journey


Heavy Items

When hiking in relatively flat or lower incline terrain you want to pack heavy items towards the top of your bag and close to your body. This will help to minimize the strain your back takes during the hike. If you pack heavy items towards the top but away from your back, the pack will constantly pull backwards against you. 

If you will be hiking in steep terrain, make sure to pack heavy items in the center of your bag. This will help you keep your balance while climbing. 

Pacific Northwest Hiking - Gear Packing - Heavy Items - PNW Journey

Quick Access Items

Insect repellent, maps, and first aid kits are examples of some things you may need to access quickly. These items should be kept in the outside pockets of your pack, or at the very top. It's never fun to dig through to the bottom of your bag with a bloody finger looking for a band aid. 

Pacific Northwest Hiking - Gear Packing - Quick Access - PNW Journey


You may have a water proof or water resistant backpack, but you would be wise to include a waterproof container for some items. Things like matches, paper money, batteries and other non water friendly items should be placed in the water proof containers.

Outside the Bag

After your bag has been packed up, strap any long items such as fishing poles and hiking sticks to the outside of the bag. 

Now your ready to trek through the PNW wilderness with an organized pack! Comment below with your own packing tips to share with all of us wilderness lovers. 

Joe Buchmann
Joe Buchmann


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