How to Organize Your Backpack for Travel

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Want to have the best outdoor experience of your life? Then master the basics first – learn how to organize your backpack for travel the right way!

In this compact guide, we will provide you with a number of simple yet very effective tips on travel backpack organization. If you are preparing for your first ever hike or camping trip, then knowing our tips and tricks is a must!

How to Organize Your Backpack for Travel

2 Key Tips For Keeping Your Backpack Organized

Keeping a travel backpack nice and tidy is much easier than you think. Here are 2 super-simple tips that you should follow to keep your items organized:

1. Leave out the nice-to-haves.

You are probably tempted to fill your backpack with goodies, such as 3 weeks’ worth of clothing, a laptop plus a tablet, and all sorts of other things that are certainly nice to have but aren’t really necessary for your journey.

Well, you should identify all the extra baggage and strive to only bring what you absolutely need.

2. Give preference to multi-use, versatile items.

Unless really necessary, avoid taking items that are going to be used just once or twice throughout your trip.

Not only that, but try to take a single item for multiple purposes. For example, rather than pack separate shampoos and body washes, take a two-in-one wash that is formulated for both hair and body use.

Once you follow and implement these straightforward tips, you should be able to pack your stuff like never before! However, this is just the beginning, and there are a few other helpful bits that we would like to share with you.

What Can You Do To Keep Your Backpack Space Neat And Convenient?

In theory, organizing a backpack is simple – just throw out non-essential items and opt for only a few items that can do multiple things. Sounds easy, but once you start actually packing, you may be hitting a wall.

If you can’t really figure out how to pack your stuff, then we’ll now provide you with general guidelines on how you should prepare your backpack for travel.

What to do if you have a backpack with good organizational features

If you have a backpack with good organizational capabilities, then you’re lucky. Such a backpack is very easy to pack right!

High-quality travel backpacks often have a number of compartments and pockets, each dedicated to its own type of item. Your backpack may have pockets for footwear, a laptop, water bottles, personal items, or whatnot. If you can, make use of the layout intended by the backpack maker – this would be the easiest way to go!

Pack items that need to be within easy access into the front pocket of your backpack. The laptop/tablet should go into its own dedicated and often protected compartment. Clothes should go into the main compartment.

Items that will be required during TSA checks should be as easily accessible as possible. Other than your pockets, the most convenient place for TSA essentials would be your backpack’s hip pouches.

Important items (like keys or credit cards) should be placed into inner pockets, preferably ones that are made with theft prevention in mind.

What to do if you have a backpack with bad organizational abilities

If your backpack doesn’t have good organizational features, then you’ll have to improvise.

Perhaps the best way to go in this case would be to use packing cubes. Packing cubes are small bags intended to help you organize items inside a backpack, suitcase, or other containers. Although these cubes occupy some space by themselves, they dramatically improve the organization in the bag.

Instead of a packing cube, you may make use of any other pack you find at hand too.

When organizing packing cubes in a not so good backpack, the logic is the same as with backpacks that have good organization features. You store alike items close together and keep essentials within easy reach. Essentially, you are trying to simulate the features of high-quality backpacks.

If you are too lazy to do all this, then you may just stuff all your items into your backpack in a chaotic fashion. However, you will probably be wasting a lot of space inside your backpack, and you will also be making it more difficult for yourself to find necessary items!

Prioritize Your Items

It would probably make sense for you to pack the most frequently used items within easy reach, right? Well, apart from being logical, this is a thing that you should definitely do when getting ready for your journey!

Here’s how you could go about this:

  • When you start packing, the first items you should put into the backpack are those that won’t need to be immediately used. These could be the sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and all other camping gear except your flashlight.
  • Then, at the “mid-layer”, pack your cooking gear.
  • At the top, you should pack items that you will be using most frequently while hiking.

Don’t Neglect Weight Distribution

A well-organized backpack will also have good weight distribution. And weight distribution, if you didn’t know, is important because it will dramatically impact the comfort of your journey.

The best way to go about weight distribution is to keep heavy items centered and closer to your body. Here’s how to pack with that in mind:

  • Light items should go to the bottom of your backpack.
  • The heaviest items should be placed on top of your light items. Not only that, but heavy items should be brought closer to your spine.
  • Medium-weight items are packed at the very top.

Avoid hanging heavy items and accessories outside the backpack. Instead, try to keep them closer to your body.

Final Tip – Understand What Would Be Most Logical For You!

The tips we’ve given above will work for most people’s needs. However, if you have other ideas, don’t be afraid to try something different!

Travelers’ needs can be very distinct, and if something works for your neighbor, it won’t necessarily work for you too. If you think that you can better adapt our organization and packing recipe to your needs, then don’t hesitate and do so!

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