Tips for Preparing for an Overnight Backpacking Trip

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If you are planning an overnight backpack camping trip, there are certain items that you absolutely must take along such as some sort of shelter, bedding, food, a means to prepare your food, and a source of light to enable you to see after dark.

Items you’ll want for backpacking for multi-day trips:

  • nylon wing or bivy sack such as those made by Outdoor Research
  • Camp pad such those made by Therm-a-Rest
  • An ultra-light down sleeping back contained in a compression sack
  • Alcohol or wood camp stove such as those made by Esbit or Solo Stove
  • Freeze-dried meals, and a candle lantern, day packs can be employed to carry all of the necessities for an overnight trip.

There are several different types of backpacks available in various different sizes to carry all your essentials. For instance, there are Day Packs which are small backpacks that lack a frame of any sort and which are made specifically for short, day long, ventures into the wilderness, but which can be used for overnight trips provided that a ‘minimalist approach to gear’ is adopted.

However, for larger loads containing larger and/or heavier items, a backpack with either an internal or external frame is required. But, it should be noted that both types of frame packs have advantages and disadvantages. For instance, internal frame packs have a frame that is usually made from rigid nylon which is designed to make the pack retain its shape and to help distribute and support the load it carries but which is also somewhat flexible so that it will bend with the hiker’s body so that the pack is more comfortable to wear.


Photo Source: Wild Backpacker

Because internal frame backpacks are held very close to the body, they balance better than an external frame pack, but for the same reason, it is significantly hotter to wear in warm weather. Alternatively external frame packs have a frame that is usually made from rigid, aluminum, tubing to which the pack is attached in such a way that it can be easily removed so that the frame can be employed to carry freight such as firewood or other things you don’t want to carry inside of your pack.  Because the frame on this type of pack is rigid and held away from the hiker’s back by stretched nylon webbing, it is less comfortable to wear but, is also significantly cooler to carry in warm weather.

Tips_PacksSource REI

There are many numerous different sizes available from extra large day packs and extra small frame packs, so make sure you choose a pack with enough capacity to carry all of the items you intend, but also choose one that does not have excessive capacity. You will want to completely fill your pack so that the items you put in will be held securely in the position in which you place them.

Last, you should also pay close attention to the type of shoulder straps and waist belt the backpack has since those that are contoured, heavily padded  and are far more comfortable than those that are sparsely padded, which are not contoured. In addition, when choosing a frame pack, it is a good idea to choose one that has several external attachment points so that you will have easy access to the items which you use often.

The type of backpack you choose will depend upon both the type and amount of gear you intend to carry as well as whether you will need the pack to serve multiple purposes. Therefore, it is a wise idea to purchase more than one backpack and to tailor each choice to the specific purpose for which you intend to use it.


About the author / 

Bill Bernhardt
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Bill Bernhardt is a professional freelance outdoor writer and an official contributor to Southern Trout online fly fishing magazine and the author of five beginner's guide eBooks on the topic of fly fishing published on Amazon Kindle as well as a beginner's guide to feral hog hunting Also, he is the owner of, and guide and instructor for, Harper Creek Fly Fishing Company located in Lenoir, North Carolina.

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