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What Goes Into Your Backpack?

What goes where? Stoner tips included.

When hiking, the weight of your backpack plays a vital role. You won't want to carry a backpack too big or too small.

“Lay out all your gear at home and try out different loading routines until you’ve found what works best for you. Use a backpacking checklist to ensure you have everything and make notes on your list about what worked well (or poorly) after each trip."

The Basics

Packing can be broken down into three main zones, plus outer storage:

  • Bottom zone: Good for bulky gear and items not needed until camp.

  • Core zone: Good for your heavier items.

  • Top zone: Good for bulkier essentials you might need on the trail.

  • Accessory pockets: Good for essentials you’ll need urgently or often.

  • Tool loops and lash-on points: Good for oversized or overly long items.

The Bottom Zone

Bulky items you won’t need before making camp include:

  • Sleeping bag (many packs have a bottom compartment sized for one)

  • Any layers, like long underwear, that you plan to sleep in

  • Camp shoes or sandals

Packing this kind of soft, squishy gear at the bottom also creates a kind of internal shock-absorption system for your back and your pack.

*Watch this video below to get a clear idea of how you should pack your backpack

The Core Zone

Heavy, dense gear you won't need to access during your hike includes:

  • Food stash

  • Cook kit

  • Stove

  • Water reservoir (unless you prefer carrying bottles for hydration)

Packing heavy items here helps create a stable center of gravity and directs the load downward rather than backward. Placed too low, heavy gear causes a pack to sag; placed too high, it makes a pack feel tippy. Consider wrapping soft items around bulky gear to prevent shifting. Use these soft items to fill in gaps and create a buffer between bulky items:

  • Tent body

  • Tent flysheet

  • Extra clothing

The Top Zone

Bulky trail essentials work well here:

  • Insulated (Jersey) jacket, pants, gloves, headcover

  • Raincoat

  • First-aid kit

  • Toilet supplies (towel, TP, etc)

Some people also like to stash their tent at the top of the pack for fast access if stormy weather moves in before they've set up camp.

Accessory Pockets

Packs differ in what they provide—lid pockets, front pockets, side pockets, and hip belt pockets. Some pockets even have a lot of smaller pockets inside. All of these options help you organize smaller essentials:

  • Sunglasses 

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm

  • Headlamp

  • Snacks

  • Water bottles

  • Raincover

  • keys, ID and cash stash

Tool Loops and Lash-On Points

Some of the most common gear to strap on the outside of your pack includes:

  • Trekking poles

  • Tent poles

  • Campstool or chair

  • Rope

Many packs have special tool loops, fasteners, or other storage solutions for some of this gear. Lash patches and compression straps can also be used to wrangle gear that simply can’t be carried in any other place. However, because this gear can snag on branches or scrape against rocks, you should minimize how many items you carry on the outside of your pack


Stoner Tips

Any stoner would know that you've got to store your stash well hidden and protected from the elements. We recommend you store it in a bottle that has a large mouth (an empty small jam bottle would be ideal to make it easier to access with your stoner hands). This also protects it from water, dust, etc. However, in order to be safe from getting caught, we also recommend you stash it in a place that is hard for even you to access easily (only you would know where that would be). But at the end of the day, you know best when it comes to stashing weed, so follow your gut.

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