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Art of packing ...

How to pack a back pack and what to take on a hike

Depending on what type of hiker one is, there are several types of backpacks available at a good hiking shop.  For example, a large framed person who walks long distances the 90-110 litre bag is acceptable.  The next size down is the 75-85 litre bag, which is most popular, then comes the 65-75 bag, which is at the lower range.
All packs have inner and outer pockets.  The very bottom pocket is for storing your sleeping bag, which should be wrapped in a plastic bag in case the bottom of your bag gets wet.  The main compartment of your hiking bag is for keeping the following equipment.
Bottom of bag: Clothing
Middle of bag:   Food, eating utensils (pots, pans, dishes, cups,
                       stove etc)
Top of bag:      Rain gear, toiletries, slops
The top compartment, in the flap section of the pack, is for keeping maps, wallets, valuables, first aid kit.
The side pockets are for keeping water bottles, stove Gaz type, snacks and packets of food.
The sleeping mattress is strapped on the back of the pack horizontally just above your sleeping bag.
The tent can be strapped vertically down the face of your backpack, or can be strapped horizontally on top of the backpack.
It is important to keep a backpack rain cover sheet, as it can rain at unsuspecting times, and one does not want to get the tent and back pack wet.


Depending on the venue and what time of the year it is, one must consider what selection of clothing to take on a hike.
In summer it can rain quite frequently, and it can also get cold, depending on how hard the wind blows.  During winter it can snow and at night the temperatures can reach below zero degrees centigrade.
One must consider the weight of the backpack.  By taking too much food and clothing it can make one's pack extremely heavy.
Excluding the clothes that one is wearing including one's boots and hat, it is suggested the following clothing be taken on hikes for the different seasons of the year.

Summer months

A spare shirt, shorts, underpants, vest, socks, track suit, windbreaker jacket, rain coat or a poncho, a light sleeping bag, towel.

Winter months

For winter hikes, thermal underwear, winter pyjamas, a jersey, and most important of all a balaclava.


It is important to take the correct food, on a backpack, and the following items should be considered:
Meusli, cereals, jungle oats.
Dried fruit such as nuts, raisins, or snack bars,
Tinned food:- fish such as sardines, tuna, mussels, baked beans, etc.
Pro vita, biscuits, bread, rolls, etc.
Soups instant, smash, pastas,
Cold meats, biltong salami, pre-packed ham, etc.
Tea, coffee, fruit juice powdered energy drink.
Cheeses, fresh cheese or processed cheese.
Fruit:- apples, oranges, bananas, etc.
Powdered milk, sugar, salt etc.

Hiking Tips

Instead of carrying items in their original packets, use plastic bottles for storing powdered milk and sugar, small medical pill bottles for storing salt and pepper.  For protecting the flame of the stove, there is a very thin sheeting which can be purchased which stands around the stove.
Wearing an inner, sock preferable a thin cotton sock,  will help one from getting blisters.
Keep plastic refuse waste bags, one for clean cloths and one for dirty clothes, one for the sleeping bag and one for any refuse.


It is recommended that every one should take elasto plaster for blisters, imodium for diarrhoea, stingo for stings, and anti septic cream.
For a comprehensive first aid backpacking kit, click here.


Toilet paper, tooth brush, tooth paste, soap, face cloth, nail clippers, shaving kit (optional) mirror, deodorant.
Good luck and happy backpacking

Download printable backpack list
Pack_for_backpack.doc    23.50 KB