Want to up your backpacking game? Here are the best backpacking hacks you should know before you embark on your backpacking journey


Backpacking is easy, so I heard! You just have to put a few clothes, some travel gear in a backpack and you’re ready to hit the outdoors!!

Though that might seem easy – I mean what else could you need to know other than trying to find budget accommodation, know where to find street food, or look out for epic hiking trails!

What if I told you that there are some incredibly useful backpacking hacks that you probably don’t know but should!

Well if you’ve been backpacking for years, chances are that you might have tried out these backpacking tricks on a number of occasions but if you’re still figuring out your way in the backpack sphere, these backpacking hacks will open your mind and even make you start questioning yourself on how you made it work in the backpacking world without knowing these awesome tricks.

So in this post, I will be sharing with you all the backpacking hacks and tricks I’ve picked up along my backpacking journey in the quest to discover the world and I hope they’ll be useful to you too.

Backpacking hacks you probably never knew

hacks for backpacking

1. Make Duck tape your friend

No, you’re not going to tie up someone – hopefully, it doesn’t come to that!

Seriously though, duck tape is extremely important when it comes to patching up stuff.

And since backpacking means going off the beaten path sometimes whether for a day’s hike or camping, some of your stuff can get torn or ruined.

This doesn’t mean throwing away your tent when it gets a tiny hole, just ” duck it up” and it will be good as before or at least close.

Honestly, you can literally patch anything with just duck tape. From tents, shoes, pants, plastics to backpacks.

I’ve even heard of some people that use it to cover blister since the normal medical plasters can slide off when you over sweat during a hike.

So you can see how important duck tape is to a backpacker. I actually think having duck tape with you all the time is one of the best backpacking hacks that unfortunately most backpackers ignore.

While at it, I would advise you to buy duck tape of dark colors, like this black one from Amazon. You don’t want to patch a black tent with light pink duck tape.

Related post: What to pack for a hostel

2. Invest in a good backpack

Can you even be a ”good backpacker” with a mediocre or utterly bad backpack? Of course not!

The first thing you should do before embarking on a backpacking trip is to invest in a good backpack. The backpack you buy will influence a lot during your journey.

Now the definition of a ”good backpack” varies from individual to individual. You have to make sure that the one you buy suits your needs.

However, some of the qualities to look out for when buying a backpack include;

  • Size
  • Waterproof capability
  • Full open – Does it have the ability to open like a suitcase.
  • Does it come with a day back or not.

All these are factors to consider when buying one. Even though its hard to find one that has all those qualities, there are some backpacks like this Osprey Atmos AG 65 that checks almost all those functions.

Other backpacks that are not far behind the osprey include this Granite Gear Crown 2 60 Backpack or this TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack.

things to know about backpacking

3. Keep your electronics in your sleeping bag

We all know how cold temperatures easily drain the battery of almost all electronics.

So what backpacking hacks should you use to make sure that it doesn’t happen?

Make sure that your electronics don’t stay out in the cold by taking them in your sleeping bag. This trick might sound weird but works like a gem.

Related post: Best backpacking tips for beginners plus mistakes to avoid

first time hiking

4. Roll your clothes don’t fold them

One of the best ultralight backpacking hacks while traveling is to roll your clothes instead of folding them.

Rolling them creates more space in the backpack and reduces the clustering of folding.

On top of that, rolling doesn’t leave behind those annoying lines that come from folding.

Related posts: Best hiking tips for beginners

5. Use the ”If it can’t fit in, I don’t need it” rule

One of the hacks for backpacking is the ”If it can’t fit in, I don’t need it” rule.

This rule can help you not to pack the heavy, big and unnecessary travel items that you think you might need but actually don’t.

If you’re trying to put something in your backpack and it can’t fit in or it fits but its incredibly heavy, just remove it and move onto the next item.

Or if you badly need it, try looking for a lightweight substitute. If there is no substitute, then I guess you just gonna have to learn to live without it while on your backpacking trip.

tricks to know about backpacking

6. Create your own fire starters

Though its easy to just grab fire starters from a store, sometimes you can just realize that you forgot to buy them just right before you make the fire.

But we can’t also ignore the fact that we as backpackers are trying to save any buck on all occasions so spending more on fire starters might not be something you want to do.

Wait! Don’t panic! There is a DIY way to make firestarters. Just get your cotton balls and dip them in wax (or vaseline).

Wrap them in a plastic bag until the cotton fully absorbs the wax for some time.

And by the time you need to make a fire, they will be at your rescue since the cotton and wax are both highly flammable.

Related post: Important things to do before any trip

7. Use small plastic refillable bottles for liquids

As a backpacker, you’re all about carrying the lightest backpack ever and achieving that doesn’t include carrying around heavy glass perfume bottles – however cute they look.

So the best backpacking hack for this is to use plastic refillable bottles. These can be used especially with perfumes, shampoo or even creams.

You just need to buy a size that can accommodate the volume you will need for the time you’re traveling for.

These transparent plastic refillable bottles can accommodate perfume that can be used for 3-4 weeks.

Even though I’ve given an example of perfume, they can be used for literally anything and for that price, they’re so worth it.

But if you want something smaller and fancy, this one is a great choice.

Related post: Best camping tips for beginners

8. Carry items that can be used for a number of things

The common mistake some backpackers make especially beginner ones is packing a different item for every little thing.

But if you want to advance as an efficient backpacker, then start packing travel items that have a number of uses.

Some of these travel items can include but not limited to a scarf. Other than its real use of more warmth around the neck area, a scarf can act as an extra blanket, especially for those cold nights. You just need to make sure that you buy a big one like this.

These Convertible hiking pants can also work as full pants and shorts. Turn them into shorts when it gets hot and convert them back into long pants when it gets hot.

Also, this bandana can be really helpful – it can work as a sun protector, a water filter or even as a hairband.

tricks to know about backpacking

9. Repackage your food

We all know that packed food is always packaged in big air-filled packaging. Whether it is to give it the illusion of it being big or just the branding, all this is no use for a backpacker.

So what you should do is to get some food zip locks like these ones to keep your food in.

Another backpacking trick is to make a tiny hole in the ziplock bag (if you go the DIY route) to remove the excess air that might make the food bag bigger.

Related post: Best tips for packing light

10. Get comfortable with a ”baby wipes bath”

As a backpacker, I’ve found myself taking a ”baby wipes bath” (yikes! non-backpackers might be thinking, yiiiiikees!!).

But backpackers know that sometimes you can find yourself camping in areas with no water. And you don’t want to waste your little drinking water on a bath.

So the best thing to do is to always have baby wipes with you for those days you can’t take a proper shower. You will get refreshed with wipes I promise!

11. Invest in a travel luggage scale

Another backpacking trick that you’ll find useful is having a maximum weight of the luggage in your mind even before you start packing.

This means that when you realize that the intended weight is more than the actual weight, remove all the unnecessary items from your backpack that you might have packed.

This where this travel luggage scale comes in to make sure that you don’t take more than you can carry especially during a hike.

backpacking tricks

12. Stay away from bright-colored clothes

Honesty backpackers do not have the luxury of changing clothes every other day.

And since bright colors show dirt easily which makes them impossible to be recycled, I recommend you stay away from them.

You can always opt for clothes that are black, brown, dark blue, maroon or any other color that doesn’t show every single dirt that falls on it.

13. Invest in packing cubes

Packing cubes are literally a backpacker’s best friend and a must-have for any kind of traveler.

You don’t have to turn your backpack upside down when looking for that dark blue tank top, all you have to do is buy these packing cubes and allocate tops in one packing cube, bottoms in the other, gadgets in the other and so on.

On top of keeping your backpack organized, they will help you minimize what you pack.

With all these incredible backpacking hacks, I hope that your next backpacking trip will be easier and stress-free.

Do you have more tricks to share with other backpackers? Leave them in the comment section as we all advance in our backpacking journeys.

More tips to help you plan your trip

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