Packing your backpack

Packing your backpack

How do I pack my backpack correctly?

The most important thing when packing your backpack is not to take anything you don’t need.

 

But of course, some things are essential. And so, the following advice page has some helpful tips on how to streamline your packing system, with all your gear packed in the right position.

 

Have fun packing, and have even more fun getting out there!

Packing right is all about distributing the load evenly

The heaviest part of the load should be close to the body and ideally at shoulder height. That way, the load’s center of gravity and your own center of gravity will be aligned, and the pack will not pull you backwards. Larger backpacks should be packed as follows:

  • Sleeping bag, down clothing and other light objects in the bottom compartment.
  • Moderately heavy items like clothing can go in the main compartment, towards the outside.
  • Heavier gear — tent, food, thick insulation layers — can go in the main compartment, at shoulder height, and as close to your back as possible.
  • Small items can be safely stored in the lid compartment, so they are easy to access.
  • Try to keep everything compact and have little or no equipment attached to the outside of the pack in order to minimize the effect of strong winds, prevent items getting wet or your pack snagging.
  • In general, try to distribute the load evenly across both sides of the pack, especially where side pockets are concerned.
  • Using stuff sacks inside the pack is a good way of organizing your gear (but make sure they are not overfilled). Waterproof ones (dry bags) are a great alternative to a rain cover (on the outside of the backpack).

To consider when packing your backpack

When packing your backpack, it’s not just the size of your backpack that dictates how you should pack, but also the route or kind of hike/ trek that you’re going to undertake. So here are a few tips:

 

Gewichtsverteilung beim Rucksack packen

We can carry a maximum of 20-25 % of our own bodyweight. The German Armed Forces expects this to be 33 % but their backpacking drills are renowned for being extremely tough. Use the following tips to help you pack for specific tours or routes:

 

Falsch gepackter Rucksack mit tiefem Schwerpunkt

Avoid letting the heaviest part of the load shift downwards while you pack. Otherwise you’ll be pulled backwards, because your pack’s center of gravity is too far from your own. With heavier loads this will soon make it hard to walk, as your body constantly has to work against the weight of the pack. It also results in greater than normal strain on the shoulders. And over tricky terrain, an incorrectly packed backpack can even pose a safety risk.

Schweres Gepäck bei flachen Wanderwegen im Rucksack höher packen

Moving over easier ground like beginners’ hiking paths or more level trails, you should make sure the heaviest part of the load is packed higher up. Otherwise you’ll be pulled backwards, because your pack’s center of gravity is too far from your own. With heavier loads this will soon make it hard to walk, as your body constantly has to work against the weight of the pack. It also results in greater than normal strain on the shoulders. And over tricky terrain, an incorrectly packed backpack can even pose a safety risk.

Rucksack packen in schwierigem Gelände

Over more challenging terrain, like on high-alpine tours, or when climbing, it’s best to pack the heavier part of the load lower down. This will make you bend forwards somewhat when walking, to counter the weight, but it also makes it harder for you to lose your balance than it would with it higher up. Consider using folding / telescopic trekking poles too.

HOW TO PACK YOUR BACKPACK FOR AN ALPINE TRAVERSE

WHAT SHOULD I TAKE?

WHAT SHOULD I TAKE?

Crossing the Alps on foot is a dream for many hiking enthusiasts. So what should you have on your packing list for an Alpine traverse? What should you take? Experienced mountain guide Hans Herbig runs through all the essentials you’ll need to pack:

  Sturdy hiking footwear & technical layers

 Sleeping bag & rain cover for your backpack

  Sufficient food & in particular plenty of water

  Toiletry essentials & mountain first aid kit

PACKING LISTS

Our experts explain how to pack your backpack correctly

Whatever you’re going to undertake, never pack more than you need — but always pack what’s necessary.

We’ve teamed up with members of the German Association of Mountain and Ski Guides, from OASE Alpin Center and from the youth section of the German Alpine Association to compile some tips and packing lists for you. Please note that all weights are estimated and can vary. As a general rule: The more high quality the equipment, the lighter the overall weight of your backpack. Here are a few packing lists for you to base yours on:

 
Watch the video and check out the list below. You can download a PDF of the list: 
 

 
 
Item
Weight
 What to wear  
Technical baselayers and socks
-
Technical jacket -
Ski touring pants -
Ski touring boots -
Touring / backcountry skis -
Telescopic poles with powder baskets -
Avalanche beacon -
Hat -
Thin gloves/ liner gloves -
Backpack, approx. 26-34 L 1,460 g
 Essential  
Change of shirt (short-sleeve/long-sleeve) 150 g
Waterproof, windproof jacket 400 g
Warm down jacket 500 g
Warm gloves / mitts 150 g
Probe 200 g
Shovel 440 g
Bivy bag 270 g
First aid kit and personal medication 280 g
Insulated vacuum bottle filled with tea 800 g
Sandwiches 300 g
Ski crampons 100 g
Skins 300 g
Ski helmet 500 g
Goggles 120 g
Sunscreen SPF 50 and lip balm 30 g
Sunglasses 30 g
ID, cash, cards, plastic bag 60 g
Cell phone with emergency numbers and altimeter 140 g
Pocket flashlight/ headlamp 70 g
 Recommended  
Nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars 150 g
Tissues 10 g
Pen knife 60 g
 Without a mountain guide  
Maps 80 g
Ski tour guidebook 100 g
GPS 220 g
 Optional  
Hydration bladder, Thermo Bag, Tube Insulator, 1 liter water -
Camera -
Repair kit: Cable ties, wire, skin adhesive, wax -
Mountain loyalty cards -
Power bank -
Pullover / fleece -
 TOTAL WEIGHT (guideline) 6,920 g

The information provided is only meant as a recommendation. We do not assume any liability for its completeness or accuracy. deuter Sport GmbH in partnership with the German Association of Mountain and Ski Guides

Was this list useful? Then feel free to download it in PDF format:

Ski touring - download one-day ski tour packing list as PDF
Check out the list below. You can download a PDF of the list: 
 
Item
Weight
What to wear  
Ankle-high hiking boots with good grip
-
Technical hiking pants -
Technical shirt -
Technical jacket or vest -
Backpack 1,550 g
 Essential  
Spare s/s shirt 150 g
Waterproof, windproof jacket 900 g
Waterproof, windproof overtrousers 300 g
Hat or headband 60 g
Cap or Buff 70 g
Thin gloves 70 g
Sunscreen SPF 30 with lip balm 60 g
Sunglasses 30 g
Water bottle or bladder with min. 1 liter fluids (depending on the hike) 1,190 g
Electrolyte / magnesium tablets 150 g
First aid kit (S or M) with blister bandages and personal medication 150 g
ID, cash, cards, plastic bag 40 g
Pocket flashlight/ headlamp ideally 80 g
Cell phone with emergency numbers 130 g
 Recommended  
Nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars 200 g
Functional shorts 220 g
Pen knife 60 g
Telescopic poles 460 g
 Without a mountain guide  
Maps 80 g
Hiking guidebook, route descriptions 210 g
Compass 80 g
or GPS 220 g
 Optional  
Snacks/ sandwiches -
Pullover / fleece -
Camera and camera case -
 TOTAL WEIGHT (guideline value)
6,480 g

The information provided is only meant as a recommendation. We do not assume any liability for its completeness or accuracy. deuter Sport GmbH in partnership with the German Association of Mountain and Ski Guides

Was this list useful? Then feel free to download it in PDF format:

Hiking - download day-hike packing list as PDF
Check out the list below. You can download a PDF of the list: 
 

 

Pocket flashlight/ headlamp ideally

Item Weight
What to wear  
Ankle-high hiking boots with good grip -
Technical hiking pants -
Technical shirt -
Technical jacket or vest -
Backpack 1,700 g
 Essential  
Change of s/s shirt 150
g
Change of l/s shirt 200 g
1-2 pairs of short or long underwear 100 g
Hiking socks 60 g
Waterproof, windproof jacket 900 g
Waterproof, windproof overtrousers 300 g
Hat or headband 60 g
Cap or Buff 70 g
Thin gloves 70 g
Technical hiking shorts 220 g
Sunscreen SPF 30 with lip balm 60 g
Sunglasses, ideally self-tinting 30 g
Water bottle or bladder with min. 1 liter fluids (depending on hike) 1,200 g Electrolyte / magnesium tablets or tubes 150 g
First aid kit (S or M) with blister bandages and personal medication and space blanket 320 g
ID, cash, cards, plastic bag 40 g
Hut sleeping bag 250 g
Toiletries (shower gel, toothbrush/paste, small travel towel, tissues, earplugs) 280 g
 
80 g
Cell phone with emergency numbers 130 g
 Recommended  
Lightweight pants 200 g
Pen knife 60 g
Telescopic poles 460 g
T-shirt for up at the hut (cotton) 150 g
Hut footwear 180 g
Plastic bag (for footwear and dirty clothes etc.) 20 g
  Without a mountain guide  
Maps 80 g
Hiking guidebook, route descriptions 210 g
Compass 80 g
GPS 220 g
Bivy bag 280 g
 TOTAL WEIGHT (guideline) 8,500 g

 

The information provided is only meant as a recommendation. We do not assume any liability for its completeness or accuracy. deuter Sport GmbH in partnership with the German Association of Mountain and Ski Guides

Was this list useful? Then feel free to download it in PDF format:

Hiking - download multi-day hike packing list as PDF
Check out the list below. You can download a PDF of the list: 
 

 
 
Item Weight
 What to wear  
Long-sleeve jersey / sleeves  
Biking pants / leggings / shorts  
Windstopper jacket/ vest  
Gloves  
Helmet  
Biking shoes  
Socks  
Sunglasses, ideally self-tinting  
Backpack 1,150 g
 Essential  
Spare long-sleeve jersey / sleeves 70 g
Spare pants / leggings/ shorts 80 g
Windstopper jacket / vest 150 g
Hardshell rain jacket 250 g
Rain pants 200 g
Hat / Buff / headband 50 g
Full finger cycling gloves 60 g
Sunscreen 60 g
Hydration bladder and min. 1 liter fluids (depending on the tour) 1,150 g
Electrolyte / magnesium tablets or tubes 150 g
Energy: Power gels, muesli, dried fruit, nuts, bars etc. 150 g
First aid kit M (with space blanket) 290 g
Personal medication 100 g
Pain killers 20 g
Multi-tool 260 g
Bike tools:  
- Spare inner tube 220 g
- Pump 200 g
- Puncture repair kit 120 g
- Brake pads 60 g
- Spare screws 80 g
- Cable ties 10 g
- Clamp (for temporary repair of shifter cables) 20 g
Tools, if not already part of the multi-tool:  
- Tire lever 100 g
- Chain joint 10 g
- Spoke wrench 30 g
ID, cash, cards, plastic bag 40 g
Toiletries (shower gel, toothbrush / paste, small travel towel. tissues, earplugs) 320 g
Hut sleeping bag if required 250 g
 Recommended  
Underwear 50 g
Undershirt 100 g
Spare socks / shoelaces 100 g
Lightweight pants 300 g
Hut shoes / slippers 180 g
T-shirt 120 g
Soap 70 g
Lube, adhesive tape 100 g
Pen/pencil 15 g
Lights 20 g
 Without a bike guide  
Bike maps / guidebook 150 g
Compass 80 g
GPS 220 g
Headlamp 150 g
Suspension pump 400 g
Cell phone with emergency numbers 115 g
Bivy bag 280 g
 Top tip  
Chamois cream  
 Optional  
Sandwiches if no food provision / hut on the way  
Pullover / fleece  
Camera and camera bag  
Spare batteries (for lights, camera etc.)  
 TOTAL WEIGHT (guideline) 8,020 g
Biking - download multi-day bike tour packing list as PDF
Check out the list below. You can download a PDF of the list: 
 

 
 
Item Weight
What to wear  
Technical hiking pants  
Technical shirt  
Technical jacket or vest  
Ankle-high hiking boots with good soles  
Backpack 1,320 g
 Essential  
Climbing harness 230 g
Via ferrata set 520 g
Via ferrata gloves 120 g
Locking carabiner 95 g
Climbing helmet 320 g
Spare s/s shirt 150 g
Waterproof, windproof jacket 900 g
Waterproof, windproof pants 300 g
Hat or headband 60 g
Sunscreen SPF 30 with lip balm 60 g
First aid kit M 280 g
Blister bandages 20 g
Pain killers 20 g
Water bottle or bladder and min. 1 liter fluids (depending on route) 1,190 g
Electrolyte / magnesium tablets 10 g
Nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars etc. 150 g
ID, cash, cards, plastic bag 40 g
Headlamp 80 g
Cell phone with emergency numbers 130 g
 Recommended  
Sunglasses 30 g
Functional shorts 220 g
Slings 40 g
Rock shoes (if the route requires it) 530 g
Multi-tool 150 g
 Without a mountain guide  
Route description / topo, poss. copied out of book 80 g
Compass 80 g
GPS 220 g
Short static rope 1,000 g
Bivy bag 280 g
 Top tip  
Folding trekking poles  
 Optional  
Sandwiches in case there’s no provision/ hut on the way  
Pullover / fleece  
Camera and camera bag  
 TOTAL WEIGHT (guideline) 8,625 g
Via ferrata - download via ferrata day-hike packing list as PDF
Check out the list below. You can download a PDF of the list: 
 
Item Weight
What to wear  
Ankle-high hiking boots with good grip, ideally crampon compatible  
Technical hiking pants  
Technical shirt  
Technical jacket or vest  
Backpack 1,800 g
 Essential  
Change of s/s shirt 150 g
Change of l/s shirt 200 g
1-2 pairs underpants (short / long) 100 g
Mountain / hiking socks 60 g
Waterproof, windproof jacket 900 g
Waterproof, windproof pants 300 g
Hat and / or headband 60 g
Thin gloves 70 g
Thick gloves / mitts 280 g
Functional shorts 200 g
Cap or Buff 70 g
Sunscreen SPF 50 with lip balm 60 g
Sunglasses/ goggles, ideally self-tinting 30 g
Water bottle or bladder with min. 1 liter fluids (depending on route) 1,200 g
Electrolyte / magnesium tablets (or tubes) 150 g
Muesli, dried fruit, nuts, bars etc. 200 g
First aid kit M (incl. space blanket) 280 g
Blister bandages 20 g
Pain killers 20 g
Telescopic trekking poles 460 g
Hardware:  
- Harness 230 g
- Locking carabiners, x2 190 g
- Prussic loops: 4m x Ø 6mm, x2 100 g
- Slings 40 g
- Ice axe 630 g
- Crampons 1,000 g
- Climbing harness 320 g
ID, cash, cards, plastic bag 40 g
Hut sleeping bag 250 g
Toiletries (shower gel, toothbrush / paste, small travel towel, tissues, earplugs) 280 g
Headlamp 80 g
Cell phone with emergency numbers 130 g
 Recommended  
Insulated vacuum bottle 560 g
Pocket flashlight 50 g
Multi-tool 150 g
T-Shirt for at the hut (cotton) 150 g
Lightweight pants 200 g
Gaiters 120 g
Plastic bag or Dirtbag (for trail trash, your own trash and wet clothes) 20 g
 Without a mountain guide  
Maps 80 g
Guidebook, route description 210 g
Compass 80 g
GPS 220 g
Bivy bag 280 g
Hardware:  
- Rope: 35 m / 50 m depending on route 2,700 g
- 2 ice screws 340 g
- Depending on route: Nuts + Friends 700 g
 Optional  
Sandwiches, if there is no provision / hut  
Pullover / fleece  
Camera and camera bag  
Batteries and spares (headlamp, camera, GPS etc.)  
 TOTAL WEIGHT (guideline) 15,750 g

 

A

Download high-alpine, multi-day tour packing list as PDF
Watch the video and check out the list below. You can download a PDF of the list: 
 

 
Item Weight
What to wear  
Ski / snowshoeing equipment  
Technical ski touring pants  
Technical shirt  
Technical jacket or vest  
Hat  
Thin gloves  
Avalanche beacon, always check battery status before heading out!  
Backpack 1,290 g
 Essential  
Probe 300 g
Shovel 750 g
Ski crampons (ski tour) 190 g
Spare l/s shirt 200 g
Thick gloves / mitts (spares) 280 g
Waterproof, windproof jacket 450 g
Waterproof, windproof overtrousers 300 g
Sunscreen SPF 30 with lip balm 60 g
Sunglasses / goggles - ideally self-tinting 30 g
Water bottle or bladder and min.1 liter fluids (depending on tour) 1,200 g
Electrolyte / magnesium tablets 10 g
First aid kit S incl. space blanket 190 g
Blister bandages 20 g
Pain killers 20 g
ID, cash, cards, plastic bag 40 g
Headlamp 80 g
Cell phone with emergency numbers 130 g
 Recommended  
Nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars etc. 200 g
Goggles 140 g
Gaiters (snowshoeing) 120 g
Ski wax (ski tour) 20 g
Repair kit (screwdriver, cable ties, tape etc.) 180 g
Stuff sack 50 g
 Without a mountain guide  
Maps 80 g
Guidebook 210 g
Altimeter 60 g
Compass 80 g
GPS 220 g
 Top tip  
Multi-tool  
 Optional  
Sandwiches, if no provision/ hut along the way  
Pullover / fleece  
Ski base/ skins cleaner  
Camera and camera bag  
Change of hat  
 TOTAL WEIGHT (guideline) 7,360 g

 

Download snowshoe / ski tour - single day tour packing list as PDF
Check out the list below. You can download a PDF of the list: 
 
Item Weight
What to wear  
Ski / snowshoeing equipment  
Technical ski touring pants  
Technical shirt  
Technical jacket or vest  
Hat  
Thin gloves  
Avalanche beacon, always check battery status before heading out!  
Backpack 1,880 g
 Essential  
Probe 300 g
Shovel 750 g
Ski crampons 190 g
Spare l/s shirt 200 g
Long thermal underwear 160 g
Change of ski socks 80 g
Waterproof, windproof jacket 900 g
Waterproof, windproof overtrousers 300 g
Thick gloves / mitts (spares) 280 g
Hat or headband 60 g
Cap or Buff 70 g
Sunscreen SPF 50 with lip balm 60 g
Sunglasses / goggles - ideally self-tinting 30 g
Water bottle or bladder 190 g
Insulated vacuum bottle 560 g
Min. 1 liter fluids (depending on tour) 1,000 g
Electrolyte / magnesium tablets or tubes 150g
Nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars etc. 200 g
First aid kit M 280 g
Blister bandages 20 g
Pain killers 20 g
ID, cash, cards, plastic bag 280 g
Hut sleeping bag 250 g
Toiletries (shower gel, toothbrush/ paste, small travel towel, tissues, earplugs) 280 g
Headlamp 80 g
Cell phone with emergency numbers 130 g
 Recommended  
Goggles 140 g
Multi-tool 150 g
Repair kit (screwdriver, cable ties, tape etc.) 180 g
Stuff sack 50 g
Sandwiches 130 g
  Without a mountain guide  
Snowcard / loyalty ski pass 50 g  
Maps 80 g
Guidebook 210 g
Altimeter 60 g
Compass 80 g
GPS 220 g
Bivy bag 280 g
 Top tip  
Chamois cream  
 Optional  
Sandwiches  
Pullover / fleece  
Wax (ski tour)  
Gaiters (snowshoeing)  
Camera and camera case  
Spare batteries  
 Additional gear for glacier traverses without a mountain guide  
Rope: 35 m / 50 m depending on route 2,700 g
Climbing harness 230 g
Locking carabiners, x2 190 g
Prussic loops: 4m x Ø 6mm, x2 100 g
Slings 40 g
2 ice screws 320 g
Ice axe 630 g
Crampons 1,000 g
Depending on route: Nuts + Friends 500 g
 TOTAL WEIGHT (guideline) 16,200 g

 

 

Download snowshoe / ski tour - multi-day tour packing list as PDF

All packed and ready? Got everything you need?

Whether it’s a multi-day or single-day hike, ski tour or high-alpine route – with our packing list suggestions and the right backpack you’ll be all set to go. Throw in one of our cozy sleeping bags and a practical hydration bladder and nothing can stand in the way of your outdoor enjoyment.