5 Packing Tips for Hiking

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

Packing efficiently for your hike is essential, as no matter how fit you are, that pack that felt so light when you packed it at home will start to feel heavier and heavier as the day goes on. Read on for our top tips to pack efficiently for hiking.

The right pack

Choose the right size pack – even not filling a larger pack will be heavier than completely filling a medium sized one due to the weight of the bag itself. You also want to make sure it’s sturdy and comfortable to carry. Even on a day hike, you will likely be on the move for several hours. There are a great range of backpacks at The Adventure and Outdoor Store, ranging in size from 8-30 litres.

Think about accessibility

Pack with the things you might need soonest on the top or in an easily accessible pocket (while still thinking about weight distribution!). It’s no use having your water bottle buried at the bottom of the bag. A first aid kit is well placed in a side pocket so it can be accessed in an emergency.

Weight distribution

Put your lightest items such as sleeping bag or rain gear into the bag first and heaviest items in the middle/middle top so you can centre them for even weight distribution. If all the heavy things end up on the bottom or one side of the bag you will end up with sore shoulders and a bad back! If you have a sleeping mat, fold this up so it’s along the back part of your bag that will be nearest your back for extra back cushioning.

Make sure you have enough room for the essentials

Sure, it might be nice to bring that comfy blanket to sit on while you have your lunch, or that video camera to capture the view at the top of the mountain, but if you have to sacrifice bringing your lunch, or a first aid kit, is it really worth it? Make a list of the absolute essentials, and only after you have that sorted, should you consider what else you might have space for.


Bring light, energy dense foods. Consider a space saving freeze-dried camping meal or our self-heating meals, which means you don’t need to cart about a stove or other cookware. Simply use the water in the pouch provided to activate the unique heater and you can have a hot meal anywhere you travel to. Each pack also includes a food tray, knife fork and spoon, salt and pepper and a napkin. Bring other small snacks in sealable bags rather than containers to save space. Don’t bring tins! They are heavy and you can get a better weight to nutrients ratio from other items.

Hopefully these tips will give you a few things to think about, and make your next day out or camping trip a little easier. Happy hiking!


This question was asked by
James G

Does the temperature of the region affect the speed with which the hot pack meal heats up?

HI James
It can make a difference, but it is the actual temperature of the meal that makes the most difference, for example in a cold climate, if the meal is extremely cold or frozen it will take longer to reheat.. If you have packed it or stored it a higher temperature it will take less time.

In warmer climates, the meal is already warmer and will then not take any longer.

It is best not to store at very high temperatures as this may effect the best before date.


Hot Pack Meals

This question was asked by
Will A

What is the difference between your hot pack self heating meals and your adventure packs?

There are 2 types of Hot Pack meals.

A Hot Meal in a box, comes in a box, it includes a meal, the flame-less heater, water activation sachet, cutlery, salt and pepper, tissue and a tray to put the hot food in. They are used in many situations for example I have some in my car as I travel quite a bit, on more than one occasion I have been stuck on the motorway for a lengthy period, I get my Hot Pack box out and have a hot meal.

An Action pack is a little different, often used by campers, backpackers or those traveling lighter.
It is packed in a sealed bag, and it contains the meal, flame-less heater, water activation sachet and a long handled plastic Spork that can be reused and is recyclable.


Vegan Meals

This question was asked by
Anna B

Do you have any vegan hot pack meals?

HI Anna

Thanks for getting in touch we do have a very nice MRE ready to eat Vegetable curry that is also a Vegan meal.


Hot Packs

This question was asked by
Joe A

Are these hot packs suitable for use with any kind of meal?

The flame-less heaters are designed for use with MRE ready to eat meals.

However successful experiments shows you can heat the contents of tins
in flame-less heater pouch. But you will need to move the tin around inside the heater, but be aware the activation water in the heater gets hot, so care must be taken when handling the hot water.

You can also add cold water to a freeze dried meal, and heat the meal, but is is very important that you do not allow the water from the heating pouch to be mixed with the food


Heating Meals

This question was asked by
Adam W

Do these hot pack meals need to be placed on a level surface while heating or can they heat while you are on the go?


Ideally a surface that is as level as possible is best, but it does not need to be perfectly flat, while it is re heating the meal, you need the water to be
around the whole meal for best results.


Expedition Food

This question was asked by
Karen L

Are your self heating meals suitable to be used as expedition food?

They are frequently used for Expeditions, they are also very popular with young people taking part in award schemes.

They are heavier than Freeze dried meals, but unlike Freeze dried meals they already have the water included in the meal.

Add to that a flame-less heater with a weight of 25g, there is n need to carrier a cooker.



This question was asked by
Emily G

What is the best way to store these mre packs when not in use?

The best way to store them is in a dry location, and not expose them to extreme temperatures.
The meal pouch is quite strong, but make sure there is no damage to the pouch, if there is hole or air can get inside, its shelf life will decrease very quickly,

Extreme temperatures can effect the best before date.



This question was asked by
Lloyd D

Do I need to bring my own utensils when packing for our camping trip or are they provided in the food pouches?


In each Action Pack you get:
The meal of your choice
A flame-less heater
Water activation sachet
A long Handled plastic Spork
( the Spork can be reused many times and is recyclable )

For eating Hot Pack meals it is not necessary to bring any other cutlery