Resolved to do anything that sparks enthusiasm in my heart

How to Pack Like a Champion Using Ziplock Bags

Hiking/Flying in Dolly Sods WV, with a bag packed using the Ziplock method

Ziplock bags are absolutely indispensable to my packing for any outdoor excursion. Why? Ziplock bags are water-resistant, lightweight, and see-through. Items are easily compartmentalized and organized. Bag space frees itself after compressing the air out of clothing contained in each Ziplock. Without having to dig through your entire pack you can quickly find the bag holding your desired clothing. On top of it all, Ziplock bags are relatively cheap and disposable. Here is how I organize my packing:

  1. Lay out all items to pack in one location.
  2. Divide toiletries between three bags.  In one bag pack the daily hygiene items that are likely to get wet (toothbrush, soap, shower items). In the other bag pack dry toiletries, such as medicines, which aren’t used as frequently. When you bathe you only need to grab the first bag, which should be packed in an easily accessible location. The second bag stays dry and out of the way. Pack a third bag containing sunscreen and bug spray.
  3. If you have a set or two of ‘city’ clothes, pack those items together in one Ziplock. They are now protected by a moisture and smell barrier from impending nasty hiking clothes.
  4. Pack outfits in day sets (pants, shirt, underwear, socks).
  5. Before sealing or resealing, compress the air out of each bag. Push, squash, flatten bags using your body weight (elbows or knees are helpful) to remove the air and significantly decrease the needed bag real estate.
  6. photo courtesy of

    Pack wallet and cell phone together in one bag.

  7. Pack your camera in a separate bag.
  8. Food gets its own bag. If possible, arranged by meal.
  9. Utensils/cookware are organized in their own bag.
  10. Pack several extra Ziplock bags for dirty clothing or a just-in-case scenario.
  11. Clothing bags are stacked vertically in my pack so that I can quickly see which bag I need from the side access of my Osprey pack.  ‘City’ clothes are on the very bottom of the stack.
  12. Food is packed on the side of my clothing, closest to the side access.
  13. Utensils and cookware are in the compartment on top of the pack.
  14. Toiletries are packed on top of the clothing and food and are accessed from the top of the pack.
  15. Wallet and cell phone go in the zippered compartment on top of the pack, along with the extra Ziplocks. Camera either joins the wallet and cell phone or stays near my pocket.

My gear is now organized, compressed, and relatively protected from rain and streams. Happy trails!

Videos to get your hiking juices flowing:

Do you pack with Ziplock bags? What items are indispensable to your packing? Comment below!


One response

  1. Pingback: I’m leaving on a Jet plane – in the next two hours … | My Life. One Story at a Time.

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