The art of packing for a night, weekend or week-long backpacking trip is one of the most important skills in a backpacker’s arsenal. Luckily our editors and gear testers have spent hundreds of nights under the stars—and have made hundreds of packing mistakes—to bring you the best advice for loading your backpack with the essentials…and occasionally a few non-essentials.

How Beginners Can Cut Pack Weight, Not Comfort

The best way to ruin your first backpacking trip? A pack that’s too heavy. Lighten your load with these tips.