How To Pack A Backpack For 6 Different Occasions

How To Pack A Backpack For 6 Different Occasions

As a kid, your backpack was probably emblazoned with superheroes or cartoon characters and stuffed with TrapperKeepers and meticulously folded notes from your best friend. And you know what? It was pretty great.

If you haven’t had a backpack since grade school, it’s time to reconsider your life choices. Even though you’re older, the right backpack can be the perfect carry-all no matter your destination.

Ready to make a backpack your go-to bag? Here’s how to pack a backpack the right way for six occasions. 

#1 How to Pack a Backpack For Class

Packing your backpack for class isn’t really a one-size-fits-all situation. Your course load, grade level, and personal needs, among other factors, can all affect what you bring along.

That said, there are a few pointers that everyone should keep in mind when using convertible backpacks for school. Here are some tips for how to pack a backpack for class and wear it safely:

  • Pack heavier items toward the back
  • Pack each item so that they don’t slide around
  • Don’t overpack
  • Use both straps 
  • Use rolling bags for heavier items 

Beyond those safety and comfort measures, how to pack a backpack the right way depends upon a number of things. Are you going for the entire day or just for a class or two? Will you be rushing from class to class or will you have some downtime in between? How are you getting to your school or campus? 

How you pack your backpack might change depending on whether you’re driving, walking, riding a bike, or taking public transportation. 

Once you’ve answered those questions, you’ll know which school supplies you need and whether you need to pack snacks, beverages, or other items that aren’t directly related to learning. 

When you’re putting it all together, keep these tips in mind: 

  • Travel light – Whether you’re going to school all day or for a few hours, you don’t need your backpack weighing you down. Prioritize the essentials when packing. For example, only pack the lighter items you need for that day’s classes and limit the number of other items you take with you, like writing instruments, digital devices, and so on.
  • Use space wisely – The first step to optimizing the space in your backpack is choosing one that’s the right size. If you’re in school all day for five days a week and have a lot of textbooks, notebooks, and other supplies, the Rucksack would be perfect for you. You’ll likely need a backpack with a large main compartment, ample sections, pouches, and external pockets. Space savers like pencil cases and small packing cubes can also make a world of difference for your small items.

  • #2 How to Pack a Backpack For Work

    packing laptop for work

    Before you take your backpack with you to work, you need to decide if it’s the most appropriate option. Depending on your job, a backpack could come off as unprofessional or too casual. If so, you might be better suited carrying a briefcase or tote bag, such as our East to West Tote. If you are wondering, “What is a tote bag?”, learn more about how they could best suit you. 

    But if your workplace is backpack-friendly, knowing how to pack a modern backpack, like our fashion-forward Expandable Backpack made from recycled material, can help you perform your best on the job. 

    Most of packing a backpack for work comes down to making sure you have everything you need for your workday. A lot of that will depend on your job.1 For example, if you work outdoors, your modern backpack should contain essentials like a water bottle, your lunch, and perhaps tools or other equipment you need. 

    On the other hand, if you work in an office, your needs are completely different. But generally speaking, a well-packed work backpack will have:

  • Office supplies – Writing instruments, highlighters, notebooks, pencil sharpeners, and staplers are essential workday items.
  • Electronic devices – If your work laptop or tablet goes home with you at the end of the day, it’ll need a dedicated place in your backpack. You’ll also want to bring along any associated cables or chargers.
  • Personal hygiene supplies – Lip balm, hand sanitizer, breath mints, chewing gum, and tissues are just a few of the personal items you should stick in your pack. If you’re low on space, a small toiletry bag or packing cube can keep your hygiene products organized and out of the way.
  • Situational items – How to pack your backpack will change as your life changes, so be sure to account for items you don’t need all the time. These can include things like medications, inhalers, breast pumps, and sanitary items.

  • shop BEIS bags

    #3 How to Pack a Backpack For the Gym

    Duffel bags might be the first style you associate with the gym, but the right backpack can double as a suitable alternative for transporting all your workout gear.2 In fact, they may even be a better solution than duffel bags because they are easy to carry, offer more style options and versatility, and are small enough to fit inside your gym locker. 

    Even better, backpacks come in a variety of styles, and many backpacks are designed with the gym in mind, offering workout-ready features like:

  • Separate compartments – To keep your gym shoes separate from your gym shorts or your sweaty workout clothes, separate them in your main compartment and away from the rest of your workout gear.
  • Accessory nets, clips, and straps – From your water bottle to your Bluetooth speaker to your yoga mat, there’s a lot you need for the gym that simply won’t fit inside your gym bag. Fortunately, many bags have external pockets, making storing things on the outside easy and convenient. 

  • #4 How to Pack a Backpack For Recreation

    If you’re heading out for a day spent biking, cooling off at the beach, or chasing thrills at the amusement park, you might want to bring your backpack along. Our Sling Backpack is perfect for recreational activities such as hiking or snowboarding.

    It’s true that backpacks are a symbol of the school house. But thanks to their versatility, they’re perfect for carrying all the gadgets and supplies you need to enhance your good times. 

    Depending on your specific recreational plans, you might want to bring:

    • Sunblock
    • Water bottle
    • A change of clothes
    • A beach towel
    • Basic first aid kit containing bandaids and antiseptic ointment

    If you’re bringing babies or young children along for the fun, you’ll probably need to make room in your backpack for the things they need, in addition to the things you need. For moms traveling with babies, a diaper bag backpack is a perfect solution. For older children, a backpack with tons of compartments, pockets, and pouches gives you space to carry everything that your little ones can’t.

    #5 How to Pack a Backpack For Travel 

    Certain pieces of luggage are absolutely necessary for travel. Suitcases, garment bags, and toiletry bags certainly top the list. But depending on your travel plans, a backpack might be able to serve all those purposes and more.

    Day-long excursions require a bag that’s big enough to carry your belongings but small enough not to impede your travel, whether that’s hiking, sightseeing, or hopping on a plane. If you’re wondering how to pack a backpack for day trips, you’ll want to pack things like:

    • Spending cash
    • Water bottle
    • Basic first aid kit
    • Snacks like trail mix or energy bars
    • Phone charger and portable charging device

    For longer travels, such as a backpacking trip you will need to bring along heavy gear in a larger hiking pack. Some backpacking gear you will need will include a:   

    • Sleeping bag or sleeping pad 
    • Rain gear
    • Tent body and tent pole
    • First aid kit 
    • Snacks 
    • Water bottle

    If you’re planning to use your backpack as a carry-on bag, make sure that it is within the size limits, especially if you’re taking it on a plane. You should also know what items are and are not allowed, such as aerosol containers or sharp items.

    #6 How to Pack a Child’s Backpack

    packing childs backpack

    Just because they aren’t able to pack their own backpacks, doesn’t mean your little ones don’t need a way to carry their things to and from the house. From school to play dates to sleepovers at grandma’s, a backpack can help cart around your children’s belongings.

    The best tip for how to pack a backpack for children is to only include what is absolutely necessary: Children have a lot of qualities, but keeping track of their personal belongings typically isn’t one of them, especially when a change of location is involved. 

    Experts recommend keeping the weight of your child’s backpack to between 10% and 20% of their body weight to avoid injury, so don’t give them more than they can handle.3

    So, what’s absolutely necessary when it comes to a child’s backpack? Depending on the age of the child and where they’re going, parents can include things like:

    • Change of clothes
    • Overnight clothes
    • School supplies
    • Identifying information
    • House key
    • Water bottle
    • Toothbrush
    • Snacks

    When it comes to children’s backpacks it is also important that you know how to clean a backpack properly in order for it to remain safe and sanitary for your child.

    Find Your New Favorite Bag at BÉIS

    Stylish, practical, and available in a variety of designs and sizes, backpacks are still a top way to carry your belongings to work, school, or anywhere else your life takes you.

    From classic styles to enhanced versions that fit your most important needs, like diaper bag backpacks, pumping backpacks, and hanging backpacks, BÉIS has the stylish options you crave. 

    Shop our Fall Recycle Collection today to find a sustainable backpack perfect for your needs.


    1. Wojtowicz, Hilarey. "15 must-haves to keep in your work bag at all times." The Ladders. 4 May, 2019. 
    2. Kollat, Matt. "Which is the best type of gym bag: duffels or backpacks?" T3 
    3. "How heavy is too heavy for children's backpack." Sutter Health.