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How To Pack Hiking Boots In Backpack? | 4 Simple Ways

If you are a travel nomad, the mere thought of packing for a trip can fill you with excitement. However, that excitement may fade when you start packing your backpack and discover that you will have to leave some essentials because they just won’t fit.

Some hiking boots are really bulky and can take a quarter or more of the spaces available in your backpack. Figuring how to pack them so that you still have space for other essentials can be a serious nut to crack.

Perhaps, you are going on a long trip and don’t want to wear the hiking boots all the way so you decided to wear your regular boots and pack your hiking boots and change up quickly when you get to your hiking trail.

If an extra pair of boots happen to be one of the supplies that you want to put in your backpack, we will tell you a few tricks on how to pack them without eating up the space in your backpack.

How to pack hiking boots in a backpack?

pack hiking boots in backpack

Whether you are packing for mountaineering or a nature walk through the forest, the first puzzle that you will need to solve is deciding on the backpack that you will use. It will be out of place to bring a big backpack to a day’s hike—that will be carrying an unnecessary load.

Likewise, when going on a weeklong hike it will be illogical to bring a school backpack. Before choosing your backpack, identify possible areas where you can attach your hiking boots paying attention to possible areas where laces can securely pass through.

In most simple backpacks, the main place where you can attach the hiking boot is at the base of the shoulder strap. This may not be possible in more sophisticated backpacks but they will usually provide more options.

The higher the possibility of attaching your hiking boots on the outside of the backpack, the more space you will have inside the backpack for other essentials.

Before proceeding to the methods that we will highlight below, it is important to ensure that the boots are properly laced which will make it easier to attach them to the backpack.

1. Put the boots inside the backpack

hiking boots, watch, camera, map, notebook, compass, backpack for hiking trip

This is probably the first idea that came to your mind when you thought about a way to carry your hiking boots.

There is nothing wrong with throwing your hiking boots into your backpack if it is big enough. However, there are a few things that you need to do to effectively pull this off.

  • Firstly, you will need to carry a hard brush with you so that you can brush off dirt and debris from the boots after using it
  • After brushing the hiking boots clean, put them into nylon boot covers
  • Place the covered hiking boots at the bottom of your backpack and put other essentials at the top


  • You are certain that the boots are safe in unexpected situations
  • Limits space in a backpack which forces you to carry only what is important


  • You may struggle with space when you really have lots of important things to carry
  • To get the boots out, you may have to pour out all the contents of your backpack
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2. Tie the hiking boots to the shoulder strap

This technique comes in handy for hikers that have lots of essentials to carry and wouldn’t want the bulk of the hiking boots occupying the space in their backpack. Little wonder it is one of the most popular techniques among hikers when it comes to packing boots in a backpack.

There are three variations to this and it is basically a matter of preference. Nevertheless, we will discuss all the techniques below.

Method 1: Using one backpack shoulder strap

tying a pair of hiking boots to one shoulder strap of backpack

  • The first step to tying your hiking boots to the shoulder strap of your backpack is to make sure that the boots are properly laced
  • Place both boots side-by-side in a heel-to-toe manner. That is, the heel of one foot should align with the toe of the other
  • Take all the boot laces (four of them) in one hand and pass them through the base of the backpack shoulder strap
  • Pull up the laces enough such that you will have enough lace between the aglets and the backpack strap
  • Loop the lace around the shoulder strap
  • Then, pass the tip of the laces through the loop to form a knot
  • Pull the tip of the laces and the base simultaneously to tighten the knot

If you are in doubt of the strength of your knot, you can create a second knot by looping the lace over itself. The second knot will reinforce the first making it harder to come loose

Method 2: Using both backpack shoulder straps

tying hiking boots to two shoulder straps of backpack

A lot of hikers prefer to knot the left boot to the left shoulder strap and the right boot to the right shoulder strap just to even out the weight of the boots on the backpack. This is important for maintaining balance while on a hike.

The knotting process is similar to method one above. The only difference is that you don’t have to bother about aligning your boots in a heel-to-toe manner because each boot will be going to a different shoulder strap.

Method 3: Knotting the laces of both boots together

knotting the laces of hiking boots together and place through shoulder trap

In the other two techniques above, you will have to create a knot between the hiking boots and the backpack shoulder strap. However, due to the difference in material and shape of the boot laces and backpack shoulder strap, forming a strong knot can be difficult.

A better alternative would be to knot the laces together. Since all the laces are uniform in everything you will get a stronger knot.

Take both laces of the right and left boot and knot them together at the tip.

Hold up your backpack and place one of the boots through the shoulder strap such that one of the boots will be on one side of the shoulder strap and the other boot will be on the other side of the shoulder strap.

If your knots are strong enough, the boots will only dangle. Occasionally, they may tilt to one side and you have to simply adjust them to be of equal length.

The most important advantage of this method over the other two is that you can hardly lose your boots because there will be little or no space between your back and the back strap for either of the boots to pass.


  • Leaves room inside the backpack for you to carry other essentials
  • Securing the boots to the shoulder straps is easy
  • You can easily reach the boots when you need them without unpacking your backpack


  • Your boots will get wet if it rains
  • The dangling of the boots can be discomforting
  • Laces can easily get tangled with creeping stems or twigs
  • When not properly done the knots can come undone and you will end up losing a boot without knowing

3. Tie the boots to the backpack handle

tying hiking boots to backpack handle

For many people, tying the boots to the handle of the backpack may be more convenient than tying them to the shoulder strap.

  • Align the boots with the handle of the backpack in a toe to heel arrangement
  • Pick the left laces of both boots and pass them through the backpack handle
  • Then, hold all four laces together and wrap them around the handle to create a loop
  • Pass the laces through the loop to create a knot
  • Pull both ends of the lace to secure the knot
  • The boots should rest close to the middle of the backpack when you are done.


  • Eliminates the discomfort of both swaying and hitting you
  • Creates room within the backpack for other essentials
  • You can reach the boots at any time


  • Your boots will get wet if it suddenly rains
  • Boots may bang on your backpack if you attempt to run or quicken your strides

4. Use an adjustable utility pouch

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The fourth option would be to get an adjustable utility pouch and hook it to your backpack using a carabiner. Most of these Mollies are specially designed for tactical reasons but you can still get those with spaces large enough to hold your hiking boots.

  • The first step is choosing a suitable utility pouch that is large enough to hold your hiking boots. Most backpacks and Molles come with D-rings or loops
  • Brush off any dirt or debris from your boots and cover the soles with a boot cover
  • Place the covered boots in the utility pouch and close the pouch
  • Use a carabiner to hook the utility pouch to your backpack
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Pros of using a utility pouch

  • The pouch should keep your boots safe if it suddenly starts to rain
  • You have ample space in your backpack for other utilities

Cons of using a utility pouch

  • Finding one that may be large enough for your boots may be difficult
  • May strain your already tight budget


Some hiking boots are heavy which explains why some hikers may want to start with light trail runners until they get to an area on the trail where they will need extra protection for their boots. This is the reason why most hikers may want to carry a hiking boot with them.

If you are going to knot the boots outside the backpack, make sure that the knotting is highly secure. You can test the strength of your knot by thumping the hiking boots on the ground around thirty to fifty times to replicate the vibration that will happen to them when you are hiking on the trail.

Check if the knots are still tight or have become a little bit undone afterward. Unless you are tossing your boots into the backpack or anchoring to a utility pouch, you may need to spend some time learning how to properly make a knot to avoid losing one or both boots on the trail.

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