How to pack is personal, and there is no one “right” way.
However, if you want some tips, here is what I’ve found to be helpful:
1. Pack heavier items at the bottom and/or the back (near your back if it is a backpack). If you have clumpy items like cans, put some clothing immediately next to your back for comfort, then the heavier items, then the lighter items farthest from your back. (*be sure if you pack cans, you pack an opener. The army surplus store has tiny ones for little cost.)
2. Pack items that need to be rotated more often near the top. This could include your food, batteries and OTC or RX medication. These are items you want to rotate at least every 6 months. (glasses, water, and in fact everything in the kit should be double checked, rotated and re-packed once a year to be sure the clothes fit, etc.)
3. Pack items you may need immediately near the top: poncho, first aid kit, emergency contact numbers. Sometimes these things might more easily be found in an outside pocket. You might want to laminate your card with emergency contact numbers or keep it in waterproof plastic. Numbers should be updated at least twice a year as well.
4. Batteries: Store these OUTSIDE of your devices and encased in plastic. Old batteries often leak and ruin your equipment.
I’d love to hear your tips and comments about packing. What have you learned in your experience?