Our favourite backpack packing tips
Packing your backpack can be a real struggle. And helpful tips to make this easier can be found everywhere. Although most of them only apply for short trips plus are sometimes expensive. Therefore we share our top 8 packing tips in this blog. Whether you are planning to travel for weeks, months or even years.
#1 Pantyhoses around clothing rolls
You’ve probably heard of the packing tip to roll up clothes. Like sushi (I’ll have the California clothing roll). This saves lots of space in the backpack. To save up even more you can wrap pantyhoses around the clothes rolls. Pantyhoses, say what? Yes you read that right! This way the clothes kind of stick together and are much easier to put in your backpack. In our opinion, more effective than the packing cubes we often heard about. And budget friendly!
#2 Tactical rolls on tactical spots
When creating clothing rolls, it is good to think of which item to put in which roll. Clothes that we wear the most often end up in the same rolls. However take the size of every piece into account. Let’s say it is definitely not a good idea to put all winter clothing into the same roll. Next, we make sure our ‘wear a lot rolls’ are on top, so we can easily get to them. Puzzle away!
#3 Spread the weight throughout the backpack
We used to put all the heavy stuff at the bottom of our backpacks. Since Lowe Alpine made a special compartment for things like shoes. Nevertheless, it is highly recommendable to evenly spread these items in the middle and back side of your bag (never the front to prevent shoulder injuries). Balancing the weight like this is way better for your body!
It can happen to anybody: a backpack turns out to be delayed or lost/stolen on arrival. In order to minimize the inconvenience (or if you’re unlucky loss), try mixed packing. Meaning you put half of your stuff in your travel companion’s backpack. And vice versa. Only applicable if you are not traveling alone of course. By doing this you will at least never lose all of your belongings!
#5 Limit the stuff in the backpack
Maybe the most difficult packing tip of all. We all tend to take too much stuff with us. What if I need this dress for that one special occasion?(Anita, raise hands) Or those shoes? As it turns out, you almost always dragged them around for nothing. What a waste! So before departure we put all our stuff on the bed and review every item critically.
It doesn’t really matter if you plan to travel for two weeks or two years. Washing clothes more often is not a big deal at all. And if you add some neutrals you can easily mix and match. Because of this mentality we can travel with hand luggage only. To us the best decision ever. No backpains plus no extra airline fees!
#6 Also buy on location
We haven’t seen a country yet where you couldn’t buy clothes (that includes Lesotho). In other words, if you really feel like you forgot something: buy on location. For this reason we only pack stuff for the first weeks. And of course personal items which cannot easily be bought while traveling, like overnight contact lenses and thermo clothing. This means no bulks of tooth paste, soap and underwear. Nothing wrong with buying new things on the way every now and then. Moreover, giving away something can also result in great moments and happy faces!
#7 Accessoires and layers
Leave your winter coat at home. Even when the destination it somewhat cold (okay Canada might be a different story). Layers are your best friend! Easy to adjust, mostly lightweight and perfect for every unpredictable weather condition. Admitted, outdoor clothing doesn’t always look fashionable, but that’s why there are accessoires right? (I’m talking to you ladies). A scarf works both ways for example. And why not fit in a tiny belt and necklace while you’re at it. Don’t pack all of it though, see tip number #5 and #6!
#8 Passport and shoes on the inside
Almost every item is replaceable in a way. But losing your passport while traveling is the worst. Not to mention a lot of extra admin. Therefore we pack it in a hidden compartment on the inside of the backpack. Or we wear it close to our body in case the backpack needs to be stowed during a busride for example. Same applies to all valuables of course. Passport being top priority! For even more security we also wrap a waterproof bag around it.
Shoes can also be a challenge to squeeze into your backpack. We often see travelers hanging their shoes outside of the backpack. Bad idea! It is very easy for anyone to cut them loose. Shoes are a more popular item to steal than you might think. And in some cultures it is even rude to show your (shoe) soles. We suggest wearing the heaviest and put the rest in the middle part of the backpack. Or give them away and buy new ones as a souvenir!
So far our 8 favourite packing tips. Of course there are plenty other tips to mention. While traveling more you automatically create your own list. Always fun to keep on discovering new packing tricks!