The Backpacker’s guide to smart packing

Posted on 29 March 2024 By Louise Bell

Unsplash/Tristan Pineda

With a bag on your back and a sense of untethered adventure in your heart, a backpacker trip is the ultimate way to break away from the daily grind of life. Whether you’re planning a trekking vacation or want to escape the burden of lugging around luggage, backpacking is a lightweight alternative packing method for all kinds of travellers.

Fitting your entire life into a mere bag can be a daunting experience, but you can easily ease your doubts by including essential items for a hassle-free travel experience. Are you looking for tips and tricks to optimise your backpack packing? Here are a few ways to cram your travel bag with the right items.

Important questions to ask before your trip

While it might be tempting to dive headfirst into packing, asking yourself questions to arrange your backpack to contain the right content can be a great starting point. Here are a few queries to answer to pack like a pro:

What is the weather like?

This will determine what kind of clothing and accessories you’ll need to pack for your trip. Whether it’s winter coats for snow conditions or bathing suits for tropical adventures, appropriate clothing will be sure to make your trip more comfortable.

Do some research on the days of your trip to gauge what kind of temperature and weather conditions you can expect on your travels. If the location is known for its unpredictable weather changes, be sure to pack in a light jacket and breathable shirt to ensure you’re all set.

How long is my trip?

The trip duration is an important part of your packing preparation as it allows you to see how much of what clothing item would be needed. If you’re going on a long expedition, a good rule of thumb is to insert a week’s worth of clothing to ensure you have enough items before your next laundromat visit.

What type of travel activities will I be doing?

Whether it’s a hiking expedition or a lazing-in-the-sun kind of vacation, travel activities are a crucial thing to consider when packing. This will determine the type of clothing, shoes, and accessories to include in your backpack. You can start with the basics (underwear, t-shirts, etc.) and try to build from there.

Tips & tricks for backpack packing

  • Weigh your backpack – this is especially relevant if you’re looking to check in your backpack as a carry-on (as airlines have specific guidelines regarding this). Weigh your bag after packing to determine whether you fall under the required weight limit.
  • Pack travel-size toiletries – once again, an essential thing to remember if you’re taking your backpack as a carry-on. Travel-size toiletries also help you to ensure more space for your other items.
  • Structure your packing – you’ll need to layer your backpack from least to most used while traveling. So, you’ll want to make sure your essentials, such as a jersey for your long flight, remain at the top of your backpack pile. This will help you to not unload your whole bag while looking for specific items on your trip.
  • Purchase a waterproof pack liner – nothing can put a damper on a trip quite like an unexpected rainy day. As your entire trip worth of clothing will be in your bag, be sure to have it in a waterproof pack liner to keep your items clean, dry and undamaged by water.

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