Your backpack is your survival. And to tell you the truth, packing is an art, and backpack-packing might demand a professional artist (read packer). We use backpacks when we go on informal holidays, whether it is trekking or on a whirlwind tour of Europe.
A backpack is a great way to travel with all your belongings, but if you aren’t careful, then you might end up over-packing. Now, remember that the backpack you carry is going to be on your back the entire time! As ardent travelers and lovers of a backpack, we are here to guide you and ensure you have everything when out discovering the world!
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Well, for starters, there is a clear divide between regular tourists and backpackers. A backpacker is out to explore and understand. She might come in many forms – living out of hostels for the foreseeable future, out in the wild just wanting to camp or even a hippie whose various prized possessions are all stored proudly in her backpack.
When you first start backpacking and having your whole world fit into a small place on your back, it might seem like a daunting task. However, once you truly get the hang of it, you’ll soon realize there is no other way to live.
It has so many benefits, and it changes your perspective of being tied down with materialistic things including – physical strength, financial awareness, time management, orderliness & discipline, mental stamina, agility and flexibility to fit into various places, to name a few.
So with that in mind, let’s dig into how you may optimize your backpack for prime comfort & ease of access.
Review your items
Don’t be whimsical, know what you require and pack accordingly. You will come to realize that there are many things that you might not require. However, this might take some trial and error. When you have to lug around your items, in heat and rain and extreme cold, you’ll soon realize a lighter load will make for a happy you!
Most times, we end up over-packing because we do not review the items we need, so be mindful of what you pack. For example, do not carry too many fancy clothes if you are on a trek; they are useless there! Two-three light cotton T-shirts, a scarf or a muffler, a cap, an extra pair of track pants should about do the trick.
Opt for items that you can use in more than one way. This is to say that you should pack clothes if you can wear them in more than one way. Similarly, when packing shoes, consider something like a Converse All-Star can go with almost anything. Pants can be worn at parties while traveling and even when roaming.
Few jackets can be worn inside out, giving different colors for different outfits. Hence, be wise in your usage of clothes and shoes, and this way, you will be able to save a lot of space. Also, pack light things, that dry easily (if clothes require washing) and are not high maintenance.
Prioritize the packing
Do not put things you will require urgently right at the bottom. So any charger or pencil batteries, toothbrush, lotion, and so on should be kept right on top, or you may even utilize the many pockets for ease of access. Things you do not require immediately, like a down jacket, should be kept first. Again, the idea here is to be wise in what you put where.
Outer pockets are blissful
Yes, use those outer pockets because they are there for a reason. Anything small should go into those pockets, including your toiletries. Often we ignore the outer pockets thinking they aren’t of any use, but they often turn out to be the most useful. The outer pockets should contain your sunglasses, tissues, water bottles, books, and so on. You will realize that these pockets are extremely accessible and can make your life much easier when you travel.
Wear bulky items
Yet another hack when it comes to packing is to wear any bulky items that you must carry. For example, if you have a classic pair of boots that you would like to use on your adventure, you should not dump it inside the backpack and make it heavy. Instead, you should wear it while traveling. The same holds for heavy-duty jackets, as these take up a lot of space. So instead, wear it or carry it in your hand.
Take extra essentials
Under-garments should hold priority when it comes to packing. You do not need three sweaters, no matter how beautiful they are. However, you will require your under-garments, and you would be wise to take extra pairs. Carrying extra pairs will help you because when you are traveling, you might not get a chance to wash your clothes, so instead of taking the pain of doing laundry, carry extra pairs!
You should always carry your water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂
Use every inch of space possible. For example, roll and stuff socks or lighter clothing in your shoes. Buy organizer kits which generally have 3-4 different sized bags and can be used to segregate things in an easy to find manner. We fold our clothes in a certain way, rolling them to a smaller size, and packing them neatly.
It can help save a lot of space. This trick has helped me beyond measure in my years of travel. Not only do they stay clean and organized, visually, but I can also spot them better and remove them from my bag easily without disturbing the things packed in the vicinity.
Buy them later
This is a great tip, and it always works. If you aren’t in a very remote area, then you should have access to shops where you can purchase several items. Thus, forget about all those items you do not want to carry and go on and buy them when you reach your destination. This way, you do not have to carry them all the way.
Distribute your items knowledgeably
You should keep softer and less essential things such as your sleeping bag and clothes at the bottom. These days, backpacks even have an extra compartment below the bag for you to put these things. The middle of the backpack should be reserved for heavier things, such as food supplies and fuel canisters, etc. as this is the portion that is most supported by your back, without putting too much pressure on your spine.
The first section is the most utilized part of your backpack and thus should be reserved for daily necessities such as snacks, sunglasses, layers of clothes you’ll utilize daily, compass, etc. A first aid kit should be kept handy in either the top pouch (if available) or one of the many side pockets. Shoes are usually tied outside the backpack or stuffed in the bottom-most portion of the backpack. Most often, I usually use the shoes I am wearing the entire time and works out just fine!
The most important thing to do when packing is added and subtract. Always add the things you cannot do without, and subtract those items you do not want. One piece of advice I want to leave you with is – tie your bag well. Use the belts and straps to pack it well, so that it is compact enough that you can carry it with ease.
Last but certainly not the least, do not forget locks, as the sort of travel you’re embarking on, will lead you into new territories, often prone to wander-lusting. Your mind will wander, you’ll reach your zen mode, and you won’t be the most attentive at certain times. The locks will help you in safekeeping your things.
Did we miss out on any key tips you’ve had in your roster when packing a backpack? Have you never backpacked and are excited yet nervous about taking on this daunting task? Let us know in the comments below on how we can help further ease the process!