Stuff everything into your rucksack and you’re ready to go, right? WRONG!
Yes, everything will probably get completely messed up while you’re away but having some system to packing your backpack will make it easier to find things and easier to get everything in. So, before you start cramming everything bar the kitchen sink in, read this simple guide first…
Step 1: Think about what you actually need
Make a list if it helps. When it comes to clothes, pick out a few staple items that can be mixed and matched together. Think about fabrics which can be cleaned easily and will be comfortable. Anything travel-sized is also great. You can get travel-sized anoraks, towels, toiletries, and even iPod speakers and hair straighteners if you really need your home comforts. I always collect free samples of shampoo and moisturiser as they really save on space.
Step 2: Lay everything out
Once you’ve thought about what you want to take, there’s no point just chucking it all in your backpack. For one thing, you’ll probably forget what you’ve already packed and also you’ll probably end up with all your essential items (that you’re likely to need first) at the bottom of your rucksack. So although it may seem a little OCD, just lay everything you need out on your floor. This way you’ll have a good idea of exactly what you’re going to be taking. Perhaps you’ll realise you don’t actually need so much stuff!
Step 3: Packing
Now comes the moment of truth; getting it all to fit in your backpack. There are lots of different theories on the best way to pack a backpack. Rolling your clothes into sausage shapes is a great way of getting everything to fit without having too much creasing. Small items like socks, flipflops and toiletries can then be squashed and slotted into the gaps. Unless you have a backpack which has a zip at the bottom, think about how accessible you need your items to be. Perhaps you’ll want your toiletries at the top and the jumper you brought ‘just in case’ at the bottom. Also, make sure valuable items are well hidden and not in the outside pockets. If you have a little bit of spare room, don’t be tempted to fill it with things you don’t need. It’s likely you’ll need that extra space in case you want to bring back souvenirs.
Step 4: Carrying your backpack
Once you’ve got everything in your backpack you definitely need to give it a test run. Apparently you should never carry more than a third of your body weight. Even though the weight might seem manageable when you’re walking around your house with it on, after potentially hours of carrying it while travelling your back might be telling you a different story. Invest in a good quality backpack and let the sales assistant help you adjust it to suit your size and body shape. It’s important to make use of the waist and chest straps to make sure you get the support you need.
When you’re going to be living out of your backpack for months on end it’s all the more important to get the basics right. There’s nothing worse than carrying backpack that’s way too heavy or way too uncomfortable. So, put some effort into getting your packing right and concentrate on enjoying your trip!