So you’ve decided to give the ultimate ”backpacking experience” a go. You chose your destination, you took the time off work and you can already picture your amazing voyage! Now, it’s time to think of packing. Whether you’re headed for a short getaway or you’re planning to travel the world, here are a few tips on the ideal way to pack your backpack and being smart about what you pack (and what you don’t)!
Choosing the right backpack
The golden rule: avoid buying a bag that is too big! The bigger the bag, the more likely you are to fill it with unnecessary stuff. You definitely don’t want to burden yourself with a super heavy bag (the weight of the bag shouldn’t exceed 15% to 20% of your own weight). There are lots of options, different sizes that are categorized by litres. Ideally, you should choose one that is between 40L and 65L. Make sure it’s adapted to your size and body type; bags come in all sorts of sizes and can be unisex or sorted by gender. And most of all, be sure to try it out before you buy it!
Some general advice for choosing a backpack. You’ll want:
- High quality ventilation (especially the back panel)
- Comfortable/padded shoulder straps and hip belt
- Waterproof and/or equipped with a rain cover
- Strong seams and closures
- Central zip opening, giving quick access to the contents of the pack, without having to empty what’s on top to access what’s on the bottom
- Double zippers so you can attach a padlock
Don’t overfill your backpack
We all tend to pack a lot of clothes “just in case”. But that’s what you want to avoid! Bring clothes that would last a week, give or take, regardless of how long you’re going for. It’s easy to wash your clothes no matter where you are in the world. The only exception to that rule: underwear! Bring more rather than less, it doesn’t take a lot of space and you don’t want to run out. Last but not least, don’t neglect to leave a bit of room in your bag to bring back some souvenirs.
Try using some large, waterproof plastic bags (like Ziploc bags) or storage containers. Group your stuff by category and use a smaller bag for each one: shirts, pants, underwear, electronics, toiletries, medicine and documents. When you need something from your bag in a hurry, all you have to do is grab the smaller bag you’re looking for. Also, make sure to put all your liquids in a waterproof bag so you avoid a frustrating spill.
- Power adaptor (verify the type of plugs in the country you will be visiting)
- A padlock
- A close body bag
- Microfibre towel (takes very little room)
- A first aid kit
- Feminine hygiene products (not available everywhere)
- Copies of your passport, bank cards and ID
- List of emergency numbers: embassy, insurance, financial institutions
A few things better left at home
- Make-up, in large quantities
- High heels
- Clothing that wears and tears easily or articles you really love
Now, let’s go on an adventure!