‘Stuffing all your essential items and clothes in a rucksack that too for a month’, isn’t this already sounding like a hassle? Don’t worry, it is actually not as difficult as it seems to be when we start packing our bags for a long trip.
While making your travel packing list or following mine, you should consider the following things: –
- Length of your trip
- Weather conditions of the place that you are travelling to
- Any special events/parties to attend
With this comprehensive list on ‘what to pack’ and ‘how to pack’, you will no more hate the daunting task of this one aspect of travelling.
Choose the Type of Luggage
As per your travel type- adventurous or luxurious, choose between a suitcase or a backpack. Suitcase allows you to have a look at all your clothes in one go but is a hassle to carry in case of difficult terrains and mucky roads.
A backpack or a rucksack is a perfect choice for a backpacker as it allows flexible movement across all kinds of roads and also in case your stay place is located at a certain altitude and you have to carry your luggage yourself.
Hack: Avoid the temptation to overpack by choosing a smaller luggage.
I have a Quechua 50-litre backpack, a fanny pack and a Vanguard camera bag.
Maintain an Order while Packing
Packing bags becomes overwhelming when you spread all your clothes and essential items on the bed to just be stuffed into the bags. Follow my curated list of all the items and classify your luggage into different sections to be packed with one section at a time.
Hack: Use this list
Divide Sections in your Backpack
Heaviest items should be closer to your shoulder blade means they should be kept at the bottom towards the upper side of a backpack. Light items like sleeping bags should be placed at the bottom. Raingear and first aid items should be kept on the top, in quick access sections. Clothes can be stuffed in the space between the sleeping bag and heavy-duty items.
Use the outer pockets to stuff hiking poles, water bottles and the top/bottom lash-on-point parts to attach a tent to.
Hack: Click several packing pics on your mobile phone at various intervals while packing if later you tend to forget which item is kept in which section of the bag.
Roll your Clothes
This might feel like a task at first but it is a proven method to utilize the maximum space in your backpack. I do this even if I carry suitcase on a long trip. Rolling your clothes eliminates the air pockets from your clothes, keeps them away from unnecessary fold lines and efficiently occupies pockets in a bag.
Hack: You can roll in some currency in these clothes to avoid overspending or have access to emergency cash.
Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes come handy in a suitcase scenario. They compartmentalise clothes and accessories into various sections so that it becomes easy and convenient to pick and remember what item was packed where.
Hack: You can also buy some compression cubes which comes with a small vacuum device to suck out all the air in order eliminate the air pockets.
Pick Clothes which can be Layered and Styled in Multiple Ways
Look for items which can be dressed-up or dressed-down as per the occasion. I carry 2 scarfs which add different look to the same top. I have a pair of palazzo pants which can either be paired with a casual t-shirt or can even go with a kurta in case of Indianized events.
Hack: A long-loose dress can be styled in multiples ways-top, dress, skirt etc.
Here I have styled a green palazzo in various ways here.
Selective Pair of Shoes
I carry a pair of good trekking shoes, a light pair of bathroom slippers and a pair of crocs to wear whenever I don’t feel like wearing shoes. The crocs can be replaced with any other pair of light footwear depending on your style preferences.
Hack: Wear your heaviest footwear while leaving or returning from a trip. And pack the other footwear in laundry bags.
On most trips I carry hiking shoes and crocs only. Only sometimes I carry my black boots.
Pack Layers for Cold Weather
One -40-degree Celsius jacket isn’t a good choice because there will be times where you will be shifting altitudes. So, packing several thermal layers is always a better thing to do. Keep inner liners, middle layers as t-shirts or thin sweaters and jackets as outer layers.
Hack: Invest in merino wool sweaters. It’s light and the warmest.
Compression bags are great to store winter wear.
I styled the same down jacket both for moderately cold and extremely cold weather by changing the middle layer from a t-shirt to a sweater.
I carry a thick red-jacket as an outer layer for snowfall type of weather.
Carry 2-3 polyethene for Dirty Clothes
In case you don’t get to wash or do laundry on a trip, you can always pack your dirty clothes and undergarments in a separate polyethene.
Hack: You can pack some liquid detergent in a 100 ml bottle. (liquid capacity allowed in carry-on-bags to be taken on flights)
Choose the Right Fabric
This is such a necessary step especially keeping Indian weather in mind. Clothes made out of synthetic material are a big no-no for humid weather. Choose from multi-use wraps, crushable hats, self-cooling and heating fabrics like merino wool layers and quick-drying activewear. I buy my sportswear from Decathlon. Most of my trek pants and tops are made up of quick-dry material and towels are of microfabric.
I try to carry full-sleeves tops and a hat to hikes to protects myself from sunburn. Mostly for hikes, I choose active wear like yoga pants, quick-dry cargo pants and breathable t-shirts.
Items for a Carry-on-Bag
This is the bag which you will take with you on the flight or stuff it under your seat to have a quick access to things that you would need on hourly basis. Items like earphones, camera, reading material, laptop, water bottle, snacks, glasses, deo etc will be kept in this bag.
Hack: Choose a multipurpose carry-on-bag which can be both used to keep camera and other essential items.
Do get a document organiser in which you can keep your visa, tickets, passport, photos, permits etc.
(This is the link to my camera gears and other accessories AMAZON INDIA STOREFRONT. If you buy from here, a very little percentage of the cost will be given to me with no extra charges for you 🙂 Your contribution will help me produce even more helpful content for you on this channel.)
Invest in Reusable Plastic Carry Boxes and Bottles
Always carry a reusable filter water bottle which not just saves the planet from the dumping of another single-use plastic water bottle but also can filter water filled from waterfalls and rivers. I have tried brands like WaterWell and Life Straw (available on Amazon and Decathlon) in this regard and both of them are great products.
In order to carry shampoos, conditioners, creams, oils etc., don’t carry huge bottles which they already come packed in. Buy a set of 100-200-500 ml bottles from MiniSo or Amazon and keep refilling with products that you need. Don’t forget to put a plastic wrap in between your bottle opening and bottle cap to provide an extra layer of security so that there are zero chances for any kind of spillage. (Mostly needed in case of oil in a bottle)
Hack: Carry shower gel instead of a soap bar.
Protect your Stuff from Rain
Nowadays usually backpacks come with a rain cover as per their size. Do keep the rain cover while packing for your travel. Keep it in the most accessible pocket of your backpack.
Invest in a full-body raincoat which can cover the carry-on-bag too while you are still wearing it.
Hack: Crocs are your best bet as a footwear for an extremely rainy weather.
Go for one size bigger for rain cover of the backpack.
Inflatable Travel Pillow
This will be the best bet to save all the space that you can stuff with one extra pair of shoes or jeans instead. Inflatable travel pillows are easy to use and wash. They have saved my head several times from getting banged against Volvo bus windows. I got mine from Decathlon.
Invest in two 10,000 mAh Power Banks instead of one 21000 mAh one. This helps in letting you use one and charge the other at the same time while additionally saving you from a load of carrying a big power bank when you just need only one.
Hacks: Do carry a universal travel adapter with at least 2 USB Ports during your international travels.
Here is the list of items and gadgets that I use and have mentioned in this article. Additionally, I have listed the types of bags that I use.
(This is the link to my Amazon India Storefront. If you buy from here, a very little percentage of the cost will be given to me with no extra charges for you 🙂 Your contribution will help me produce even more helpful content for you on this channel.)
Keeping in mind all these tips and always try to pack light. This will provide you with better mobility and more flexibility. Not only this, but you also save spending extra money during check-ins and get to keep some space for souvenirs while returning.