So you want to go backpacking light, do you?
Do you dream of jetting off with nothing but an easy-to-carry pack on your back? Are you not the type to become attached to material possessions, and want just the essentials to get you through your journey? Do you yearn to have enough adventure and whimsy to jump into a flimsy boat in the Amazon without worrying if your heavy suitcase will sink the dingy?
If you answered yes to one of more of these questions, then read on.
Everyone has a different level of desired comfort when they travel. So, advice aside, deciding what items are the most important to bring in order to stay comfortable is of the most importance.
One person’s comfortable travel pillow is another person’s bulky lump of cotton fluff.
Here are a few ways to help you go backpacking light:
Keep your bag small
One of the easiest ways to go backpacking light is to bring a moderately sized bag. This will instantly limit the number of items you’re able to bring, and make you stick to packing just the bare necessities.
Pack a day bag inside your full-sized bag
A nifty trick for those of you who either don’t want to carry more than one bag or are packing for carry-on only is to pack a bag inside a bag.
If you do this, then you’ll always have a day bag that you can carry around while you are exploring a new city without lugging around your full pack. Plus, it allows you to be able to pick up some souvenirs while on the go.
When deciding what clothes to bring, make sure that you only pack items that you can wear as part of many different outfits or use in many different situations. For example, bringing along a sarong will immediately give you a scarf, a window covering, a hostel bed privacy sheet, and a skirt.
A tip on how to choose your clothing is to pick a color scheme. Pick three colors, and only pack clothes in that color scheme. That way, all your clothes will match each other.
Only pack enough clothes for one week
It’s important that no matter where you go, you limit the number of clothes you bring along. In most places in the world, you will be able to wash your clothing as you go, so factor that in when choosing outfits.
Before you leave home, do a little research as to what toiletry amenities your destination is known for having and not having. Then, bring only what you know you won’t be able to buy on the road. Chances are your destination will have soap, razors, deodorant, etc.
And if you can’t buy it in your destination or are going off-grid, then get the dry stuff. For example, dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is leak-proof, and simply one bar of the stuff will give you the equivalent of three bottles of liquid shampoo, drastically reducing your pack weight.
Remove the ‘what if’s’
If you are unsure as to whether or not you will need an item, then leave it at home. If you find yourself saying “what if so-and-so happens and I need (insert item here)” then leave it at home.
Only bring what you know you’ll need. Chances are you can buy anything else while on the road.
Packing cubes are amazing for organizing your pack. With them, you’ll be able to see exactly what you are bringing as well as quantities.
There is no stuffing unnecessary items into nooks and crannies when you use packing cubes!
Microfiber Travel Towels
If the trip you are going on requires you to bring your own towel, then leave the bulky one at home and invest in a Microfiber travel towel.
These towels are super light and dry in a flash.
A handy rule for packing clothes is to not let them take up more than one third of the room in your bag.
Now, for those of you who insist that clothes will be the bulk of what you need to bring, think about it: Your pack will be 1/3 clothes, 1/3 toiletries, and 1/3 odds and ends or room for picking up souvenirs!