How to pack a backpack for traveling

Sep 12

Essential Items for Travel Packing – Health Kit, Survival Gear & Navigation Kit

In any trip that will require a backpack, it’s impossible to overestimate how important it is to make sure that you do your best to pack lightly. The constant strain of having a bag that is even just a little bit too heavy on your back can ultimately result in a trip that becomes utterly impossible. By packing lightly, you not only guarantee a lighter load on your back, but also a lighter and happier state of mind altogether.

Knowing how to pack a backpack for traveling can literally save the entire trip. Packing light does not necessarily mean that you have to skimp on the essentials, but it does imply that you’ll have to smartly choose the select items that you take with you on your journey.

Good traveling backpack simplifies packing

One Bag, Zero Problems

Many people are familiar with how to pack a backpack for air travel, but you have to also think of the length of time you’ll be carrying your own bag on a trip that requires a great deal on travel on foot. While it may be tempting to pack our entire bedroom into a bag in order to account for any and all freak accidents that may occur, it is always the wisest to keep yourself limited to only one bag. Not only should you limit your load to one bag, but it is also quite wise to keep that bag’s weight under twenty pounds at the maximum.

When you’re carrying a bag around for a trip, you may realize, like so many others do, that you’re bearing the weight of that bag a lot more often than you initially expected. By making sure that the bag starts off very light in weight, the rise in pressure that will inevitable accumulate from carrying it around so much won’t be nearly as dramatic as it could be.

Run a Test

In order to have the best experience with the weight of your bag, what’s recommended is that you take a short ‘test’ of the bag’s weight before you embark on your trip. The test is as simple as putting the bag on your back and carrying it around your own hometown for about an hour, acting as a tourist. If you can comfortable carry the bag around your hometown for an hour without sustaining grievous spinal injuries (or at the very least, mild discomfort) then the weight of your bag is likely a safe bet and can be relied on for the trip without issue. (By the way, if you are in for some serious hiking, take a look at our hiking backpack packing guide)

By testing out the bag’s weight, not only will you be more mentally primed for experience of carrying it everywhere, but your body will naturally acclimate to the bag’s weight and have less trouble supporting it when the time comes to take it on the actual trip.

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Be a Do-It-Yourself-er

When carrying your bag through an unfamiliar country, it may be tempting to make use of the offers you may encounter to have other people carry your bags for you. As tempting as the offer to have your bags carried may be, it is wise not to honor those offers. Your bags are a lot less likely to get stolen, lost or damaged if they are on your person at all times. While there are legitimately good-hearted people who will carry your bags for you if they see you in distress, ultimately, it is mostly going to be those who are looking to either pinch your pockets or valuables under the pretense of you being an easily-targeted tourist.

In order to be less of an easy pickpocket target (and by the way even Paris is notorious for its high pickpocket crime rate), simply remember to pack a light bag so that having another person carry it for you is unnecessary. Your bag should always be readily available on your lab, on your shoulder, or under your seat in all different forms of transportation. You will never have to worry about the whereabouts of your bag, and no matter where you go, you’re always prepared to jump right into the swing of things.

Peace of Mind

Packing very lightly isn’t only a matter of making your load lighter or your trip less expensive. Packing lightly is also valuable for keeping the mental energy and morale of the trip high in general. With a lighter bag, every single activity and journey that you and your group embark on will immediately seem less daunting and more attractive. The need to relocate will never seem as though it has to be a gigantic production. With a smaller bag, you become a lot less visible to potential con artists and grifters who are out for the express purpose of taking advantage of tourists that were never taught how to pack properly.

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The video below shows the work of a group of con artists operating out on the streets of Barcelona. And mind you that this is only one of the many scams that backpackers like us will have to be wary of when we are traveling.

Less Things, More Control

When you have less items in your bag, it’s easier to assume complete control of every single one of your possessions. By taking control of all of your valuable belongings, essentially, you are taking control of your entire trip. Being in a new country can be a little bit intimidating and sometimes the feeling of being lost is inevitable, but at the very least, you can have security in being in control of your valuables and supplies.

How was your personal travel packing experience? Do you have experience that we have not highlighted but you feel it is important for fellow backpackers to know? Share in the comments below.

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