A simple guide to packing for backpackers!
If you’re one of those travellers for whom the days before a departure are more about anticipation than preparation, chances are you’ve often found yourself stuffing everything but the kitchen sink into your bag with just minutes to go before your plane/train/automobile is due to depart. You’ll know, then, that a poorly packed rucksack makes for an uncomfortable and inconvenient journey, fraught with troubling back pain and desperate searches for your passport under the glare of unforgiving border guards.
There is a better way. With a little ergonomic insight and some serious (and informed) decisions about just how many pairs of shoes your really need to take, your love affair with your backpack can be rekindled and the stress of your forthcoming adventure significantly reduced.
So you’ve already made the decision to leave plenty of time to pack: this means you can even go through a couple of practice runs. Divide your stuff into ‘essential’ and ‘wish-list’ piles and try packing the essentials first, so you can properly weigh-up the feasibility of that hairdryer, electric juicer etc.
Once you know exactly what will fit, it’s time to start packing for real. Start by putting some of the lightest items to the bottom of your bag. Your heaviest stuff should be right behind your back, with middle-weight items mid-way up; finish it off by putting the reminder of your light stuff on top. Don’t forget to put essential documents or frequently used tools aside to carry in side pockets or other easily-accessed nooks.
If you’re serious about travelling – and about your health – you will have invested in a decent backpack, complete with shoulder, chest, hip and load-lifter straps. Use them. These straps should be pulled tight, just enough that the weight falls to your hips.
These are the basics – but for more tips on how to arrange your backpack, including a detailed breakdown of just which items you truly need, check out this great new infographic: it might just lift the load when the stress of travel preparation hits.
Sophie is based in the heart of Manchester, UK and specialises in digital media. Travelling parts of the world each year, Sophie has travelled and worked abroad and is continuing to tick off destinations on her bucket list.