This summer, my boyfriend and I decided to embark on a crazy, travel adventure! We decided on Europe as our destination, where the goal was to see and experience as much as we possibly could over the months while we were there. We had both been to Europe before, so we knew of the many narrow, cobblestone roads that are alive with thousands of tourists. With this in mind we didn’t think that we could happily lug suitcases around from place to place, for months at a time! So, we decided on something brand new for us, which was joining the backpacking club!
Let me just say, if you are a girl reading this and thinking, “well that’s nice, but there is no way that I could travel for months at a time and just live out of a little backpack! It will definitely not hold everything that I need!” well…. let me tell you, you can and when you do you will be so thankful that you did! My thinking was that I didn’t want to lug a suitcase through Europe, so a backpack was my only option, which was fine because it was something new and exciting! However, how I was going to fit all of the stuff that I wanted to take in one bag was an issue.
What I ended up doing was taking a small number of clothes that could be mixed and matched together to form a large number of different outfits. I kept my beauty essentials and toiletries to a minimum and left the fancy shoes at home, only packing a pair of runners, flip-flops and flat strappy sandals. If you think about it, this is all that you really NEED. A lot of things that you think you need, are not actually things in which you would use on a daily basis, and if you do need them daily, then pack them, because at least they won’t be wasted space.
The key to backpacking is that you don’t actually NEED nearly as many things as you think you do!
Packing light is the best way to go!
Also, another perk is that if your backpack has a little bit of room before you leave, then it will be lighter on your back AND you will be able to pack in a few small souvenirs during your trip! Now if that’s not incentive to pack light, I don’t know what is! So now that you are convinced that less is more, let’s get onto how to actually pack this new backpack of yours!
Lets start with the most important part of your entire trip, the backpack itself! The backpack that we used for our trip was seriously THE MOST UNBELIEVABLE BACKPACK that one could ask for! During our trip we met tons of other backpackers, who all had different bags and after much comparison I can say that, without a doubt, the backpack that I am about to show you is THE BEST, and for these reasons:
- It is NOT TOP LOADING! Meaning that it opens like a regular suitcase, making it incredibly easy to find things quickly in your bag
- It has a day pack that zips and straps onto the big backpack (so there is no need to buy a small backpack to walk around with during the day, because it is already comes with the bag AND is included in the price)
- It has good, strong zippers
- It has a huge built-in mesh pocket on the inside
- Is priced fairly for the quality and extra day pack included
- You can stowaway the backpack straps, making the backpack into a suitcase (perfect for flights)
- Has a comfortable hip belt
- Has back ventilation
- Although you could get other sizes, the 55 was PERFECT! I would recommend it for EVERYONE!
(Click photo for more information)
ROLL YOUR CLOTHES
The best and easiest way to pack your clothes so that they stay wrinkle free is to roll them. Also, because this way you can fit twice as many clothing items versus when they are folded.
A step-by-step on how to roll is below. Make sure to smooth out any wrinkles before rolling.
KEEP SOCKS FLAT
This is one of the best tricks for packing socks, which takes up the least amount of space and at the same time, keeps them together.
× LEFT: Rolled socks takes up too much valuable space.
× MIDDLE: When keeping socks separate, you could have trouble finding a pair if your backpack gets unorganized.
⇒ RIGHT: One sock inside of another is the way to go! Put your hand into one sock, open your hand to create a big pocket inside the sock. Slip the matching pair inside the pocket. Voila!
These will be your savior! By dividing your clothes up it will keep things organized and incredibly easy to pack everything up each time you move around to a new destination. I would only recommend mesh bags (definitely not plastic), since the mesh allows for air to get through and for easy visibility of your clothing.
BONUS: After travelling you can use these as laundry bags to wash your delicate clothes in!
These are the ones that I used:
This is key for your shoes and dirty laundry! They take up no space at all when flattened and will protect your clean clothes from dirty laundry odours as well as from dirty shoes. I would recommend one for each pair of shoes and one for keeping dirty laundry in.
BONUS: After travelling you can use these as gym bags! Perfect for your runners and a water bottle!
These are the ones that I used:
THE PACKING PROCESS IN 2 QUICK STEPS
Now that you have everything you need, it is time to start thinking about packing! This can be broken down into 2 steps:
- Lay out everything on the floor that you want to pack, next to your open backpack. This will give you a good visual as to how much stuff you are actually bringing. Also, you will be able to see if everything will realistically be able to fit into your backpack. Plus, by doing this you may find a few non-essential items that you can eliminate.
- Start to pack your bag by putting all of the heavier items on the bottom side (the side that will be the bottom when the backpack is upright). This will ensure that nothing slides around as well as this will be more comfortable for you!
With the day pack on! It is the PERFECT size!
I hope you enjoyed reading this and best of luck on your backpacking adventures!
If you have any comments or questions I would love to hear from you!
(DON’T MISS: WHAT NOT TO BRING BACKPACKING POST)