(Back)Packing essentials

Tips for packing your backpack lighter

headerpackingIn order to prepare for my first backpack trip (to Nepal), I had to learn how to pack light. I asked my friends, who already have experience with backpacking, for packing tips. Everyone seeks to pack light. Some people are successful, others not. I created a list with tips for you, so you can also pack lighter the next time you have to pack for a trip.


  • Buy a small backpack. If your backpack is small, there is no possible way to over pack.


  • If you can, choose a destination with a warm climate. Bikinis and sandals do not take up much room.


  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. You will be surprised how much room you will save if you roll your clothing instead of laying it out flat.
  • Clothing made from merino wool is, in general, lightweight. It will keep you warm during cold weather and coolduring hot weather. You can wear it for days on end and it still will not smell.
  • Clothing that can only be worn once before a wash, is a waste of space.
  • Only pack enough clothes for seven days, no matter how long you are travelling. It is easier to find a laundry shop once a week, than it is to carry all of the extra weight around with you the entire trip.
  • Only pack matching outfits. Pick a colour and stick with it. Make sure that every pair of pants, shoes and shirt matches several other items in your suitcase
  • Pack a sarong. It can serve for many approaches, like a beach towel, table cloth, bed cover, pillow or curtain for a dunk bed.
  • Ball up your socks and underwear and stick them inside your shoes. This saves space.
  • Do not bring toiletries that you can buy at your destination (e.g. shampoo, body wash or sun block).
  • Pack no more than two pairs of shoes.
  • Pack the classic zip-off pants. Some of these pants will convert to capris and then to shorts and are often made of a special fabric that is quick drying.
  • Do not pack bulky items for cold weather trips. Pack clothes that you can layer. Instead of a heavy sweater, pack a t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, a thin cardigan or sweater.

Other things

  • Do not bring any books on your trip. This way you force yourself to talk and meet new people. You will find plenty of books where ever you go.
  • When it comes to make-up: why not tone it down and either wear less (or none).
  • Buy quick drying towels. They are lighter than normal towels and will usually absorb between 6-12 times more water than normal towels.
  • Make a packing list and check it twice.
  • Do not create your packing list based on your entire trip. Break it into a smaller chunk: two weeks.
  • Do not pack things you would not use at home.
  • Go mini. If you really need a hairdryer or flashlight during your trip, take a small size of it with you.
  • Leave the laptop behind. It will save a lot of weight and will help you to relax more. You can always go to an internet café or use your phone to do online things.
  • Mail your purchases (souvenirs) home as you go. This reduces what you must carry around with you.

Author: Daphne

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  • Svenja

    I agree with most of your tips – here’s the few things I’d change (but then, it all truly depends on your personal preferences…)

    -Personally, I don’t do “matching outfits”, I prefer wearing whatever I feel like, and that’s kinda not matching. At all. Some might say I suffer from a seriously underdeveloped fashion sense…
    -I think zip-off pants a hideous, so I rather carry around a pair of cut-offs and maybe a cute skirt to mix things up. Still not too heavy and bulky.

    I guess it all comes down to what you wrote: Don’t pack things you wouldn’t use at home, which in my case means matching outfits & zip-off pants 😉

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