New to backpacking? If you are struggling to pack light or just generally cram your life into a backpack, I’ve got you covered! If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past 8 months, it’s how to pack my backpack like a pro!
What you’re going to need…
- A backpack
- A daypack
- a set of packing cubes I use PCubes – Packing cubes set – Travel cube – Luggage organizer
- Some ZipLock bags (don’t be a cheapskate on there, you need to good ones)
- A canvas shopping/ laundry bag
- Some small zipper pouches
- Everything else you need to cram into your bag!
How light do you pack?
If you’re a super light packer you may only need a backpack (I envy you). If you’re like me you are going to need a backpack and a daypack, I love Cabin Zero’s 28lt which I wrote a review of here. It’s great as it fits all of my digital nomad kit in it, the straps are super comfy and it’s the perfect size to wear on my front! If you need a full size backpack then take a look at Gear Hungry.
The pre-packing preparation
I start by making a pile of things I want to go in my day bag. This is the bag I always keep with me on the bus, train or plane. So I keep anything valuable i.e. my Mac and camera equipment. I also always pack my PJ’s at least one fresh change of clothes. This is not just in case anything happens to my backpack, it’s also so I don’t have to go into my backpack if I’m just staying for one night at a hotel on route to my final destination. I always make sure I keep my toiletries in the top of my backpack for easy access!
Then I make a pile of all of my clothes…
And in my last pile, I add all of the other random things I need to get in, you know like my crystals and my sage smudge stick (a yogi needs her crystals and sage you know).
This final pile also includes all of my toiletries which don’t fit in my little wash bag ie sun cream. I don’t travel with a lot of toiletries, but I always travel with sun cream as it can sometimes be super expensive! I put everything into individual Zip Lock bags and seal them.
Time to start packing…
Now that you have your piles it’s time to grab your packing cubes and get packing!
If you haven’t got on board with packing cubes yet you really are missing out. I honestly don’t think I could travel without them anymore. They really are a game changer. Here are two of the things I love most about packing cubes:
You can get pack so much more using them. So if you want to pack more clothes, you need packing cubes.
They help keep your stuff organized. This doesn’t just make my OCD satisfied it’s also really practical. I travel with 3 cubes, 1 for my underwear and swimwear, 1 for my yoga and sportswear and one for everything else. I can always find what I’m looking for and if I don’t have a locker at my hostel I can just pull out the packing cubes and lay them on the floor, keeping all my clothes nice and clean!
Things to consider before buying packing cubes
Before you go ordering yourself some packing cubes on Amazon though proceed with caution! Not all packing cubes are made equal. If you are buying them to help you save space then you need to make sure the ones you are buying are good quality, with a good zipper and strong stitching. I’ve had some great ones and some really bad ones!
The packing cubes I recommend are PCubes, they are made for quality material, the stitching is super strong and the zippers are tough. I cram a lot into my cubes and after putting them to the test they are the best I’ve found. They also won’t break the bank! In fact, you can get a whole set of 4 + a laundry bag and some travel toiletry bottles for under $25!
To pack my clothes inside the PCubes I roll everything I can, and then anything that doesn’t roll well I place on top. I then zip it up and go round cramming smaller items into any spare space I have in the cubes (no wasted space in my backpack!).
Once my cubes are packed I place them inside my backpack, the largest first, then the medium.
Then I start packing all of the things from my random piles into my backpack around my packing cubes.
I use the zip bags to store things I want to keep together, I have one for first aid and medicine, one for my crystals and one for my herbs and spices. If you are long-term traveling I can’t recommend making yourself a herb and spices pack enough. You can read about how to create your own here. I normally pack the zip bags in the top zip part of my backpack as they fit perfectly in there.
I pack my sleeping bag, shoes and coat (plus anything else that will fit in) in the bottom of the backpack.
Once I’ve packed everything in and used all of the space I put my small packing cube on the top followed by my small toiletry bag on top. This is not just because they fit here but also so I can access them easily without having to root around in my backpack.
The final touches
I then attach my hiking poles, tent, yoga mat and tripod to the outside (as I said I don’t pack light haha, I travel with my life on my back).
Packing your daypack
Then anything that didn’t fit in my backpack I add to my day pack pile and start packing everything in. I’m always conscious of where I’m putting things if I’m traveling by plane. If this is the case I try not to put any liquids in, I make sure my swiss army knife is in my checked luggage and I try to make sure the only thing I have to remove from my bag is my laptop and camera. Don’t forget to use a zip lock bag for any liquids you have in your hand luggage!
And that’s it! I hope this guide has helped you to pack your backpack like a pro! If it has please leave me a comment below or share the love by sharing on social media.