How To Chuck Your Suitcase and Pack a Mean Backpack!

Written by Radha Vyas

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We all know someone who claims to be the only one capable of loading a backpack “correctly”, but the truth is that there is no right way; there is only your way.

Naturally, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a few tried and tested tips and learn how to Pack a Mean Backpack for Travel!

Pack a Mean Backpack

Before we show you how to load your backpack like a pro, let’s make sure that you have the right pack for your journey and body type. Although the length of your trip, carrying capacity, styling, and quality are all-important concerns, what you want is a pack that is spacious, comfortable and fits your unique figure perfectly. Whether you’re browsing for a weekend rug sack or itching for that new hardcore glacier carrier that zips open like a suitcase, it always comes down to Space vs. Comfort. 

Yes, budget is also an essential component, but the general rule seems to be: the lighter and more compact the gear, the higher the cost. On the upside, quality-backpacking and adventure travel equipment will often last a lifetime if properly cared for.

Okay, Enough With The Shopping Advice, Let’s Get Packing!

Pack a Mean Backpack

When most business travellers and tourists pack their suitcases they tend to fold their clothes into neat squares to minimise wrinkling and keep things tidy. Most flashpackers (backpackers with bigger budgets) tend to follow the ancient art of rolling and bundle wrapping to maximise the space available. There are no hard and fast rules, but as seasoned travellers we have found that by starting at the bottom and working your way to the top will allow you to correct the balance of heavy gear vs. bulky items without having to unpack everything mid stream.

Where Tourists Fold, Flashpackers Roll!

First, make a mental checklist of the type of clothes, items and equipment you will need, then spread out everything on a flat surface like a bed or floor. Now chuck half the amount of clothes back into the closet and start rolling the remaining ESSENTIAL items into tight bundles. Remember to loosen all the straps on your backpack before you start loading it.

Balance Is Always Found In The Middle

Heavier items like toiletries, food, and camera equipment should be packed as close to the middle of the backpack as possible. This not only aids in balance, but also allows for extra protection of your valuables.

From Bottom To Top

The bottom section is reserved for your sleeping bag because it gives you an extra layer of protection should you fall and also makes for a comfy pillow. If you won’t be taking a sleeping bag, use this space for a smaller daypack or items you will only need at night.

Quick-reach Compartments

The side and outer zipper bags should never contain any valuables. Use these spaces for “quick-reach” items like snacks, liquids, towels, a headlamp, raincoat or first aid kit. To save space and avoid spending your holiday time at the airport, decant your toiletries into smaller travel bottles.

Squeeze & Go!

Now simply squish your torch and whatever is left into the top, secure your tent to the outside of the pack and you are good to go.

If you have a hot travel tip to share with fellow flashpackers, drop it in the comment box below.

Pack a Mean Backpack

Ready to pack your bag(s) and head off on an adventure? Find all our group tours here!


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